The Covid-19 pandemic has put pressure on businesses large and small across the world, with the coronavirus lockdown in place across much of Europe, and many US states threatening to impose them due to record new Covid cases.
For any traditional business relying on walk-in trade, or a physical presence on the high street, the challenge will be finding new business, a challenge that will hit newly established businesses particularly hard. It can be tempting to fall back on buying leads in this situation, or worse still simply finding your customers, and therefore livelihood has dried up completely.
We spoke to UK-based lead generation agency Insite Web to find out how business can develop their own online lead generation strategy, especially during the coronavirus lockdown.
If your word of mouth and walk-in business has disappeared because you’ve had to close, buying leads from an external lead generation or third party site may seem like a good idea, as you attempt to plug the gap in your client acquisition. While purchasing leads can appear to be a quick win, providing you with a long list of new potential customers, the reality is often quite different.
The value of bought leads can be variable, with quality often sacrificed for quantity. Many companies also find that by the time they get to them, the leads have gone cold, and in some circumstances, you may not even be the only company that has been sold the leads.
So, if buying leads isn’t the best option, what is?
Paul Carmen, MD of Insite Web, thinks that businesses impacted by the pandemic should take the opportunity to explore how they can use online lead generation to provide them with leads tailored to their business needs.
Paul said “Virtually no company would consider operating without a website, but frequently businesses only use these sites to showcase their services. They may have contact forms on the site, but they often haven’t considered how to design these forms in order to target people who are actually likely to go on to become clients”.
It’s not just forms. Paul frequently sees websites that really aren’t created to attract contact from the right people. For example, websites that only want to attract high-worth individuals but feature articles on how to save on a tight budget or offer guides on how to fix a bad credit file. If you want a particular type of client, offer them content that appeals to them, and where possible make them sign-up to get access to it.
There are of course many other ways that you can generate qualified leads online; one of the most popular being pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, such as Google Ads and Facebook. A great benefit of using PPC is the ability to target ads to your desired keywords or demographic.
You can target particular searched terms, ages, affluence, and many other attributes at a granular level. However, if you don’t know who your target customers are and you have never carried out the keyword, customer, or market research, the chances of you targeting the right terms and customers and doing so successfully are extremely remote!
Paul suggests that you always get professional advice before embarking on any marketing or lead generation campaign. He told us, “PPC is an excellent tool for generating qualified leads, and for testing and measuring results, but it can be easy to get carried away and waste your budget without getting the results you need.
I’d always suggest that companies talk to a Google Partner PPC agency, get them to understand what you want to achieve, and then let them set up your campaign for you. Making a small outlay at the beginning for expert help will save you time and money in the long run”.
Know your customer and market
The best way to run any marketing and lead generation campaigns is to do proper research upfront and then come up with a plan that targets, measures, and tests the processes properly. The process should focus on:
- Researching where your customers will look for your services/products and what they actually search for; e.g. is it online and if so what do they type in search engines, or is it via another channel like social media?
- Identify your customers for marketing and tighter targeting purposes; e.g. define their age groups, locations, demographics, affluence, etc.
- Identify the core services or products you want to promote; these should be profitable for you and something you can deliver and then scale further if your lead generation really takes off
- What do these services or products mean for your customers and how do you communicate this succinctly; e.g. what is their problem, how do you fix it and why should they choose your company, service, or product
- What is your unique selling point (USP), basically the marketing hook to get them interested; e.g. do you do something great that the competition doesn’t, is your process simpler or faster, are you better on price, or do you offer a more comprehensive guarantee
Once you’ve done this work you can plan what budget and time you need to assign to any website work, and what to the ongoing lead generation marketing. If you don’t do this research, it ends up being at best a scattergun approach, where you may luck into something working, or more likely you waste lots of money and decide it doesn’t work, without ever actually knowing why.
As the coronavirus lockdown measures increase and we all adjust to what we are increasingly thinking of as the ‘new normal’, take the time to look at how your company is set up, and how it can get ahead of the competition by planning and executing a bespoke online lead generation or sales strategy.
Interesting Related Article: “Is Your Business Premises Safe During the Coronavirus Lockdown?“