By now, most of us have abandoned our New Year’s resolutions. (Who said giving up chocolate was a good idea again?) But what about your 2019 business resolutions? If attracting and converting more leads was on the list, we’ve got some lead generation ideas you can use to get you started. As a digital agency, we’re constantly looking for ways to help our clients attract new prospects and nurture them along every stage of the inbound marketing buyer’s journey. Below you’ll find some ways to attract new leads, keep them engaged, and build trust in your brand.
By now we’re all familiar with the tiny “ad” icon that often appears next to the top results in a Google or Bing search. These search marketing ads allow you, the advertiser, to bid for placement on the search results page when someone searches for a keyword related to your business. This can be an effective way to reach people who want to know more about particular product or service you offer, and it’s a great lead generation tool when you consider 75 percent of users never look past the first page of search results.
Google Ads and the Google Display Network for display ads are popular options for digital advertising, so what’s fresh about this tried-and-true lead generation idea? Google launched a new and improved Ads user interface, making it more customizable and a lot better to look at. Improved reporting and graphs, better conversion tracking, and more options for experimenting with ad variation are just a few of the improvements made late last year. For e-commerce businesses, the improved Shopping tools and options promise to be especially helpful.
On Google’s Display Network, some new features were introduced late last year to help users maximize their budget and find more promising leads. A new tool called dynamic prospecting shows relevant products to shoppers based on their past interactions across Google and other publisher sites. Similar to product retargeting where users can be served an ad featuring the same product they were just looking at on your brand’s site, dynamic prospecting shows users the products from your brand that are most relevant to them, based on their past actions, even if they’ve never been to your site. The process is meant to keep ads relevant to users “through machine learning,” Google says, making this one of the most exciting improvement to Google’s lead generation tools this year.
Solve a problem on video
According to HubSpot, video is the most popular form of online content, with 50 percent of consumers saying they prefer watching to reading or listening. It’s estimated that 80 percent of internet traffic will be video in 2019, and more important, 90 percent of consumers say video helps them make buying decisions. If you weren’t sold on the value of video in 2018, it’s time to take another look at the potential video can bring your company in 2019.
There are a number of lead generation ideas you can work into your videos, remembering that the videos should provide valuable information and show off your company’s know-how. Here are some different ways to do it.
- Demo video: This kind of video shows customers how to use a product and useful tips for getting the most out of their purchase. For service-based companies, it can demonstrate what a specific service entails and important questions to ask, whether it’s a furnace repair or a deep-tissue massage.
- Unboxing video: It may sound simple, but this kind of video shows buyers what they get when they open your product.
- How-to video: Whether it’s learning how to cook or how to change a fuse, how-to videos are helping millions of people solve problems every day. Find a product feature that’s always tripping up your customers or a simple trick people across your industry use and walk them through the solution. Being able to help customers accomplish tasks will give them confidence in your brand.
- Educational video: This teaches customers useful information they can use to improve their business or performance at work. HubSpot nails this with their HubSpot Academy videos, but there are many ways a company can offer a similar, more scaled-down benefit.
- Customer testimonial: If you have a few all-star customers who have served as brand representatives, like writing a positive review or recommendation, ask them to do a testimonial video speaking about their experiences. It’s like word-of-mouth you can share on your website, social media channels, and in emails.
Use safe language
Last year, the California Consumer Privacy Act was enacted, prompting many companies to review their privacy protocols. Stories in the media about stolen user data, or even the recent news from Facebook about sharing information with third parties, have left some wary of giving their email, phone number, and address to just any old site.
Safe language, in marketing terms, refers to language that reassures customers. When asking a customer to give you their email for a promotion or free download, tell them that their email address will never be sold to third parties. If you are an online retailer, let consumers know their information is safe and secure.
Consumers have a growing awareness of how their information is being used online and are taking steps to safeguard it. Using safe language builds trust and shows leads you take this issue seriously.
Online quizzes are a popular way to test your personality type or see which TV character you’re most like, but have you ever thought about using an online quiz to learn more about your customers and buyer personas? Pose a challenge to users, asking them to test their knowledge about a popular product you sell. Asking people their opinions is also a great lead generation tool. A survey of customers or industry insiders could tell you a lot about how your products and services are perceived. At the end of these surveys and quizzes, be sure to ask them to sign up for an e-newsletter with tips, early announcements about product updates, or other information they will find valuable and keeps them connected to your company.
When crafting the quiz, remember people will be more likely to take it if there is the promise of a benefit at the end, such as the chance to win free stuff, a coupon or discount, or free piece of content they are likely to use. Be honest about your marketing strategy. If the plan is to email the quiz taker her results and follow up in a week with another email, say so. The last thing you want is to give potential leads the impression that the quiz was just a trick and will get them nothing but endless spam or a flurry of calls from your sales reps.
How many blog posts or white papers have you read promising to solve all your marketing problems only to realize it’s glorified clickbait? Why not draw high-quality leads to your site by providing a deep dive on a topic customers often ask about. This could be in the form of an Ebook offer about a popular type of software you sell, or an in-depth guide to a topic your customers often ask about. For example, if your company sells heating and cooling systems, offer a comprehensive guide to energy efficiency in the home, featuring your most efficient heating and cooling options.
Taking a deep dive into a subject, even one your company knows well, can be time consuming. Discuss the idea with people throughout your company, including sales, customer service, and behind-the-scenes departments like accounting to make sure you’re picking a topic that will provide valuable content to potential leads.
Chat with Bots
You might not yet be convinced that chatbots are the future, but the rapid adoption of this tool indicates they are here to stay for a while. One way to look at chatbots is how valuable they can be to your business in terms of capturing and ultimately converting leads. How long does it take your company to respond to a question sent in through your website, via email, or social media? If it’s more than a few hours, you could be missing out on promising leads. Seventy-two percent of customers expect brands to reply within the hour on social media.
Adding requirements to be more responsive means more work for the employees handling customer service. Unless your company is prepared to offer 24-7 live support online, chatbots can be a game changing lead generation tool. Think of a chatbot like a receptionist. It greets customers when they arrive on your site. It’s there to answer questions, take information, and pass it on to real people who can reach out directly.
Chatbot software is ever evolving, capable of having more realistic conversations and getting key information from site visitors. Programming a chatbot to respond to frequently asked questions lets your customer service representatives work on more complicated customer requests. They also help your business better qualify leads. Asking questions like what kind of product they are looking for, if they are in charge of purchasing for their company, or if they are just gathering information or thinking of buying, helps the sales team give those future customers the best information possible and provide a better experience. Chatbots also show that being responsive, even at 2 a.m., is part of your brand.
One area you might be interested in dipping your toes into the chatbot waters is on Facebook Messenger, which offers chatbot capabilities through its business pages. In 2018, more than 300,000 chatbots were in use on Facebook Messenger, and more businesses are expected to use the service in 2019. Prompting customers on your website and other channels to contact you via Facebook Messenger with questions and concerns anytime will provide them with more a responsive and less frustrating interaction.
The New Year is always a good time to take stock of where your business will be heading and review what worked, and didn’t, in the past year. Adopting a few new lead generation ideas that work well with your business will help sustain your brand in 2019 and beyond.