We are completing our lead generation explained series with a guide on how to monitor and analyze results, and how to optimize tactics to get the most out of each campaign. If you are new to our blog, we highly recommend that you go over our previous posts, the first one explaining how to craft a successful lead generation strategy, while the second focuses on the 5 essential steps for launching such a campaign.
Let’s review the elements presented in the previous articles:
- The exploratory stage
Before getting started with a lead generation strategy or campaign, there are some prerequisites you need to keep in mind: a campaign brief, a campaign workflow, details regarding the target audience, and some advertising or content syndication targeting options.
- Generating the marketing plan
When working on a marketing plan, start with competition research, continue with defining the objectives, buyer personas, and the campaign timeline.
- Creating the content roadmap
Any lead generation campaign relies heavily on content to attract prospects, convert them to leads, and further nurture them. At this point, you will have to map out all the relevant content that needs to be created.
- Website/landing page creation
The campaign landing page will function as a hub for all your activities. That’s why you will want to allocate appropriate resources to it, from designing a wireframe or mockup to creating the visual assets and the necessary content.
- Email marketing plan
As soon as you start generating leads, your main point of contact with them will be their email address. Decide on what emails are going to be scheduled, how frequently will you be sending them out, and how they will look, as well as the content that will populate them.
- Social media input
To really build an omnichannel approach for the campaign, it is recommended that social media be part of it. Choose the relevant social media platforms and craft a strategy for each, so that you interact with prospects on the platforms they frequent the most.
- Advertising campaigns
Plan an advertising budget, distribute it between the channels that make the most sense for your objectives. Afterward, focus on designing and creating content for advertising creatives and then implement the campaigns.
- Marketing automation
If we are either talking about an ESP or a marketing automation platform, now it’s the time to create the necessary workflows, forms, link automated responses, and figure out a lead qualification system.
- Campaign setup
Start by launching the landing page or website, test the forms, and advertising campaigns. If everything works according to plan, you should feel free to start the lead generation campaign.
- Campaign launch
By now you should have everything implemented and ready to go, so all you need to do is make sure all your tactics are running correctly. Afterward, congratulate yourself on a job well done and start monitoring results.
You have worked hard at your content roadmap and content creation. It goes without saying that content is only valuable if it reaches a large pool of relevant readers. And part of the success of a lead generation campaign is dependent on how well you distribute your content.
If you already have a well-established audience for your blog, that’s the place you want to focus most of your attention. Blogs, while not necessarily translating content into revenue, are a good source for brand awareness and thought leadership. They are also the engine behind every efficient lead generation effort.
If a blog doesn’t do the trick for you, there are always content platforms where you can distribute your articles and insights to reach a new audience. Consider opting for Medium or Substrack to start getting the word out regarding your company’s solutions, services, or products.
- Social media
As we have touched upon in our previous article, social media can generate a lot of buzz around your brand. As soon as you have a community on a certain social media platform, it might be a great idea to share your most valuable and well-crafted content with it. Sure, social media alone will not lead to new conversions, but that might not be its only purpose.
Prospects will research you on social media and finding that you are active and constant with content distribution will help with building trust and relationships. This is a critical step in the lead nurturing process.
- Email marketing
Packaging content in bite-sized emails that will keep your subscribers and leads informed on the work you are doing will go a long way in growing your lead generation perspectives. As long as you do not overwhelm your contacts with too many emails and you include relevant content that might prove of interest, you should harness the power of email marketing constantly in your strategy.
While you will be tempted to check for results every day of the week and try to extract actionable data from there, it might not be the best approach. A campaign needs to run for at least a week, most often longer, before you start making changes.
- Website metrics
Based on the marketing plan you have generated for a campaign, you already know the actual valuable metrics. You should also have some benchmarks to compare your results to. A good strategy for extracting benchmarks is to look at previous iterations or campaigns. If that doesn’t apply to you, research website benchmarks for your industry to have a clear picture of what results you should be expecting.
- Advertising metrics
This is going to be a sensitive area because it involves your budget. Either way, don’t give in to the instinct of radically altering your advertising campaigns just because you don’t see any results in the first couple of days. Most platforms perform some automated optimization depending on how ads perform. But they need data to be able to do that. If you constantly tweak settings and creatives, that optimization will be delayed.
Once you do get around analyzing results, pay the most attention to your goals. Quality scores, search impression shares, or other similar advanced metrics will tell you very little about what works and what doesn’t. So focus on conversions, ROAS, CPC, or the metrics that are most relevant for your objectives. After having a broad picture, you can go in-depth and optimize keywords or placements, or interests, depending on the type of campaign or platform you are using.
- Lead quality
Analyzing lead quality will depend largely on your definitions for a marketing lead and a marketing qualified lead. Check how well your newly generated leads tick the boxes you had in the targeting audience part of the marketing plan. If you notice that the campaign is attracting the wrong audience, this is something that needs to be addressed through advertising campaigns and content.
Stakeholders and decision-makers will need to be kept in the loop regarding outcomes. The project management aspect of a lead generation campaign will require recurrent setting meetings or sending out updates.
- Recurrent reports
Initially, doing stakeholder management will be overwhelming and stress-inducing. To avoid any headaches, decide from the get-go how often you will send out reports and updates. Keep managers informed and up-to-date with results. Try to only include relevant metrics in the report so that decisions can be taken quickly. If you want to build a data-driven approach for your lead generation campaign, it is critical to facilitate the flow of relevant information from marketing to business and vice-versa.
- Custom reports
Alongside recurrent reports, sometimes management will need specific data that isn’t already included in the campaign dashboard. You cannot predict what kind of reports they will require or how often, but keeping in mind that this is something that will happen will help you better manage time, resources, and expectations.
As with any marketing initiative, the improvement process is a logical step. It will enable you to extract you need to fine-tune tactics, value propositions, and content.
- Data overview
Collecting data, metrics, and benchmarks in a unified dashboard makes the most sense when it comes to figuring out what needs to be changed. Having an understanding of how well the campaign is performing, while also analyzing how well each tactic performs will help you create an efficient improvement plan.
If possible, use a dashboarding tool that is already adopted in your company. Create dashboards in the marketing automation platform or CRM. If that doesn’t apply to your particular case, try tools such as Tableau or Google Data Studio.
- Brainstorming ideas
Gather around the entire project team, discuss results, and start coming up with hypotheses. Remember that in a brainstorming session there are no bad ideas. Encourage the team to actively contribute suggestions and track them so that you can filter the useful ones.
Structure the brainstorming session on pillars, such as content, landing page/website, gated content, email marketing, lead generation workflows, and advertising campaigns. Doing so will help with covering as much ground as possible in the available time. One important aspect to keep in mind is that criticism needs to be followed with an improvement suggestion, otherwise you cannot extract actionable data from there.
- New action points
Now that you have a data overview and valuable suggestions from brainstorming with the team, it is time to prioritize changes. You can apply a CRO methodology, where you start implementing the ideas that are most likely to lead to positive changes. Afterward, you can easily focus your attention on action points that are less likely to impact your objectives but are still relevant and effective.
Let’s face it: it is unlikely that you will come up with a perfect lead generation strategy on the first iteration. And that is OK. You shouldn’t be too hard on yourself if results do not reflect your projections. Just because it’s a part of marketing automation, it doesn’t mean you set it up once and then never bother checking and optimizing anything. Let’s discuss how to efficiently optimize your campaign.
- Website/landing page optimization
A/B testing might be the most effective tool you have at your disposal to determine what changes on the landing page or website will translate into better results. Start small, with the value proposition or call to actions. Multiple A/B tests or even a multivariate testing will help churn elements on the page that do not contribute to a good experience for users. Therefore, you can reach variations that bring the best results.
Make testing new hypotheses a constant aspect of your way-of-working, because as your campaign evolves so can expectations, market trends, or user behaviors.
- Content optimization
As the saying goes, content is king. To extract the most value from the content you create, it is important to constantly question approaches, topics, types of content you share, and so on. Maybe you need to work on making topics more appealing, maybe you need to reassess content length, maybe you need to up or down content distribution activities. That’s why it is important to keep any option on the table and to consider them objectively.
Work closely with content writers or subject-matter experts to adjust the content roadmap to better fit the lessons learned you have gathered previously. Guide them to understand what needs to change and make sure you offer the necessary feedback whenever a new version of the content is created.
- Advertising campaigns optimization
Depending on the specific of your business and the advertising platforms you have chosen, the improvement process will largely differ from one case to another. What remains consistent is the fact that elements of a PPC campaign that do not contribute to the expected outcome need to be paused, optimized, or replaced.
Take into consideration both technical details, such as targeting, schedule, or campaign settings, while also focusing on the creatives. PPC campaigns can also be A/B tested, probably not as easy as a landing page or an email, but you should still give it a try.
- Marketing automation framework optimization
You have started this entire process with some educated assumptions, derived from research, best practices, and market knowledge. But do not be surprised if some of those assumptions will not be validated by the data you collect through the campaign. One such example is how you translate the marketing funnel into lead generation campaign stages. Let’s say that you have decided to place gated content as the first lead magnet. Maybe you need to first offer your prospects the option to contact you directly and then, if they aren’t sales-ready, start sending out marketing content their way. Let’s pick another example. Maybe prospects want to interact with your brand at events or webinars, but you have not considered it yet.
Anything that drastically impacts your initial framework should be under scrutiny. From email frequency to lead scoring. From advertising platforms to media partners. From social media channels to influencers. Test out different approaches until you reach one that brings out the best results.
Leads move to the sales funnel
Once you have generated a marketing qualified lead the sales team should take over. You can still be involved to gather feedback and inputs from sales regarding the lead, but your job with that particular lead is done. This is the coronation of your efforts.
The only thing you need to do at this point is to make sure there are processes in place so that a lead that has entered the sales funnel but is not qualified by them can return to the marketing funnel.