In part one of this series, we highlighted the importance of first-party data and how your website, events, and content strategies can all support driving leads. Once you have your destination and content strategies in place, it’s important to consider how you will drive people there. In part two of this series, we break down how social media, contests and sweepstakes, paid media, direct mail, and telemarketing can support your lead generation programs.
Lead generation with social media
Social media platforms provide numerous opportunities for driving leads, whether you’re capturing a user’s information in-platform or on a website. Regardless of how you’re using social media to convert leads, it’s an important promotional tactic to include in your strategic plan.
Key considerations for using social media to generate leads:
Consider your target audience. Understanding the type of contacts you’re hoping to generate will impact your approach to using social media. If you’re going after a new or highly targeted audience, you will likely want to prioritize social media advertising to help you reach those prospects. If you’re trying to generate leads from contacts your employees engage with, then employee advocacy tactics may be a pillar of your campaign strategy.
Determine the best channel to reach your audience. Once you define the audience, home in on the appropriate channel(s) based on targeting capabilities and platform adoption in that industry. Having this understanding will help you determine where to best allocate your budget and prioritize your efforts for advertising. It will also identify platform features to take advantage of. For example, if LinkedIn is a pillar of your promotional strategy, it may be worth spending time optimizing your company’s LinkedIn Product Pages as part of your social media execution. If you’re unsure where to start, don’t be afraid to test channels and targeting tactics. Then optimize to the channel and audiences that are driving the best results.
Consider the ad types and creatives that will drive the highest results. Typically, we recommend using in-platform lead gen ads; we’ve seen them drive the highest conversion rates and lowest cost per lead (CPL) from social media. If you’re new to using social platforms as lead-driving tactics, we recommend testing between ads that drive people to convert in-platform and those that drive to your website. This will help you discover what drives the best results. Regardless of where the point of conversion happens, consider whether you want to deliver a broader message in-feed or a personalized message in the direct message area of each platform. Thinking through the campaign flow and user experience can help you determine which messages are best suited for each. As with all advertising efforts, we recommend continuously monitoring performance and optimizing to the best performing ad types.
Lead generation with paid media
It’s important to be in front of your audience regardless of the channel they are on. That’s why, in addition to social media ads, we recommend other paid media tactics for capturing a new lead.
Don’t set it and forget it!
Key considerations for utilizing paid media to collect leads:
Start with multiple tactics and optimize. Depending on budget, you may only be able to employ one tactic. But how do you know if that one placement is going to drive the best result? Start with a healthy media mix — display/programmatic, paid search, and paid newsletters with trade pubs are all good places to start. From there, optimize! One of the great benefits of digital advertising is the ability to learn from the results in real time. Compare each tactic’s performance and determine which placements are producing the best results. If your paid search ads are generating the lowest CPL (and that’s your KPI), then shift more budget to that tactic. You can optimize between platforms. You can also optimize each campaign by adjusting targeting to refine geographies, audiences, device bids, the time of day your ads are shown, and more. There are so many options to optimize. Don’t set it and forget it!
Test creative and offers. It helps to know your audience. Will they bite on a gated content piece or are they looking for an offer? Make sure you have the right lead magnet. Additionally, you should always test creative. What might work for one tactic may not for another. If a campaign is going to run for multiple months, make sure to plan for creative updates so users don’t experience ad fatigue.
Lead generation through contests and sweepstakes
In addition to building brand engagement and loyalty, contests and sweepstakes are great ways to generate leads. If you’re using these types of programs to help drive leads, there are some unique aspects to factor in.
Key considerations for leveraging contests and sweepstakes to drive leads:
Collaborate with legal on your rules. Unlike other lead-driving tactics, contests and sweepstakes need to have their own set of rules that clearly outline how the program is going to be administered. This includes things like eligibility, how to enter, how the winner(s) will be selected and notified, and how the submissions will be used. Collaborate with your legal team to ensure your rules meet standard requirements so you don’t get into hot water later.
Balance the prize value with the effort to enter. In a contest or sweepstakes program, you want to ensure that the value of the prize(s) you’re giving away aligns with the effort it takes to enter. For example, if you’re just asking someone to fill out a short form, a lesser-value prize may be motivation enough. If you’re asking someone to submit photos and a testimonial of their experience with your product or service, a prize with a higher value would be more appropriate.
Use contests and sweepstakes to help qualify leads. Unlike other lead-driving tactics where prospects may be downloading a piece of content, attending a webinar or tradeshow, or signing up for your newsletter, people entering contests and sweepstakes are likely doing so just for the chance to win something. To help further qualify leads, consider an in-depth entry (and a prize of equal value or one that is applicable to your target audience) such as submitting a testimonial and photos. These types of submissions will help you learn a lot about a person and any experience they have with your brand.
Lead generation through direct mail
Although we often focus on digital tactics when it comes to marketing, direct mail still has its place to help you get in front of target customers. It can be used to help drive qualified leads and can also be a great way to stand out from the competition — especially when the digital space is crowded with competitive messaging.
Key considerations for using direct mail in your lead generation strategy:
Follow best practices when using mailing lists. In a world where data privacy is top of mind and more regulations are being passed to help protect peoples’ personal information, make sure that the mailing list you’re using was obtained lawfully. For example, if a consumer has added their name to the Direct Marketing Association’s “Do Not Mail List,” don’t send them direct mail.
Develop a standout deliverable. When leveraging direct mail as a tactic, it’s important to produce something that will get your recipients’ attention and drive them to take action. Consider providing an offer that’s only available through your direct mail program. It can help entice someone to take action. We recommend setting aside a portion of your campaign budget to brainstorm direct mail deliverables and offers that would make your company’s communications stand out. This is in addition to the cost of actually producing and mailing that package.
Ensure there is a clear call-to-action. Unlike digital tactics where you can measure and retarget people who have seen or engaged with your content, direct mail engagement isn’t trackable. You won’t know who takes the time to look at and engage with your communication. It’s important to have a clear CTA so that people who receive this mail piece know what action to take if they’re interested in learning more. If you’re driving them to a landing page to engage further, use a unique, trackable vanity URL and/or QR code so you can measure engagement and tactical success.
Generating and qualifying leads through telemarketing
While telemarketing may be considered a more traditional tactic, one key benefit is the conversation that a representative can have with a prospect. These conversations can help qualify a lead more quickly for sales to follow up on.
Key considerations for leveraging telemarketing to drive leads:
Confirm your contact list. When employing telemarketing, make sure you’re working from an accurate contact list with information that was properly collected.
Train your representatives. Oftentimes, telemarketers are trained enough to help generate and qualify leads, but won’t be as knowledgeable as your marketing and sales teams. For any telemarketing program, develop a script and train the representatives on your audience, program goals, and key company and product value propositions.
Reporting on your lead generation campaign’s success
As you know, it’s important to have a measurement plan as part of your campaign strategy. That way, you’re able to report back on things like the number of leads, conversion rates, MQLs vs. SQLs, and sales. When considering a variety of promotional tactics, ensure that appropriate tracking is set up on your website and within your ad management platforms. Doing so will enable you to measure performance and engagement across tactics.