Qualified Online Lead Generation: Work Smarter, Not Harder

July 8, 2016 | 4 min read
By Heidi Smith

Many of you probably use online lead generation strategies as part of your marketing efforts, such as gated content, social sign-ins, etc. But what are you doing on the back-end once you capture that lead information? Do you have processes and specific strategies in place for qualified online lead generation? These are questions you need to consider if you haven’t already.

In the online advertising world, it can be easy to think of 1,000 leads as a positive indicator of success, and depending on what you are measuring, that may be true. But signing up to get a whitepaper versus watching a five-minute detailed product video are two very diverse actions, each indicating a different type of intent. As more users install ad blockers and are savvy in the ways of online advertising and your competitors up their game with advanced tools, it is becoming increasingly important to have a plan for what happens after initial lead capture. Knowing who your leads are and how to turn them into measurable, engaged customers could be what makes or breaks not only your online advertising efforts, but your overall business success. So how do you become a qualified online lead generation expert?

Lead Scoring

Many businesses are deep into the online advertising game, but don’t have a complete process down to turn those advertising leads into sales. This often involves marketing and sales working together to determine not only what qualifies a lead, but how to score the different leads that come in and the process behind those scores.

  • First step: Determine what both teams consider a qualified lead. That could be based on a user’s job title, company email address, or any other information you can collect from them initially to determine if they are a qualified lead. This may also involve changing form fields or landing page designs to ensure you can qualify people upfront as much as possible.

Cheerful interview panel holding signs giving marks

  • Second step: Determine your scoring. A whitepaper download may be three qualified points, but signing up to be notified when a product is back in stock or watching an in-depth product video may be five or more.
  • Third step: Look into whether the CRM or eCommerce platform you use will allow you to set up automatic lead scoring (based on parameters you set) for new leads as they come in. If your CRM does not have these capabilities, you may have to look into investing in a new/additional system or determine if your team has the bandwidth to do scoring manually.

Note: Make sure you take adequate time to research and setup lead scoring correctly. The last thing you want is your system unqualifying good leads before you even see them or qualifying bad ones that waste valuable time.

Using Advertising to Further Define Qualified Online Leads

How did you target the users visiting your site in the first place? Use that information to determine if they are more or less qualified. If you are using advertising dollars to bring traffic to your site through various paid channels, then you should be using that targeting data to qualify leads as well.

Photo of stylish man in elegant black suit

WANTED: Qualified 007 who looks dapper in a tux

For example, the LinkedIn campaign for your 007 (yes, as in “Bond, James Bond”) job opening is targeting users who have a Bachelor’s in Espionage and five years of Ministry of Defense experience. If an email signup came from that particular campaign, you can assume that person is more qualified than the user who stumbled onto your site from entering “how to become a secret spy” into their search bar. Using the valuable insight of knowing where the user originated from and applying any correlated knowledge allows you to be more specific with your nurturing program to get them to continue down the funnel path.

Lead Nurturing

You do have a nurturing program after you capture a lead… right? Many organizations do not, and it is one of the main issues we see. In 2016, all departments involved in revenue procurement should be working together in some capacity, but organizational structure, traditional mindsets and team collaboration have not gotten there yet in a lot of cases. Be the person to bring this new strategy to the table and showcase the value of using lead nurturing – I know it will pay off for you.

Let’s say a lead has become qualified — hellllooo, new 007 prospect! What is the next step? I really hope your answer is not “send them every email we create, every day, until we force them to apply out of sheer annoyance.” The much more likely outcome of that strategy is that they opt out of emails, get annoyed by your brand and look elsewhere for a secret spy job opening. That type of “lead nurturing” is not using the lead information in steps one and two to your advantage.

1+2+3 = Quality

Not only should you be using those first steps to better qualify your leads, but you should then be tailoring your lead nurturing strategy and messaging to each type of user based on everything you have learned about the lead. In the last few years, the conversion funnel has been blown up – someone can enter your purchasing process at any time these days and will likely come into contact with a variety of brand messaging before making a final decision.

Don’t get me wrong, in some cases the funnel certainly still applies. But if you’ve found the funnel has been blown to smithereens like most cars driven by James Bond villains, then using the data from your original campaign targeting, lead scoring and any other analytics data available can help you nurture those qualified leads in the right way and become the qualified online lead generation expert you aspire to be.

How do you make sure you are focusing on quality and not quantity of leads? Do you have tools that help you work smarter, not harder?  Let me know what has or has not worked for you by commenting below.

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Qualified Online Lead Generation: Work Smarter, Not Harder

July 8, 2016 | 4 min read
By Heidi Smith

Many of you probably use online lead generation strategies as part of your marketing efforts, such as gated content, social sign-ins, etc. But what are you doing on the back-end once you capture that lead information? Do you have processes and specific strategies in place for qualified online lead generation? These are questions you need to consider if you haven’t already.

In the online advertising world, it can be easy to think of 1,000 leads as a positive indicator of success, and depending on what you are measuring, that may be true. But signing up to get a whitepaper versus watching a five-minute detailed product video are two very diverse actions, each indicating a different type of intent. As more users install ad blockers and are savvy in the ways of online advertising and your competitors up their game with advanced tools, it is becoming increasingly important to have a plan for what happens after initial lead capture. Knowing who your leads are and how to turn them into measurable, engaged customers could be what makes or breaks not only your online advertising efforts, but your overall business success. So how do you become a qualified online lead generation expert?

Lead Scoring

Many businesses are deep into the online advertising game, but don’t have a complete process down to turn those advertising leads into sales. This often involves marketing and sales working together to determine not only what qualifies a lead, but how to score the different leads that come in and the process behind those scores.

  • First step: Determine what both teams consider a qualified lead. That could be based on a user’s job title, company email address, or any other information you can collect from them initially to determine if they are a qualified lead. This may also involve changing form fields or landing page designs to ensure you can qualify people upfront as much as possible.

Cheerful interview panel holding signs giving marks

  • Second step: Determine your scoring. A whitepaper download may be three qualified points, but signing up to be notified when a product is back in stock or watching an in-depth product video may be five or more.
  • Third step: Look into whether the CRM or eCommerce platform you use will allow you to set up automatic lead scoring (based on parameters you set) for new leads as they come in. If your CRM does not have these capabilities, you may have to look into investing in a new/additional system or determine if your team has the bandwidth to do scoring manually.

Note: Make sure you take adequate time to research and setup lead scoring correctly. The last thing you want is your system unqualifying good leads before you even see them or qualifying bad ones that waste valuable time.

Using Advertising to Further Define Qualified Online Leads

How did you target the users visiting your site in the first place? Use that information to determine if they are more or less qualified. If you are using advertising dollars to bring traffic to your site through various paid channels, then you should be using that targeting data to qualify leads as well.

Photo of stylish man in elegant black suit

WANTED: Qualified 007 who looks dapper in a tux

For example, the LinkedIn campaign for your 007 (yes, as in “Bond, James Bond”) job opening is targeting users who have a Bachelor’s in Espionage and five years of Ministry of Defense experience. If an email signup came from that particular campaign, you can assume that person is more qualified than the user who stumbled onto your site from entering “how to become a secret spy” into their search bar. Using the valuable insight of knowing where the user originated from and applying any correlated knowledge allows you to be more specific with your nurturing program to get them to continue down the funnel path.

Lead Nurturing

You do have a nurturing program after you capture a lead… right? Many organizations do not, and it is one of the main issues we see. In 2016, all departments involved in revenue procurement should be working together in some capacity, but organizational structure, traditional mindsets and team collaboration have not gotten there yet in a lot of cases. Be the person to bring this new strategy to the table and showcase the value of using lead nurturing – I know it will pay off for you.

Let’s say a lead has become qualified — hellllooo, new 007 prospect! What is the next step? I really hope your answer is not “send them every email we create, every day, until we force them to apply out of sheer annoyance.” The much more likely outcome of that strategy is that they opt out of emails, get annoyed by your brand and look elsewhere for a secret spy job opening. That type of “lead nurturing” is not using the lead information in steps one and two to your advantage.

1+2+3 = Quality

Not only should you be using those first steps to better qualify your leads, but you should then be tailoring your lead nurturing strategy and messaging to each type of user based on everything you have learned about the lead. In the last few years, the conversion funnel has been blown up – someone can enter your purchasing process at any time these days and will likely come into contact with a variety of brand messaging before making a final decision.

Don’t get me wrong, in some cases the funnel certainly still applies. But if you’ve found the funnel has been blown to smithereens like most cars driven by James Bond villains, then using the data from your original campaign targeting, lead scoring and any other analytics data available can help you nurture those qualified leads in the right way and become the qualified online lead generation expert you aspire to be.

How do you make sure you are focusing on quality and not quantity of leads? Do you have tools that help you work smarter, not harder?  Let me know what has or has not worked for you by commenting below.

Share This Post
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