Posts

Using E-mail Marketing for Lead Generation

Most manufacturers and industrial companies use email marketing as a way to keep in touch with new leads and existing customers. This usually means sending out a bi-weekly or a monthly email newsletter.

It has been my experience within the industrial sector that these companies rarely use email marketing proactively for lead generation. Here I am not referring to new subscribers to newsletters and free content. To me, those contacts are prospects and not leads. There is a difference. For more on that, refer to my post, “Subscribers to Free Content are NOT Leads.”

How to generate quality leads using email marketing

Email marketing is an effective tactic for generating high-quality leads from an audience of engineering, industrial and technical professionals. However, it does require you to think about emails somewhat differently.

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Subscribers to Free Content are NOT Leads

I’ve heard some of my manufacturing clients call their subscribers to free content leads. I’ve also read articles by other industrial marketers where they recommend using free content to generate new leads.

That is good advice and it is a proven tactic for inbound marketing. However, I do have a problem with classifying these new subscribers as leads.

IMO, these people have merely raised their hands to indicate some interest in your company, content and the free offer. They are prospects by my definition.

Let’s face it; you are going to get a few sign ups just because it is free. They found your content interesting and valuable but are not likely to become customers ever. Some of them may even be your competition.

Visitors who sign up to download your white papers, eBooks and other free content definitely grow your list of contacts but calling them leads without taking the next step is premature at best if not a costly mistake.

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Marketing Automation vs. Inbound Marketing

If you believe everything you read (and lately there’s been a lot) about marketing automation, you’d think it is the killer app to solve all your lead generation problems.

Then there are scores of B2B marketers who swear by inbound marketing as the path to lead generation nirvana.

How do you separate hype from reality, especially when it comes to industrial marketing? Are we comparing apples to oranges when we talk about marketing automation versus inbound marketing?

Let’s take a closer look at both.

How manufacturers are marketing today

“Quality of leads delivered” was considered as most important by 464 respondents from the manufacturing sector as reported in Trends in Industrial Marketing 2010 released by GlobalSpec. It scored 8.6 on a scale of one to ten. This was way ahead of quantity of leads and number of click-throughs to a company’s Web site. Read more

7 Key Components of a Successful Lead Generation System

After evaluating lead automation solutions from several vendors, I have developed my own list of seven key components that make up a successful lead generation system. A strategic lead automation system will lower your cost per lead; boost ROI and closely align sales and marketing. A unified lead definition leads to objective scoring and qualifying, resulting in higher quality leads. The sales team is motivated to score more wins because now there is an agreement on the quality of leads.

My list of seven key components are:

  1. Demand and inquiry generation using a variety of channels
  2. Convert site traffic into prospects with optimized landing pages and pre-populated forms
  3. Read more

Greater Emphasis Placed on Lead Generation in a Tough Economy

While it is generally true that generating more high-quality sales leads is by far the most important objective of all business-to-business marketing programs, it becomes even more critical in the current tough business climate. B2B marketers in all types of companies are under tremendous pressure to generate high-quality leads that convert to sales.

It is not surprising then that BtoB Magazine has dedicated an entire issue to this topic. Check out their inaugural 2008 Lead Generation Guide.

There is a ton of useful information, survey results and guest columns by well-known lead generation gurus such as Brian Carroll, Russell Kern and many more.

My copy is beginning to show its wear and tear from heavy use. I know I’m saving it as a reference source to use throughout the year.