Developing a digital lead generation system doesn’t happen over night. When it comes to transforming your website into a lead generating tool, there are many moving parts that need to fall into place before reaching automated lead flow.
Due to budget and resource constraints professional services firms typically gear up gradually, tackling a few of these moving parts at a time. Eventually firms become comfortable with one stage of digital lead generation, and then kick it into a higher gear when ready.
While there is no one golden sequence or perfect approach to lead generation, I’d like to provide a method that we’ve seen work well here at Hinge. The idea is to set a foundation early on and then progressively intensify your lead generating focus until the system is fully in tact.
Your firm may move through the five speeds in six months or three years, depending on your resources and growth ambitions. Once in fifth speed (or “full gear”) inbound leads should flow continuously.
Speed 1: Build a Website with Lead Generation in Mind
Your firm’s website must include certain elements in order to encourage lead performance. Launching a new site without these elements is dooming your online game before ever starting. Here are the most important elements:
- Content Management System (CMS) – Building your website on WordPress, Drupal, or other CMS’s will allow you to update your website frequently. This means you will be able to add new content, tweak important elements, and treat your site like a living breathing marketing tool—without the need for an IT guy.
- Chanels for Publishing Fresh Content – Posting educational content on a consistent basis is the cornerstone of most professional services lead generation campaigns. Building a website with a blog and an area to house ebooks, white papers, and other reports is key to future success.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Best Practices – Although you don’t need to run an all-out SEO campaign from day one, it is important to develop your website using SEO best practices. Work with a coder that understands Google-friendly web structures. Also make sure your site is set up with the capability of easily changing SEO elements such as page titles and meta descriptions.
- Sidebars for Offers – If you navigate around the Hinge website, you’ll notice most of our pages have right-hand side bar areas. This space is our designated area to post special offers such as book downloads, guide downloads, and request a proposal offers. When building your site, make sure you allocate space for future offers. These will be critical for generating leads later in the process.
Speed 2: Begin to Create and Share Content
Once your website launches, it’s time to get to work. Although there are numerous marketing tasks you could focus on, Hinge’s Online Marketing Study shows us that content creation is a top priority. If you want to attract new visitors to your website, you must use educational content as a magnet.
A good starting point here is to attempt publishing one blog post per week and sharing posts across your social media accounts. Lead generation is all about finding routines and blog posting is an important one. Your website will begin to feel less static and more alive.
Once you feel comfortable with this new routine, start thinking of other types of content formats that your audience would enjoy. This could be a quarterly webinar, an educational guide, or a research report. Focus on producing one of these more substantial types of content—something that’s worth downloading or registering for.
One common difficulty during this stage is keeping up with content production. Don’t bite off more than you can chew! One blog post per week should be doable. If not, then reconsider this approach to digital lead generation (and don’t bother with Speed 3).
Speed 3: Focus on Keywords and Building Authority in Search Engines
At this point your website should have a steady flow of blog posts and various other content pieces. To gear up to the next speed you now need to understand how to leverage search engines. To avoid a steep learning curve consider working with an expert or hiring personnel with SEO experience.
The idea behind Speed 3 is that you want to begin tweaking your content so that it shows up in Google rankings, leading to more traffic. Content optimization is commonly split up into two categories:
- Top Level Content – Optimize your home page and services pages with appropriate keywords. This is sometimes done in the beginning of the web process when your site is being built.
- Blog Content – Optimize your blog posts with appropriate keywords. Conduct keyword research on a continuous basis and work those phrases into posts.
Besides working keywords into your content, you can accelerate growth by running a link building campaign. Finding ways to have other websites link to your website will increase your authority in search engines and boost your rankings.
It is at this point in the process where your web traffic will really begin to increase. Track your search engine rankings for targeted keywords and watch the number of web visits rise month by month.
Speed 4: Zero in on Conversion Optimization
If your firm is cruising at Speed 3 you could potentially be performing quite well. With strong content and an understanding of search engines, traffic should be increasing and potential clients may be starting to contact you.
The problem with stopping at Speed 3 is that although visitors are coming to your website, they aren’t necessarily converting into leads. Once you have the eyeballs you must zero in on the next step: getting visitors to take action. A common technique for this step is to use calls to action in the sidebars of your web pages. Examples include:
- Download a free guide
- Download a research report
- Subscribe to the newsletter
- Request a Proposal
Your goal with conversion optimization is to figure out the most effective ways to make visitors register their contact information. Experiment with different types of offers and track performance. Over time you will find the right content offers and call to action language that will convert your visitors into early stage leads. As visitors convert, your email list will grow—you can now continue nurturing these contacts with content-rich emails.
Speed 5: Full Gear – Scale Up and Tweak
Now what? The goal of Speed 5 is to figure out how to accelerate growth. Here are a few ideas for pumping up digital lead generation:
- More Content – Step up your blogging game to 3, 4, or 5 times per week. Create a guide per month instead of quarterly. Consider hosting webinars every 2 -3 weeks.
- More Keyword Research – Never stop researching Google’s free data. Always work to understand what phrases people are searching for. With more content comes more keyword research.
- More Link Building – Your website’s authority means a whole lot. The more credible you seem to Google (based on how many inbound links you have) the better your search performance. Get creative with your links.
- Better Community Interaction – Instead of merely posting your content to social profiles, really become part of industry conversations. Use your content as ammunition while networking in LinkedIn Groups and Twitter chats.
- More Conversion Actions – The more downloadable content pieces you have, the better the chances of visitors taking an action. When it comes to publishing guides, reports, and other long-form content, the fun never ends!
- Refined Email Marketing – Invest in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. This will help you segment your contacts and send more targeted email campaigns.
- Analyze More Closely – With more visits and leads comes more data. With more data comes more analysis. Don’t let up with your numbers. Find a data guru and get them on your team. Always find ways to improve based on past performance.
What’s Your Speed?
Drop us a comment and let us know where your firm falls within the five speeds of digital lead generation. Also, for more information on lead generation download our free guide below!