Acquisition today is tougher than ever before, beyond simply building the perfect prospect list. With over 14 states now engaged in some form of do-not-mail legislation, smart b-to-b and consumer marketers are re-thinking the entire concept of engaging leads and acquiring new customers.
More than a platform for the exchange of information, the most successful acquisition projects of 2010 will be those that call upon the aid of search engine optimization (SEO) strategies and homepage opt-ins, word of mouth, social networking and blogging tools and strategies.
No business should ignore the power of SEO in the organic generation of profitable leads. When establishing meta-tags, address client-specific pains not only with industry “hot words,” but also with the terms an uninformed public calls upon when codifying their needs in an online search. The more you can express your offer in distinct terminology, the better – so long as it’s memorable. If you’re in the business of address standardization, optimizing your website for searches on “data hygiene” won’t earn you the lion’s share of organic leads. You need a solution marked with distinction, one that will stand out in a sea of commoditized terminologies.
Make the leads come to you! There’s no better way to guarantee prospecting success than by building a targeted database of opt-in subscribers. Prequalify and capture vital visitor information by developing secure registration pages that offer some sort of sought-after content — a complimentary download or subscription, for example – with no strings attached.
These types of not-so-traditional tactics have the potential to deliver as many leads as a carefully crafted postcard.
The casual chatter of those around you has tactical implications in generating new customers for your business. There are blogs and message boards for every industry and interest imaginable. Comprised of trade-specific experts, your end-users, competitors, peers and product fanatics, these platforms are rich with soft-selling opportunities. However, you must be careful in your approach. The informal, accessible nature of a social forum is ideal for free-flowing thoughts and third party opinion. If your story proves compelling, you can capture the eyes and ears of your target audience at little to no cost. With the elimination of cost, however, one can also lose control of the message.
A double-edged sword, word-of-mouth can support or destroy your cause. Viral marketing’s objective nature can create a powerful legacy not easily erased. Monitor what people are saying about you, clarifying when possible.
Instead of a mass-distributed prospecting postcard for your next campaign, call upon the inherent value of your product or service offering to drive initial interest on the web. Once “acquired,” circle back and fuel continued interest with both direct mail and email marketing messages directed to a now “opted-in” audience. Craft a far more relevant message, one tailored to an audience of one.
Leveraging the social interactions of a web-enabled populous just might be the alternative necessary to generate additional leads of quality and more than what can be achieved by a cold prospect list alone.