Heading into 2014: Present & Future of Online Lead Generation
:: By Anton Ruin, CEO of Epom ::
Global online marketing realities are changing so fast these days that businesses need to be exceptionally flexible and apply a variety of strategies, methods and techniques to reach high-value target audience and maximize their ad profits. Among a wide range of well-known and frequently chosen marketing trends, online lead generation is what has recently become the world’s new hit, and is not likely to lose its effectiveness in the nearest future.
Although the importance of lead generation in digital marketing is clear, as it helps businesses generate potential clients’ interest to their products and services via various channels, the experts’ insights on what the lead-gen process will be like in 2014 are slightly different. As for the core aspects of the efficient lead generation, the analysts generally agreed in their opinions and expectations for the future.
One of the key characteristics of online lead generation, foreseen for 2014, is its flexibility and dynamics, powered and driven by technological innovations. The space will certainly continue changing and repurposing itself, depending on the audience demands and preferences with marketers’ focus in lead generation being likely to include a vast array of different elements.
Top-Quality Content Remains at the Top
Similar to 2013, content is forecasted to remain very essential in online lead generation worldwide, given that it is unique, interactive and engaging. The newer characteristics, now named as important as the more conventional ones are content shareability and its educational value.
The latter aspect concerns the constantly growing competition on the international market and the permanent growth of supply. The overall amount and the variety of choice has increased so much that businesses need to provide something unique and useful (e.g. tutorials, industry insights, etc.) to reach potential clients, not just try selling their products directly.
Cross-Channel Messages and their Repurposing
It is no surprise that effective lead generation requires the use of interactive and engaging marketing messages, which attract an audience’s attention and increase interest to a brand/product potential leads.
It is no surprise either, that it is possible to maximize the number of generated top-quality leads, if a business is willing to apply both the inbound and outbound channels in its marketing strategy.
However, the core marketing messages in 2014 should be repurposed for each marketing channel and presented from a unique angle to fit the audience’s preferences. In particular, it will be easier to generate high-quality leads via Facebook, using various visual aids, whereas the LinkedIn audience will generally respond to the, so-called, “big data” (research results, whitepapers, etc.).
Focus Points of 2014: Social, Mobile & Video
In spite of a wide range of well-known marketing channels, useful for generating leads, experts advise that companies should primarily target social media, mobile and video audience in 2014.
As for social media in particular, Facebook users, for example, will respond well to graphics, inspirational and entertaining content, which should also match their personal and global interactions, interests and likes.
Lead generation via Twitter will become easier, if marketing messages are very terse, yet interactive (have an included call to action) and fall under the “4:1:1” rule. Additionally, the surveys show the potential effectiveness of applying Promoted Tweets and special Hashtags.
The mobile audience is likely to be the most promising and yet the most demanding segment in lead generation next year. Not only should the marketers focus on the perfect mobile user experience, but also make the posted content more brief, easily shared and very engaging. In addition to catchy titles, it will be also beneficial to use SMS and QR to generate high-value leads on mobile.
Last but not least, the video sector is one of the trickiest in terms of lead generation in 2014. If a business chooses a smart approach, that is, delivers creative, engaging and shareable video content, repurposed across channels, it will, certainly, show impressive results, in terms of the number and the quality of generated leads.
Lead Nurturing & Seed Nurturing
The idea of lead nurturing is rather famous in the online marketing industry these days. It presupposes sustaining and increasing audience interest in the product at the so-called “intermediate” stages, when they are not ready to become customers yet.
As for the term “seed nurturing”, it is a newer one and usually describes a complex of lead nurturing activities toward previously generated leads, after their registration.
According to experts’ expectations for 2014, both lead nurturing as a whole and seed nurturing, in particular, should be applied for effective online lead generation via all channels on desktop and mobile.
Lead Scoring & Efficiency Measurement
None of the well-working strategies is sufficiently effective, unless a company precisely detects and analyses its targeted audience, including people’s interests, interactions, relationships and, indeed, their level of interest to a product.
In this respect, lead scoring, based on the correlation “engagement-fit”, which enables the marketer to determine which leads are likely to respond and convert, will remain one of the potentially useful techniques in online lead generation in 2014. The process of re-scoring leads on a permanent basis is also likely to be as crucial as it is now.
Given the fact that marketers should also measure the results actually achieved by their lead generation activities, more measurement methods, algorithms and techniques will, apparently, be introduced in 2014. However, the more or less well-known strategies, including evaluation of content, context and the volume of generated demand (e.g. a number of subscribers, volume of branded search, conversion rates, etc.), will remain in marketers’ focus as well.
On the whole, a range of online generation trends of 2013 will hardly undergo critical changes in 2014, due mainly to the importance of collecting audience data and its further translation into information that is more actionable. At the same time, marketers will definitely upgrade the methods used to increase audience reach and the effectiveness of measurement, using innovative technology, predictive modeling, etc.
By Anton Ruin, CEO of Epom