How to Create & Execute a Content Marketing Strategy for Lead & Demand Generation

Content Marketing is a great way to connect and engage with potential customers. Only through thoughtful connecting and engagement with others will you be able to obtain quality leads and create demand for your products.

Making people want to connect with you on Social Networks is the key to uncovering any needs they may have. A great place to start is to write and create content that informs people on how they can use something or how they can fix an issue that they are having. This has the effect of offering a value message to potential customers because you are showing them what you can do to help. In essence this is your digital portfolio. Just as in the offline world, when you are trying to acquire new customers part of your strategy is to show samples of your work and what you have to offer.

Now this might sound like a lot. To start, try writing comments on blogs that you think are interesting. This is a great place to get comfortable sharing your insights in the digital world. Once you write a comment, make sure to follow up and respond to any replies as this will help get a conversation going. Make sure that you share the blog that you commented on so your insights can reach others. You can do this with articles on LinkedIn as well.

LinkedIn

As you start to build up your confidence to write, you will start to realize that you possess a lot of knowledge about your industry and business that you can share with others. However, if you are not ready to start writing blogs on a regular basis you can start by sharing thoughts on LinkedIn by using the LinkedIn long form.

The LinkedIn long form is a publishing platform that allows users to publish blog articles and share them with LinkedIn users. The long form can also be shared on other networks like Twitter & Facebook through the Social Sharing buttons. You can also share the URL on sites like Google+.

Using the LinkedIn publishing platform is a great way to generate leads because you can quickly share your thoughts and insights that demonstrate the value to connections. Your articles will also make people want to connect. People will start to send you invitations to join their network and send you messages asking to learn more about you. Once you have the interest of the people, you can tell them about what you have to offer.

The LinkedIn publishing platform is a great first step to creating your own blog. However, if you want to build up a following on other networks, you will need to build a website, and create blogs on sites like WordPress , tumblr & blogger. I use WordPress, tumblr, and the LinkedIn publishing platform.

WordPress & tumblr

Writing a blog is great way to share your ideas and market your expertise in an area. I began blogging back in November 2011. Blogging had connected me with so many great people around the globe. I began publishing on the WordPress platform. Recently, I began cross publishing my blog on tumblr.

WordPress

The first thing that you need to do is to register on the site. You will have the option to create either a wordpress.com address or a custom domain name. I suggest that you pick a custom domain name because your blog will come up better in search results. WordPress gives you a choice of web suffixes to choose from, for example .com, .me etc. I chose the address http://dangalante.me. If you decide to change the address after you set up the blog that is ok. The wordpress.com address will automatically be directed to your new address.

It is important to note that you will have to buy the domain name if you want your own. Hosting is inexpensive and should cost about $25 per year at most depending on the name you choose. The investment is well worth it because this will give your blog its own brand identity.

Once you register, you will see WordPress’s default theme. Click on the appearance tab and browse the free and premium themes that are available. You can then choose the one that you would like to install.

Now you are ready to write a post.

To do this click, on the new post tab. A window will pop up. Here you will find tools to write and edit your post. When you are ready to post, just click publish and you are ready to go.

tumblr

Like WordPress, you will have to register on tumblr to set up your blog. I have provided the link to the registration page. If you land on the home page, just click on the sign up button.

Once you have signed up, you will be prompted to create a web address. You will notice that the only address you could create is a tumblr.com address. Tumblr does not support or partner with site hosting companies. In other words, you will need to find a third party host on your own. I purchased a domain name from Yola.com . The name I purchased is http://askdangalante.com .

Once I secured the name, I had to point the address to the Tumblr servers. (Tumblr provides the specific address and exactly what CNAME or A-Records need to be changed. Here is the link. You will know if this is correct if your address redirects to Tumblr and it say page not found.

You can test your domain address in the box under your tumblr address in the blog settings. Your address will not link to the site right away. It took 24 hours; although it can take up to 72.

Now you can click on the customized theme and browse through the free and premium themes. Pick a theme and now you are ready to post. To post, click on the text tab which is located underneath the Dashboard tab. You will see a window where you can copy, paste, write and edit your posts. When you are done, just click the publish button.

Now you have your all of this content. How do you track your progress? To do this you will need to set up analytics. LinkedIn provides this for the long form and WordPress does this. However for your own blog on tumblr and a custom website you will need to use a site like Google Analytics.

Google Analytics

 image via adventuretravelnews.com

Google Analytics is a great way to monitor your efforts online. It allows you to see how many people are visiting your site, the duration of their visit, what content they are looking at and from what network. You can also see what country they are from. Another thing you could do is to set custom goals to check for certain things. The site allows you to measure the amount of traffic that comes from social networks. To access this, just click under the social tab under traffic sources. Google Analytics also lets you track your Adwords campaigns. I use Google Analytics for my website and tumblr blog.

How to setup Google analytics for your website and blog. The first thing that you will need to get started is a Gmail account. Now with your Gmail account, go to the Google Analytics website. You will need to click the create an account button. Next you will be asked to login to you Gmail account. You will then be asked to create a profile and add the website URL that you want to track. You can also provide your time zone. Once you provide this, the site will provide you with a tracking code. Next, you will need to copy and paste this into the html section of each page of your website or blog. If you have done this correctly, you will see that the tracking code is installed.

You will start to see statistics about your visitors within a few hours. It is important to note that you cannot use Google Analytics with WordPress.com. WordPress provides users with a set of analytics.

I have also included a video tutorial via http://www.brilliantbusinessadvice.com/

About the Author

Dan is passionate about using Marketing to help businesses drive sales. He has worked on various marketing assignments that include a Start Up,Political Campaign & a Digital Marketing Conference.

Prior to Teaching, Dan served customers as an Outside Sales & Marketing Representative in the Dental industry. In this role, he taught and trained Dentists on the  company’s products and services using a consultative selling approach. He also supported the company’s marketing efforts at industry trade shows & in the field through lead generation of Digital Technology along with large Dental Equipment.

He writes and publish a business blog on the topics of Sales, Marketing & Social Media entitled Sales, Marketing & Social Media Today.

Dan is seeking a full time marketing role in New York City. He is interested in roles in Direct, Digital, Content & Social Media Marketing. If your company is hiring for roles in these areas, contact him directly via a free LinkedIn Message or email him at Dan@DanGalante.com to set up interviews.

How to Qualify and Close Leads

In my last post, I wrote about the various ways businesses can get leads. Now that you have collected all these leads, what do you do with them? In this post, I will discuss how to qualify and close the leads you get.

Prior to calling on the leads you need to do the following:

1 Read the business cards looking for notes you jotted down about where you met the contact and something about them. (A phrase or keyword)

2 Enter this information into your CRM software.

3 Do this for all the leads you receive.

Next you need to plan a form of action. You need to decide your method of contact. Are you going to call the people on the phone, email to follow-up, market to them through direct mail or make a cold call in person disclosing that the prospect contacted you about your product and services?  The method that you choose will depend on the kinds of product you sell and the size of your business/territory.

I am going to focus on the email follow-up and the in person cold calls.

Following-up via email

You should write the following:

Dear Mr. Smith:

Hi it’s Dan Galante.  I hope you are doing well.

We met at XYZ. You saw a demo of product xyz. /We discussed__________.

I would like to speak with to know your thoughts. If you are interested or have any questions email me at Dan@dangalante.com  or call 1-555-555-5555.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Dan

Dan Galante

This letter asks for feedback from the prospect without being too pushy.

Based on the reception you get from this letter, you can qualify the prospect as a Cold, Warm or Hot lead. This activity needs to be logged in your CRM software.  This letter could be followed-up with a phone call or an in person cold call.

Making an in person cold call

I spoke about how to make a cold call  in an earlier post.

To do this successfully you would need to the following:

1 Make friends with the Gate-keeper.

2 Ask to speak with the decision maker.

Being that you are following-up on a lead; you already know the decision maker and can ask for them by name. When the gate-keeper asks why you are here to see the decision maker you should say that they contacted you about your product.

If you get to speak the decision maker; build rapport and be ready to deliver your sales presentation. Make  sure to ask for the sale. Also be sure to qualify their objections.

If the decision maker is not around; try to get an appointment.

Whether or not you make the sale, make sure to log this activity in your CRM software.

It is important to follow-up on all your sales activities and to keep records!

This is how to qualify and close leads.

Until next time, thank you for reading.

How to Generate Leads for Your Business

Lead Generation is an essential building block for businesses to find potential buyers who are interested in their products and services. In previous posts, I discussed how to prospect and identify your target market. In this post, I will discuss how businesses can find leads and what mediums can be used to obtain leads.

Many mediums can be used to obtain leads. These mediums include: Direct mail, Email, Marketing, Surveys, Advertising, Social Media, referrals from current customers, business networking, trade show marketing.

You have to see what strategies will work for you. Your product and budget will help to determine how you go about obtaining leads.

Direct Mail

Direct mail can be a great way to find prospects. You can create a message with pictures and compelling copy. The idea is to piqué the interest of your prospect and to include a card with paid postage that they can send back requesting more information. You can use CRM software to track your results and fine tune who to target.

Email Marketing

Email lists can be purchased from a list broker or self-generated from your address book. You can also use services like Constant Contact that allows people to enter their email addresses if they want email from your business. This is known as allowing them to opt in.  Before proceeding with an Email campaign make sure to get permission from people through an opt-in email. If you do not get peoples’ permission to send them email it can be considered spam. Email is a cheaper item than mail. You can have a wider reach to your customers. I would suggest creating a message that is compelling. Make sure to use pictures and colors that look appealing.

Surveys

Surveys can be a great way to get information about prospects and customers. You can ask specific questions that can provide information on what the prospect is looking for. Also you can ask questions about when the prospect is looking to make a purchase. This information can be stored in CRM software. Surveys can be done through direct mail, email or online through internet polls.

Advertising

Businesses can advertise their products and services. The advertising can be a spot on the radio, television, Social Media, print and billboards. Television ads can be short commercials that appear on TV shows or they can take the form Infomercials which are at least a half hour in length. Television has been a preferred method of advertising for years because television has a massive audience. The internet is also a great way to advertise. You can use pay-per-click advertising on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google. (LinkedIn Ads, Facebook Ads, Google AdWords) This is an effective method because you can specify who you want to see your ad by different demographics such as Geography, Age, and Profession. You can also use keywords to trigger your ads.

 

Social Media

Social Media is a great tool to get leads; specifically LinkedIn. You can explore the questions and answer section to look for potential customers. The questions and answers section is a great way to ask people for information or to answer questions. Answering questions can allow you to position yourself as an expert on a topic. Members who ask questions are allowed to choose which answers they think are good and which one they think is the best. I was named a Sales and Marketing Expert in the areas of Lead Generation, Sales Techniques, and Direct Marketing by members whose questions I answered.

Print

Placing ads in newspapers can also help your business because newspapers have many readers. Newspapers are usually in print and online. Your advertising on this platform could take the form of a classified ad or article marketing. Industry trade magazines also fall into this category. Billboards can also help your businesses visibility.

Referrals/Testimonials from Customers

Referrals and testimonials from your customers is one of the best ways to get leads because they remove doubt from the prospects mind about your capabilities to perform. Referrals could take the form of a video, a recommendation on LinkedIn or a Slideshare presentation. I have the last two that I listed. Referrals and Testimonials should speak to the quality of your work.

Business Networking

Attending networking events at your local chamber of commerce or at a professional association can be a great way to meet potential prospects and to generate leads. At these events you can talk informally and exchange business cards. You can briefly discuss who you are and what you do then move on; remember you want to network with as many people as possible.

Trade show Marketing

It is important to attend industry trade shows either as an exhibitor or an attendee. Trade shows are a great way to keep up to date with trends in your industry. This will allow you to hone your expertise which your customers pay for. Trade shows are a great place for you to get leads because customers go to them looking to make purchases either at the show or soon after. If you are an exhibitor, require attendees to give you their contact information to see a demonstration of your product. This can be the start of an informal conversation which you can follow-up on later.

I have listed a variety of ways that businesses can get leads. The methods you choose depend on your product and budget. You have to see which methods will work for you.

Next time, I will discuss how to qualify leads and convert them into sales.

Until next time, thank you for reading.