Well over 90 percent of consumers now flow through your marketing funnel courtesy of the internet rather than all those other antiquated approaches like the telephone or in-person visits.
In light of this continually growing trend, drawing prospects to your website is your greatest key to success.
It isn’t just how many leads you get, but whether they are qualified leads!
Of course, as you’ve probably realized by now, simply getting as many random people as possible to stop by your online headquarters isn’t quite enough. Generating traffic isn’t necessarily the same as generating leads, and knowing the difference is bound to have a huge positive impact on your bottom line.
A marketing qualified lead is often the first stage of qualification. A marketing qualified lead, or MQL, tends to be someone who has met the minimum criteria to continue marketing to them in the hopes of converting them down the funnel and passing them to sales for further evaluation.
A Common Marketing Mishap
Every month, businesses find themselves spending a considerable portion of their digital marketing budgets trying to bring in high volumes of visitors. Unfortunately, when they backtrack to crunch the latest numbers, they realize their ROI isn’t quite measuring up to their expectations. Why is that?
Well, for most, the problem lies in focusing on quantity rather than quality. On last count, only about two out of every ten prospects landing on a company’s website are actually qualified leads: the rest are pretty much wondering aimlessly. When you do the deeper math, you realize any efforts you make beyond drawing them to your website are pretty much a lost cause, not to mention lost marketing dollars.
Lead in with Initial Engagement
Obviously, some of those random visitors stumbling onto your website have the potential to become paying customers, but not all of them are ready or even willing to be assimilated. Honing your off-site marketing tactics helps bring in even more qualified leads than SEO alone.
A buyer persona is a detailed description of someone who represents your target audience. This persona is fictional but based on deep research of your existing or desired audience. You might also hear it called a customer persona, audience persona, or marketing persona.
Once members of your target audience become serious about looking for the products or services you have to offer, any effective SEO strategies you have in place will bring them to links you’ve placed in other areas, like websites somehow related to your industry or, even more likely in today’s online landscape, your social media sites.
When they find these portals to a deeper understanding of your business, they’re already bona fide prospects, so it’s time to draw them in further. Calls-to-action placed strategically on those outside sources are designed for just that purpose. They’ll get the engagement ball rolling and bring those newly generated leads to specific landing pages on your website.
Generate Qualified Leads Rather than Mere Traffic
At this point, you’ve transformed a consumer into a qualified lead instead of just another visitor. It’s time to make them an offer they won’t want to refuse. Exactly what you offer them really depends on your company, your industry as a whole, and what you already know about the needs and mindset of your target audience. At the same time, it’s important to have offers in place matching the overall concept of the landing page in question.
Intriguing offers come in a number of different forms with some of the most effective being contest and giveaway entries, ebooks, running newsletters and free trials. As alluded to earlier, you need to provide offers geared toward leads in various phases of the sales funnel. Invitations to enter a contest might be more appropriate for someone just beginning to show interest in your company whereas free trials and the benefit of your wisdom would be better suited to qualified leads who are on the verge of breaking out their debit cards.
Either way, those offers should be given in exchange for leads’ names, email addresses and other information to be used to your own advantage. You give them something they want, and they give you the potential to further pique their interest.
Once you have their information, you can use email marketing to further nurture the relationship. They want to know they’re not just another website visitor just as much as you want them to be a paying customer, so use their information to send them personalized messages. Some 80 percent of consumers say they’ve gone on to do business with a company after being drawn to its website and receiving a personal email response.
In a Nutshell
Quantity can’t be discounted in the world of website traffic; after all, the more people visit, the more can be converted to paying customers. That being said, the quality of the traffic coming to your website goes a long way toward putting your marketing budget to more efficient use.
Draw in a potential customer using outside links and calls-to-action based on their immediate needs. Offer them something of value in exchange for their information, and use their information to usher them further along your sales funnel. In the process, you’re transforming your traffic into ready-to-convert leads aka Qualified Leads.
This is only an at-a-glance synopsis. Lead generation takes a great deal of planning and effort with plenty of different strategies and tools at your disposal. With the right combination in place, you’ll find a growing number of qualified leads coming to your website and ultimately becoming not only part of your clientele, but effective instruments of word-of-mouth advertising as well.
Founder & CEO of ThinkFlame, Shelly Patrick, trains individuals and companies to understand how their marketing affects their sales conversation and how to integrate marketing into their yearly plans for consistent growth.