Using digital lead generation to quickly and efficiently welcome customers into your business
For most marine-based businesses in Southeastern Connecticut, August marks the time when months of off- and pre-season efforts to fill the sales funnel have paid off and business owners or managers can breathe a sigh of relief. Charter trips have been booked, marina slips are full and boat upgrade installations have been scheduled – the investment in a new website, print ad campaign or PR initiative has resulted in a bevy of business.
But what if your lead generation efforts have not borne fruit? Is it too late to attract enough customers to save the season? The answer is absolutely not if you implement one of the following three content marketing-based digital tactics. When properly executed, each can generate highly-qualified leads in a very cost-efficient and timely fashion. The only thing you’ll need to worry about is welcoming customers into your business.
Content Marketing Primer
First step: understanding what Content Marketing is. Briefly, this emerging tactic involves the sharing of online materials such as videos, blogs, PDFs and social media posts that create awareness of your product or service by providing value to customers and prospects. Content Marketing does not overtly sell the benefit of your offering but positions your company as a thought leader in your area of expertise. In doing so, it creates awareness and demand.
A great example of Content Marketing for a marine company in Southern Connecticut or Rhode Island might be a collection of striped bass targeting tips from a Charter Captain or a series of day sail itineraries from a local marina. In each case, you create awareness for your company while giving prospects something useful which they would welcome and, ideally, share with like-minded individuals.
A key assumption in offering up these lead generation ideas is that you have a serviceable website or web page optimized with the right content and keyword metadata to match the offer you are putting in front of your customers. If not, we can help you with that as well. That said, here are three tactics which could start bringing in leads immediately:
Google AdWords Campaign
If you have a halfway decent website (or at least one halfway decent page on your website to serve as a landing page), you should be able to generate highly-targeted leads via a Google AdWords pay-per-click campaign. And by highly-targeted, we mean prospects within your ideal geographic and demographic specifications who have expressed an interest in your product or service at the very moment you place a message in front of them.
AdWords lets you bid on placing sponsored messages on the first results page driven by the keywords you select. But it’s not just about how much you spend; it’s also driven by what Google calls a “Quality Score” which basically means how well the Google user (searcher) will be served by clicking on your ad. We can help you enhance the keywords you select, the copy in your ad and the copy on your landing page – all of which combine to create this quality score. In many cases, companies with a higher quality score can spend their budget far more efficiently than the competition.
We all know social media is king and more than half of all online activity takes place on a mobile device. To whit, 1 of every 5 minutes people spend online is on a mobile device on Facebook (or Instagram, which Facebook owns). Simply stated, Facebook reaches almost 2 billion people per month and Facebook ads are a great way for small and local businesses to target an audience.
If you have a well-developed Facebook following, you can take advantage of that by boosting Facebook posts so they rise to the top of your follower’s newsfeeds. However, if you want to fully take advantage of Facebook and Instagram users within a specific geographic area that match your ideal customer’s demographic and psychographic profile, you should consider Facebook Ads.
Unlike Google AdWords, which are limited to pay per click and require a website, with Facebook you can use a business Facebook page through a variety of pay models: pay-per-click, pay-per-view, pay-per-like, etc. Another difference: Facebook ads are visually intensive so having visual creative that breaks through clutter is important. You can also use slideshows or video, both of which are fairly easy to create with applications that are now available.
The beauty of Facebook Ads is that you can target by interests so if you want to share your charter business fishing reports with men ages 29 to 54 residing within 15 miles of the mouth of the Connecticut River who are interested in Striped Bass, you can do so.
A third tactic which can create interest in your content and immediate leads is email marketing. According to a recent iContact study, 92 percent of all adults maintain an email account and, of these, 72 percent will check their email at least six times per day. This means email is definitely a high-interaction medium for reaching prospects. The key to success? Making sure these prospects will see your message.
The first bit of advice here is to utilize your house database file. Scrub it to make sure it’s free of duplicates and dead addresses and then provide an offer to these customers who have already opted into communication with you.
If this list is not large enough to meet your lead goals, you can purchase targeted email addresses from a list provider and market to them. With this, you must be of the strict rules regarding spam you must adhere to if you want to take this approach. Also, you must increase the odds that these unsolicited emails will be open. Two tactics here are personalization – making sure the recipient knows you’ve taken the time to know who they are – and mobile friendly, as again, the majority of emails these days are seen on a mobile device.
In closing, we at Voncor Marine Marketing and Voncor Communications can help you with each of the above tactics, getting a content marketing program up and running or making sure your website or social media presence is optimized for a lead generation program. Please contact us if you’d like more information.