The rising costs of lead generation, increased competition, and the rapidly growing population of competing companies are all challenges in the B2B world.
Marketers are constantly being challenged to drive qualified leads into the sales funnel and to make sure that the cost per lead (CPL) is optimized. Of course, the lower the CPL, the better. However, many companies end up focusing too much on outbound lead generation and are forced to need even more sales to cover the initial cost of acquiring those leads. This practice is dangerous and should be avoided as much as possible.
One way for marketers to offset this challenge is to implement an inbound marketing strategy to reduce their B2B CPL. A recent State of Inbound Marketing report, which includes insights from over 3,300 executives, business owners, and marketers from all over the globe, revealed that there is a dramatic reduction in CPL for inbound marketing tactics as opposed to traditional marketing strategies.
Further, 34 percent of all leads generated come from inbound marketing sources. Inbound marketing also delivers 54 percent more leads (per dollar spent) into the marketing funnel than traditional outbound tactics. With those stats, why wouldn’t you consider inbound marketing?
The world today is ruled by the Internet, which accelerates the pace of information distribution. Buyers know this and can quickly access detailed specs, pricing, and reviews about your products and solutions with just a few clicks.
Social media drives buyers to share and compare while mobile phones add a “whenever-whatever” dimension to their consumer experience. This makes inbound marketing powerful. You’re giving users exactly what they’re looking for exactly when they’re looking for it.
Inbound marketing strategies aside, here are 5 more steps that can help business marketers reduce their cost per lead:
1. Thoroughly review efforts.
Before cutting costs, review your previous efforts. This sounds simple, but so many marketers just keep moving without looking back at what has worked and — more importantly — what hasn’t. Critically analyze your past efforts. Are your current projects generating the best results possible? Is there a particular channel that is producing the best (or worst) results?
Assessing reports and acting upon them bases your decisions on sound, real-life data instead of on a gut feeling. Be sure to also identify which channels are driving the best quality leads and not just the majority, as quality is more important than quantity. In most cases, cost per conversion (CPC) is a far more influential metric than CPL.
2. Define your sales funnel.
Marketers usually know who their best leads are, but having a clear understanding of where a prospect is in the buyer journey is key to making those leads cost-effective. That’s where your sales funnel comes in.
Defining the stages of the sales funnel — from the open top of the funnel where prospects have a basic awareness and curiosity about your company, to the narrow bottom of the funnel where prospects finally become loyal customers and advocates. Once you’ve figured out how your sales funnel looks, you can align your marketing and sales processes, providing the right content to prospects according to their position in the funnel.
3. Leverage organic search.
78 percent of Internet users conduct basic online research before purchasing a product. When you use organic search, you are generating online leads by ranking high for certain keywords on Google’s search results page.
What does this mean for you? When leads and other potential customers perform online searches for terms that are relevant to your business, your site will appear in one of the top spots in search results — leading to more exposure and higher chances of receiving site visitors. Leveraging organic searches require the use of some basic search engine optimization (SEO) techniques and tools to get websites to rank higher. These search rankings are extremely important because most users do not look past the first results page.
Keyword research and analysis are useful ways to identify keywords that have the best chance of being searched for online and achieve higher search engine rankings. As organic search brings in more leads, you can lower the CPL further by cutting out less effective strategies such as print advertising or pay-per-click campaigns.
4. Embrace social media marketing and spark social media activity.
In this ultra-connected world, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have become powerful platforms for companies to engage and communicate with potential leads.
Like other inbound marketing methods, social media marketing costs virtually nothing for organizations to implement and use. However, careful consideration should be taken to ensure that the content shared via social media has value to the consumer, and shows that the company genuinely cares about what prospects think, need, and are looking for in a product.
Posts that come off as self-promotional should be avoided at all costs, as they can lead to negative comments and social media “shares”, severely damaging your trust rating and credibility.
5. Maximize email marketing.
E-mail remains an effective marketing tool and is still a great way to target your audience with a very specific message.
Instead of hanging out where your prospects spend their time online, you’re actively knocking on their door with an e-mail. This requires a very careful messaging approach so your brand doesn’t become seen as intrusive to your prospects.
A combination of these methods can greatly reduce your company’s CPL while creating a pipeline of leads that should result in higher profit margins for your business. Remember that your lead generation activities should not damage your company with methods that are outside your budget. Optimize these cost-effective approaches and you can generate healthy results for your business to thrive.
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