Marketing departments at most companies today have been hit hard with cutbacks in staff, resources, and budget. Often one person now is doing the work of three. Most of the attention and work centers on maintaining existing processes for lead generation. But what if you could double the number of leads you were generating? Wouldn’t that be worth it?

Engagement marketing can do just that. It starts simply with defining a lead. I know that sounds like going back to kindergarten, but in truth, this is where it all begins.

We’re all in the business of generating traffic to our website first and foremost. But we also all realize that not all traffic is equal — even if a web visitor clicked an ad, searched on one of our keywords, or even downloaded a whitepaper. Some of these people represent hot leads that our sales team would be interested in. But many are just not ready to engage. So the first trick is to find a way to segment and separate the bona fide leads from the tire-kickers.

Engagement Marketing: Define Segments Based on Interest

If you can define segments based on interest, then you can create relevant offers and specific campaigns targeted at each segment.

You’ve already been told not to ask too many questions on your forms and landing pages, but this is different. If you need to shorten your form, give up on collecting their mailing address, zip code, and fax number, and instead include a question that qualifies them based on their level of interest.

For example, you might come right out and ask them “What is your interest in our product or company?” Then have a drop down list of 3-5 segments mapped to your purchase cycle. These could be a) Ready to buy, please contact me, b) Evaluating solutions from multiple vendors, c) Looking for products that might solve my problem, and d) General researching.

Now, of course, only the visitors that check “a” are sales leads. You have to nurture the others.

Track and Test Everything

Once you have defined your leads, and your segments, use analytics to measure all results from your campaigns. You’re trying to determine which offers, tactics, media, and creative delivered which segments, how many of each, and at what cost.

As with any analytics strategy, the more you track and test, the better. You can use A-B testing, multivariate testing – whatever you’re set up to do.

Gradually, one or more offers will rise to the top. One or more media will excel. And one or more creative ideas will be the winner. But don’t stop there. Remember, your audience is a hivemind, which means it’s constantly moving and changing. So you need to continue testing.

A good lead automation program can really help here. Look at Marqui and Active Conversion for strong value solutions and Eloqua, Silverpop B2B Engage, Marketo, and LeadGenesys for even more power (of course, there are tons more).

Sustain Your Efforts

If you make a concerted, sustained effort on lead generation with this engagement mentality, you can determine:

  • Which campaign respondents are true leads – the ones most likely to turn into paying customers
  • How many leads it takes to create a sale
  • Your true cost per lead

And in the end, you can literally double your number of leads for the same marketing investment.

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