Previously deemed one of the more ‘murky’ digital marketing disciplines, online lead generation (OLG) has matured considerably in recent years. Peter Gowrie-Smith, Founder & Managing Director, the Magnetise Group, offers a guide to getting the most out of generating sales leads on the web.
As the market once again turns its focus to investing in generating leads, prospective customers and ultimately sales, these top tips will help you get the right programme in place to maximise conversion and opportunities for growth:
Don’t limit the demographic
The classic OLG demographic was low income and low value, and, considering most leads were generated by appearing to offer ‘something for nothing’, this isn’t too surprising. Today however, solution providers understand the need to tap into a broader base of potential targets. Using a range of techniques including editorial partnerships, integrating lead generation into display advertising and fully infiltrating all of the on and offline channels available, OLG can now reach any audience segment.
Respect the data – and the rules!
Data you collect is personal information provided by a real person – so collect, store and use it safely and respectfully. But beware the increasing regulation and red tape being put in place as the digital marketing opportunity evolves. With everyone from the Advertising Standards Authority, Direct Marketing Association, Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, Information Commissioners Office and Office of Fair Trading to the Committee of Advertising Practice itself staking a claim in this area, you’d be wise to make sure you can tick their boxes, before asking potential customers to tick yours!
Interact & engage, don’t interrupt
OLG is no longer about too-good-to-be-true messaging, flashing graphics or spurious claims. Put yourself in the mindset of your audience for a moment. Would you prefer to be blocked or delayed from completing an action online while someone shouts out their key messages and shows you the unbelievable value of their latest website, widget or whatnot, or would you rather receive something that is both useful and valuable? OLG is increasingly encroaching on and blending into pure digital engagement and can provide personalised responses such as location-based information, special offers and access to social web communities as an integral part of the lead generation process.
Make it easy for everyone – including you!
Real-time tools now enable proper verification and validation during the prospect’s data entry process, making mistakes and dead leads a thing of the past. Data fields such as postcodes, mobile numbers and email domains can and should now be verified on the fly, as the field is being filled out and before the person clicks away. This eliminates the vast majority of errors, improving both the user experience and the quality of the resultant data itself. At an early stage in your planning process, consider the DNA of your ideal lead so that you can put proper qualifying questions in place. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen brilliantly creative campaigns miss their ultimate target or achieve shoddy ROI due to the fact that a generic qualifier has been used instead of one that immediately sorts the wheat from the chafe.
Follow it through to conversion
Never (ever!) run an OLG campaign without thinking of the next phases of fulfilment and conversion into customer. Whether the leads you collect will be routed into your direct marketing division, call centre or an outside agency, consider and map out everything from the route the data takes and the speed of the transfer, through to the type of interaction the prospect will experience in advance. The phrase “you’re only as strong as your weakest link”