If you run an ecommerce businesses, then you already know how crucial generating leads is for achieving sales. Lead generation is one of the most important elements of your inbound marketing strategy and plays a major role in converting visitors into leads and eventually into potential paying customers. Moreover, if your business is small in size and relatively newer, quality is always a more important consideration as opposed to quantity when it comes to lead generation.
But how do you generate more qualified leads? The simplest answer – through high-quality content. To be more specific, you need content that adds value to the customer and helps them in their buyer journey. You need the customer to be able to ‘find’ you online easily, especially if your business is in the ecommerce domain. Here, inbound marketing contributes greatly to a business’s ability to generate leads.
Arguably, some of the most prominent and effective methods of generating leads through inbound marketing include website SEO optimization, blogs, social media posts and engagements, landing pages, videos, etc. On the other hand, outbound marketing tools like paid search, banner ads, social media ads, email marketing, SMS marketing etc. create a demand for your products or services, prompting them to engage with your brand online.
After choosing the marketing channels to use, the next step is to define who your audience is. For this, you need to create a buyer persona for your potential customers, typically based on parameters such as their age and gender, their income, and from where they were sourced as a lead. The second stage in the lead generation process is to identify which channels your audience engages with the most. This will then help you create a more accurate buyer journey to send your message on the right channels at the right time.
Why text marketing is an effective lead generation tool
One of the biggest benefits of using SMS or text marketing is that it can be set up in almost no time. Moreover, unlike email marketing, there is no design or development involved.
Also, an SMS is just 160 characters. So it is not only easier to create a message, but texts are also more likely to generate a response from recipients than emails. At least 90% of texts are opened as compared to just 20% of emails. That’s nearly five times the engagement than email and considerably more than any other channel.
The simplest and most reliable way of gaining consent from your leads is to use an SMS marketing platform. With the help of the platform, you can ask leads and prospects to provide consent by a simple input such as the word “YES” and opt in to your text marketing list.
If your SMS marketing platform is part of an all-in-one CRM, you can track opt-ins there and use system filters to ensure you never send messages to anyone who has not asked for them.
Understanding the buyer’s journey can help you generate more traffic and leads. You need to know what will attract consumers to your ecommerce store and convince them to buy. According to a study, companies that nurture their leads well generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% less cost.
Source: 30 Thought-Provoking Lead Nurturing Stats You Can’t Ignore, Hubspot, 08/25/2017
How to use SMS marketing for lead generation and lead nurturing
This is an important one. What we mean by personalization is gathering information about leads and their interests, then marketing to them by showing them things that you think they will be interested in. Everyone does not want the same things, so sending everyone the same emails and displaying the same offers to everyone on your ecommerce site will fall short of your goals. With a good SMS marketing solution, you can gather information about leads’ likes, dislikes, interests and past buying behaviors, to name a few. You can then use this information to personalize your outreach to them.
If they have browsed for new shoes on your clothing site, send them emails about a sale you’re having on shoes. If they have purchased t-shirts in the past, configure your marketing automation system to display pop-ups that offer them discounts on t-shirts. Marketing automation software makes this easy, by letting you assign tags to leads based on their behavior, then segment them based on those behavioral tags.
Gather lead intelligence
Marketing works with Sales to establish key criteria for lead segmentation and scoring. Hopefully, you have already created a comprehensive list of buyer personas and a detailed buyer journey for each persona. If not, check out these resources. Now plan how you will capture this information through landing pages and forms, using a progressive profiling approach so that conversion rates are kept high. Identify relevant pages and events that, if visited or triggered, also allow you to update lead profiles during the buyer journey. Access LinkedIn, Data.com, Hoovers and other business data sites you can use to cross-reference leads and further develop their profiles. Some of these sources can be directly integrated through HubSpot and Salesforce apps and APIs.
Set up marketing automation workflows to categorize leads and segment them into lists using criteria. Use these lists to nurture leads with relevant content and personalized email communications. Also use them for targeted campaigns, segmenting leads with a certain role or title or within a certain industry or market segment.
Set up lead scoring criteria and points-awarded system to update lead lifecycle stages, move leads to the CRM when the timing is right and trigger notifications using marketing automation workflows. Leads accumulate positive scores for behavior and demographics. For example:
Create buyer persona
Engagement—number of visits, unique page views, repeat visits, form conversions, email opens and clicks, blog comments, social media mentions, inbound links.
Buyer stage—clicks and conversions on specific content indicating a lead lifecycle change, such as mid-funnel and bottom-funnel offers.
Frequency—recency of engagement, volume and timing of events indicating an imminent intent to buy. Also, apply negative scoring for form answers or behaviors that designate a lead as a poor fit, for example: competitor company, low budget or non-company email address.
Monitor and influence the progress of leads through the sales funnel by presenting them with relevant content based on buyer persona and content mapping. Content can be sent via personalized drip email campaigns or by direct integration using personalized content, for example website messaging that is tailored for lead segments or buyer personas. Apply lead scoring rules as leads consume your lead nurturing content and move them to different lifecycle stages and segments using marketing automation workflows.