If you’re accountable for Internet business-to-business lead generation, the last thing you want is for the leads to dry up. This is harder to address if you’re wearing many hats in your company. You might neglect the top of the funnel.
I read a great white paper recently (Taming The Volatile Sales Cycle from Miller Heiman) that talked about focusing on the top of the funnel and the bottom, more than the middle.
1. First try to close the leads who are near purchasing.
2. Second, make sure you have more new leads coming in.
3. Third, work on the middle leads. Don’t let them keep you from getting more new leads, or pretty soon, you’ll run out of leads.
The middle of the funnel can be very time-consuming, and some of them will never close. The profitability of your time spent on the middle is lower. The most aware and proactive prospects will move through this quickly, and won’t need as much assistance. They’re the low hanging fruit of sales, so close ‘em!
There’s some work you may already at the top of the funnel do to get leads, but are you capitalizing on that work as much as you could? Here are some of the things I do that I believe keep leads coming into the top of the funnel.
Get More Free Leads From Google
Many sites get their best leads from natural search activity. Often they are stronger prospects who believe in you more and spend more than leads from ads. Not everyone cares whether you advertise, but some do- those people are more skeptical than people who came in from natural search.
Keywords Are Key
If you don’t know what Google keywords you should be using, you’re in trouble. Use the AdWords keyword tool to find good keywords. Make sure your web analytics are set up to track goals. If you have a CRM that tracks keywords, that helps immensely.
Google Analytics is not as good for correlating specific keywords to leads anymore. BUT it may be simpler than that- if you really only have 4-5 major keywords, you can optimize for all of them anyway. 80-20 rule, for the win
So, once you have those keywords- do you have at least one blog post with that keyword in the title? When you’re writing a post, take a second to look at the keywords you might use. Shape a title that’s both creative and search-smart.
The keyword tool can give you related keywords for each main keyword (click on that down-arrow next to the keyword). Blog on those subtopics as well. Are you linking from one post to another using those keywords? Do it! It may change your phrasing in a sentence a bit or make you add a paragraph, but it’s worth it. You know what you’re writing about, but does Google? Do Google searchers know? Use keywords.
Are you tracking your ranking for those keywords? If it’s just a few, you can use a Chrome incongnito window to find them manually, but if they’re worse than the fifth page, this can be time-consuming. I like SEScout for keeping track of my rankings.
Links Are Votes
Are other websites linking to yours? If not, you need to think about links. Links are the biggest competitive advantage in natural search. To Google, they’re votes for the importance of your site.
You can get links many ways without traveling into the realm of spam.
- Your press releases can have live links in them.
- Tweets with links in them are links… people retweeting those links counts too. Plus these are fresh (recent) links, and Google likes that.
- Pinterest posted images can use a link in the description. This is a live link.
- Ask your closest peers if they’ll link to you in their blogroll, on a recommended sites page, or in their footer.
- You have other relevant content, so link to it, just use the keyword as the anchor text! That’s internal linking, and not enough on its own, but still helps.
Don’t get too picky about types of links, nofollows, etc. Just get more links and let all that take care of itself.
Use Social Media Scheduling To Amplify Your Content
Do you have Twitter profile, a LinkedIn profile, a LinkedIn company page, or a public Facebook page? Anything you post here can count toward Google links and ranking. Even the public elements of your Facebook profile count in this way.
Are you creating evergreen content that should be good for at least 3 -6 months? If you posted something a month ago that’s still good, why not tweet or Facebook-post it again? I’m certain that not everyone saw it.
Have people already shared or retweeted some of your content? If so, that should happen again when you re-post. Humans will see these directly and may become prospects- and it all counts for SEO.
Use HootSuite to schedule repostings ahead. I don’t use hootsuite to pretend to be asking someone a question on Twitter right now. I find that to be a bit inauthentic. But I do think scheduled repostings (kind of like TV reruns) are fine.
Another tip: do you have an international audience? Think about their time zones when you’re scheduling ahead. Post some just for them.
Don’t overlook this, because if you can post something interesting, you can add a link. Humans click, and Google counts it. You can also easily post the link to the Pinterest pin on Twitter and Facebook. Then, the link may show on Twitter, be counted, the link to Pinterest leads to another page with that link on it- it’s counted twice!
It’s easy to find things to pin- I wouldn’t suggest you use other people’s content to promote your links- but you can create your own images and infographics with which to do this.
See the lead generation sales funnel picture in the upper right of this very post? That’s an example. I wanted you to be able to visualize that process, but I also planned to pin it. It has my contact info in the image itself, so no matter what text accompanies its repins, people will still be able to find me.
I know, for some weird reason I am still trying to understand, some people don’t like advertisers and don’t feel comfortable advertising. But many companies either swear by its ability to let new prospects know they exist, or have daily proof that it gives them profitable sales. There are many ways to advertise, from dignified to spammy. You can simply use your logo or face and state what you do for people. Or you can use crazy pictures of babies and old men. It’s up to you to customize it.
For me, it’s an invaluable source of exposure. I get new business and speaking leads from it every week.
What I do is spend a little bit in AdWords, Facebook and LinkedIn- rather than putting my eggs in one basket. Years of looking at analytics reports has led me to believe that
1. It’s better if people hear from me on multiple sites- “this guy is everywhere!”
2. It’s better if people see me more often (it takes multiple exposures to register in the brain and get people thinking about buying from me)
3. Some people are only on one or two of the sites. The targeting for each is imperfect. On AdWords I can only get people who are in a buying frame of mind. On Facebook I get the everyday people, but not all the professionals. On LinkedIn, I get the professionals, but they don’t spend a lot of time there.
Do this stuff! It keeps people seeing your content and website, increases your Google rankings, and gets more leads.
Keep the leads coming!