Opinions

Building business leads in digital space

Posted by Barbara Fowler on January 17th, 2013 at 1:58 pm

The marketing world has changed exponentially in the past five years. Creating and converting leads in digital space requires business owners to make a mindset shift and begin to understand that consumers habits and motivations for searching, purchasing, or even filling out a form are different. It’s a fast-moving industry with new digital products and platforms being invented every week, and it can be overwhelming to many business owners. However, with a clear vision centered on customer engagement and an active analysis of which marketing techniques succeed and which fail, generating and producing sales, leads, or prospects can be maximized in the digital world.

Changes in the landscape

Until recently, a marketing campaign’s main goal was building brand awareness in customers’ minds through paid advertisements, effective brochures, and the perfect public relations approach. These engines drove the industry of image for businesses. Large sums of money fueled national campaigns that depended on presenting the correct image.

Truthfully, these ideas are still important. Branding is as important today as it was before the Internet explosion. But now the key principle of successful marketing programs is ROI. Think about it. CMOs know that their bottom line is developing, nurturing, and delivering qualified leads to the sales staff. A huge amount of money and effort is spent scrutinizing a marketing campaign and determining how to implement accountability measures. CMOs have to show a return on everything we do to our CEOs.

It was customary in the past to spend a large amount of time planning the perfect advertisement that complemented the perfect campaign that was implemented impeccably. The marketing budget was frequently all spent on that hope. Many people spent sleepless nights praying that money was spent wisely. In contrast, today we can see what is working or not working instantly. We implement, amend, and iterate. As a result, we generally start on a much smaller scale than the massive campaigns of the past. We tend to spend less, experiment more, and thoroughly analyze an idea before committing to any large-scale operation.

Increasing customer engagement

Adapting to this smaller scale calls for a concerted effort to increase customer response quickly and consistently. The purchasing process for many consumers has been revolutionized over the past five years. Customers go to the web before making buying decisions. The actual purchase could take place in person, but people often know what they want and when they want it before they start dealing with any salesperson. Marketing’s goal is to catch customers during their initial online investigation of the product and pull them in with appealing content. The experience should be relevant and entertaining enough to prompt them to sign up for blog posts, enter a contest, or maybe even play a game that is part of the marketing strategy. Anything that engages customers and helps to nurture them until they are ready to buy should be carefully planned out and tested to ensure efficiency. And once you get a customer, keeping those customers is more cost efficient than developing new potential customers. Most customers appreciate that a company cares about them and their business. By gaining an audience through skillful marketing strategies, a lifelong customer will be engaged.

Accurate and timely measures of a strategy’s success are essential. The most effective marketers use advanced software to better understand the identity, behavior, and potential profitability from customers and prospects. If you are just entering the metrics world, Google Webmaster Tools and Google Adwords are inexpensive tools to assist your analysis. New marketing strategies can benefit greatly from pre-launch testing and post-launch evaluations to verify the specific strengths of integral pieces of that strategy.

Remember that marketers who are exceeding their goals consistently analyze and share their data. They are then ready to make the necessary changes to a campaign to engage customers at an even greater level.

Building strong leads for small businesses

In many ways, small businesses really benefit from the digital age. They can now play in the big leagues without spending like major corporations. To fully explore and take advantage of top-tier marketing, business owners and their management team need to:

  • Encourage everyone in the organization to learn the basics. Domo CEO Josh James developed a 20-task test for all employees and found it effectively increased his company’s efforts.
  • Pick a few blogs on digital marketing or social media to read everyday. At first, it might seem like a foreign language. Gradually, you will gain more familiarity with these new approaches. Book studies can also be highly educational. “Platform” by Michael Hyatt or “Inbound Marketing” by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah are valuable reads.
  • Contact a local university to see if they can help. Sometimes business or marketing classes need to create presentations for real businesses in the area.
  • It’s a perfect volunteer situation that can benefit all parties involved. Also, interns     could possibly be available to assist a small business’s efforts and provide integral experience to tomorrow’s leaders.

Effective marketing in the digital world can seem like a mystery at first. With reliable and consistent analysis of a strategy’s strengths and possible weaknesses, you can determine that strategy’s ROI and adjust your future plans accordingly. Customer engagement is the key to converting possible sales. So many simple yet entertaining options are available to prompt that initial consumer interest. Once that interest is piqued, the customer relationship can be built one carefully measured step at a time.

One Response to “Building business leads in digital space”

  1. AJ Wilcox says:

    Barbara, thanks for mentioning Domo's social experiment in your article! If anyone is interested specifically in the results and requirements of participating, it's all published here: http://www.domo.com/social/.

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