Growing your in-house database should be at the top of every marketer’s list. Why? Done right, it will keep your most qualified and responsive prospects. Although growing organic listings may take time and effort, you will definitely see a high return on your investment.
Consider the following strategies to acquire new leads and grow your list successfully.
1. Who are your ideal leads and how do you reach them? Create a profile for your best customers. This should include things like age, gender, hobbies, job function, how they shop (online or in-store), where they shop, what they read, websites they visit, etc.
2. Analyze your competition. Take some time to find out what your competitors are doing to generate leads. If they have an e-newsletter, be sure to sign up to receive it. This will help you find out what kind of promotion they are running, any marketing alliances they have formed and how they are positioning their product or service. Then take some time to find out what websites and/or magazines they are advertising on, whether they are running PPC campaigns and if so what keywords they are using, etc. Most of this can be accomplished with a simple web search.
3. Reach your best customers. Once you’ve created your customer profile(s) and completed your competitive analysis, you’re ready to create your lead generation strategy. Your strategy may include initiatives such as: banner ads on websites visited by your target audience, PPC campaigns using relevant keywords, direct mail or email campaigns to opt-in lists of magazine subscribers, etc. You may also contact other product or service providers as co-promotion or mutually beneficial partners. If you have the time to dedicate to creating editorial content, two other great lead generation and PR strategies are starting a blog or an e-newsletter.
4. Everything you offer! You must create an attractive offer that will entice recipients to willingly give their information in exchange for something. Your offer should be something of great interest to your target audience. For example, you could send an email identifying your company to a magazine subscriber opt-in list that you believe your target audience reads. By including a free downloadable document such as an industry salary guide, a list of the hottest bars in town, or a best practices white paper, you’ll be able to capture contact and demographic information for many recipients. Another approach is to ask them to answer a few short questions in exchange for movie tickets or some other premium. Once you’ve captured their information and they’ve opted-in to your database, you’ll be able to continue communicating with that lead on an ongoing basis.
5. Create a landing page. It is crucial to guide the recipient of the campaign through the entire process. By creating a landing page on your website that reflects your promotional message/offer from both a design and copy perspective, you encourage the recipient to fill out and complete the form. Also, you should give your prospects the option to call you if they don’t feel comfortable filling out the form.
6. Use a lead capture form. Your landing page can either link to a lead capture form or you can embed the form on the landing page itself.
A Since your prospects are more likely to fill out a short form than to fill out a long and drawn out questionnaire, limit the amount of information you ask them to provide in exchange for a premium. In addition to the basic name and email address, consider including one or two other demographic questions. These questions should be well thought out to provide information that you can leverage for future campaigns.
b. In addition to demographic questions, your form should include a check box to give people the option to opt-in to receive information about your company and future promotions. According to the CAN-SPAM Act, it is illegal to send people commercial marketing emails unless they clearly say they want to receive emails from you in the future.
c. If you don’t currently have a way to capture leads, an easy way to do it is to sign up for a web-based email marketing software. All of them will provide you with both a lead capture form and a database to keep the acquired leads. They all give you the ability to download your list, so you can upload new leads to your main database. Some are quite cheap with monthly costs as low as $19.99.
7. Track your efforts. If you track your lead generation efforts, you’ll be able to identify which initiatives are working best and focus more of your energy on them. You may decide that others are not worth your time. Simple ways to track your initiative are:
Web Analytics: Sign up for a free Google Analytics account. This will enable you to track how many people are visiting each page of your site and which campaign they are coming from.
b. In your lead capture form, include a question to ask people with a drop down menu where customers can select from a list of your current marketing initiatives.
c. Landing Page: Make sure you have a separate landing page for each marketing initiative. Each email, banner and PPC ad should have its own landing page so you can track page visits to these dedicated pages through your analytics account. d Dedicated 800 numbers: There are services that will provide you with a range of 800 numbers that redirect to your main phone number. Including a dedicated 800 number on each landing page will enable you to associate each call with a specific campaign.
Remember, even if your best customers are targeted correctly, your campaign will only be successful if you get them to act on your offer and opt-in to your database. Be sure to spend enough time crafting your message and offering it to the people who will receive your campaign.