Everything has a process, for good reason. Here are some helpful things to keep in mind when setting up a process for your next outbound lead generation.
Outbound lead generation comes across as stressful. Will this investment be worth it? Am I doing this right? Can I track success? But first, how do I track success? There are lots of things that go into a successful lead generation campaign. Understanding where to focus during different parts of a campaign is crucial to success.
Think about it terms of everything else you work on; recruiting, hiring, onboarding a new client, project management – the list could go on. What do all those things have in common? Process. You have recruited and hired enough people to know what works, what doesn’t work, who they should talk to, and the steps new hires should take to get up to speed. You’ve managed enough projects to know what software works best for your work, when you should have project check-ins, and how to wrap a project. I think you get the point.
So, why don’t you have a process for outbound lead generation campaigns? It’s just as crucial as the other items that you have a process for. It’s responsible for bringing leads into the door so you can nurture them and turn them into revenue (that’s pretty important). Lucky for you, you don’t have to start your process from scratch, we’ve done that for you. Let’s start with the big picture, then jump into each phase individually:
- Define – Plan the tactics you’ll use and what you hope to accomplish.
- Implement – Execute your campaign and see what happens.
- Reflect – Create time and space to determine what you learned.
#1 – Define
In our marketing world, there are names and acronyms for just about anything. And new ones are popping up all the time (I think Geico’s commercial did a good job of giving the non-marketers insights into the world we live in). With all these different names being thrown around, what’s the best place to start? Defining what outbound lead generation is – it is the process of acquiring leads by targeting, prospecting, and reaching out to potential clients you could do business with. Simply put… it’s going after the clients you want, not waiting on them to come to you. Now that we are on the same page of what outbound lead generation is, let’s talk briefly about what tactics exist that you can leverage to run a successful campaign.
Social Media Advertising
In the Social Media lead generation world, you need to go where your audience is. In the B2B space, we spend a lot of time developing LinkedIn campaigns for lead generation. Depending on who your audience is, and where they spend their time, you can run social media lead generation campaigns on all the major platforms: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.
SEM / Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
You’ve most likely heard of PPC when it comes to Google Ads (you can also run PPC campaigns on Bing and DuckDuckGo, too). We’ve found PPC to be a cost-effective tactic to use both at Rattleback, and for our clients. This involves research to know what keywords your audience is searching for and writing compelling headlines and descriptions to draw your audience in and click on your ads.
If you know your audience, you know the publications they are reading and subscribe to. This tactic allows you to be featured in prime locations in those publications, whether that’s in email newsletters or on landing pages. Just like the other tactics, a compelling headline and offering will drive clicks on your ads.
Before you think about leveraging any of the tactics we just talked about, you need to think about what will work for you based on the short- and long-term goals of your firm. It starts with knowing what you have to work with. Here are some things you need to think about:
Set a goal
There are many different types of goals you can set when setting up a campaign. It could be conversion-focused, simply a certain number of conversions, or a rate of conversions you want to receive after your audience visits your page after clicking on your ad. It could also be impression-focused, getting a certain number of eyeballs on your ad. And it could be click-focused, a certain number of clicks your ad receives, with a click-through-rate based on the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions.
Establish a budget
Outbound lead generation is an investment, so it should be treated as such. Luckily, all the major advertising opportunities that we are talking about in this article allow you to set a daily budget. This usually means that your campaign will not spend over a certain percentage of your daily budget, and over the course of your campaign the average cost per day will equal your daily budget. The cost won’t be the same every day, though. For example, if you are running a PPC campaign, you only pay for every click on your ad. If you reach the maximum spend that you have allotted for the day, your ad turns off until the next day. If you don’t receive enough clicks to spend your daily budget, then your ad is always on.
Determine a schedule
I mentioned outbound lead generation being an investment for a reason. You have to be patient. Just because you aren’t seeing the performance you want after a few days doesn’t mean you should turn off the campaign. In fact, LinkedIn recommends running your campaign for at least 14 days to give your campaign enough time to reach your audience. It’s like investing in the stock market…if your investments are down, you don’t just sell right away, you give them time to correct themselves and see if they perform the way you intended them to (and no, this is not a form of financial advice).
Pick a content asset
Do you have a premium piece of content that speaks to the solution you provide to your clients? We live in a world where people expect something in return for giving up their information, so give it to them. Give them something that is going to provide value to them and make them want to do business with you.
#2 – Implement
Now it’s the big day – launch day! You’ve done your research, set up your targeting, decided on a budget, and have your ads ready to go.
It’s time to press go and see what happens. Yes, it’s that simple. Start your campaign but remember to be patient. Like I mentioned before, LinkedIn recommends running your campaign for at least 14 days. This gives your campaign time to reach your audience.
You should not touch your campaign until the 14-day mark. After 14 days, you should look for ways to optimize the campaign, and if it’s needed make some changes. Here are a few ways to optimize your campaign:
Post copy and CTA
Maybe your campaign is getting a good number of impressions but not the amount of clicks you wanted. Take a look at the post copy and CTA. Could the post copy do a better job of explaining what the user is getting from filling out the form? Also look at the CTA. Some platforms have limitations on what the CTA can be, but a simple change from “Learn More” to “Download” could make a huge difference in performance.
Try a different image
If you are doing any sort of advertising that involves imagery, try a different image if you aren’t seeing the performance you want from your campaign. Advertising is a timing thing; you need to be able to grab the attention of someone when they are scrolling down the page and bring them in, and a new image could do the trick.
Do you know what to do when you get a lead?
Now let’s play a little scenario game. If you were to get a lead today, right now, would you know what to do with it? If your answer is yes, good for you, let’s make sure you are covering all the necessary bases to move that lead through your funnel and get them in the door as a client. If you answered no, that’s okay, you are reading the right article to learn this next piece of the process for your next outbound lead generation campaign. To talk about what to do when you get a lead, I’m going to share our process at Rattleback when we have someone convert on a contact form (and request a conversation), or on a campaign of ours.
First things first, the lead and their information go into Salesforce. This lets us track them from the very beginning of our relationship with them (or see if they’ve downloaded other content before) so we know what they converted on, when they converted, and who they are.
Next, we qualify the lead. This is optional, but something we do at Rattleback. Since we focus on marketing for professional services and B2B SaaS firms, we want to make sure the leads that are coming in are from people and firms that we work with and want to work with. If we see the lead is not qualified, we go back and look at our targeting parameters and optimize them to make sure we are getting the correct quality of leads for us.
Lastly, we nurture them. Nurture messaging, and what it entails, is different for every firm. This could involve a simple email nurture campaign where we share more content with the prospect to show them our expertise. It could also mean organic LinkedIn messaging. Simple 1-to-1 messaging on LinkedIn (not automated) to start a conversation about working together now or in the future.
The only exception to this is if someone fills out a contact form and requests a conversation. When that happens, we quickly qualify them and set up a conversation to discuss how we can provide value.
#3 – Reflect
Maybe the most important step in an outbound lead generation process is what to do after the campaign is over. Let’s think about the other business-related things that you have a process for, like hiring. Do you just stop caring about the person you hired after they start? No, you have 30, 60, 90-day goals and check-ins to make sure they are enjoying the work and are set up for success at your firm. You look back and see if you could have done anything different throughout the hiring process.
Outbound lead generation is no different. After a campaign is complete, you need to go back and see what worked and didn’t work. There are three areas that we focus on:
Breakdown of performance
Did you meet your campaign goal? If your goal was conversions, what was your conversion rate? If your click-through-rate was high, but your conversion rate was low, then you know to look at the experience of the landing page where the conversion opportunity was.
Quality of leads
After qualifying the leads that came in, are they decision makers that you are aiming to have conversations with? If you notice you are getting leads of people who are not your target audience, you know to adjust your targeting next time.
Close rate after you get a lead
This goes hand in hand with performance and quality of leads. If you look back after a campaign and you’re happy with the performance and quality of leads, but you aren’t closing any new deals, that’s okay. It could mean they aren’t ready to buy yet. But remember, you have their information, so you can continue to nurture them and stay top of mind when they are ready to buy. Another thing to keep in mind is your sales team. Talk to them and find out why they aren’t closing deals, you’d be surprised what comes out of that conversation. It could be a new thought leadership asset for your next campaign or new targeting ideas because they are learning more about your prospective clients.
Suggested First Step:
If you don’t know where to start, isolate 1-2 tactics you’d like to test and start with a pilot program and pilot budget. A pilot budget allows you to invest less in the campaign while you learn. As long as you follow this process, your pilot program will set you up for bigger and better campaigns in the future.