People no longer routinely call a travel agent to buy their plane tickets and book hotels for them. The internet has revolutionized that. But if you specialize in niche travel, such as exotic destinations for wealthy clients, you have the potential to make a good living working from home, says Tom Ogg, a travel industry veteran and founder of HomeBasedTravelAgent.com.
People have only so much attention to give. But there’s so much content and information available in our digital world, businesses are constantly battling to catch the eyes and ears of potential customers. Some call this the “Attention Economy,” meaning that attention is a precious resource that drives markets. You might think of it as a “Customer Economy,” since ultimately your goal is to win customers and their business.
While inbound marketing is getting a lot of buzz, a well-rounded marketing mix should include both inbound and outbound marketing strategies. Inbound works for broad lead generation activities, but outbound is good to amplify your inbound efforts, and target specific opportunities. So what exactly is outbound marketing? It’s using outbound channels to introduce your message and content to your prospects, typically through rented attention, rather than making your content and messages availableon your own properties.
Cost per click advertising (e.g. AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing) overcomes this problem by charging advertisers only when the consumer clicks on the advertisement. However, due to increased competition, search keywords have become very expensive. A 2007 Doubleclick Performics Search trends report shows that there were nearly six times as many keywords with a cost per click (CPC) of more than $1 in January 2007 than the prior year. The cost per keyword increased by 33% and the cost per click rose by as much as 55%.
“Lead nurturing has gone through major transformations over the last 5 years, mainly fueled by an increased need for personalization. In fact, 89% of marketers say their customers today expect and demand a personalized experience. However, if I had to share a few “truths” that remain essential for the success of any lead nurturing campaign, I’d say that your email flow:
In many cases, outbound techniques can get someone to think about you even if they haven’t thought about you yet, since many of the methods you use should have more of a “wow” factor to make your company stand out. Outbound communication is often highly targeted, with a call-to-action that is very obvious. As a result, good outbound marketing can push someone through the funnel at a faster rate, assuming they are closer to being ready to buy. Inbound alone often does not drive someone to buy. Outbound gives them that extra nudge they need to drive a lead down the funnel.
Winning that business is all about relationship building. That’s true for B2C businesses, and it’s true for B2B, as well. With so much information at their fingertips, customers research and form opinions on brands and products well before they make contact with salespeople and enter what we traditionally think of as a customer journey. So when they do make contact, customers are looking for something more than an old-fashioned sales pitch. They want to trust your brand and feel good about buying what you’re selling. It’s on you to earn that trust and build a relationship with each customer.
Clearly, there has been a huge change in the traditional buying process. In fact, according to Forrester, buyers might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of the way through their buying journey before they even reach the vendor. The reason this is happening more and more is because buyers have so much access to information that they can delay talking to sales until they are experts themselves.
Deliver value no matter what: Regardless of who you are and what you're trying to promote, always deliver value, first and foremost. Go out of your way to help others by carefully curating information that will assist them in their journey. The more you focus on delivering value, the quicker you'll reach that proverbial tipping point when it comes to exploding your fans or followers.
Cost per acquisition advertising (e.g. TalkLocal, Thumbtack) addresses the risk of CPM and CPC advertising by charging only by the lead. Like CPC, the price per lead can be bid up by demand. Also, like CPC, there are ways in which providers can commit fraud by manufacturing leads or blending one source of lead with another (example: search-driven leads with co-registration leads) to generate higher profits. For such marketers looking to pay only for specific actions/acquisition, there are two options: CPL advertising (or online lead generation) and CPA advertising (also referred to as affiliate marketing). In CPL campaigns, advertisers pay for an interested lead — i.e. the contact information of a person interested in the advertiser's product or service. CPL campaigns are suitable for brand marketers and direct response marketers looking to engage consumers at multiple touchpoints — by building a newsletter list, community site, reward program or member acquisition program. In CPA campaigns, the advertiser typically pays for a completed sale involving a credit card transaction.
Product qualified leads are contacts who've used your product and taken actions that indicate interest in becoming a paying customer. PQLs typically exist for companies who offer a product trial or a free or limited version of their product (like HubSpot!) with options to upgrade, which is where your sales team comes in. An example of a PQL is a customer who uses your free version but engages or asks about features that are only available upon payment.
Lead generation is the method of getting inquiries from potential customers. In the old pre-Internet days of sales, lead generation occurred at places like trade shows – visitors to a company's booth would fill out a card with their contact information and turn it in to receive a call back from that company's sales team. Since the rise of the Internet, many businesses use their websites as a lead generation option. Email also offers lead generation potential, since companies can buy another company's email marketing list or pay them to promote the company on their own marketing emails. Most marketing experts recommend that companies use at least 10 different lead generation methods to ensure that their pipelines remain full.
•The website has no contact information. A legitimate business has a way for you to reach them. Look for an "About" page that offers information on the company or CEO, along with a phone number, address, or contact email. (Try calling the number to see if anyone answers.) A website with only a contact form and no other way to get in touch with an actual human is suspicious.
Display ads are typically highly targeted to different demographic or behavioral actions. You can select where you want the ads to be seen by choosing an online publication that you feel is a place where your leads spend time, or you can also leverage re-targeter ads that can cookie a lead that views your site. With re-targeter ads, once a person gets cookied, your ads appear on other sites that he or she visits afterwards. Through online ads you can reach more of your target audience, educate potential prospects, and drive leads. Display ads also serve a purpose at every stage in the funnel—building brand and audience at Top of Funnel, educating and helping evaluation at Mid-Funnel, and increasing conversions at Bottom of Funnel.
The problem is that information abundance equals attention scarcity. This is known as attention economics. Social scientist Herbert Simon was the first person to discuss this concept when he wrote “in an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients.”
Good lead management software offers a variety of ways to automate scoring, and manage and route leads based on whatever combination of factors works for your business. From lead qualification criteria and assignment rules to automated reports on pipeline status and sales team performance, today’s lead management systems offer flexibility and scalability to grow with your business.