The other day, I had a conversation I often have with my clients. My client said, "I don't follow up with most of the leads I generate from my site. They aren't in my target audience."
And I responded, "Did you mean to ask me how you can reach your target audience online?"
Here's some ways that B2B companies can refine their lead generation so it better targets their ideal audience. I'm available if you need someone to discuss this for your business.
Without further ado, here's 10 ways to target your market more precisely online:
- 1. Email Marketing: If you have an existing customer base that loves you, you should be mining your customer relationship management system for email addresses. If you don't have them, you should figure out how to get them. But, send a monthly newsletter. It will generate repeat business and will generate referrals and word of mouth online. Highlight your blog posts in each newsletter and send people to a landing page to download a new white paper or register for a webinar. Include great info and people will forward it to their peers.
- 2. Social Media: Connect with your current contacts on Linkedin, Facebook, Plaxo and Twitter. You're going to do this for different reasons. Linkedin will help you see who they know. It'll also give you the ability to promote your content to their connections, as does Twitter and Plaxo. Plaxo helps you very easily build your prospect database further because it's easy to extract contact information from it. Facebook allows more ways to interact with people than most of these sites. That's why I recommend that.
- 3. Start a blog. Write articles that appeal to your target audience. Promote your very targeted blog content to your Twitter, Facebook and Plaxo connections.
- 4. White Papers: Write a white paper for your target audience. If your target market is software companies, write an eBook titled, "How to Increase Inside Sales for Your Software Startup".
- 5. Monitor Social Networking Sites: Set up alerts for your keywords. HubSpot's software automatically monitors LinkedIn Answers, Twitter, Digg, Delicious and a few other sites for keywords that are important. For the example above, make sure HubSpot is set up to monitor keywords like "Technology sales" or "technology startup" and then go engage people when they're already having relevant conversations.
- 6. Twitter. Everyone resists Twitter at first. The thing that will get you addicted is the ease at which you can connect with new people and actually initiate conversations. It's so easy once you learn the rules of engagement. You can search for users that fit your target prospect profile via Twellow and get suggestions about people like you from Twitter Grader. You can even ask probing open ended questions and get actual answers from suspects using Tweetworks. You can link to your site or blog posts when appropriate. It's like walking into a 24-7 super networking event.
- 7. Go where your prospects are. Write guest articles for other blogs that reach your market. Like I'm doing now. Like I did for Aaron Ross: How to Generate a Steady Flow of Inbound Sales Leads.
- 8. LinkedIn Group. Start a LinkedIn Group for your target market. Trish has a group called "Inside Sales Experts". It has 1200 members. But, a group called "Technology Sales Professionals" with 100 members would be much more valuable. "Technology Company CEOs" might be even better.
- 9. Implement lead tracking. If a good lead comes in, know the source and do more of the activity that attracted that visitor to you. Use lead tracking to measure this.
- 10. Closed Loop Marketing. Implement Closed Loop Marketing to prioritize your sales activity around the prospects that are most engaged with your website. Our data shows that the most engaged prospects are the ones that are most likely to buy. Call them first.
No matter what activities you start, there's one big paradigm shift that you need to get your head around. It's not really about targeting your audience online like you target prospects through your traditional marketing and sales activities. It's about being findable by your target prospect online. You need to be findable in three places:
- Search Engines
- The Blogosphere
- Social Networking sites
All sales professionals know that a prospect who calls you is much more likely to convert. Focus your online marketing efforts around being a magnet for your market. Use landing pages to give your good prospects easy ways to raise their hands and self-select into your sales process. Focus your sales efforts on the people that really want and need your service. Stop wasting your time sorting through lists. Start building your following.