Many new to IT lead generation get really frustrated because their leads aren’t converting into new client business. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone!
In this post, I want to introduce you to a very powerful framework that, when followed closely, helps you convert more of your leads and opportunities into new business.
1. Define Ideal Buyer Personas
Before we get too far into this, let’s get one thing straight: IT lead generation isn’t just about generating leads. It’s about generating the right leads that are most likely to convert into business at a decent percentage rate.
To make this happen consistently, you’ve got to have a really good handle on who your ideal buyer is -- their behaviors, goals, and pain points.
This research, usually collected through surveys and one-on-one interviews, gets compiled into ideal buyer personas – which frame everything that everyone in your company needs to align around going forward.
2. Research and Select Keywords
Once you know the behaviors, goals, and pain points among each of your personas, it’s time to do some basic keyword research so that you can plan your lead gen and lead conversion campaigns.
What are good keywords to select? First and foremost, let your buyer personas help you prioritize.
Then, look for long-tail multi-word keyword phrases that meet two criteria:
Low to moderate monthly search volume in your local market of anywhere from a few dozen monthly searches to a few thousand monthly searches. Anything more than that and either the intent may not be clear, or the competition is usually too fierce. Anything less and the keyword phrase may not be worthwhile to build IT lead generation content around.
Low to moderate degree of competition is usually represented on a relative basis. For example, the tool that we use has a competition index that goes from 1 to 100. Keyword phrases with a score of 100 are intensely competitive and should only be pursued by very large, elite online brands with millions of inbound links. You’ll often want to select keyword phrases with a competition index of 50 or less.
3. Develop Premium Content Offers
Now that we know which ideal buyer personas we want to attract and which keyword phrases we’ll want to build around, we’re ready to plan some premium some content offers. These offers will form the backbone of your lead gen plans.
What separates premium content from ordinary content? Premium content has to be so compelling that website visitors are willing to trade you their contact information in return for your offer.
This trade of information happens on a landing page and is collected by a form that automatically adds the lead to your database – typically a marketing automation or CRM system.
Popular premium content offers include eBooks, white papers, special reports, templates, worksheets, and videos.
4. Drive Targeted Website Visitors to Those Offers
But the “good stuff” with your lead generation campaigns can’t start until the right website visitors arrive on these landing pages and get presented with awesome offers.
The call to action (CTA) is one of the mainstays of effective IT lead gen. It is usually embedded within relevant web pages, blog posts, social media status updates, and email marketing messages.
5. Segment Leads by Persona and Sales Cycle Stage
However, one offer isn’t going to cut it.
Each will have their own behaviors, goals, and challenges. So each needs to be communicated differently.
So you’re thinking of three landing pages and premium content offers, so you cover each of your three ideal buyer personas. And you’d be half right. What else is needed?
Different offers are needed for where each lead is in the purchasing cycle or sales process:
Early on (Researching problems): use eBooks, guides, and information kits
Middle of the cycle (Developing buying criteria): use case studies, ROI calculators, seminars/webinars, and demos
End of purchasing cycle (Evaluating vendors): use free trials, quotation tools, and free consultations
That’s why with three ideal buyer personas and the three stages of the sales process, you actually need at least nine premium content offers to ensure that you’re able to present the right message, to the right decision makers, at the right time – so your IT lead generation converts into new business at a decent rate that provides profitable ROI.
6. Push Leads Down the Sales Funnel with Highly Targeted Offers
Now how do you get these offers to the right personas at the right time?
That’s where well-planned, managed, and analyzed marketing automation tools and campaigns really shine.
What does that mean in practice?
When the CFO gets the eBook she requested on an “Intro to Cloud Computing for Cost-Conscious CFOs” (an early buying stage premium content offer), she’s also invited to an upcoming seminar or webinar on a similar topic, a more middle-of-the-cycle offer.
After the CFO attends the webinar, she’s invited to schedule a free consultation to explore her specific needs in more detail with a cloud expert in your company.
That is how IT lead generation converts to new business!
7. Convert and Close New Client Business
Now, if your product or service is a commodity and at a relatively low price point, you may be able to go directly from the middle of the sales process offer, like a seminar or webinar, to your online order form.
But for most B2B technology products or services, your lead gen goal should be to deliver sales-ready opportunities – which knock the socks off of having to cold-prospect – or invest in other expensive and intrusive interruption-based marketing.
The Bottom Line
This article introduces you to a simple but very powerful framework for IT lead generation and converting leads and opportunities into new business.