Targeted Lead Generation

Posted by Todd Hockenberry on Sep 3, 2013 7:30:00 AM

targeted lead generationIn July of 2012 we began working with a company that designs and manufactures custom fiberglass pipe, large diameter fiberglass ductwork, fiberglass tanks, fiberglass vessels, other equipment and services relating to fiberglass products. This company is a subsidiary of a larger parent company, and for a number of years was content to supply cooling tower components for the parent company's projects. We began working with them because they felt it was time to branch out and had turned to HubSpot and inbound marketing to help them reach new markets.

Like a lot of manufacturing companies, many of the companies within their industry were using very high level, general keywords. Our client, like their competition, was targeting keywords like fiberglass pipe and fiberglass tanks. As you can imagine, the competition for these keywords was fierce, but also broad. If you searched for fiberglass tanks it would return everything from huge industrial tanks to small tanks for animals.

This is something that a lot of the clients we've worked with have seen. Every company has some high level keywords that are pretty standard across their industry. There is nothing wrong with these keywords, and there is nothing inherently wrong with the leads they bring in. But as you can imagine, a lead that comes to a site looking for a fiberglass animal tank isn't much interested in an industrial fiberglass tank for chlorine storage.

The goal, then, is to generate specifically targeted leads.

1. Identify your wheelhouse

The first step in targeted lead generation is to figure out what it is that makes your different. What do you do that your competition doesn't? What do you do better? What makes your clients choose you?

Our fiberglass client, for example, identified their ability to create targeted industrial solutions as one of their strongest points. The fact that they could create very specific, tailored fiberglass solutions made them stand out from their competition.

You need to identify why your clients are your clients, what makes you stand out, because if you can—then you can move onto step two.

2. Generate long tail keywords

Once you know what makes you stand out, you can start creating long tail keywords targeted at leads who need what you offer.

We created keywords for our client like:
large diameter fiberglass pipe for waste water
fiberglass storage tanks for HCL storage

The number of people searching for these keywords is, admittedly, low. On the other hand, if you search for a large diameter fiberglass pipe for waste water then you want what our client offers, not a fiberglass tank for your hamster.

3. Create highly targeted content

Step three is creating content focused on those highly targeted keywords. For our fiberglass manufacturing client, we created a number of pieces of content focused very narrowly on a variety of vertical industries and custom solutions. This meant downloads and blog posts that addressed a narrow set of concerns. For example, the long tail keyword fiberglass storage tanks for HCL storage spawned a download and multiple blog posts about specific clients the company had worked with who needed HCL storage tanks. We also created some posts about HCL, its properties, and challenges associated with storing, hauling, and manufacturing.

These pieces of content did a couple of things for our client. First, this content attracted the leads we were specifically targeting. The leads that converted on landing pages for HCL storage tanks were actually looking for information about HCL storage tanks — no more lost pet store searches! Second, these pieces of content really helped to build our client's credibility. The content we were helping our client create was highly specialized and, a lot of the time, technical. Content like that really resonates with the target buyers in this industry and generated high quality leads.

4. Fill in the blanks

All of the work you've done to get through steps one through three isn't going to get you very far if you neglect all the other aspects of inbound marketing. So step four is doing all of the other bits that make an inbound marketing strategy work.

Without getting into too much detail, that means creating conversion opportunities, landing pages, maintain and engaging in social media, lead nurturing, the works. You're only going to be able to engage in targeted lead generation if you have the internal resources and structure to support it.

Inbound marketing finally gives industrial marketers the tools to target specific targets that match their ideal customer persona.  We can stop casting a wide net and hoping to catch a few fish and focus on finding and attracting the right prospects.


 

 

About the Author: Todd Hockenberry is the founder of Top Line Results, an inbound marketing agency that specializes in leading top line revenue growth at small and medium-sized companies with a focus on manufacturing, technology and capital equipment.

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Topics: lead generation, inbound marketing, Top Line Results

Building A Lead Generation System For Your Sales Team

Posted by Rick Kranz on Aug 12, 2013 7:22:00 AM

lead generation systemI think it is important to understand the difference between the time we spend generating leads, versus the time we could spend building a lead generation system. The difference is similar to working in your business versus working on your business.

As a business owner, I have always been fascinated by systems. To me these are the components of what makes a successful business. The better your systems, the easier it will be to deliver your product/service and grow your business. Bottom line: better systems equals better profits.

Most business owners understand this, and are great at applying this principle to developing manufacturing systems, delivery systems, and accounting systems. But more often than not, they fall short when it comes to applying this to their sales and marketing efforts. When it comes to lead generation, they always seem to be flying by the seat of their pants, and we as marketers are guilty of letting them do this.

What Is A Lead Generation System?

For our purposes here, I am going to define a lead generation system, as a group of processes that are repeated on a regular basis to drive a predictable quantity of leads. I just made that up, but it sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

To further clarify what I mean, let me illustrate an example of the exact opposite of a lead generation system. Have you ever tried to do a direct mail campaign, when you have never done it before? It usually goes something like this:

Hey, let’s try direct mail to generate some leads.

Okay.

What’s it going to cost?

Well... we can afford to do one mailing this year, to a small segment of our target audience.

Okay, Let’s try it.


Rick’s Marketing Rule - IF YOU CAN’T REPEAT IT, DON’T DO IT!

Now I’m not picking on direct mail, because if you can afford to do direct mail consistently, and it's part of your lead generation system, then that's great. What I’m pointing out, is how business owners and marketers waste resources launching one-off lead generation efforts. If you can’t afford to repeat the effort, then you just wasted everything you learned. Not to mention the marketing budget consumed.


So how do you build a lead generation system?

A simple way to start is by following inbound marketing methodologies. The first step is to begin by attracting strangers to your website. You accomplish this by blogging and then by sharing your articles through your social media networks.

But here is the trick — to make this a lead generation system you need to determine how frequently you can blog — realistically. You don’t want to make this a one-off effort too. If you have enough staff to generate two blog posts a week, then don’t try to do five. What you are shooting for here is a repeatable process. Developing an editorial calendar for your blog articles will help with this. You will also need to do the same for your social media activity. Your goal is to commit a consistent amount of time to social media each week. Even if it is only 15 minutes each week, it is more important to be consistent.

The second part of this involves converting those new website visitors into leads. To do this you will need to offer some unique piece of content on your website, and place it behind a lead capture form. You can create an ebook, webinar, white paper, or case study.

Again, the important thing here, is to have a schedule for creating new content on a regular basis throughout the year. This content can be top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, or bottom of the funnel. Every piece of content should appeal to your target audience.

Just by implementing these two processes you will have the foundation of a lead generation system in place. You can then refine it by adding processes such as: lead nurturing, lead scoring, list segmentation, and workflow automation.

Just like they always say, “Consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program,” you should consult with a professional inbound marketing agency before implementing your lead generation plan. They can help you determine the best way to go about creating a lead generation system for your sales team.

How are you currently generating leads for your sales team? Share your thoughts in the comments section


About the Author: Rick Kranz is the Founder of OverGo Studio, a HubSpot certified partner agency specializing in inbound marketing services. You can connect with Rick via Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google+

lead generation system webinar


Photo Credit: L. Richard Martin, Jr.

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Topics: lead generation, sales lead generation

The Fundamentals of Middle Of The Funnel Marketing [Infographic]

Posted by Steve James on Dec 13, 2012 8:02:00 AM

This infographic was created by Steve James (@steve_james), a Partner at Stream Creative (@streamcreative), a Milwaukee inbound marketing agency and Gold HubSpot Certified partner. This is the second infographic for their inbound marketing series on the topic of Middle Of The Funnel (MoFu) Marketing.

Feel free to share this on your blog by copying the html code below the graphic or pinning it on pinterest using the button below.

Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) Infographic

New to Infographics? See this infographic about infographics on the HubSpot blog.

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Topics: marketing funnel, lead generation, stream creative, inbound marketing agency, content creation

The Most Important Open Ended Question You Should Ask on Your Lead Generation Forms

Posted by Peter Caputa on Aug 21, 2012 7:56:00 AM

Back in early 2008, there were 7 of us meeting in our only conference room. It was HubSpot's entire sales and marketing team having our weekly meeting, later termed our SMarketing meeting. Like we've continued to ask ourselves every day since, we were trying to answer the question, "How can we turn more of our inbound leads into customers?"

During this meeting in 2007, I told Mike Volpe, "It'd be great if they just told us what their challenges were on the forms." To which, Volpe sarcastically said, "Do you want me to sell for you too?". We convinced him to try it out by the end of the meeting. It's hard to say no to Dan Tyre, Chris Johnson and Mark Roberge. The question, "What's your biggest marketing challenge?" is on every one of our forms to this day. It's helped our sales team more effectively and more quickly connect, qualify and close new businesss 1,000s of times now. Last year, when correlating lead characteristics to close rate, our marketing team proved that when certain answers included keywords like "leads", they were more likely to buy our marketing software.  

4 years, 350 people and 7500 customers later, we've made a lot of progress in figuring out how to turn leads into sales. We've bottled up 'lessons like this one' and have baked them into our software and training programs so that our customers and partners can turn more of their leads into sales too. 

Yesterday, one of our customers shared a story about adding a similar question to their landing pages. Their company is Goodbye Crutches, which makes products that replace the need for crutches.

To test the idea, we devised a simple A/B test on some of our most commonly accessed offers and landing pages. Using the Advanced Landing Pages feature in HubSpot Enterprise, we were able to show our visitors one of two versions of these pages. The only difference we tested was the optional open-ended question “What is your biggest struggle?”

You can read about their stellar results at the article, "Proof that It Never Hurts to Ask".

SMarketing Take-Away: Most sales professionals know that people are more likely to buy when they have a challenge they need to overcome, a problem they need to fix, they're frustrated by the status quo, or in the case of Goodbye crutches, they have 'pain' that's impacting their comfort and happiness. As a marketer or marketing agency, if you want to deliver more and higher quality sales-ready leads to your [client's] sales team, ask the open ended question on your forms, "What's your biggest xyz challenge?".

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Topics: landing pages, lead generation

Turn Your Website into a Lead Generation Machine (Speaking at New England Business Expo)

Posted by Pete Caputa on Oct 8, 2008 8:36:00 PM

I'll be speaking at the New England Business Expo. About 3k people from all over Central New England attend the show w/ 150+ exhibitors. I'll be giving a talk titled, "Inbound Marketing: Get Found Online and Turn Your Website into a Lead Generation Machine"

You can register for it on the New England Business Expo website.

If you are a CEO or sales manager, I recommend you attend Frank Belzer's talk, "Are your salespeople driving you crazy?"

Tailored to women, I recommend you attend Deb Penta's "Create Your Personal Brand" and Jeanne Worrick's "Sell Like a Girl"

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Topics: speaking, seminar, lead generation, inbound marketing

Inbound Sales Lead Generation

Posted by Pete Caputa on Jul 1, 2008 5:54:00 PM

I wrote a guest post over on Aaron Ross's blog titled, How to Generate a Steady Flow of Inbound Sales Leads.

I summarized a few points on the HubSpot blog and there are a few relevant comments over there too.

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Topics: lead generation, sales lead generation, how to generate leads, online lead generation

The Problems That I Solve

Posted by Pete Caputa on Feb 11, 2008 11:06:00 AM

I'm spending most of my time calling people who have expressed interest in HubSpot's strategic internet marketing platform.  Sometimes, I don't have the opportunity to dig into issues a business might be having when I call them. 

That's ok. Just in case it was a bad time, their boss just asked them to do something unreasonable, or their cat just died, this post might help them figure out whether I might be able to help them... when they have a moment.

Here's a list of things I help businesses with:

  • Can you edit and add content to your website without paying your webmaster or waiting for the tech team to do it? Does your website go for months without anything new for visitors to read or for search engines to index?
  • Is your online marketing strategy delivering results? Do you have one? Or does your website still look like the brochure you designed in 1999?
  • Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) something "you think your web designer did" and not something you do everyday? Can you predict and measure the amount of traffic and leads you get as a result of your internal or outsourced SEO efforts? When you did keyword research, did you do anything more than brainstorm what your clients "might type" at google?
  • Is your site visitor to lead conversion rate lower than 2%? Do you even measure that? Is your call to action a "Contact Us" button or buried at the bottom of the site?
  • Do you have a blogging strategy that generates increased visitors and leads for your business?
  • Do you know how to build links to your website that drive qualified visitors? How about links that increase your rankings in the search engines for the right search terms?
  • Are you spending a lot of money on pay per click ads that send visitors to your home page instead of landing pages optimized to get the visitor to convert into a lead? Are you spending a lot on PPC ads without even investigating whether SEO could help you rank in the organic rankings?
  • Do you have a strategy for Digg, Delicious, Myspace, Facebook and LinkedIn that again generates qualified traffic and leads? Have you even visited these sites to see how many of your prospects are interacting with your competitors?
  • Are you still doing Public Relations primarily with a telephone instead of online SEO friendly wire services? How's that going?
  • Are you tired of guessing what to do to market your busines online? Or worse, paying high-priced, do-little consultants to tell you what to do? Or even worse, paying very high priced firms to do things that you don't quite understand and they can't quite explain?
  • Does your marketing department generate qualified timely leads for your sales people using the web? Do your sales people know how to support your online marketing efforts? Do your salespeople know how to generate their own leads from online networking?
  • Do you have an email, web and webinar strategy that nurtures and educates your site visitors and prospects? Do people tell you, "I've been watching your company for a few months now. I'm ready to get started working with you."?

If they have one of these problems and they'd like to discuss how I can help them, I'm happy to make 15-30 minutes available for them free of charge to discuss their unique challenges and needs. If there's a fit after that, I'll also help them identify the business growth opportunities available to their specific business through online marketing. If we agree that I can help them solve their problems and there's sufficient opportunity to warrant an investment from them, I'll make an appropriate recommendation.

They should contact me through this form.

 


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Topics: search engine optimization, lead generation, web design, blogging

Measuring the Impact of Social Media on Your Business

Posted by Pete Caputa on Feb 9, 2008 8:13:00 AM

Most small and mid sized businesses are just dipping their toes into blogging. With keyword research and a good analytics package, it's not hard to plan and measure how blogging will impact the bottom and top lines for a business. If it's an ecommerce site, blogging is a no brainer. If you're a b2b company trying to generate leads... again... a no brainer. If you're b2c and people are passionate about your types of products (ie you sell wine not hammers), also a no brainer. If you're a realtor, you should be talking to Real Estate Tomato about how to start a real estate blog... umm... yesterday. (Of course, you shouldn't underestimate what's required to be successful with a blog - no matter who you are or what you sell.)

All that said, social media is still the wild west. There's no best practices. There are very few services that assist business owners in a meaningful way. The only businesses that are taking advantage of social media are big brand name F1000 companies. They have the budgets to deal directly with the big social networks and the budgets to tap the big ad agencies who deal with the big social networks.

Everyone else is sorta left figuring this out themselves. I've been able to successfully generate leads from social media activity. So has the internet marketing company I work for. We teach our clients best practices for the sites that actually drive traffic directly, and support our clients' SEO strategy. We also give them the tools to analyze effectiveness in terms of traffic, leads and soon: sales across their SEO, PPC, blogging, and blogosphere/social media activity. This informs what works and what they should do more of. For example, if Digg reaches your audience, you should learn how to use Digg. If you're trying to reach a younger crowd, join facebook. If you're trying to reach CEOs, start answering questions and endorsing people on LinkedIN.

But, this list could go on and on. How does someone know where to focus their efforts and how do they measure what's working before the leads come in? As this map indicates, you could literally spend all of 2008 registering and learning social media services. There certainly isn't a comprehensive tool within the reach of the average mid sized business to track all the leading indicators of social media success or failure. However, is it really necessary to track the leading indicators? If you have a website that converts visitors into leads and you can successfully generate traffic from social media sources and measure which social media sites send visitors with a high likelihod of converting to a lead... then... I'm left with the conclusion that you should just find yourself a social media advisor. I'm sure that 1 out of 50,000 people are like me (or the guys at Read/Write Web) who spend too much time tracking the social media landscape, who can interpret it and translate it for the average business owner so they know what to do first.

And if in doubt and you don't want to find an advisor, start with LinkedIn. If you're in business, chances are that your best prospects are on there.

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Topics: blog advisor, social media advisor, lead generation, social media marketing, marketing analytics, linkedin, blogging, blog coach

How To Generate Leads Using the Web - Keyword Research is the First Step

Posted by Pete Caputa on Feb 6, 2008 7:03:00 AM

Right now, "How to Generate Leads Using the Web" is the title of my blog. I'll probably change it at some point.

But, "generating leads via the web" is what I am helping my clients do. That won't change. I'm planning on doing a series of step-by-step videos to demonstrate how to do generate leads via Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click, Blogging and Engaging in the Blogosphere and on Social Media sites... for the benefit of my clients as well as readers. The knowledge to do this should be in everyone's hands. Right now, the knowledge I'm going to share is not known by many people. I'm about to piss off a lot of search engine optimization and social media marketing consultants. 

To do this stuff right, you don't "NEED" them. However, to do it right, you NEED the tools. Since I'm providing my clients with the tools, I have a lot of reasons to share the knowledge of "how to generate leads" openly. I'd rather educate a few hundred people at a time, than one on one.

The place to start is always with Keyword Research. Using the HubSpot tools, I've been able to help almost all of my clients identify keywords that:

  • have a large amount of search volume,
  • aren't too difficult to rank for in the organic search rankings,
  • and where they are already ranking in the first 100 results in google's search engine result pages (SERPs)

These are the gems because with a little bit of work, it's easy to start ranking high on the first page and start enjoying that free traffic. But, since there are a lot of internet marketers publishing to the web, it's difficult to identify keywords for myself. (Luckily for me, Mike Volpe and the marketing team at HubSpot has done the work to rank for "internet marketing" and a bunch of other phrases, and they supply with as many leads as I can call.)

What I'm struggling with is how to show examples of doing it without giving away competitive advantage. For example, we discovered a few keywords that one of my clients should focus on, he changed his title tags and voila ... he went from result 79 to 9 in the SERPs. I would never share what those keywords are because it would make it too easy for his competitors to duplicate. The actual work he did to rank is obvious if his competitors simply look at his site, assuming they have enough knowledge of SEO. (0ne of his competitors already knew about this keyword and is optimized and ranks for it.)  However, I'm not going to advertise how he did it in a video. 

The struggle is over.

So, I'm happy to report that I discovered a solid keyword phrase, where pc4media ranks "19" in the SERPs and there's approximately 140 searchers per month. I would not have discovered if it wasn't for the integration of HubSpot's keyword research tools and web marketing analytics. A few people came to the site as a result of the search. Then, with one click I determined where I was ranking, how many people searched for that phrase in a month and whether or not it'd be difficult to get to the first page.  HubSpot's keyword tool tells me that it's not that difficult to get higher than I already am and I've already made a change to my site to get higher.

So, I've found a good one. Were you hoping I'd share it? Not until I do my videos. I don't want another internet marketing expert to wreck my progress while I'm making the video. I expect others to compete with me for the keyword after I do the video and lots of people see it. But, that's why search engine optimization is an ongoing process.  Also, by then, I'll have done a bunch of blogging, link building and social media marketing in order to rank. It'll be harder to duplicate my efforts. And I'm sure I'll find more terms to go after by then too. But, this'll serve as a good way to demonstrate "how to generate leads" via SEO.

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Topics: keyword research, SEO, search engine optimization, lead generation, how to generate leads

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