In this post you will learn 10 proven list building strategies to drive more known leads into your firm’s marketing and sales funnel.
I’m sure you’ve heard it before, “We need more names in the leads database.” Any professional services marketer leveraging content marketing as a primary channel wants a larger email list. The question is how can you go about building this list? You can consider these ten proven organic and paid approaches.
List Building Using Organic Methods
Organic methods work to get more conversion out of the unknown people engaging with your content through your owned channels such as your website or social presences. The pro with an organically built list is it will show signs of high engagement at or above industry benchmarks. The con with an organically built list is it can be a slower process to generate as the prospect maintains control over if, when, and where they will decide to tell you who they are.
1. Search Optimize Your Website Conversion Points
Do you have pages in your website that tend to be your highest converting areas? Sit down with an SEO strategist and determine the actions needed to better search optimize these pages to draw in higher organic traffic to these specific landing pages. Conversely, evaluate your landing pages that are performing well in search and optimize the conversion points you have in place on those pages (e.g. are you displaying the right offer?) or if a conversion point is not in place, introduce one.
2. Gate High Impact Content
I know, we all hate forms. Nobody likes to fill them out because we know what it leads to, more email in our inbox, or worse, unsolicited requests. But the reality is people do fill them out when they want something that has substance and is viewed as useful. Sit down and evaluate the most useful content in your website (evaluate pageviews and scroll depth). Is this content being given away for free? Does it contain highly useful information? Then put a form in front of it and require a user to give you something in return for access into the information.
3. Simply Ask Your Network to Subscribe
How often do you find yourself giving versus taking? We all like givers. It’s the impetus behind content marketing. You’re giving away expertise to help others learn and people come to trust and value those who help them. In exchange for this trust, we inherently want to help those who help us when the request for help is made. Because of this, it’s okay to sporadically introduce an “ask” into your content marketing mix. Once a quarter, or even once a month, insert a social post asking your network to make sure they subscribe to receive your content in their inbox. And provide them a link making it easy to do so.
4. Take Advantage of the CTA Link in Social Profiles
Twitter and LinkedIn both allow you to insert a custom CTA link on your business page. Instead of simply linking people to your website, change the offer to a sign-up button and link to a form on your website that explains the value in your email newsletter and makes it easy for them to subscribe. Want other tips on how to better, manage your social presence? Read these seven tips.
5. Leverage Pop-Up CTAs in Your Website
First, I understand if this makes you cringe. Not only do we as website users hate forms, we also hate to be interrupted with pop-up offers. But guess what, the data shows they work. One company even increased their conversion rate by 2,100% by using pop-up offers. Consider using a tool like HelloBar or OptinMonster to introduce welcome mats, on-exit interrupters, or on-page slide-in offers. The key thing to remember when setting these tools up is to consider what frustrates people when exposed to them and configure appropriately. For example, people find them rude because they interrupt at a poor time or the content isn’t relevant. Mitigate this risk by adjusting the timing of when the offer is presented (exit-intent, time on-page, scroll depth, etc.). And use behavior personalization to target relevant pop-up offers based on what the user is currently expressing interest in. You could also consider these other three conversion tools to help convert more site traffic into you database.
List Building Using Paid Methods
Paid methods are simply paying to acquire a specific name and drop it into your email list. The pro with a paid approach is you can drop names into your list as fast as your budget will allow. The cons are this process can get expensive, data accuracy, and having an engagement level that is often well below industry benchmarks because these people did not offer you permission to begin contacting them.
1. Acquire Names from Sales’ Top Prospect Lists
Sit down with your sales team and ask them for the top prospective companies they’re targeting and identify the job titles they’d love to have relationships with. Take this information into Zoominfo, Equifax BusinessConnect, Hoovers, etc. and simply buy the names. You’ll likely find the cost to be anywhere from less than $1/record to more than $1.50/record depending on the volume of names you acquire and the list service you use.
2. Leverage Your Unknown Website Visitor Data
If you’re using a marketing automation tool like Act-On, Hubspot, Marketo, etc., you’ll have access to unknown visitor data. Unknown visitors are the people visiting your website who aren’t in your list and therefore you have no idea who they are. These tools will track the IP address and associate it with a company name so you can see which companies are coming in, how frequently they are coming in, and what content they are viewing. If you don’t have a marketing automation tool, invest in a tool like Leadfeeder to gain access to the same type of information. Leverage this data by identifying the companies that fit your target account profile and who are showing higher engagement (multiple visits to the right pages) and then use Zoominfo, or a similar list service, to purchase relevant contacts at those specific firms.
3. Select a Conversion Bid Strategy on Paid Campaigns
Most social platforms, Google AdWords, and other digital advertising platforms allow you to define your media bid strategy. One of these bid strategies will be “conversion” oriented. In some instances, you might only pay when the conversion takes place and at minimum you will be targeting your content to only people who exhibit a higher propensity to follow through on conversion-oriented advertisements. This approach will put your money to work on the action you desire. Just understand that this will be your most expensive media buy as conversions are high-value actions, and the ad providers know this.
4. Use Native LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms
Not long ago, LinkedIn launched a new paid marketing solution called Lead Gen Forms. This feature allows you to sponsor paid content with gated offers natively within LinkedIn. These brings with it two major benefits. First, LinkedIn has the best B2B targeting available across any of the social platforms allowing you to reach a highly targeted audience with your offer. Second, your prospect audience gets a better user experience because they no longer need to make extra clicks to access the content they want.
5. Leverage Your Firm’s Paid Speaking Agenda
It’s getting harder and harder to get an event host to release their attendee lists. Because of this, it’s time to change your approach to acquiring these lists. If you’re lucky enough to have someone at your firm being invited to speak either through a paid engagement, or at minimum, are having their travel expenses paid for by the event, leverage this financial value to your advantage. Offer to cut the rate of your speaker or offer to pick up your speaker’s travel costs in exchange for the attendee list. The organization hosting the event benefits by obtaining a new avenue to keep their costs as low as possible. And you win by gaining a list that you know will be exposed to and possibly highly engaged with the expertise of your subject matter expert. It’s a win-win.
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