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Why so many lead generation firms miss the mark

16th Jan 2020
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Do you know where your leads come from? Lead generation requires several consumer touchpoints, so it can be hard to track attribution. Prospects get emails, visit your LinkedIn page, check out your website, receive whitepapers, and the list goes on.

Lead generation is vital to marketing strategies, but marketers often focus on top-of-the-funnel efforts and forget to provide customers with next steps. Top-tier lead generation tactics require understanding what content, touchpoint, or message ultimately led to a conversion.

Increasing awareness of your brand is great, but strong lead generation means segmenting and understanding your audience. However, many marketers don’t turn to their audiences for insight. Research shows only 42% of companies talk to customers when performing audience research.

Marketing should provide a unique experience for individual consumers. The content you produce should address and quell the concerns of your audience. If you never gather input from your market, then your efforts will end up falling flat.

Fixating on the wrong metrics

Vanity metrics, such as open rates and page views, make us feel good. With high performance, everything seems golden. The problem is that marketing isn’t independent of sales. If your sales team isn’t closing, then those metrics mean nothing.

In fact, only 18% of marketers say they can accurately tie successful sales to their marketing efforts, according to LinkedIn research. Those marketers ignore vanity metrics and focus instead on measuring how many marketing qualified leads turn into sales qualified and sales accepted leads.

It might make more sense to focus on those conversion rates instead because lead conversions at the end of the funnel are more important than the unqualified leads blasting through the top. When your team isn’t worried about attracting the most leads, they can focus on marketing quality content to the best leads.

By switching the focus from vanity metrics to value-driven content, you’ll better appeal to your audience and see the results of a reliable, flourishing lead generation strategy.

Keeping track of what matters

Vanity metrics don’t relate to sales-qualified or sales-accepted leads. Keeping track of a lead’s journey is what really matters, and with so many different touchpoints along that journey, you can’t afford to waste time on feel-good statistics.

Instead, develop lead generation strategies that deliver value to your audience and measure how they respond to that value. These four tips will help ensure your strategy remains focused on qualifying leads:

1. Research thoroughly before segmenting your audience.

Create those buyer personas! It's a simple trick, but a lot of people don’t believe it’s necessary. They then wonder why no one is downloading their whitepapers or answering their emails.

Different people respond to different things. Take the time to understand your audience’s goals and pain points, then create relevant content. They’ll be more likely to respond to marketing content that impacts them personally.

2. Test, test again, and then test once more.

How often is your first idea the best idea? The answer is probably never. It takes time and trials to fully flesh out and realize an idea without holes or issues. It’s the same when creating lead-generating content.

Start A/B testing emails and calls to action on your websites. Pit whitepapers and case studies against each other and optimize little things one at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed. Those 1 percentage point increases in downloads and conversions will add up over time.

3. Invite clients and experts to create user-generated content.

Always aim for quality over quantity. One well-crafted case study will perform better than 10 shabby ones. Help your prospects find the best resources to fix their problems by ensuring your resources are the best. By inviting guests to contribute content, you can provide greater value to your audience.

For example, American Express’s Open Forum website is dedicated solely to giving users access to valuable industry experience. The interactions generate some of the highest-quality SEO content, which 79% of people say affects their buying decisions.

4. Remember that lead generation is a marathon.

Proper lead generation requires time and patience; it doesn’t happen in a week or two. It can take months to research buyers, create content, set up automation, and build a solid lead generation funnel.

Don’t get discouraged. Lead generation — like building up high-ranking organic SEO — is a marathon: It won’t happen in a week, but you’ll see increasing results over time. Build your plan and break it down into small, accomplishable, and easily measurable bites.

Marketers forget to consider lead generation from their leads’ points of view. Successful lead generation requires understanding what problems the audience has and how the company can solve them. If you do this, you’ll hit the mark with nearly every high-quality lead you generate.

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