Boosting Lead Generation with Integrated Digital Marketing Tools
Build it and They Will Come
That lead generation philosophy makes for a great Hollywood film, but won’t help your marketing strategy as a business owner. Building a website is one of the most fundamental marketing tools because your site lets potential customers know who you are, what services or products you offer, and why they should do business with you. Just because you build a website, though, doesn’t mean you have an instant flow of traffic from the internet superhighway. An integrated digital marketing strategy will drive traffic to your site to improve lead generation and business growth.
Digital marketing is all about making connections—and the ultimate connection you want to make is with potential customers. Optimal digital marketing ensures that all your marketing tools are connected in the right ways. Those tools include not only your website, but also the content and coding on your site, the way you interact with search engines, your social media platforms, and any mobile applications or other digital tools you use to reach current or potential customers. These tools are powerful lead generation systems when connected with each other to provide the maximum impact. Picture it this way: each digital tool is like an individual strand of holiday lights. You can plug each strand in and it’ll work, but it’s impression is minimal. When you put them all together and plug them in, the impact is much brighter and can attract a lot more traffic off that superhighway.
From Lead Generation to Repeat Customer
There are four common steps in in the process from lead generation to earning repeat business. First, you must do some research to identify your target market and learn where and how to connect with them most effectively. Second, you must cultivate a relationship with those potential customers. You must engage them in some way before they will consider becoming a customer. Third, you must provide a call to action. You must ask them in some way for their business. Fourth, you must provide a quality product and customer service that will make them want to continue to engage with your business, and you want to nurture the relationship you’ve now developed.
Digital tools can make these steps far easier, faster, and more successful than ever before. More information is readily available to research your target market, including their purchasing patterns, interests, and how they interact with different digital platforms. You have more flexibility to develop a digital marketing strategy that impacts just the right audience. As marketing professor and author Ahmad Kareh points out, when defining your target audience, “a large slice of the market is better than bits and pieces of the full pie.” Cultivating that slice of the market will boost lead generation efforts. Digital tools also provide variety in creating calls to action and business solicitations so you reach potential customers using methods they respond to best. You also have greater opportunities in a digital world to market yourself through your current customers and nurture your relationship with them.
What’s in Your Toolbox?
Your website is, again, the most fundamental of all the digital marketing tools you have available. Your website is the destination for your traffic and creates an opportunity to convert leads into customers, so you want your website to make a good impression. Your web design should not only provide information your potential customers are looking for, but your site should also be attractive and easy to navigate. If you’re wondering how important your web design is, Kissmetrics’ blog post “What The Highest Converting Websites Do Differently” explains that most visitors leave a site within 8 seconds and that 96% of site visitors are not ready to make a purchase. With those statistics in mind, it’s easy to understand that you must engage the leads who do make it to your site and you want those who aren’t quite ready to make a purchase yet to remember you when they are ready. A great website gives you the platform for steps two through four of the sales process noted above: you can use your site to engage your audience and cultivate a relationship with potential and repeat customers, and you can use your website to solicit business directly or make other calls to action.
To address the first step in the sales process—finding new leads—your website must incorporate another digital marketing tool, search engine optimization (SEO). In its most basic form, SEO connects what’s on your website to search engines’ catalogs of information. Search engines such as Google and Bing rely on keywords to know how to categorize the information on your site and present that information as relevant to a user’s query when appropriate. Several tools are available to tell you what search terms people use most frequently that relate to your business. For instance, the Google Trends tool allows you to compare different search terms and even to focus on particular time frames or geographic areas. You can then include appropriate keywords and phrases in your site’s text to connect to potential customers through their internet searches. Including keywords and phrases in the coding on your site that’s visible only to search engines will also improve SEO results. Our article on “Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Fundamentals for Business Owners” explains more about how SEO works.
Once you have researched your keywords and implemented your SEO strategy on your site, you’ll want to connect those tools to the search engines through search engine marketing (SEM). SEM relies first on SEO as a tool to engage with search engines in an organic fashion, meaning your ranking in the search engine’s algorithm depends entirely on your SEO and the structure of your website, including links to and from your site and your relative authority as an online presence. You might be lost among many competitors in search results if your keywords and other factors don’t place you high enough in the rankings, though. SEM using paid advertising can boost you and your brand in search results. You’ve seen the advertisements listed at the top of the page when you perform an internet search. Using paid SEM designed for lead generation has several advantages. The most obvious advantage is that your business will appear in search results when it otherwise might not, and being visible to potential customers is the first step to business growth. Another advantage is that paid SEM can target very specific audience demographics and search terms. With a little research about your target market, SEM can be an invaluable tool in reaching them.
It doesn’t end there, though. Social media marketing (SMM) is another tool you’ll want to integrate into your overall marketing strategy to boost lead generation and enhance the other three steps of the sales cycle. Social media marketing will help new clients find your business, and you can engage with them and solicit them on a more personal level, which leads to a more productive ongoing consumer relationship. Social platforms give you the ability to share content that engages your target audience and drives traffic to your website, and, like SEM, you can use paid advertising on social media channels to broadcast your message to a targeted demographic. Using keywords in your social content that link to your SEO and SEM strategies provides consistent messaging, and consistent messaging is a crucial component of any lead conversion.
Some businesses may also benefit from offering mobile apps to their customers as another digital marketing tool. A mobile app ideally offers convenience or a unique feature not found on your company’s website, and will encourage customers to engage with your business. Our post “Is there an App for That? What You Should Know About Mobile Apps for Your Business” can help you determine if a mobile app is right for you.
Connections are Complex
When writing about “The Battle for Traffic,” marketing consultant and author Alexandra Tachalova points out, for instance, that “SEO and SMM are like pizza and cheese: you can get one without the other, but . . . it isn’t worth it.” Though you could build your website and then implement your SEO strategy, your search engine marketing (SEM) strategy, and your social media marketing (SMM) strategy separately, why would you?
The best connections are complex. The connections between and among the various digital marketing tools are not linear. You can’t simply create a flowchart that shows how website structure leads to SEO which leads to search engine marketing which leads to social media marketing. Digital marketing just doesn’t work that way. When connected in the right ways, these digital tools are interwoven to form an interdependent approach to the four steps in the sales process. Each tool plays a part in lead generation and sales conversion. SEO bolsters search engine marketing. Social media can bolster SEO strategy. Search engine marketing can lead to increased traffic on social channels. And all roads lead to your website.