Clearing up the Misleading and Multi-faceted World of Leads To fully explain a qualified lead, let's first talk about leads in general. A lead is someone who has provided their contact information and expressed interest in your company or content.
So, you got budget approval on your new paid social media campaign. While you’re probably excited to start publishing ads and watch those clicks turn into potential customers, it’s important to remember that the quality of the lead is what matters. Have you optimized your campaign to ensure you’re getting not just any leads, but the right leads?
Increasingly, marketers are more interested in lead quality than lead quantity. As it turns out, generating more leads in the digital age isn’t that hard — you can make any campaign broad enough to bring in clicks. The real problem is bringing in better leads — visitors who are genuinely interested in what you’re doing and likely to convert to paying customers.
Lead quality is important for office cohesion, too. You’ve probably noticed that there’s a history of bad blood between sales and marketing teams that a lot of companies are making a serious effort to patch up — dumping low-quality leads on a sales team that they then have to sift through isn’t helping that relationship.
With that in mind, here are a few tips for you to create a great paid social ad campaign so that both sales and marketing departments are happy with the leads it generates.
Making The Right Ads
First things first: if you don’t make ads that people want to click on, it doesn’t matter which network you use or who sees them. There are a few factors to creating highly clickable ads.
It’s easy to forget, especially in B2B marketing, but your ads aren’t being seen by corporations — they’re being seen by individual people. Regardless of the platform you use, your ad copy has to encourage those people to click on your ads to find out more. Copy should be upbeat and conversational, as though you were talking to the other person face-to-face. Your copy should also be actionable. It can’t just be interesting and informative in itself — you have to give viewers a reason to click.
Great copy needs great imagery to go with it. Your imagery should be noticeable, relevant, and unique to your brand — people will see your ad before they read it, so their immediate first impression matters. If you can create video that reflects your branding, that’s even better.
Once people click through from your ads, you don’t want to just give away the farm. Ads should direct users to a landing page or download page where visitors can exchange a small amount of information for the valuable content that they were promised when they clicked. Don’t be too pushy — a name, email address, and maybe company name is probably plenty to ask for at first contact — but don’t be afraid to ask, either. Anyone who’s not willing to give you their email address probably isn’t interested enough to be a good lead yet anyway.
Always Be Testing
The first ad you publish won’t be the best possible version — there’s always room for improvement. But how do you know what kind of ads will be more effective? That’s where A/B testing comes in. Most digital ad platforms these days have this functionality built in. You simply split your target audience into two (or more) groups, then serve each one a slightly different version of your ad.
The different versions might be something subtle, like a different word choice or cover image, or they might be big changes like including a special offer or directing to a different landing page. Either way, you should start to notice that one of your versions performs better than the other.
From there, scrap the lower-performing one, make another adjustment to the higher-performing one, and test it again. There’s really no limit on what you can test about an ad — colors, copy, design, size, links, anything is fair game. For more on incremental testing, including how to measure your results precisely, check out MediaMath’s blog post on the subject.
Testing your ads over and over obviously costs more than just running one ad everywhere, but if you have the budget, it’s worth it. As a rule of thumb, the more revenue you expect to bring in from an ad, the more you should spend on perfecting it.
Finding The Right People
Making great ads is only half the battle. Spraying your ads in front of as many people as possible is a waste of your resources, and might even hurt you in the long run — most social networks allow users to report irrelevant or annoying ads, so if you irritate enough people, the algorithms will punish you. So how do you put your ads in front of people who actually want to see them?
Know Your Audience
Ideally, you’ll already have created buyer personas for your business — hypothetical descriptions of your ideal customer, from location and demographics to income level, job title, hobbies, interests, and anything else that seems relevant. Those are the people you want seeing your ad. Luckily, social media networks give you powerful filtering tools so you’re not wasting your precious marketing budget on people who aren’t interested.
Remember, not everyone is in your target audience. There are some people who simply won’t be a good fit — maybe they’re not in the right income bracket, maybe their company is too large for your product to service, or maybe they’re just not in the right industry. It’s tempting to cast a large net, but you need to resist that temptation and play the odds.
Remember Who’s Buying
Let’s say you make task management software. You can make ads that appeal to the end user, showing them how much more seamless their day-to-day operations will be, and you might get lots of clicks. But those end users aren’t the ones making purchasing decisions when it comes to company-wide software implementation.
Instead, your ads would be better targeted to middle management. Tell them how much more productive their teams will be, how your software will reduce miscommunication when assigning tasks, how time tracking will be easier, and how they’ll be better able to allocate their time and focus on the people who need it the most. If conversion and lead generation is the goal, you need to be in touch with the people making the decisions.
In today’s world, it’s easier and easier for people to be online all the time — but are they? Despite our increasingly connected world, people tend to have noticeable habits when it comes to web usage. Some people check emails first thing in the morning, while some wait until lunch. Some go on Facebook on the train on the way to work, some wait until they get home. Do your research into when your target demographics are likely to be online and focus your attention there.
Talk To Your Sales Team
The biggest reason that sales and marketing teams have historically not gotten along is a lack of communication. It’s an easy fix — sit the two teams down together and figure out what everyone needs to best do their job.
Marketers are tasked with generating leads to hand off to the sales team, so what kind of information does the sales team need? Do they need to know names and email addresses before they can begin the lead nurturing process? Do they need to know company sizes and job titles? Find out what will help the sales team the most, then make an effort to get it.
On the other side of the table, the marketing team needs feedback from the sales team as well. Are the leads provided turning into customers? Should we be targeting someone different? Are leads missing information that we should be giving them upfront? Are you facing a lot of similar questions that we could be answering with a landing page? What are the most common objections you’re facing from leads?
If either sales or marketing is going to get more efficient at their jobs, open communication will be crucial. Paid social media campaigns have enormous potential to get relevant, informative content in front of the right people, but only if they’re executed well. Getting leads is easy — getting good leads is the hard part.
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