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When it comes to the best way (or ways) to generate sales leads, or finding new customers, "there is a lot of buzz around social media," said Mick Hollison, the CMO InsideSales.com, a provider of cloud based sales automation and predictive analytics for inside sales professionals. Social media "is thrilling and highly utilized.
But our research shows that social media platforms - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest - are not very effective in generating quality sales leads, "he says." Meanwhile, some of the more effective methods, such as executive events, webinars, search marketing and telemarketing, are underutilized. "
While the fairs and webinars work well for some organizations, many companies swear by Social Connect Review (despite InsideSales.com findings). It is clear that, when it comes to the generation of leads, a method does not fit all.
So how do you determine which methods or media are best for finding new clients? By testing a number of different strategies lead generation - and the measurement of the results.
marketing, sales, lead generation
For this task a little easier, we asked dozens of sales and marketing experts to find out what lead generation methods yielded the best results for themselves or their clients. Next to find their top nine suggestions on where and how to get new customers.
1. Customer referrals. Dogs are man's best friend. And diamonds may be a girl's best friend. But customer referrals are the best friend of an organization.
"There is nothing better than getting a sales lead from a satisfied customer," said JR Rodrigues, CEO, NetCablesPlus, which sells a wide range of network cables and accessories. An existing "customer knows what you offer and probably has a good idea of what needs the aforementioned prospect," he says.
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"This means that the lead is probably well qualified. Apart from this, you will have a huge credibility with the prospect because you come well recommended by someone they know and trust," says Rodrigues
2. SEO, SEM and PPC. "The best way (in terms of the lowest cost per acquisition) for an IT company or a service-based B2B business to generate leads is through pay per click (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO)," said Gabriel Shaoolian, the CEO and founder of digital agency Blue Fountain Media.
"PPC and SEO are the most effective way to generate leads because if companies need IT services, they go to Google and search for IT companies (Something like 90 percent of consumers - business or otherwise -. Go to Google search first). ", says Shaoolian.
To increase the effectiveness of your search engine marketing (Social Connect) and PPC campaigns, "long-tail keyword phrases, which are strongly oriented terms usually consisting of three words or more," advises Brett Prins, chairman, Marketaire, a provider of social media and Internet marketing news.
"Long-tail keyword phrases drive targeted traffic because of their specific character, and they are less competitive than similar, shorter terms, which are usually higher volume and be more competitive," says Prins.
In terms of SEO, "consider something educational, something your audience can benefit from," says Prins. "Once you have identified your target keywords, you create the content around it. You may be surprised at how quickly you will rank, and begin generating traffic and leads for this term."
3. Cross-promotion and co-marketing. Consider forming "alliances with complementary, non-competitive suppliers to exchange leads, each other's products and services, or to advance other mutually beneficial activities," suggests Rodrigues.
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"The revenues from such activities leads can very well - sometimes almost the same quality as the customer references," he says. "The downside is that the management of these alliances can be time consuming and charge currents can be unpredictable."
4. Providing useful content. "According to Google, tech buyers use an average of 14 pieces of online content, before a decision to buy (as opposed to only eight to 10 for the typical buyer)," says Kathleen Booth, owner and CEO, Quintain Marketing, which provides small to medium-sized companies with an end-to-end marketing solutions. "Social Connect Review that are educational or informational content to produce can establish thought leadership and lead generation earlier in the buying process, setting the stage to ultimately win the company," she noted. "It may sound counter-intuitive," she continues, "but the key is to prevent the sale. By offering the prospects of useful information in the form of blogs, white papers, ebooks, webinars, case studies and demos, you can gain their trust and their business. "
5. Speaking at fairs, conferences and events industry. "The best lead generator is to give a presentation event and follow it with customized letters, calls or e-mails to people you meet [it]," states Susan Carol, CEO, Susan Carol Associates Public Relations.
Speaking at the event immediately shows your name - and face - recognition, literally separate (and hopefully elevate) to the hundreds of other suppliers or service providers try to stand out. And follow up with people you meet at shows in a timely manner, you remain top of mind.
6. The use of LinkedIn. "Our customer research showed that the movement of LinkedIn generated the highest visitor to lead conversion rate (2.74 percent), nearly three times higher than Twitter (0.69 percent) and Facebook (0.77 percent)," said Mike Volpe , CMO of HubSpot, a provider of inbound marketing software. So what makes LinkedIn a good source of leads for IT companies and professional services organizations?
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"First and foremost, LinkedIn has a high percentage of professionals, so chances are, especially for B2B marketers, you're dealing with people in your target market is higher than some other channels," he says. "In addition, LinkedIn groups are organized around the issues and challenges for many buyers and / or geographical location and occupation LinkedIn makes it easy to view and contextualize what your potential buyers are talking about and tailor content to your LinkedIn pages accordingly. '
Just be careful not to lead with a hard sell. "Instead, focus on creating relevant content that highly divisible and potential buyers of interest," said Social Connect Review. "Infographics, quick tips and examples of successful leaders in their industry are all good examples of how to communicate in LinkedIn groups to drive leads and inspire commitment."
7. The use of Twitter. Using Twitter "to promote sales, products or services ... and use hashtags so that potential customers can find your sales or topic," suggests Kimberly Judd-Pennie, the founder and CEO of Cyber Mark International, an integrated marketing company .
You can also use Twitter to find potential customers by following "buying signals," you notice Mon Tsang, vice president of products and acting CMO of Vocus, which cloud-based marketing and public relations software and services supplies. For example, if you sell skis, search type for individuals looking to ski in recommendations by relevant search terms (eg "skis recommendation") or look for the hashtag "#skis" or "#skiing." Or create your own hashtag.
8. Providing contact information on every page of the website. "With search engines such an important engine of the incoming website traffic, you can not always predict what people are going to go to your website," notes Jonathan Bentz, marketing manager, Netrepid, a provider of professional services. "Having your contact information on every page of your website increases the likelihood that people will contact you."
9. Live chat. "We added a live chat on our site and generated a tender, the first night!" Bentz said. "I can not stress enough how important that was for a proof of concept, especially since most IT professionals are looking for quick answers without possibly getting stuck on the phone with a pushy salesman."