Guide to Digital Marketing for Lead Generation
This guide provides an overview of using digital marketing for lead generation. We’ve broken it down into 5 components:
- The Best Digital Marketing Channels for Lead Generation
- Defining Your Audience for Online Lead Generation
- Selecting Keywords for SEO and PPC
- Creating Conversion-Optimized Content
- Measuring Results
Understanding these 5 components will enable you to create high-ROI lead generation campaigns that will keep your sales team busy.
The Best Digital Marketing Channels for Lead Generation
There are many digital marketing channels. According to a recent study, two of the most effective for lead generation derive from Google: PPC and SEO. Both are intent-based channels, which allow companies to target people specifically looking for what they sell as opposed to just members of their target audience who may or may not be in the market for their product or service. The differences between the two are laid out below:
If your campaign is focused on short term lead generation and has a large enough budget, PPC is an excellent solution. If you are seeking long-term lead generation, SEO is a better choice because of its low long-term Cost Per Lead. For most businesses, a combination of the two is the most effective approach, beginning the campaigns simultaneously and slowly weaning off PPC as the SEO campaign earns organic rankings for lead-generating keywords.
Email marketing is another popular digital marketing tool. However, in terms of lead generation, it’s less effective than PPC or SEO because people don’t respond well to being emailed by companies they don’t know. Instead, where it shines is in lead nurturing, once your brand is known and the prospect has an open mind to hearing from you.
Defining Your Audience for Online Lead Generation
Once you know which channels you plan to use for lead generation, it’s critical to understand your target audience. Defining your audience is a 3-step process:
- Break down the attributes of current customers in order to identify target audiences
- Create customer personas based on those attributes
- Re-evaluate personas after running lead generation campaigns for a while to refine target audiences as necessary
The starting point of examining existing customers truly helps you to see your target audience clearly. When doing so, the most helpful attributes to consider are:
- Position in the company
- Job responsibilities
- Pain points and challenges
For example, knowing that your most valuable customers are mid-level managers causes you to think about their place in their company’s hierarchy: having to show results to higher level managers but also respond to the needs of individual contributors. They may have a pain point in presenting high level information quickly and clearly, with the pressure of satisfying management competing with their duty to their direct reports. Taking the time to consider this situation may help you identify keywords that you may not have otherwise considered.
Selecting Keywords for SEO and PPC
Once you’ve identified your target audience and created your customer personas, the next step is to choose the correct keywords to bring them in. Matching keywords to audiences is more challenging than it may appear, however; every keyword relates to a particular search intent that informs how the content targeting it should be written.
All keywords exist on the Search Intent spectrum below:
The keywords you target when investing in either PPC or SEO should focus on the transactional end of the spectrum. This means avoiding the entirely research oriented keywords and focusing on those that address the readers intent to buy. Those that fall into the middle of the spectrum should still be targeted: your audience will have many pain points that can be solved by your company, even if they don’t know it yet. Targeting those pain points gives your content the chance to draw readers into your conversion funnel that might not be spoken to by straightforward ad copy.
Finding the right keywords is generally done through a combination of three techniques:
- Search Intent Analysis: Think about your target audience and what keywords they’ll search for when they
- Google Autofill: The keywords that autofill in Google’s search bar are highly searched by Google’s users.
- SEO Tools: ahrefs, Moz, and SEMRush are the three most popular paid tools that can aid in keyword research, but Google Search Console is an invaluable free option.
Often, content strategists will find themselves using some combination of all three methods. For example, if you think your target audience is likely to search for “pcb design software”, you can first check to see if it autofills on Google. If it appears, then it’s a clear indicator that it’s a popular search. And if you want more detailed information on a keyword’s search volume, SEO tools will provide a more detailed analysis.
For each keyword you choose, you’ll need a webpage that targets it. This brings us to the next component of digital marketing: creating conversion-optimized content.
Creating Conversion-Optimized Content
Whether your campaign is focused on SEO or PPC content, the overall goal is the same: produce content that converts visitors into leads. Creating content that achieves that goal requires a working knowledge of your digital marketing funnel (pictured to the right), and how your visitors arrive at your website.
On any page that targets the most transactional keywords, your content can be more direct and sales oriented, as visitors to these pages will be much closer to the conversion stage of the funnel. This is where overly explanatory content can do more harm than good, losing visitor interest before they reach a call to action.
On pages that target less transactional keywords, content will be less focused on immediate conversion. Instead, more educational or trust-building material should be used to provide the reader with the information they are looking for so that your website—and by extension, your business—is remembered as an authoritative information source. Those visitors will eventually return to your website and convert when they’re ready, albeit at their own pace. Because the visitors are inherently further from converting, there will be a longer lead time before these pages begin to generate leads. Therefore, we recommend investing in them later on in a digital marketing campaign.
Measuring the Results of Your Digital Marketing Campaign
Regardless of marketing approach, it’s critical to review your progress and make adjustments if necessary. This is especially true in PPC campaigns, where the lower ROI necessitates precision in order to avoid unnecessary expenditures. SEO campaigns also benefit heavily from analytical reporting, as they take time to get off the ground and course correcting is slow and costly.
Measuring your results depends on analysis of standard digital marketing KPIs. The table below provides the essential metrics as well as the average benchmarks for each.
|2||Total # of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)||40% increase YOY|
|3||Average Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)||Organic: $942|
|4||LTV to CAC Ratio||4:1|
|5||% Change in Website Traffic||45% increase YOY|
|6||Engagement Rate||B2B: 71%|
|7||Average Conversion Rate||2.2%|
Understanding these metrics allows you to identify areas of a digital marketing campaign that are underperforming. For example, a low engagement rate means that visitors are leaving your pages quickly without reading or converting. This indicates either a mismatch between what a visitor expects to see on your page and the page itself, or low quality content that immediately loses their interest. Similarly, a low LTV to CAC points to a need for a lower cost channel to improve the financial performance of the campaign.
Getting Help with Digital Lead Generation
Running a successful digital marketing campaign for lead generation depends on managing all the above components harmoniously. While it’s possible to do this work in-house with the correct experience and resources, doing so can be overwhelming.
Many companies partner with an experienced marketing agency to handle the initial strategic planning and setup of digital marketing campaigns. Our agency specializes in lead generation via SEO, working primarily with complex B2B and B2C businesses. Feel free to reach out to us if you’d like to discuss how we may be able to help.
Evan Bailyn is a bestselling author and award-winning speaker on the subjects of SEO and thought leadership. Contact Evan here.