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5 Basics You Need For Effective Lead Generation

As a mark of an effective sales funnel, lead generation is an important metric for marketing. However, few marketers actually feel that their lead gen campaigns are useful. To make sure you’re creating the most leads,  here are five basic tips and techniques you’ll need to follow:

1. Create Irresistible Offers
Entice your leads by making an offer they can’t refuse, so to speak. There are certain keywords that can induce a psychological response that increase your offer’s appeal. In other words, while your product or service may be great, the way you present it needs to be greater. It should create a sense of urgency and need in your potential leads.

For example, one of these keywords is “scarcity.” When something is in short supply or only available for a limited amount of time, it creates a sense of exclusivity. Whoever is lucky enough to get in on the opportunity feels that they have been given a special experience.

It can also work to show how popular something is. As unique as people wish to be, they also don’t want to feel left out. If you can prove your product or service’s impact with numbers, it can be a great way to reel in potential customers.

Whatever method you choose, be sure to tailor these offers to different stages of your sales funnel to guide your leads through it. If your leads are at the later stages of buying, you don’t want to provide them basic educational materials, like you would for those who are just beginning the process. Use a variety of product formats with varied, interesting language to engage your leads and see the deal through to the end.

“You can’t settle for anything less than amazing when it comes to CTAs.”

2. Use A Superior Call To Action
If you aren’t using effective calls to action, you’re missing out on an important aspect of lead generation. CTAs are essential for driving conversions, so you can’t settle for anything less than amazing when it comes to this part of your marketing.

First, make sure they’re visible. You don’t want website visitors to gloss over your CTA, so make it visually enticing and place it in a spot where it can’t be missed.

Next, don’t think too hard about what it says. In fact, the more straightforward you are, the better. Marketers can get caught up trying to be pithy or clever in a CTA, but the result ends up confusing viewers and driving them away. Instead, help it stand out with color and position it strategically. For example, a “thank you” page that follows an action on your site is prime real estate for a CTA.

3. Enhance Your Landing Pages
In many cases, your CTAs will link to landing pages, which are vital to lead generation. According to MarketingSherpa, landing pages are effective for 94 percent of B2B and B2C companies. Clearly, you don’t want to let this part of your website falter.

The anatomy of a landing page isn’t very complex. You need a headline that matches the corresponding CTA, a brief description accompanied by an image and a form to collect information. You’ll also want to make sure visitors aren’t encouraged to move away from the page. You can delete your main navigation bar to do so.

Just as with your CTAs, the mantra for landing pages is to keep it simple. That means a clean, informative page that is clarifying, not confusing. If you’re looking to boost their effect, having more landing pages can be beneficial. The more content on your site, the more opportunities you get to generate leads.

x_0_0_0_14106087_800Keep your landing pages and their respective forms simple to enhance their effectiveness.

4. Optimize Your Forms
Forms are an important part of your landing page. They’ll help you gather information to convert leads.

While there is no exact right way to build the forms for your pages, some suggest that shorter is better. Long forms can look like a lot of work and visitors may avoid them altogether because of it. You don’t necessarily have to limit how much information you ask for, though. You can shorten the form visually by tightening the space between fields. However, the best way to determine these aspects is by testing them out for your company and target audience.

Another tip is to avoid using the word “submit.” Instead, associate the form with a specific action to let visitors know what they’re getting out of it, like “download our whitepaper.”

5. Generate Through Multiple Channels
While we’ve been discussing the many ways your website plays an instrumental role in lead generation, you’ll need to spread your efforts to other platforms. Some channels to consider are blogs, emails, social media and search engine optimization. By targeting buyers in a place that’s convenient for them, these avenues can help you significantly increase your outreach and overall success with lead generation.

With these tips, you have the tools to improve your overall marketing strategy. Lead generation is one of the most important steps in creating an effective sales funnel and increasing revenue, which is why it deserves your time and attention. For further reading, be sure to check out our ebook, “Top 30 Tips & Tricks for Lead Generation.”

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When’s The Best Time To Post On Social Media?

Any solid marketing strategy nowadays includes social media, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is adept at using these platforms. One of the more challenging parts of including social media in your marketing plan is knowing what times to post – the answer is certainly not whenever you want to or can.

Hubspot explained that ideal posting schedules depend on a few different factors, which include the platform, target audience, target region, the content of the post and its goals. While these specifications can influence your social media strategy, there is some data on when and how often you should post on certain sites. Fast Company went as far as saying there’s a certain science behind the right social media approach, and that following those parameters can almost certainly help you achieve your marketing goals.

“There’s a certain science behind the right social media approach.”

Facebook
Based on data compiled by SurePayroll in a handy infographic, Facebook’s highest average click through occurs between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. The site’s peak is on Wednesdays at 3 p.m, which SurePayroll called the “afternoon slump” – a time when people take a break from work to check their phones.

Neil Patel, columnist and founder of Crazy Egg, a site that shows businesses where its audiences are clicking, also praised the afternoon as the best time to post. According to Patel, 1 p.m. posts get the most shares, while 3 p.m. posts get the most clicks.

SurePayroll’s data showed that the worst time for Facebook posts is on weekends, before 8 a.m. and after 8 p.m. – when users are presumably either asleep or out doing better things than browsing the web. However, Catriona Pollard, an author on PR and social media strategies, wrote for the Huffington Post that activity on the site increases just before the weekend, going up by 10 percent on Fridays.

For more insight to help you assess the best times to post, Facebook gathers the information for you based on your fan activity. In the posts section, you can regularly check up on the data in “When Your Fans Are Online.”

Twitter
According to the SurePayroll infographic, the best times to post on Twitter are Monday through Thursday, between 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The site’s peak time is Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

It’s no coincidence that these times are close to lunchtime, when people are on a break checking their Twitter feeds. Commute times are also ideal for posting. Pollard pointed out that Twitter users are much more active on the site on their way to work, making posts at 12 p.m. or between 5 and 6 p.m. She also said that posts by business-to-business organizations should focus on Monday through Friday, while business-to-consumer organizations should target weekends and Wednesdays.

To boost your chances of engagement even further, tweets with images result in higher percentage of clicks, visits, retweets, favorites, conversion rates and leads. Pollard also explained that tweets have a much shorter shelf life than other social media posts, requiring a higher posting frequency – the publication recommends around four tweets a day to maintain exposure on a feed. As a time saver, try using a tool that can schedule your tweets. You can compose them in the morning and let them post on their own throughout the day.

x_0_0_0_14127563_800Beyond the basics, know when your target audience is online and adjust your posting schedule accordingly.

LinkedIn
LinkedIn is an extremely useful resource for B2B marketing. According to Patel’s infographic, 93 percent of B2B marketers rate LinkedIn as their top source of social media lead generation. Based on the site’s purpose and audience, it makes senses that LinkedIn’s peak times are during work hours on weekdays.

SurePayroll’s data showed that the best times to post on the site are Tuesday through Thursday at noon or between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Understandably, Fridays are a slow day for LinkedIn, when professionals are winding down from the week and straying away from work-related content.

SurePayoll also indicated that the number of mobile LinkedIn users are increasing – going from 38 percent in October 2013 to 41 percent in the 2014 survey. Unlike Twitter, Pollard said to avoid scheduling LinkedIn posts – it can give your audience the impression that you’re not really active on LinkedIn. Instead, make the effort to post once a day and ensure that the tone fits the site. Since your target reader will be looking for more professional content, it shouldn’t read as casually as a Facebook post or tweet.

Conclusion
Overall, the best rule of thumb to follow is to tailor your content and positing schedule to the platform you’re using. Each site serves a distinct purpose within the social media landscape, so believing that a post for one could be equally effective on another is a rookie mistake. Make sure you’re factoring in your audience, their goals and the times that they visit these websites with each post you make. It’s not an exact science, but treating your social media strategy like one can help.

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5 Important Marketing Trends for 2016 [Infographic]

While there are certain tenets of marketing that will always remain true, the industry is constantly being reshaped by new trends and technologies. For this reason, it’s all too easy for a marketer to fall behind and lose an edge on the competition. To get your efforts up to speed, look at these five important trends that are anticipated to make the biggest impact in 2016:

1. Community and Relationship Marketing
Consumers are more savvy than ever these days, which is why marketing in 2016 will stress the importance of building relationships instead of direct sales pitches. The goal of relationship marketing is to obtain customers who are loyal and engaged, instead of short-term goals like acquisition and sales. Having a solid relationship with your customers means ongoing business, free word-of-mouth promotion and leads for more business.

Having this kind of relationship must come from creating content that serves your audience in various ways, maybe through learning or problem-solving. Keep in mind that any communication with your audience, whether it’s through content or direct correspondence, should feel personal and interesting. A solid relationship is also contingent on having reliable and responsive customer service.

2. More Video Ads
Google searches already favor pages with videos, but it will also include video ads in search results this year. Now more than ever, this tool is an invaluable asset. When Google tested video ads with some of its business customers, most said it played a part in boosting revenue.

Regardless of Google’s plans in the coming year, videos continue to be extremely prevalent. In the U.S., 78.4 percent of Internet users watch videos online. The numbers are similarly high in other parts of the world.

Taking advantage of this popular platform follows the same protocol as any other type of content. On its website, ReelSEO, a resource for video and online marketing, wrote that those in the mobile generation, aka the demographic for videos, hate being the target of obvious sales pitches. Videos need to be fresh, creative and serve a bigger role than just promotion.

x_0_0_0_14121145_800Connected devices within the Internet of Things are becoming a pinnacle of marketing in 2016.

3. The Rise of the Internet Of Things
In any industry, the 2016 trend talk is all about the Internet of Things. With the advent of wearable devices and other technology that can communicate with one another, digital marketing has more platforms to work with than ever before. This means more insightful data for marketers, as well as an opportunity to better organize than information.

4. Location-Based Marketing
With so many people connected to devices, location-based technology has become a burgeoning focus of 2016. This type of marketing relies on data collected from consented location-tracking, whether it’s through a user’s check-in or in-store beacons, to deliver personalized advertisements to a customer’s phone when in a certain area. Across the U.S., digital markets have already begun using RFIDs and iBeacons in their strategies.

5. Increased VR Experimentation
As they’ve become available, marketers are also hopping on virtual reality products to provide more experience-based content for consumers. While it can cost more than other traditional methods, marketers are expected to have a worthy ROI.

While these aren’t the only trends that will crop up in 2016, they will make an indelible impact on how marketing moves forward in the next year. Anyone lagging behind will surely feel the disadvantage. So you can better remember some of these topics, check out this visual guide:

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