Unfortunately, many B2B companies that rely on a steady flow of leads to power business development are forced to use a mix of both purchased leads and organically captured inbound leads. Many would like to stop purchasing lead lists, but can’t because their inbound efforts do not produce enough qualified leads to maintain the sales department. Purchased lead lists aren’t as desirable because of their cost, effectiveness and cold temperature. Most companies that find themselves in this situation do so because they rely on a blog and hope strategy rather than actively and aggressively earning media online.
Brands that have their ebooks, guides and other advanced content featured and linked to by prudent online media outlets can see a quick, meaningful and significant spike in captured qualified leads. The example outlined in this earned media case study provided an 80+ percent increase in lead capture versus the prior month – more than 800 incremental leads in just two weeks.
Below are 11 simple steps to quickly and naturally grow your lead list.
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In order to strike the marketplace with confidence some basic research is required. However, more research will likely lead to greater confidence. Research helps eliminate guess work.
1. Assessing the Audience – helps determine what a qualified lead looks like. Traits and online behaviors should be noted.
2. Assessing the Content – is research that allows marketers to determine what problems their defined audience has and what content will help solve them best. In other words, what content would be perceived as highly valuable to the target audience.
3. Assessing Online Media Outlets – is a critical step because it identifies where the qualified leads hangout online and what type of content is published there. The websites identified during this research will be targeted for a guest article submission or a story pitch.
After research is complete, the creative steps to the process can be deployed. From design work to content development, great creative goes a long way in helping a media pitch be successful.
4. Advanced Content Production – is the creation of a problem-solving asset that usually takes the form of an ebook, guide, whitepaper, report, etc. With research complete knowing exactly what problem to solve and content to write should be easy.
5. Landing Page Content Production – is all about the value proposition of the advanced content. It should be short, bold and impactful.
6. Promotional Content Production – yields a guest article to be published on an online media outlet with an appropriate link to the landing page. Every media outlet targeted should have its own unique article written. Not all media outlets will publish a guest article; however, of the ones that don’t, many will write their own articles and feature the advanced content.
With creative finished, pitching online media outlets becomes a little easier. If the resulting advanced content is truly unique, a contribution to the marketplace and solves problems for the audience of the media outlet it’s much harder for them to say no.
7. Define the Pitch Angles – so there’s a clear plan when conducting outreach to the media. Understanding the value proposition of the advanced content and its significance to the outlet’s audience should keystone the plan.
8. Editorial Outreach – is tough, but over time a marketer can develop a rich network full of journalists and editors to contact. For help getting started, use these delicious PR pitch tips from Ashley Halberstadt.
9. Social Media Influencer Outreach – can massively expose advanced content, too. Influencers have large followings and typically run a blog. One tweet or link from them can produce a cascade of target audience eyeballs.
The conversion aspect of this list doesn’t necessarily have to occur after promotion. Landing pages and testing programs can begin production after the advanced content is created.
10. Design, Slice and Integrate Landing Page – this landing page will serve as the collection point for new leads driven by the earned media. Make sure to include appropriate form fields to assist in future nurturing, segmentation, scoring and qualification. Also, use a unique landing page tracking URL for each media outlet covering the advanced content.
11. Deploy appropriate A/B Versions of Landing Page – this step is optional. However, testing is highly advised. Testing different variation of the landing page can help increase conversion rates over time.
The above image shows the impact of earned media campaigns deployed every four weeks on lead acquisition. Campaign stacking can quickly capture many more leads than most company websites alone. By doing so, a company can rid themselves of the expense and heartache of purchasing cold, multi-owned lead lists.
The earned media techniques described above allow companies to actively and prudently promote their content online, as opposed to using the blog and hope strategy. For comprehensive help deploying the strategy above download The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Earned Media.
Image Credit: spiderman (Frank)