A popular marketing strategy quote by Joe Chernov, VP of Marketing at Insightsquared, says, “Good marketing makes the company look smart, while great marketing makes the customer feel smart.” It is a core duty of every business to make the customer “feel smart” for choosing their products. Marketing strategies continue to evolve by the day. The global digital transformation has ushered a new era as far as reaching out to customers is concerned. Below we will expound some of the most effective strategies that you can employ in your business.
What Is Lead Generation?
Lead generation refers to the process of identifying potential customers and getting them interested in your products. Lead generation blends with inbound marketing, whereby you attract prospective buyers to your product. We’ll elaborate more on inbound marketing later on in this article.
How do you identify potential customers, as stated above? One of the most effective strategies is through SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which will be explained in detail a bit later. Research shows that up to 85% of online interactions originate from a search engine. Begin by determining what words or phrases your prospective clients are likely to be using on the search engines.
Let’s say that you’re selling vegetarian supplements. Your target clients here are vegetarians and those considering a vegetarian lifestyle. What kind of information are they likely to be searching for? You can carry out an online keyword search on your niche. You will come across phrases like vegetarian recipes, vegetarian stores, vegetarian restaurants, benefits of a vegetarian diet, and so on. Include these keywords in your content, create valuable content, continuously add info specifically targeting the answers to questions customers have, and get your content out via social to drive backlinks from relevant related websites. Your page will start to appear among the top on the search results, leading traffic to your site. Make sure you upload factual and informative content regularly to ensure your site becomes the in your space leader in E-A-T (expertise, authoritative, and trustworthy). Quality content makes a great first impression, identifying you as a clear expert in your niche.
Once you have managed to get visitors to your platform and provided them with enlightening information, you can now present them with a call-to-action (CTA). Here you invite them to interact with your products in one way or the other. They can click on the product link for full details, fill in a questionnaire detailing what they’re looking for, sign up for a free trial, or simply contact you with their queries.
The call-to-action stage also gets visitors to provide you with their personal details so you can create a contact list. This list consists of your leads, which you must then work hard and smart to convert to customers. Some will buy your products right away. Others will take time before they’re ready to buy. Either way, you must develop effective strategies to reach out to them consistently with relevant information and more details about your products. Do note that we’re not talking of those annoying cold calls or spam emails from the blues, which are often ignored. Here you’re dealing with people that have already expressed interest in your niche and would thus be attentive to related information. With this process, you’ll not only acquire clients but also retain them. With a significant loyal client base following your brand, you can say you’re truly in business.
B2C and B2B Lead Generation
B2C stands for Business to Consumer while B2B denotes Business to Business lead generation. We’ve already discussed what lead generation generally entails. Here, we’ll look at these two types of lead generation strategies.
B2C marketing is the most common form of business interaction, where businesses reach out to consumers and seek to sell them their products. Most of the B2C lead generation tools have been expounded elsewhere in this article. Here we’ll mention them in brief. They include email marketing, content marketing, SEO, SMS marketing, and social media marketing.
B2B marketing is not that different from its B2C counterpart. Some marketers may argue that B2C transactions are emotion-based while B2B sales are logic-based. However, this is not always the case. Although you’re transacting with another business, you will still engage in person-to-person interactions at the end of the day: the soft skills always count. That said, the B2C lead generation strategies above also apply in B2B. Combine these strategies with outbound marketing strategies such as TV commercials, radio ads, print media ads, and so on. It is crucial to note that B2B lead generation cycles are much longer, and the expense of acquiring a client is also higher. That said, these two are highly effective strategies under the right circumstances.
Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing
Inbound marketing involves pulling potential customers into your brand instead of outbound marketing, which focuses on getting the message out to the general audience. Inbound marketing seeks to attract the target audience and establish a working relationship with them. How do you catch the attention of your prospective clients? The first step is to define your target market. Define them by age, lifestyle, location, demographics, and so on. Learn as much as you can about them. What sort of information would they be interested in? It could be information on how your product will impact their lives, guides on how to use the products, client testimonials, or updates on your industry’s developments.
Create engaging and enlightening blog articles, social media posts, videos, targeted emails, or even live events with this information. Ensure that you optimize content to increase your visibility on the search engines. Engage your audience actively to show them the value of your product. Here you’re seeking to make a sale and establish a lasting relationship to build customer loyalty.
In outbound marketing, the client initiates the conversation using the traditional modes of advertising such as print media, radio ads, TV commercials, spam emails, cold calls, etc. The message is sent out to thousands of people, believing that a section of them will be interested in your products. On the downside, people often ignore such adverts, block ‘cold’ calls, delete spam emails, unsubscribe from the mailing list, and so on. There’s no guarantee that they’ll give attention to your information.
You should opt for inbound marketing for generic products that do not need much consideration, such as food products. Outbound marketing also works when the product already has a loyal following, and the sole aim of marketing is to increase brand awareness. Ultimately, these marketing methods can be effective strategies depending on your market and product.
Evolution of Marketing Through Digital Transformation
The digital transformation of the 21st century has had a significant effect on various sectors, and marketing is no exception. The escalation of digital technology and the internet has revolutionized the strategies that companies use to reach out to the market. Here we look at two significant areas that have been affected by the digital shift: data and interactions.
You may have heard the phrase, “Data is king,” but have never understood what it meant. It refers to the importance of precise numbers in every stage of the business. As it is popularly known, numbers don’t lie. The ability of digital marketing channels to keep track of the numbers is their most significant advantage. Previously, when companies only used outbound marketing tools, there was no way of checking the advert’s impact. Once you place an ad on TV, radio, or print media, there was no way of knowing how the market interacted with the information or how many people even saw the advert? Did it influence their purchasing decisions? What portion of sales can be directly attributed to the advert? There wasn’t a clear way of answering these questions. Without adequate data, the marketers were flying blind. Companies pumped money into marketing and simply hoped for the best. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it did not. Businesses were often left counting losses.
The analytics brought about by digital transformation is a game-changer. The precise data generated on every advert facilitates the marketer’s decision making process and outcomes. For instance, if you place a video on Facebook, you can tell the number of people who watched it. You’ll also be notified if they took further action, such as proceeding to your website for more information on your products. You can even have the data analyzed further to indicate the demographic of the people who viewed your video. Such information will help you tailor-make your marketing campaigns for the target market and ultimately increase their efficiency.
Business to customer (B2C) interaction has also been elevated to a whole new level. Now potential customers can interact with you in real-time and present their queries, concerns, ideas, testimonials, etc. A client halfway across the globe can contact the company at a mere click of a button. Such interactions will help the company realize precisely what the market is looking for and develop an effective strategy.
Customer Acquisition Strategies
Customer acquisition refers to the process of sourcing new clients for your business. There are several customer acquisition strategies that you can use depending on your target market. You don’t have to focus on one channel; you can use a combination of them to increase your chances of earning conversations. The most effective strategies include:
1. Content Marketing
Here you provide valuable and engaging information related to your industry. Once people know they can rely on you for factual information, you’ll already have a head start converting them to paying clients. Make sure your articles are search engine optimized, using necessary and relevant keywords. Whenever users search for these particular keywords, your site will rank quite high in the search results, leading traffic to your website, and some of the visitors becoming your customers.
2. Email Marketing
Here we’re talking of targeted emails as opposed to spam mail. But how do you obtain their email addresses in the first place? By encouraging potential customers to subscribe to your email list, meaning that the people who end up on this list are privy to what your company is about and is, therefore, a potential customer. Use email marketing for updates. Keep sharing relevant information, and in time, they’ll be buying more of your products.
3. Social Media Marketing
This type of marketing is arguably one of the most effective strategies in customer acquisition. The popularity of social media platforms has grown exponentially in the past decade. Social media marketing is no longer a casual affair. You’ll need to develop an effective operational strategy to make your presence felt on popular sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and so on. A 2019 survey indicated that 7 out of 10 adults in the developing world use social media daily. The smooth interaction facilitated between businesses, and their potential clients make it invaluable to acquire new clients.
4. Free Samples
People are generally fascinated by free things. If you’re offering a service, consider offering a free trial. Those interested should sign up first, and you can use the information provided to create a contact list. If you have tangible products, you can offer a few pieces of free samples. Let people compete for the free goodies by doing something that exposes the brand to more people. You can put a condition like sharing the post in five groups, tagging four people in a post, inviting people to like a shared post, etc.
Remember, the market is dynamic. The customer acquisition strategies that work today may not be so effective in a couple of years. For instance, there’s a surge in influencer advertising, which involves using people with a massive online following (celebrities, TV personalities, sportsmen, and women) to push your brand. There’s no telling for sure which trend will come up next. The goal is to stay updated and keep revising your customer acquisition strategies.
Many businesses have taken a hit during the COVID 19 pandemic. Many of the previously established operational strategies have been disrupted, and many companies are returning to their drawing boards to craft a new business strategy. The above plans should come in handy during these precarious times. Remember, you don’t have to do it all by yourself. You can get in touch with an operations consulting expert to help you bring a fresh dimension that will help you survive and thrive in your industry, even during the present calamity.