According to our latest research, 31% of professional services firms contract outside help for at least part of their online marketing efforts. Additionally, 66% of firms plan on increasing their online marketing spending within the next year.
If all of these firms are paying for outsourced lead generation, what exactly are they buying? As a marketing firm, we are quite aware of what firms are paying for and which services are actually driving new leads and business. Here are five sure-fire lead generation tactics to consider outsourcing if you are looking to grow your company quickly:
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – This is a popular service to outsource because it requires specialized skills. Most businesses don’t want to pay a salaried worker to figure out SEO.
SEO is measurable (by tracking Google rankings, web traffic, and web leads), so it’s easy to tell whether your SEO provider is doing its job. They are either getting you new business or they aren’t. SEO also serves as the foundation for most online marketing campaigns, so getting this right is huge.
2. Content Creation – The more valuable content you publish on your website (e.g., blog posts, white papers, guides, etc.) the more web traffic and leads you will generate. Here are three reasons why:
- The more keyword rich pages you publish, the more opportunities you will have to be indexed in Google and other search engines.
- The more content you publish, the more outside websites will link to you as a valuable resource, ultimately increasing your search engine credibility and rankings.
- Publishing insightful articles and research helps to build trust with your prospects and position you as a thought leader.
The fastest growing firms are updating their websites with fresh content more frequently than average growth firms. The research doesn’t lie:
So why aren’t all firms doing this? It requires a lot of time. That’s why it makes sense to hire an outside professional writer to pump out content. Find a writer that has experience in your field and pay him or her to write weekly keyword-rich blog posts. One way to do this is to have the writer interview thought leaders within your firm. Or you can even have the writer break up existing articles into smaller blog posts. This relationship has quickly become a popular outsourced lead generation model.
3. Social Media – Spending time on LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social networks can either be a huge driver of your firm’s visibility or a colossal waste of time. If you wish to take this task in-house, you better hire an experienced marketer that understands social media strategy.
Many firms outsource social media because it takes a certain type of person to pull it off. This person’s job is not to “tweet 5 times per day.” Rather, it is to:
- Rapidly build networks of targeted prospects
- Interact, engage, and add insightful comments to discussions
- Monitor all mentions of the brand and all discussions related to your niche
- Curate industry specific content and position the firm as a thought leader
Thay may sound like a tall order for an outsider to pull off. But sometimes it actually makes more sense to use an outside expert — especially if they take the time to fully understand your business, your market, and your prospect pool. This can be tough to do as a “side job” for in-house folks.
4. Pay-per-Click Advertising (PPC) – Forrester Research estimates that more than $31 billion will be spent on PPC by the year 2014. I can guarantee you that a majority of that spend will be flushed down the toilet. Why? Too many people spend money on paid ads without taking the time to really understand how it works.
PPC is an ideal job to outsource because it takes a specialist to truly realize ROI. With so many factors to consider — keywords, ads, ad positions, landing pages, click thru rates and conversions — it’s not exactly a light job. But if you can find the right formula for your firm, the return will be well worth the cost.
5. Website Updates – Research shows that high growth companies redesign their websites more often than average growth firms. Firms with up to date, interactive websites are driving more web traffic and increasing online visibility.
Web design is something you will almost certainly want to outsource. Sure, you probably have a few people in house that have some graphic skills and have designed websites before. But do they really understand how to use a website to generate leads for your professional services firm? Probably not. Look for a marketing company or a graphic designer that not only uses the right imagery, but also understands SEO, online marketing, and lead generation.
Has your firm tried outsourced lead generation? What were the results? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.
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