5 online lead generation pitfalls

For many companies, collecting contact details is an important, if not the most important, objective of their content marketing strategy. Lead generation is the link they want to create between content and sales. Strikingly, recent years have shown that the way to generate leads is to create extraordinarily strong content. Only what is valuable earns a lead. What are the pitfalls you need to avoid when pursuing online leads?

1. Proposing the wrong deal

In online lead generation, your audience provides interesting data—a name, a job title, an email address, a telephone number—in exchange for a piece of valuable content. For example, a visitor to your website reads an interesting article, and, in exchange for their contact information, receives a white paper that explores the subject in more depth. Or the visitor registers for a webinar that presents the topic to specialists. Whether your visitor finds this an interesting proposition or not, however, depends not only on what you offer. It could well be that the white paper or webinar is extremely interesting to the visitor, but that they nevertheless do not request it.

That is why it is important to always start from the insights into your customer journey when devising a mechanism for online lead generation. Which buyer persona, in theory, will be reading your blog post, and in which phase will they be when reading it? Are you still building awareness, or are they already closer to purchase? Each phase has a different content need. For example, if you give the reader who is just window shopping all the information, they need to make a purchase decision, there is a good chance that they will become overwhelmed or have not yet found an answer to some initial questions. If so, it is proportionally less likely that they will click through to any additional content in exchange for lead information.

In that light, it is also important to think carefully about how you are going to offer your additional content technically. Would a PDF document containing a model contract be the compelling extra information you want to exchange? Then have a good look at how your audience will consult that PDF. If it turns out that your leads are coming in largely from mobile devices, ask yourself whether making a non-responsive PDF available is the best plan.

2. Behaving like an impersonal company

Giving your details to a company requires a certain amount of trust. If you adopt an impersonal attitude as a brand or company, it will immediately reduce your online lead generation. The solution that has been high on the charts for several years now is personalisation. This fine case study by SAP Concur shows a 20% increase in conversion (from lead to sale) through the use of personalisation.

An associated pitfall is laziness. Personalisation does not mean quickly incorporating a personal address in your email. ‘Hello Petra’ is not enough. Personalisation means approaching your target group with personalised content. This is content that is linked to the profiles of your buyer personas—content that you know this type of visitor has shown an interest in, or content that simply provides a very direct answer to a question your sales department has received.

Good personalisation starts from relevance, which can also be built in, technologically. For example, you can generate a lead not only with a form, but also by offering the option of a social media login. The data that this generates, such as a job description on LinkedIn, can then be used to distribute (or not) certain (sector-specific) content.

3. Forgetting to fuel up the engine

If you want your audience to leave their details after reading content, then it is in your best interest to attract as many people with a relevant profile to that content as you can. Fuel up the online lead-generation motor. You can, of course, fall back on the well-known paid, owned, earned approach. Start with your own channels: website, social media and your newsletters. Internal tools can also be useful for kick-starting distribution through your employees (this is where the earned media begins). Focus on the content that creates the incentive, but also think carefully about how you present the extra content, which should generate leads, to the attention of your employees. If you feel that the content is successful on your own channels, consider using social sponsoring to create an extra influx of potential leads, too.

Again, think about the technical aspects. Don’t make it difficult for your visitors to leave their details. A clear form works wonders. Those who are truly enthusiastic will also want to share the content. So don’t forget the social media sharing buttons and consider retargeting (targeting visitors via a tracking pixel after they have already visited your content).

4. Do not set KPIs

Online leads are not an accidental by-product for your company. A lead is a must-have, not a nice-to-have. That’s why it is important to clearly determine at the outset what goal and what numbers you want to achieve. How many readers or viewers do you want for your content and what percentage will leave their details to obtain additional content? Set goals and indicators and follow them up after publishing the content and when you start promoting it. Are the numbers evolving positively or not? In the latter case, find out why. Maybe the copy and title of your newsletter is not attractive enough? Or maybe the webinar that visitors can register for falls on a day when everyone in the sector is busy with an important quarterly closing? Or is your call-to-action not clear enough, resulting in no one clicking through, even though the finish line is in sight?

What you are doing in this process is essentially processing data about the behaviour of your buyer personas. It is something you can delve very deeply into. How long does my audience watch an online video? Where does the viewer drop out? Is there a link between watching for a long time and eventually leaving your details? It takes some time to make these analyses, but they can be invaluable for the success of your online lead generation.

5. Failing to align sales with online lead generation

The goals, KPI’s and timing that you formulate are critical to the organisation of your sales colleagues. After all, bringing in leads is one thing, but ideally you also want to cash in on them. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time and an investment. However, if you do not align with sales, you risk creating a bottleneck. For example, content marketing can provide you with 15 new leads every month, but if your sales team is not anticipating them, the chances of these leads actually becoming customers is reduced.

With this in mind, talk through your objectives, indicate when those new, incoming leads will be arriving and see how you can qualify them. That way, you can provide your sales team with extremely useful information for completing the sales process in the best possible way. Ideally, that last part of the journey also provides you with information with which you can further refine your content marketing strategy.

14 redenen waarom jouw contentmarketing niet werkt

Heb je weinig of zwakke leads, weinig bezoekers, weinig clicks? We sommen in deze whitepaper 14 redenen op waardoor het fout kan lopen en geven tips hoe je dit kan vermijden.