A Guide to Generating More Leads with Incentives

It was meant to be so easy, huh?

You heard about the importance of building an email list. How it helps build an audience. Nurture leads. And develop relationships with them too.

And they said it’s so simple. Just put up a form on a site and watch signups rolling in.

Yeah, right…

It’s just that a month later you still haven’t had even a single subscriber.

You see, lead generation isn’t that simple. For one, most visitors need an incentive that will compel them to sign up.

In this post, I’ll show you exactly how to use incentives to generate more leads.

But first…

Why Incentives?

The easiest way to define an incentive is as something that motivates a person to take action. Study after study has proven that we respond predictably to positive or negative incentives.

But why do incentives work? It’s quite simple – they make taking the decision to perform a certain action easier.

When it comes to online marketing, an incentive is typically some attractive element like a bonus, offer or promise designed to stimulate a desired action.

And it works.

Marketing Week, for instance, reports that 40% of web visitors are willing to sign up to a mailing list in return for something of value.

But what incentives should you offer?

Typically, incentives (otherwise known as lead magnets) can come in a variety of forms, including:

eBooks

I know what you’re thinking – who has time to write an eBook?! But your blog is bursting full of articles that can be combined and repurposed into an attractive eBook.

Checklists

A checklist is a brilliant opportunity to turn your content into actionable advice. Combine a how-to article with between 5 and 10 steps for putting your suggestions into practice.

Content Upgrades

A content upgrade is one of the quickest incentives to create since they should enhance a piece of content that already exists. So if you have a blog post that you had to edit down because it was too long then offer the full, unabridged version at the end of the article. Your readers will already be primed for this type of content so they are more likely to opt-in to read more detail.  Some marketers have been able to increase opt-in rates by 785% with a simple content upgrade.

Email courses

Most marketers underestimate the amount of knowledge that they have amassed over their careers. Email courses are a great way to showcase your knowledge about your industry to people who be new to your space. Because a course occurs over a longer period of time you don’t have to write all your content at the start – just plan the general topic and write as you go.

Why do these work?

The examples listed above could all be considered educational incentives. They generally work because:

  1. They offer knowledge the person lacks.
  2. Promise to solve a particular problem.
  3. Are easy to consume almost right away, providing an instant gratification after signing up.

How should you present these incentives?

Once you’ve selected the type of incentive that suits your content best, it’s time to serve it to visitors and convert at least some of them into subscribers.

To successfully generate leads with incentives you’d need a data capture form to get a visitor’s contact details. There’s a number of ways you can do this, including:

Displaying a static ad in the sidebar

This is the most common way to offer an incentive and because of this, many people have become blind to this method.

 

IncentiveUsing a scrolling ad

The problem with a static ad is that once the reader scrolls down the page, it disappears from their sight. To overcome it, you could use a scrolling ad, one that moves as readers goes deeper into the content.

Incentive

Display a HelloBar

HelloBar allows you to place a colored bar across the top of the browser’s window to communicate whatever incentive you offer.

Incentive

Using a Pop-Up

This is another highly common method. Use a pop-up that will display after a visitor has spent a certain amount of time on a page or performed a specific action.

Incentive

Banner Under the Post

Finally, many sites also display banners under the post – this is the perfect position for a content upgrade. Some of these include signup form right away, others link to the landing page.

Incentive

Conclusion

If you offer your readers something of value before asking for anything in return you’ll be doing more than a good deed – you’ll watch your opt-in rates rise and your lead generation accelerate.

What sort of incentives have you had the best results with? Tell us in the comments so we can add them to our list.

 

kev-profile_300x300

Kevin McGrath is a co-founder at Beacon, an online tool that helps small business owners to quickly create content incentives like eBooks, checklists and upgrades without hiring a designer. When not working, you’ll find Kevin either playing or watching football.

What Makes a Good Marketing Strategy?

Let’s begin with an answer to the question “What is marketing strategy?’. This popular expression tends to be mistaken with promotion or advertising strategy. Marketing strategy shows how you’re going to use your 4 Ps – product, promotion, price and place, to improve your business results. Your marketing strategy should answer these 4 questions: what you are going to sell, how you are going to price it, where potential customers will be able to find your products and how you are going to promote it. On the top of that, it should contain goals you want to achieve so that you’re able to see how effective your strategy is.

So how to build a good marketing strategy? I’ll walk you through all 4 elements of marketing mix, show you best practices and give a few tips. Following these guidelines will help you create a strong and effective marketing strategy with little effort.

4 Ps

1. Product

The first step is to define your product (or services). What do you sell? If you’ve been around for some time, look at the structure of your revenue. What do people buy the most frequently? Pareto rule probably works well and 20% of products secure 80% of revenue. Identifying them will help you promote them better.

Also, you can consider adding new products. Doing it blindly can be dangerous, this is why you can ask your visitors or customer what they would like you to offer.

Tip: take a look at this case study to learn how RaveNectar used surveys to find out what visitors want him to sell.

2. Price

Now you know what you’re selling. How to set prices to maximize your profit? Some would say ‘Rise prices – you will grow your margins!’, some would say ‘Cut prices – you will attract more customers!’. I won’t tell you which solution is the best for you. What you should do to find it out is to test. You can raise or cut prices of some products by a few percent and observe what happens.

It’s more difficult when you’re about to start a new business – you don’t have data to compare. What you can do is to analyze pricing strategies of your competitors and conduct a small market research.

Tip: if you want to know more about setting prices, take a look at this guide based on experience with pricing experiments. 

3. Place

How are you going to reach buyers? It’s a tough question even for brick and mortar stores – there are hundreds of ways you can arrange products on shelves, you can even consider going online. You can also sell your products in your own store or offer it to resellers. There are many options you to consider.

If you already sell products in your online store, you can consider selling products on platforms like eBay or Amazon to reach even more customers.

4.Promotion

Products rarely sell themselves and promotion is a key to a successful business. You can offer great products for low prices in a fantastic store but you will quickly go broke if you have 0 customers. This can be the most complicated issue due to a number of possible options. You can advertise your business on social media, run AdWords or display campaigns, try marketing or content marketing, retargeting and a number of other online marketing techniques. On the top of that, there are all the techniques of offline and local marketing you can consider.

Tip: you can look for inspiration here

To make your marketing strategy strong, you should focus on all points because only then they will fulfill each other. Example: cutting prices won’t bring satisfying results if you don’t promote discounts. On the other hand, raising prices won’t help neither if you don’t upgrade your store or a website to make it look more high-end or offer additional services.

Don’t forget about setting goals

Before you implement your marketing strategy, think about metrics you will use to track progress. It can be profit, revenue, a number of sold items or any other metric that will clearly show your progress. The next step is to prepare a detailed action plan. What and when are you going to do and what are the expected results? To make planning easier, you can use a technique of setting SMART goals. It means they should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bounding. More on this topic and a free template

After implementing your marketing strategy, keep track of your progress. Did you want to double your revenue in 12 months but after 6 months there’s only 10% increase? Then you should go back to sketching board. Check which actions brought expected results and which didn’t work. Then think why it happened and how you can improve your performance. Implementing results of such analysis can lead you to significant gains and thus make goals more likely to be achieved.

 

Lucjan Kierczak headshot 150x150Lucjan Kierczak is an inbound marketer at Survicate– an app that makes collecting feedback from customers easy and quick. Collected answers will show you what your visitors expect from you, what problems they face or what’s preventing them from buying. You can find Lucjan on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Is Remarketing the New Free?

remarketing

Let’s face it, we’ve become increasingly numb to the lead capture bait for email address exchange. In fact, I think it’s become so bad that while people still sign up for the free thing, they often don’t even bother to download, rarely if ever actually read it or watch it, and unfortunately, don’t represent the opportunity for marketers that they once did.

The bar for starting a relationship with a prospect has evolved, and the stakes are higher.

Today, we have to create awareness before a prospect understands they have a problem or certainly before they are seeking a transformation.

In my opinion, this is still done by offering the right content, in the right context, but with the right delivery mechanism.

Creating awareness through targeted content

People still want to find answers to their challenges and will probably always seek information in many forms. Smart marketers are grouping and personalizing content by specific category or problem-solving advice and offering that content without strings in targeted advertising environments such as Facebook.

The content may be a short video or series of video, a group of blog posts or even a series of templates and checklists.

The key is that this is bite-sized, useful, easy to access and easy to consume. It’s the start of a relationship without commitment.

Building trust before the ask

So, how does totally free content create a lead? It does so by giving and giving and giving before asking anything. High-quality content without strings attached builds trust and authority – two of the primary objectives of all marketing today.

The key to making this work as lead generation tactic is something called remarketing or retargeting.

Now, you may be familiar with retargeting if you’ve ever reviewed a product you were researching online.

A few years ago I wanted to get standup desk and looked around at a variety of products before finally settling on one made by Varidesk.

I did my research one day and visited the manufacture’s site and sure enough everywhere else I went I started seeing ads for Varidesk.

In fact, even after I had purchased the desk from Amazon I continued to see the ads on many news type sites I visited.

This is retargeting not so much at its finest.

Or perhaps you downloaded a free report on a site and when you returned to get the next one in the series they already knew your name and email and automatically completed it in the form. This is another type of very useful retargeting in a way.

Essentially what retargeting involves is placing a cookie on a visitor’s browser that indicates they have come to your site. This cookie then allows ad networks to show certain ads when you visit one of their sites.

Many people dislike this technology, and you can manage it by changing your privacy settings to disable it. Of course, a lot of things you do like, such as a website you frequent remembering your settings is activated using this same approach.

One of the more effective ways to use retargeting in a gentle lead nurturing sense is by using Facebook’s retargeting tool.

You simply run sponsored ads at highly targeted, useful content or a series of content and let Facebook tell you who visits and consumes the content. Once this mechanism is in place, you can start building custom audiences of the people that visited your free content with the knowledge that they may indeed be interested in a more substantial version of the content in exchange for an email address or opt-in.

This approach, while requiring more patience, opens up a much larger potential audience and will likely make your list conversions triple or quadruple.

Here’s a nice little tutorial on Facebook retargeting from Social Media Examiner

And another, more technical one from WPCurve with specifics for WordPress users

And, you might want to look for retargeting services outside of the Facebook walls, so take a look at PerfectAudience for a super easy approach or one of the pioneers of retargeting, AdRoll.

Hyper segmentation for relationship building

One of the beautiful things about this approach is that it not only allows you to nurture people who visit your website, but it also allows you to create segmented campaigns for people based on what they visited.

For example, I attract many small business owners who are interested in tips and tactics for growing their business, but I also serve a growing network of independent marketing consultants who are interested in ways to grow a more profitable practice and serve more customers.

Using a retargeting approach, I can create a highly personalized experience for these radically different audiences based on an understanding of the content they visited.

Now, understand that this approach is certainly not limited to Facebook – Facebook just offers a nice way to use it to build awareness and trust.

This is essentially the same technology that powers inbound marketing tools such as Hubspot or many CRM and marketing automation tools. It’s the same technology that powers many of the more sophisticated lead tracking tools such as ClickMagick or Kissmetrics.

The real lesson in this is that marketers today must understand that as brands big and small continue to take advantage of the technology to serve more personalized, useful and relevant experiences the more our prospects will come to hunger for and expect the same from any business they engage – whether they know it or not.

7 Steps For An Effective Social Media Marketing Plan

Marketing Plan

photo credit: pixabay

With 2016 under way, one thing is clear: social media is now a vital marketing channel for businesses of all sizes. The common question a few years ago, “why should our business use social media?”, is now being replaced with, “how can our business grow with social media marketing?”.

As a social media marketer, this makes me very excited. What doesn’t make me excited is how many businesses are still trying to market on social media without a documented strategy. In this post you will learn the seven steps your business must take to create an effective social media marketing strategy.

Step 1: Audit Your Current Social Presence

“Know thyself. Know the customer. Innovate.” – Beth Comstock

Before you strategize about where you are headed, take a quick look at where you are. A few areas to consider when auditing your business’s social media presence are:

  • Which networks are you currently active on
  • Are your networks optimized (photo and cover images, bio, URL, etc.)
  • Which networks are currently bringing you the most value
  • How do your profiles compare to your competitors’ profiles

Step 2: Document Who Your Ideal Customer Is

“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” – Peter Drucker

You will want to get as specific as possible with this part. For example, if you identified your target market as parents it would be ok. However, if you identify your ideal customer as a parent that lives in the United States, is between 30 and 50 years of age, earns over $70,000, primarily uses Facebook and has an interest in outdoors activities you will have much more success.

Even the best marketers will fail if they are marketing to the wrong audience. Answer the following questions to help you come up with a highly focused buyer persona:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Job Title
  • Income
  • Pain Points (that your business can solve)
  • Most Used Social Network

Step 3: Create A Social Media Mission Statement

“What makes you weird, makes you unique and therefore makes you stand out.” – Dan Schawbel

Your social media mission statement will drive your future actions, so make sure you put some thought into it. This statement will make it clear exactly what you plan to use your social media presence for and should reflect your brand identity. Keep in mind your ideal customer when trying to create this statement.

An example mission statement might be “to use social media to educate current and potential customers about digital marketing, with a focus on social media marketing.” Once you have this statement documented, it will make it simple for you to decide what to share and create.

If it doesn’t align with your mission statement, forget about it. Businesses that post randomly without a guiding mission will fail. People follow experts, not generalists.

Step 4: Identify Key Success Metrics

“If you cannot measure it you cannot improve it.” – Lord Kelvin

How will you determine if your social media marketing efforts are successful? I am not just talking about gaining more followers, I am talking about making money. Afterall, it is hard to rationalize spending time and money on something that isn’t improving the bottom line.

A few metrics to consider measuring are:

  • Conversion Rate
  • Time Spent on Website
  • Reach
  • Brand Mentions
  • Sentiment
  • Total Shares

Step 5: Create and Curate Engaging Content

“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet.” – Bill Gates

Sadly, many businesses jump straight to this step. Hopefully this post has made it clear that there are several vital steps that you must take before you start creating and curating engaging content to share on your social media channels.

Let’s now discuss the fun part, posting to social media. You know who your ideal customer is and you used that information to create your social media mission statement. Armed with this information it should be easy for you to begin creating and curating content. So, what exactly is considered content? Here are a few examples of content you could create:

  • Images
  • Videos
  • Blog Posts
  • Company News
  • Infographics
  • eBooks
  • Interviews

The list of content ideas goes on and on, but make sure you focus only on forms of content that align with your mission statement, as well as your skill set. Content is what fuels social media, so it is crucial that you consider creating high quality, engaging content as a top priority.

I strongly recommend that you create a content calendar that outlines how often you will post to each network, which topics you will share and when you will share them.

Step 6: Invest In a Social Media Management Tool

“We live in times in which ordinary people can do amazing things using the right tools”

Most marketers have a secret, they leverage tools to boost their productivity. Ok, maybe it isn’t a secret, but without tools marketers would face constant burnout (many do even with tools). When it comes to social media, having a social media management tool allows you to scale your efforts with ease.

One of the main benefits of a social media management tool is the ability to schedule posts ahead of time. Remember that content calendar you created? Make sure your scheduled posts in your social media management tool align with your content calendar.

Step 7: Track, Analyze, Optimize

“If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything.” – Ronald Coase

This may be the most important step when it comes to succeeding on social media. Even the best social media marketers rely on trial and error. It might seem basic, but tracking your results, analyzing the data and then making tweaks to optimize them is crucial.

Each previous step should be re-evaluated after you have had time to analyze the results of your marketing efforts. Let the data drive you. If it is telling you Facebook or Twitter is your most effective channel, consider doubling down.

A great social media strategy is never set in stone. It is a constant work in progress that changes when necessary. So get out there, create a strategy and start optimizing it as you continue to grow and learn more about your business and your audience.

 

Xavier Davis HeadshotXavier Davis is a Digital Marketing Specialist at eClincher, an easy to use social media management tool. When he isn’t crafting killer digital marketing campaigns, he can be found reading, writing and hiking. If you have any questions or would like to say hello, connect with Xavier on LinkedIn or Twitter.