Lead management is a combination of several things. First you need the right tool to store your leads. There’s no point generating a torrent of leads if you can’t view them all, with context, in one place. And then you need to nurture every lead before they can be convinced about doing business with you. Finally, you’ve got to be able to rank your leads—based on how much (or how little) they engage with your business—so you can reach out to the hottest leads first.
Over the years, businesses have used many tools for lead management, like the rolodex, contact management software and spreadsheets. But these tools function like a system of record. Sales reps just view their leads using these tools; they don’t get context. And that’s where CRM software (customer relationship management software) fills the void. In a CRM, every lead gets their own profile. This profile contains demographic details, a chronological list of every conversation the lead has had with your business, along with all the data/documents you’ve ever shared with them. And all this is just one part of what CRM software can do.
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Content is a great way to guide users to a landing page. Typically, you create content to provide visitors with useful, free information. You can include CTAs anywhere in your content — inline, bottom-of-post, in the hero, or even on the side panel. The more delighted a visitor is with your content, the more likely they are to click your call-to-action and move onto your landing page.
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The advertising company sets the terms of an affiliate marketing program. Early on, companies largely paid the cost per click (traffic) or cost per mile (impressions) on banner advertisements. A technology evolved, the focus turned to commissions on actual sales or qualified leads. The early affiliate marketing programs were vulnerable to fraud because clicks could be generated by software, as could impressions.
Customer journeys today are quite a bit different from a generation ago. Buyers are knowledgeable, they want to feel kinship with your brand, and they want you to answer their questions and respond to their needs — but not until they’re ready. Crafting a solid lead generation strategy can help you find leads, separate the “ready to buys” from the “just lookings,” and nurture the qualified ones down the funnel and through your sales pipeline. It’s the difference between waiting for something good to happen to you, and getting out there to make your business grow.
ROI is probably the most important metric in lead generation. The calculation is fairly simple: it’s the profit or loss you make from investing in a lead, compared against your initial investment. Let’s say you spent $15 capturing each lead, and a lead is worth $20 to you. Your profit from a lead ($5) against your initial investment ($15) gives you an ROI of 33%.
While inbound marketing is getting a lot of buzz, a well-rounded marketing mix should include both inbound and outbound marketing strategies. Inbound works for broad lead generation activities, but outbound is good to amplify your inbound efforts, and target specific opportunities. So what exactly is outbound marketing? It’s using outbound channels to introduce your message and content to your prospects, typically through rented attention, rather than making your content and messages availableon your own properties.
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Not all of your site visitors are ready to talk to your sales team or see a demo of your product. Someone at the beginning of the buyer's journey might be interested in an informational piece like an ebook or a guide, whereas someone who's more familiar with your company and near the bottom of the journey might be more interested in a free trial or demo.
Unlike outbound marketing — television commercials, print advertisements, internet banners, email lists, and good old-fashioned cold calling, where you are proactive in your outreach to new customers — inbound marketing meets consumers where they want to be, providing the content and resources that will pull them into your business. The outbound style of casting broad nets for leads still has its place, but by and large inbound marketing has proven a more effective — and cheaper — means of generating quality leads.
Building trust with your audience is paramount in affiliate marketing, and the quickest way to lose trust is to recommend products either you haven’t used before or that aren’t a good fit for your audience. Also make sure you never tell anyone to directly buy a product, you are simply recommending the product. The more helpful you are and the more you make quality recommendations, the more likely your web visitors will come back for your expertise.
The aspects of your lead gen campaign should mirror everything else on your website, on your blog, and within the product that you will eventually try to sell. If not, you’ll have a difficult time getting your lead to the next lifecycle stage. Your campaign should be about more than just obtaining an email address — it should be about developing a new customer.
An influencer is an individual who holds the power to impact the purchasing decisions of a large segment of the population. This person is in a great position to benefit from affiliate marketing. They already boast an impressive following, so it’s easy for them to direct consumers to the seller’s products through social media posts, blogs, and other interactions with their followers. The influencers then receive a share of the profits they helped to create.
Use variety. Mix and match affiliate ads so you don't overwhelm your visitors (content-embedded affiliate links usually have the best click-through rates over image links.) Consider using a lead page and funnel system to market your affiliate business. Lure prospects to your email list with a free offer and include links to your affiliate product pages.
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The Internet has increased the prominence of affiliate marketing. Amazon popularized the practice by creating an affiliate marketing program whereby websites and bloggers put links to the Amazon page for a reviewed or discussed product to receive advertising fees when a purchase is made. In this sense, affiliate marketing is essentially a pay for performance marketing program where the act of selling is outsourced across a vast network.
When you launch a new business, you must register it with the state, obtain licenses and permits, check what you can and cannot do, purchase equipment and more. Start-up legislation can be mind-wrecking, especially in the healthcare, construction and manufacturing industries. Things are even more challenging for those who are just starting out and have little experience running a company. If that's your case, consider purchasing a turnkey business.
These examples might make it seem like lead generation is pretty easy; it is not. To get people to divulge information about themselves, you should be able to articulate the value in your business solution. Plus you need to be present in channels that get you closest to your target audience. Articulating value is a broad, multi-layered topic, and it has as much to do with soft skills as it has to do with your knowledge of the business. However, there are specific channels you can tap into when it comes to lead generation, and that’s where we’re heading next.
Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with referral marketing, as both forms of marketing use third parties to drive sales to the retailer. The two forms of marketing are differentiated, however, in how they drive sales, where affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations, while referral marketing relies more on trust and personal relationships.