Every business needs more quality sales leads. And every marketer constantly looks for new strategies to increase demand for the company's products or services. It's not a simple task, with today's consumers being bombarded with ads and sales pitches on the best "new thing" each day. So what's a marketer to do?
Let's look at some of the most effective ways to build brand awareness and create demand for your business in an increasingly crowded market.
Know Your Target Market
To drive demand successfully, you first need to know who you're targeting. This sounds simple, but it's one of the most overlooked steps in creating a marketing plan. Whether you're reaching out with advertising, organic content, social media posts, email, or any other method, you have to know as much about your audience as possible. Creating a buyer persona helps you understand the demographics, problems, and characteristics of your customers. Buyer personas are fictional personifications of customers based on research. You may have one, several, or even multiple buyer personas. For example, a company that sells health supplements may appeal to a variety of consumers with different needs (e.g. losing weight, building muscle, calming stress, alleviating various symptoms, etc.). You construct buyer personas by studying your own followers, subscribers, and customers. Surveys are good for this. Also ask questions in your blog posts, social media posts, and emails that invite responses. You should study current trends to get a better idea of who your ideal customer is and what's important to them. Keep in mind, it's useful to know things about your customers that do not directly pertain to your business. For example, if you know the majority of them are families with kids, you might include relevant content about back-to-school shopping or family-friendly tips for the holidays.
Identify the Value of Your Leads
Finding leads is easy. Vendors large and small, legitimate or not, are constantly reaching out to marketing and sales people with this perfect list, perfect event, perfect package to find new leads. The challenge is not in finding leads, but it is in finding the right targeted and qualified leads. Lead scoring helps you identify the value of your leads. Understanding this value goes hand-in-hand with knowing your audience. In addition, you'll want to analyze data that informs you of the likelihood of turning a prospect into a customer. The ability to analyze how a potential customer interacts with or engages with your content is critical to quality lead scoring. You can build your own lead scoring system, assigning points to leads based on demographics as well as different actions they take to engage with you or your content, such as signing up for a newsletter, following you on Facebook, attending your webinar, or other factors. Lead scoring is not a precise science, of course. However, it's quite helpful to have a formula for estimating the value of your leads.
Give Away Valuable Tools and Information
Most people love to receive something for free - and even better, if that something free can be something of great value as well. Reports, whitepapers, and ebooks are common and work well. Taking that a step further, you can create an app or online tool that people can use to help solve a problem. For example, companies that sell SEO or other online marketing services often create convenient free tools such as word counters, spell checkers, or keyword finders. The idea, of course, is that when people use these tools, they also see your company branding or links to your other products and content. The trick to succeeding with this tactic is finding something that's well targeted to your customers. When you make a social media post about a free app that adds some sort of value, your followers are likely to share it. And the more they share it, the more eyeballs on your message.
Optimize Your Email Marketing
Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to grow your audience. There's a persistent myth that email marketing is no longer relevant. The data simply doesn't support this idea. For one thing, people are sending and receiving more emails every year. Statista estimates that the number of email users in the U.S. will be over 254 million by 2020, which is impressive to say the least. When used appropriately, email creates an enormous opportunity for marketers to reach targeted audiences effectively. How can you effectively use email to drive demand?
- Test all elements of your campaigns. Find the subject lines, topics, layout, and images that get the best results. Don't forget to test days and times as well. This isn't the same for all businesses.
- Segment your lists. Rather than sending the same messages to everyone, segment your lists so that readers get information that's specific to their needs. For example, you might segment audiences by region, interests, past buying history, or other criteria. To do this effectively, you must have accurate data on your subscribers.
- Optimize your email signature. Email signatures are a powerful way to get more clicks to your website. Many businesses don't make the most of their email signature (or, in some cases, some do not even use them at all!). Rather than only including your name or company name in your signature, be sure to include a strong call-to-action that gives readers a reason to click. Modern email signatures can be much more than a simple text link - consider using banner campaigns, video, or other more dynamic messaging.
There are a number of ways to obtain higher quality leads, but it all starts with knowing your audience and understanding their needs. From there, you can tailor your messaging and optimize your campaigns appropriately. Together, this combination will lead to higher quality leads, and in turn, faster growth for your business.
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