You are marketing a product to health-care companies. The sales team wants to talk to decision makers at large hospitals. Make this a part of the campaign. How?”
Here’s a popular way to generate online leads: Buy a keyword ad on a search engine site. In your ad, offer free content, such as a white paper, to respondents who complete a short form.
In theory, this type of campaign works well: The people who respond get something of value. You get leads. Everyone’s happy.
Not so fast. Too often in this scenario, the sales department follows up on the leads and tells marketing they’re no good. What went wrong?
The campaign described above is a wide-net campaign. When you post a search engine ad—no matter how targeted it is—you will attract people with diverse motivations and different pain points. Some of them are sales-ready. Others are simply interested.
But this doesn’t have to be a problem. In fact, it can be a golden opportunity to learn who is interested in your offerings and to tailor your sales and marketing to their desires.
A wide-net campaign can yield terrific results if you know how to craft it. These six steps will help you get the most from yours.
- See the big picture. When using wide-net marketing vehicles, it helps to take a longer-term view of lead generation. Wide-net campaigns are often the first step in a larger program. In fact, lead generation that starts online has to be a process that combines effective online and offline tactics to nurture and qualify an inquiry until it becomes a lead. Perhaps you begin with a white paper, then send an e-mail or offer a webinar. The point is, you’re generating interest—and building on it.
- Talk to your sales team. Don’t wait until the end of the campaign for your sales team to tell you the leads aren’t good. Find out in advance what sales needs, and build it into your marketing strategy. We’ll use this example: You are marketing a product to health-care companies. The sales team wants to talk to decision makers at large hospitals. Make this a part of the campaign. How?
- Find out who’s clicking, who’s converting and who’s abandoning. For a wide-net campaign to pay off, you must know who’s responding. You do this through post-click marketing. Rather than directing respondents to a single landing page, offer a landing path—a series of pages that collects information from the visitor. Using our example… Your ad promises a solution for health-care companies. The respondent arrives at the first page of your landing path and sees three choices: “Solutions for small hospitals,” “Solutions for large hospitals” and “Solutions for other health-care agencies.” (Your segmentation can be driven by whatever information you’d like to know.) The visitor makes a choice, giving you an important bit of data in the process. As they move along the path, be sure you’re delivering on whatever promise you made on the previous screen. Did you promise them a solution for a large hospital? Give them some information that pays off that promise. Respondents will continue along the path, and they’ll give you valuable information as they do so. Even those who abandon before converting (i.e., filling out the form) leave important data. The beauty of post-click marketing is that it allows you track respondent behavior. What does a visitor click on? How much time does someone spend on a page? You have this information. And the more you know about the respondent, the better your sales team can focus their efforts.
- Score your respondents. Assign scores to respondent behavior. Remember that our sales team wants to talk to decision makers at large hospitals. So when someone clicks “Solutions for Large Hospitals” on your landing path, you’ll assign that person a high score, giving a lower score to someone who chooses the small hospital option. Let’s say your large hospital respondent not only completes the form, but clicks every link on the “thank you” page you included in your path. More points. Design your post-click strategy and scoring any way you like. Remember: It should serve the goals of your sales department.
- Feed information to the sales team. In a successful post-click marketing campaign, you have a lot of information on a lead by the time you turn it over to the sales team. You can pass along not only the contact information, but statistics on behavior that give clues about their interests. And because you’ve scored each respondent’s behavior, the sales team knows the value of every lead it receives. Armed with information from the post-click campaign, a salesperson knows whom she is calling. If it’s a decision maker at a large hospital, she’ll talk about solutions for large hospitals. She might discuss case studies of larger hospitals, etc.
- Use your campaign knowledge to nurture those leads. Because the sales and marketing teams have solid information on respondents, they can plan their follow-up strategies accordingly. The large hospitals go to the top of the call list.. Small hospitals are second. Non-hospital respondents might get regular e-mails on topics related to health care. And within these categories, sales can prioritize its calls and tailor its efforts based on scoring and behavior information. Did someone download a demo? Sales can contact them to let them know about a more recent demo that may be of interest. Post-click data can even be used to divvy up leads. Perhaps the hottest ones go straight to the sales manager, while others go to a support team. Marketing may even decide to hold off on sending certain leads to sales, and instead plan a series of follow-up campaigns for some respondents. So a prospect receives a white paper as fulfillment, then gets a personal e-mail with an additional piece of content. By the time sales gets the lead, perhaps this person has indicated further interest, or at a minimum they have received additional, supporting content on the topic they originally expressed interest in.
As you see, a wide-net campaign can yield terrific results. With solid planning, strategy and execution, you’ll collect valuable data that helps you streamline sales and convert clicks into clients.