If you want to thrive and continue growing your print business in the “new normal”, it’s time to start thinking about automating your sales and marketing lead gen process.
Over the past couple of months, we’ve spoken a lot about automating print processes and implementing Web-to-Print software.
However, automation isn’t just about streamlining the way you fulfil orders. To sustain growth during this challenging time, you need to find ways of automating your lead generation strategy and prioritising the leads you have.
Without a clearly defined lead generation process in place for marketing and sales, you’ll find it hard to predict revenue and forecast your team’s performance. It’s a matter of simplifying your processes and allowing your team to focus on converting sales, instead of searching high and wide for leads.
In this blog, we share some tried and tested methods of optimising your lead generation strategy and enabling you to manage time more effectively.
Is automating your lead generation strategy important?
Lead generation is the process of finding and attracting potential new clients into your print sales and marketing pipeline. Once they’re there, you can start selling your services and encourage them to place an order.
The problem is lead gen takes time. And during this current climate, when competition for print business is tough, the process of generating leads and turning them into paying clients needs to be quick.
Your marketing and sales team will be trying to fulfil multiple roles and getting pulled in all different directions. Three of their biggest challenges include knowing how to prioritise which prospects to pursue, track progress quickly and nurturing prospects properly.
If you get your team spending too much time trying to qualify leads, cold selling or plucking them out of thin air, there’s a good chance you could squander the ones that are ready to go. Every hot lead needs an engaging follow-up, at the right time. Your team must focus their time on closing these deals instead of pursuing tire-kickers.
How to automate your lead gen strategy
There are many ways of generating leads without having to constantly run campaign after campaign. To give you an idea, we’ve included some proven methods below.
Use pop up forms
Pop up forms are one of the most powerful forms of lead generation for printers. No matter how good your website content is, prospects might gloss over it and hit the back button.
Pop up forms are mainly used to capture the contact information of a visitor who has spent more than 10 seconds on your website. You can use them to offer free downloads or enticing print discounts. Once you have their details, your sales and marketing team will know that the prospect is highly engaged in what you have to offer – especially if it’s regarding an offer.
Invest in email marketing
Email marketing is still widely regarded as one of the best lead generation strategies as it’s accessible and can be easily automated.
With a bit of know-how, you can set up email marketing funnels, where any new leads captured through social media and website enquiries can be nurtured along several touchpoints. This can include providing free guides, print tips and discounts. When the lead starts to open emails, respond or clicks buttons, you’ll easily identify when they’re ready to hear your sales pitch.
To build your email list:
- Post content on social media and publish blogs
- Run PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns and paid social media ads
- Improve your website SEO to generate more organic visitors
- Run competitions in exchange for prospect details on social media and at events
Ask the right information in web forms
When you ask prospects to fill out a form for an enquiry or free download, make sure your web forms are specific.
In doing this, you can get a better understanding of whether the customer is really engaged in your print services or not.
With downloadable content, don’t be afraid to ask for the company name, how many employees there are and their specific role. Remember, humans are naturally inquisitive. So, just because someone downloads a white paper or print brochure, it doesn’t mean they’re willing to placing an order.
In fact, it could be a competitor doing their homework on you.
Get smarter with LinkedIn
Social selling is a big part of generating business nowadays. LinkedIn has made it easier for people to contact CEOs and other decision-makers with just a click of a mouse.
However, your team can find themselves wasting too much time speaking to the wrong people. It pays to train your team to follow a strict set of procedures before engaging with a cold prospect. For instance, they need to prioritise marketing heads of business who may use print marketing and look at the followers of competitor print pages.
The only time they should engage in founders and CEOs is if it’s a small business and they have a clear active role in day-to-day operations.
Use better resources
Online resources such as Crunchbase and print industry-specific publications will give your marketing and sales team insights on company news.
This includes anything from funding rounds, recruitment drives and other key growth indicators. By attainting this information, your team can get a better sense of who is ready to buy and who isn’t – which is essential in this highly volatile world.
Utilise PPC and landing pages
Not only do landing page contact forms feed the email marketing machine, but it can also be a quick way of connecting you with qualified leads.
To enhance landing page views, give pay-per-click a go.
Like most things, PPC takes time to master. However, if you can outbid your competition, there’s no reason why you can’t receive hundreds of leads every month without hardly lifting a finger.
To succeed with PPC, here are some things your business must consider:
- Start small – don’t throw a big budget behind it before doing your homework. Allocate a small amount and tweak the campaign to find the winning formula.
- Test, test and test again – PPC does require fine-tuning, but this doesn’t have to be time-consuming once you get the hang of it. Test keywords, adjust your landing page content and try different offers.
- Use keywords – just like SEO, include keywords in your PPC ad copy. It’ll help you score a better position at a lower cost.
- Target specifically – stick within your local area and get specific with your customer personas. If you aim to take over the entire country, you’ll spread yourself thin and burn a hole in your pocket.
- Bid high – if the competition is low, always bid the highest. What you bid isn’t usually what you pay. It’s usually around half. This will give you the best chance of keeping your top position and maximising leads.
If implementing these lead gen automation methods sounds like a lot of work, you can always start leveraging a marketing automation tool like Markomi.
This innovative system enables you to have lead gen marketing campaigns running in the background while your team gets on with their other day-to-day duties.