Growing and scaling a company is an overwhelming task, especially when it comes to lead generation. We put together a list of essential tools, each tapping into key strategies and tactics, to help business owners and marketing departments build a valuable data-based lead-gen program from scratch within a mid-size company. Let's begin by defining what lead generation is and how it helps your business.
|Lead-gen = The initiation, acquisition, and retention of consumer
interest of the products and services your company offers.
Lead generation tactics have evolved over the years. In the past it commonly involved such scenarios as setting up a display in a store, all the while hoping that targeted consumers would hand you a completed form. Today the process has become more automated, as qualified leads from target audiences are often garnered online.
Lead-gen brings benefit to both the buyer and the seller. From a buyer perspective, they can put their need out there in order to find the best deal, requesting information from multiple businesses that offer the product or service of interest. And from a seller perspective, they're given the chance to pitch their product or service to a potential buyer who is knowingly interested.
Since the potential buyer is already pre-qualified or interested in the product or service, lead-gen conversion rates are often much higher than other types of contact. Further, there is quite a bit of customization that can be applied to lead generation logic, such as identifying specific geographical areas to target, setting different pricing for different target audience groups, setting the number of leads you'd like to receive each month, etc. So not only are you getting more qualified leads in your product or service, but you're able to customize the information shared with each lead.
There are several tools that assist in growing your lead generation customer base.
The first intangible asset for lead generation is the growth-hacker mindset. As affirmed by sources such as Inc.com, QuickSprout, and GrowthHack, it is crucial to reorient your mindset into a perspective flexible to opportunities with the goal of growth in mind. Although there are tactics and techniques that are common in lead generation, it's important to remember that resources will always have a limit. Thereby, the tools you own are only as strong as the person able to effectively maximize their use. So on that note, what is growth hacking?
Simply put, the growth-hacker mindset is a flexible perspective that allows vantage for growth in any given scenario.
The responsibilities under this role range from quantitative analytics to qualitative research. Effective and goal-oriented planning focuses on maintaining both short and long term goals –– in some cases, the most direct path to growth may actually mean taking a step back and slowing down.
Referenced above is how the tools you own are only as strong as the person using them. To that point, here are the top 3 tangible skills that are key to lead generation and growth hacking:
Data analytics is a skill-set that enables you to measure the performance and growth of a company and track said measurements against pre-identified goals. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are key in defining what success and progression looks like. With the various virtual resources that tie into growth, we suggest reading Marketing 360"s article on selecting KPIs via the S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) logic.
Lead generation is an aftermath in understanding how consumers make decisions, allowing variables such as pricing and design to convert interest into direct sales. Thus, knowledge and measurement of user experience (UX), commonly the quality of site interactions, plays a crucial role in business decisions. For further details, this Forbes article on improving the user experience is a great read that details the significant return on investment for this knowledge and skill set.
Confirmed by renown hacker, Andrew Chen, at a certain point, growth will begin to incur cost. Be prepared to pay between $400-$1,500 a month to keep services running as smoothly as possible. Keep in mind that the calculation of cost-per-acquisition for startups encompasses level of effort and time spent. If you are an online marketing agency, volume discount is a solution to drive cost down as you continue to manage campaigns.
Now that you have knowledge of growth hacking, you can set up a scalable and inexpensive lead generation platform that can be implemented without much time or technical knowledge. To help accelerate your startup, we have compiled the following resources that are indispensable for any first-time startup founder.
|Google Analytics||Data Analytics||
Google Analytics provides a comprehensive, free training to provide the user with extensive knowledge around mobile inclusion, data collection, and customization of platforms.
Training is time consuming and testing is capped by a 7 week period. Meaning, if one does not score over 80% on their first attempt, they must wait around 2 months before re-attempting certification.
|Google Webmasters Tools||Data Analytics||
Google Webmasters Tools assists webmasters in evaluating their site's search result performance. This tool also allows users to eliminate spam/bugs that may have otherwise slipped unnoticed.
|CSS Peeper||User Experience||
This resource helps inspect styles and designs in a quick, user friendly way, supporting multiple browsers. However, CSS has a different syntax than HTML and less user friendly, which presents a learning curve.
|Hemingway App||User Experience||
A automatic tool that improves readability of content by providing editing suggestions as well as inspecting spelling and grammar, the Hemingway app makes content more concise.
|Budget Simple||Budget and Finance||BudgetSimple is a financial management tool that shows the user opportunities for saving/earning money.|
Free: (2000 subs, 12,000 email per month)
$20/month: (1500 subscribers, unlimited emails)
$25/month: (2000 subscribers, unlimited emails)
$30/month: (2500 subscribers, unlimited emails)
$35/month: (2600 subscribers, unlimited emails)
Mailchimp is an extremely efficient way of assisting users with email campaign generation and marketing automation. However, Mailchimp has a limited spam override and also tends to bury data, making it difficult to change metrics and settings that have already been established.
Basic: ($6.25/month, $75 annually)
Pro: ($13.25/month, $159 annually)
Agency: ($33.25/month, $300 annually)
PageModo provides customized social media for your company, ranging from Facebook tabs to cover photos. PageModo only integrates with Facebook, however, so other social media channels would be incompatible.
|Hootsuite||Starting at $499/month||Data Analytics||
HootSuite works as an all-encompassing Social Media Account management platform that includes analytics and auto-scheduling. However, Hootsuite also charges an additional cost for training and integration with certain applications.
|User Experience and Consumer Behavior||
Unbounce provides design templates for websites and landing pages. Unfortunately, Unbounce does not provide code or content for the design.
Standard, Professional, and Premium Tiers
Contact for prices
|User Experience and Consumer Behavior||
Optimizely is a landing page and web design creation platform that also provides services in optimization and A/B Testing. However, Optimizely also does not include the design code and content.
$0.8% capped at $5 for ACH Direct Debit
$0.8% capped at $5 for Bitcoin
|Budget and Finance||
Stripe is an online credit card processor that offers Cloud Accounting Software Availability. Although Stripe requires programming knowledge, this can be overcome when paired with MoonClerk.
|MoonClerk||$15-$110/month based on volume of payments processed||Budget and Finance||
MoonClerk is a third party platform to help users with Stripe and offers receipt customization as well as SSL encryption. Since it is built on Stripe's API, it requires a Stripe purchase as well.
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