How Can I Generate More Leads?

How Can I Generate More Leads?When it comes to the best ways to generate sales leads, we all know that social media is a well-used platform.  However, social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook usually generate few sales leads.  Let’s take a look at how we can utilize marketing automation in our goal to generate more leads and answer the question, how can I generate more leads?

Leveraging your Marketing Automation Program

Marketing automation has been shown to increase lead conversion and provide focused information on scheduling, tracking, and defining marketing programs and processes.  A marketing automation program gives you all the tools needed to generate leads and track them as they move through the sales funnel.  Real time analytics give you insight into where your leads are in the buying process and an average timeline on when you can expect them to buy.  This gives you the opportunity to personalize your messages to your leads depending upon their needs, instead of sending out generic messages that will often be ignored or deleted.

Marketing automation can also make capturing lead information easy and effective.  With a landing page, leads are able to quickly and easily enter their contact information or request your product catalog or a call about your services.  Using marketing automation effectively means that you will be able to track the success of landing pages and make adjustments where you see fit.

Another crucial area where marketing automation is effective lies in the content you’re posting on your blog.  Marketing automation is able to track the effectiveness of the information you’re posting – including how appealing it is to your leads and audience.  Figuring out the proper number of communications for your prospects will ensure your posts don’t wind up being overlooked or worse, deleted before they’re noticed or read.

Marketing Automation Helps Qualify Leads

Often, we make the mistake of including ALL leads in our communications.  This only causes good, qualified leads to fall among the wayside, lost in a crowd of leads that aren’t worth the time investment.  Marketing automation helps you qualify your leads by giving your marketers precision in all of their marketing processes.  By monitoring leads and gathering useful information, including what search terms they’ve used and what content they’ve viewed, marketing automation makes it easier to understand where the consumer is in the buying process.

It also makes it easier to score leads.  Lead scoring is a simple process of assigning number values to certain behaviors and attributes so you can measure the value of a lead.  This numerical value will help you determine whether the lead is to be passed onto the sales team or if the lead needs more information, content, or research.  Marketing automation will also score company demographics such as location, company size, and other criteria to ensure that the correct types of leads are being funneled to your company.

The marketing automation sector is expected to increase from $3.2 billion to $4.2 billion in 2015 – this is a significant increase and indicates the tremendous impact of marketing automation.  Adding marketing automation to your repertoire will add increased value to your business process and marketing department as a whole.

Ready to take the next step?  Let’s help you with adding marketing automation to your business repertoire!

Marketing Automation: Why Does Lead Nurturing Make Sense?

Why does lead nurturing make sense?Lead nurturing, the marketing process of developing relationships with leads regardless of their current timing to purchase, is a straightforward concept. But many don’t realize the importance of lead nurturing or how it can help. Let’s look at lead nurturing and how it relates to marketing automation.

Why Lead Nurturing Makes Sense

One of the biggest pros for lead nurturing is the ability to market personalized messages to prospects. These messages can be generic in nature but personalized to an audience that’s only in Lead Stage 1 of marketing automation. These leads have only just entered the market and do not have a current timeline for purchasing.

It’s important if you’re looking into automation not to just send leads cold emails. Your first objective for beginning lead nurturing is to establish permission to stay in contact with the lead. If your audience loses interest in your messages, they’ll unsubscribe from your mailing list or mark emails as spam.

Target Your Leads

Make sure you’re creating content that your visitors want to see. The more you can find out about a lead who’s visited your website, the better. By creating high quality content that is relevant to your leads, you’re increasing the possibility of converting leads to customers significantly. Make sure that when sending out your messages, you’re not overdoing it. Ask yourself: when’s the best time to send messages so you can ensure your prospects will see them? Answer that and then tailor your messages to be sent out at the best possible time.

Another best practice for lead nurturing that might seem like it’s coming from the stone age, is using plain text emails instead of HTML. A few lines of content and a personalized signature go a long way toward establishing an individualized message, which is targeted to your audience. HTML based emails are fine when sending out training tips or when the emails are clearly coming from the marketing department and not the sales department.

When Lead Nurturing Works

Lead nurturing is a powerful way to use marketing automation to stay in touch with prospects. When it works, you’re able to establish purchaser preference while also gaining useful knowledge about your prospects timing. If you’re ready to take the next best step with lead nurturing and marketing automation, contact us today! Lead Liaison staff would love to chat with you about your company’s individual marketing needs.

Is Visitor Tracking Violating Your Privacy Statement?

Visitor Tracking Could Violate Your Privacy Statement

Visitor Tracking Could Violate Your Privacy StatementDo you have a privacy statement?  If so, you might be violating it with many visitor tracking programs. It’s important to ask your self, is visitor tracking violating your privacy statement? Make sure you know what you’re getting into and who you’re dealing with.

Here is how it works.  Company A has a strong marketing effort.   They get 1,000,000 people to “opt-in” by submitting a form.  Visitor ID Company drops a cookie on the machine as part of the transaction, and tracks the behaviors of that party including visits so that it can create a better experience between Company A and the visitor.

Nothing wrong so far.

The trouble begins when Visitor ID Company wants to attract Company B.  They offer Company B a 7 or 14 day trial and use Company A’s database to correlate unique visitor IPs to their database.   Some have even been known to throw in “sample data” from a competitor’s traffic to show what could be achieved while the trial period is in progress.

Here are the problems:

  • Company A has just helped its competitor
  • Company A has breached its moral and legal obligations (in some cases) to its clients to protect their relationship
  • Company B is wasting sales time pursuing fake leads or bad data entered by company A
  • Visitor ID Company has mislead a prospect into buying results that are a representation of what could happen… under the guise that it just happened.

Long story short, you have just breached your customer’s data by working with a visitor tracking solution that shares data.   The good news is that there are a limited number of companies that DO NOT share data.   Those companies actually pull superior data for your sales team in the long term; because they don’t add the other company’s garbage (such as false records).

The downside, is that during a “trial” the company that is using gray-hat techniques will often seem to be a superior/easier to use solution.    So, be careful when conducting your trial and make sure that the vendors you look at are willing to sign a privacy policy that matches the ones you give to your prospects and customers.

How Does Marketing Automation Help Inbound Marketing?

How Marketing Automation Helps with Inbound MarketingOccasionally we run into customers that are fortunate enough to have way too much business. They’ve got more leads than they can handle. That sounds like a good problem to have, right? Well, what if there are so many leads that the organization has a hard time keeping up? This is a reality for some businesses. They fall behind as all of their leads are look-a-likes and some of them start falling through the cracks.

There are two solutions to this problem. First, make sense of the data and leads resulting from your inbound marketing. Second, use automation to transform the task of following up into an efficient, well oiled machine. In this post, we’ll focus on the first step, making sense of your inbound traffic and help you understand how does marketing automation help inbound marketing.

How Marketing Automation Helps with Inbound Marketing

There are three corner stones of making sense of your inbound marketing. We call these the “three Ps of inbound marketing”; profiling, prioritizing and pinging.

Profiling your Prospects

You’ve got to profile your prospects by building a clear picture of who they are and what they’ve done before coming into your lead funnel. Create a digital DNA of your prospects that combines demographics, online behavior and social information.

Prioritizing your Prospects

Prioritize your inbound marketing by automating the process of lead qualification. Most marketing automation systems use lead scoring and lead grading as two ways to prioritize website activity using any criteria. Marketing automation companies that get it right offer both automatic and manual lead scoring, for greater control. As inbound traffic comes in each of your prospect’s behavior is scored. The higher the score the hotter the lead. Lead grading helps you identify ideal buyers. These two pieces of criteria are then combined with other criteria, such as recency of activity, and placed on a hot lead dashboard, which simplifies the process of identifying who’s hot and who’s not.

Pinging you

You know your inbound marketing efforts are paying dividends when your prospects express key buying behavior. We call these Buy Signals at Lead Liaison. When a Buy Signal is triggered we alert you via text or email. If you’re buried in new leads its good to know when you need to follow up with the hot ones instead of treating everyone as equals.

Why is Marketing Automation so Popular?

Why is Marketing Automation so Popular?You may be wondering why is marketing automation so popular.  After all, you already have leads – why should you invest money into a product that may not work for you?  Simply put, adding marketing automation to your repertoire of business solutions will help you turn your leads into customers while growing your sales from your existing database. However, marketing automation can do much more.  Let’s explore why marketing automation is so popular and how you can leverage it to generate profits.

Building Better Relationships

With marketing automation, the customer experience is optimized and able to be measured throughout the entire experience.  You save money because you’re able to track each prospective customer’s activity from the first engagement through lead conversion, making adjustments to revenue whenever you see fit.  Instead of guessing what your leads are doing, or where they’re at in the process, marketing automation provides you with that information – as it happens – so you’re able to simplify your customer engagement.

As your company grows, it’s impossible to maintain 1:1 customer relationships.  This is even more of an issue when you take into account the high-tech world we’re living in.  No longer are customers just down the street or in the same town – you’re dealing with leads from different countries, time zones, and cultures.  Marketing automation assists you in managing your marketing program in a way that makes sense for you.   Automation software will streamline your approach and measure tasks and workflow so that you’re operating at top-efficiency.

Communicating Effectively

A common myth is that automation means the messages you’re sending to your leads are cold, impersonal and ineffective.  This is simply not the case.  Marketing automation means that you’re actually able to personalize your messages to your targeted audience.  You’ll be collecting individualized data on leads, thus strengthening your communications and adding personal touches to your campaigns.

Marketing automation isn’t spam, either.  You’re not blasting messages to a wide range of people.  Instead, you’re focusing on leads and looking at website patterns to get a clear picture of what they’re doing.  That way, you can focus on molding communications around personalized experiences.  You’re nailing down your leads and audience, while nurturing them and guiding them into your sales funnel.  In a world where leads are getting blasted with ads and communications, sometimes on an hourly basis, it’s imperative that your communications are personalized to stand out from the crowd.

Let us help you take the next step to marketing automation.  It will change the way you do business and how your leads and customers communicate with you!  Contact us so we can take a look at how marketing automation can revitalize your business today.

How to Choose a Marketing Automation Vendor

How to Choose a Marketing Automation VendorMaking an informed decision regarding your marketing automation vendor can be the turning point of lead management and execution for your small business. Many marketing automation platforms offer a host of similar features that move towards a common goal: capturing leads and creatively persuading them in your direction. With so many cloud-based solutions available, selecting one marketing automation tool over the others can certainly be a daunting task. There are many things to carefully consider when looking at how to choose a marketing automation vendor that will meet your needs best.

To start off, we’ll take a look at the top ten marketing automation platforms according to Capterra, a business software search-and-compare site:

  1. Eloqua
  2. Infusionsoft
  3. HubSpot
  4. Teradata
  5. Unica
  6. Marketo
  7. SimplyCast
  8. Silverpop
  9. Pardot
  10. Act-On

Capterra rated the above list on the premise of popularity, with metrics including number of customers, number of social media followers, and Google searches. But we know it’s not always just about the numbers—how do you choose a marketing automation vendor that is the best solution for your needs? This list only touches on much greater list of solutions, each one with their own strengths and weaknesses. Lead Liaison is another marketing automation platform that caters to small to mid-sized businesses with an flexible business model that rivals its competitors and boasts personalized and intimate support. Although they may not have 22K Twitter followers, their solutions might actually be a better fit, with all of the automation features the bigger platforms offer but with a more personalized feel. Getting used to a new system is never easy, and it’s important to consider the amount of time you’ll spend learning how to use the platform—does it seem intuitive from the beginning? Everyone interacts with interfaces in their own unique way. Don’t set yourself up for frustration. Make sure whichever platform you go with has a solid customer support reputation.

Each with their own unique solutions (such as the Streamer), the various marketing automation platforms are meant to cater to your business. All of the options must be weighed according to the purpose you want it to serve.

Outline your goals

When determining how to choose a marketing automation vendor, the first task is to outline your goals. Each company will have vastly different needs and an equally diverse set of prospects. The end goal is ultimately the same for companies big and small—to drive your prospects’ interactions with your brand. What numbers do you expect to hit after implementing the new system after six months, nine months, or one year? How many team members will you be able to allocate to managing this process? How much time per week will be spent gathering analytics or scheduling emails?

Select the most effective marketing tools

Each platform offers a variety of marketing tools that can draw prospects in. How you choose which marketing automation vendor will be best for your company depends on how your audience prefers to gather knowledge. Each industry is different—social media may be where many of your leads come from, or maybe the warmest leads are a result of diligent visitor tracking and lead nurturing. Determining the preferred route of communication is a crucial stepping stone to selecting the right marketing automation platform for your needs. Consider the following: email marketing, visitor tracking, lead nurturing, database segmentation, lead scoring, lead generation, analytics, social media, and content creation.

Find a solution that fits your budget

Finding a good fit can be like hiring another employee (who actually does the work of an entire team), and it’s important to choose a marketing automation vendor that you have carefully vetted. Pricing schemes may not be readily available to simply do all the research on your own. This is due to the endless possibilities and a la carte options you can select from to create a plan that matches the needs of your business. Select a few marketing automation platforms that highlight the marketing tools your audience responds to, then read reviews and references to gauge their customer service and overall quality of product. Last step: request a demo. It’s free and you’ve got nothing to lose.

Marketing Automation: Where Do I Begin?

Marketing Automation:  Where Do I Begin?Delivering the appropriate message to engage leads and customers is the biggest challenge for many marketing companies.  Marketing automation provides you with ways to generate leads and reach a broad audience.  But for those with little to no experience in Marketing Automation, it can be a harrowing journey to begin.

Understanding The Multiple Stages of Marketing Automation

If you’re asking yourself – “Marketing automation – where do I begin?” understand that marketing automation really begins with the right message at the right time, for the right audience.  Streamlining sales by delivering engaging content and advertisements targeted to your audience is the key for any successful marketing strategy.  Since marketing automation will always rely on adjustments based on how your communication strategy evolves, it’s essential that marketing professionals learn how to do this themselves, instead of relying on an IT team.

The second crucial step in marketing automation is creating lead stages.  Lead stages help you identify where your leads are in the process and how long before you can expect them to move on to the next stage.  On average, it takes a lead three times to research a purchase online before moving on to a salesperson.  Lead stages include the following:

  • Lead Stage 1:  This stage helps you find those leads that have just begun the process.  They have no identified timeline and have just started their search for solutions or products.
  • Lead Stage 2:  This second stage is a potential customer who knows exactly what he needs and wants but isn’t able to make a purchase yet.  These leads have ideas but are looking for approval from their team before moving forward.
  • Lead Stage 3:  Leads in Stage 3 are the best leads to offer demonstrations to.  Leads often have a short list of products in mind for their solution and many have already decided on which they prefer, even without a demonstration or sample.  Stage 3 is imperative for making the lead sees why they should set up a meeting with you, as opposed to your competitors.

Bringing it All Together

Making sure that content is personalized instead of generic will make your marketing automation a success.  Delivering messages that focus on your potential customer’s wants, needs, and interests while avoiding the harsh hard-sell approach is what you want.

Marketing automation makes this whole process much easier.  It will give you better insight into what your leads are doing, including content they are viewing and downloading; how they respond to emails, and where they are in sales process.  Each step of the way, you’re able to monitor and measure your marketing automation system, making incremental adjustments to ensure success.

Understanding Marketing Automation and Knowing Where to Begin

If you’re feeling lost in the process, don’t hesitate to chat with a Lead Liaison rep today! We know how and where to get you started and would love to take your business to the next level.

Donor-Member Automation – Creating Lasting Relationships

Donor-Member AutomationAlways Add Value.  Always say Thank you.

These are two messages that we are taught throughout life.

Most non-profits want to meet these simple expectations, but time and limited resources often make it challenging to do so.  It’s always easy to make time for the million dollar donor if you are lucky enough to have them.  However it’s much harder to put the same kind of effort into the $50-100 donors that are the life-blood of many non-profits.

Worse yet, these small donors often lack a sense of community with the charities they support.  Thus, in future years when donors are tightening their finances… it’s very easy not to provide gifts that were distributed in previous years.

Member-donor automation is a blessing for the non-profit world.  A well-organized donor processing system can save your organization untold dollars while also creating a path of value and inclusion to your donor-members community.

The process is simple:

  • Build an on-going individual profiles of each donor-member based on demographics and behaviors
  • Customize messaging that can be set out to individuals that care about a specific topic
  • Share a sense of “thanks” for their involvement with your charity & provide a deep understanding of the value which their involvement has had in your mission.  Not just when it’s time to ask for donations; but throughout the life cycle of the donor member.

The advantages of having a donor-member process range from organization to organization, but almost always include:

  • Freeing up internal staff resources
  • Increasing the base of the donor-member community; and average gift size
  • More passionate donor-members that will evangelize and grow the mission of the organization

The concept of donor-member automation process is relatively new; but something that all progressive non-profits should investigate as a way to better support their mission and the involvement of their community.   If you would like a free assessment of how a donor-member automation process might help your organization please contact us with attention to our non-profit group and we would be happy to share our experience with you. Feel free to also reference our section and support for nonprofits.