You probably have a clear idea of your cost per lead, but can you define precisely where each dollar of that cost is spent? Outbound marketing costs and benefits are fairly simple to assess; you spend a set amount on paid search, banner ads, and direct mail marketing, and you can combine those figures with the results each channel produces to derive your cost. It’s with inbound marketing that assessing costs gets murky – yet this is also the area in which you can achieve a far higher return on your marketing investment.
These steps to optimize inbound marketing costs will tilt the lead gen cost equation in your favor.
Study Your Sales Funnel
The information age has revolutionized the concept of the sales funnel, but it hasn’t eliminated it – not by a long shot. Today, your funnel has multiple entry points, not just a single big one at the top, and leads can flow in at any level of sales readiness. In fact, leads typically do more than half their fact-finding and information-gathering on their own before they appear on your sales team’s radar. That’s why it’s critical that they show up on yours. Marketing automation software that lets you track leads’ behavior anonymously gives you an idea of what your audience is doing even before you know their names. With that information, you can supply content that appeals to this engaged but anonymous audience, drawing them farther along the pipeline.
Commit to Content
Content serves multiple purposes in an information-rich marketplace, but two are of primary importance to marketers. First, content gets search engines’ attention through regular blog posts and uploads of fresh information. When search engines notice you, you’re highly visible to leads too. The organic traffic that well-crafted content draws is an outstanding source of low-cost, high-yield leads.
The second purpose of your content is to gain knowledge about your leads. When they want your latest white paper or subscribe to your newsletter, they exchange something tremendously valuable in turn: their data. That’s information you haven’t had to spend significant money and effort procuring because they volunteer it to you in an exchange of knowledge.
Why is organic traffic the gold standard of content marketing? Organic search traffic is so important because it opens up your market in ways that no other lead generation option can. Most of your marketing universe contains dark matter – leads you can’t measure or monitor even though they theoretically exist – and organic search results make them visible. The traffic that flows into your site organically is an outstanding source of new marketplace possibilities. Better yet, that traffic continues to flow as you build your content library, turning you into an authoritative source that generates even more organic traffic over time.
Generating content is not enough. You want to be able to target that content to the decision-makers who need it. That’s where marketing automation comes in. With its lead nurturing capabilities, you’re able to serve up the content your leads most want to see at the time they most need it to make buying decisions. Tailoring your content to its audience automatically makes it relevant, and high relevance means high engagement from your leads.
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