Don't Lead Them On: How to Capture Potential Customers’ Attention and Keep It

Your customers are bombarded daily with all kinds of media. How do you get your message to stand out and maximize your interaction with your audience?


Lead generation in the digital era can seem easier than the days of paper mailings, cold calls and door-to-door visits. While there’s certainly benefits to reaching potential customers on the platforms they are already using, there’s also an oversaturation of digital media coming at them every day. A user skipping over your ad in favor of a meme might seem likely but it’s not always the case. Digital lead generation does work! When you do get a user to click through on one of your digital ads, on your paid search listing or a link in an email, this is your opportunity to maximize the interaction and ensure that potential customer goes from a click to a conversion. 


What is your end game?

When you are starting a lead generation campaign, you need to define the goal. Ask yourself, what do I want users to do? The answer to this question is what drives content creation. The goal will also determine how you measure results. If gathering emails for your list is the goal then doing a product campaign to drive sales wouldn’t be the right fit. In this case you would measure sign-ups rather than sales. Think about what you want your potential customers to do and make it easy for them to do it. 

Keep it simple

The call to action (or CTA) should be clear from the first glance. The potential customer should have an idea of what they are going to get when they click on your ad. Though click-bait headlines might work for tabloids and YouTube videos, it’s not a great idea for marketing because misled people are unlikely to engage with your content again. You want to establish trust. If you are discussing a product and your intention is for people to buy that product, the link should go to the product listing. Don’t make people hunt for content. You have a short window to capture their attention. Capitalize on that! 

Eliminate distractions

Gifs, memes and viral videos rule the Internet, but do they have a place in marketing? Maybe. Are they always a good idea for targeted lead generation? Not necessarily. Getting a lot of eyes on your content can be amazing for brand exposure but eyes don’t always turn into buys. It’s more productive to focus on targeting potential customers. The CTA should be easy to read and it should be obvious what you want them to do. Things like “sign up here” or “read more” are likely to lead to clicks that turn into conversions. Fooling folks into clicking may lead to views but you want views from people who want to see your content. 

Gated content

Gated content refers to the idea that users must enter their email or in some cases, pay to access what you’ve created. Gated content is particularly popular in B2B content marketing. Writing whitepapers, blog posts, articles or creating how-to videos that inform your audience in a relevant way can be a way to not only establish yourself as a trusted expert in your industry but to also generate new leads. While it may be tempting to charge for gated content (and you totally can), that might be a short-term plan. The long game would be creating a simple form to gather emails, engage with those people and target campaigns based on their behavior. Gated content is one way to gauge what potential customers are interested in and then tailor campaigns to fit that behavior. 

Always get the email

When you are capturing contact information to generate a lead, of course, it would be nice to have all the information you want to know about your customer right there from the beginning. But if the only thing you can capture from a lead is their email then you’re off to a great start. With an email address, you can create a digital marketing campaign to measure what they are interested and tailor content to fit their needs. To do that, you need to get their email and you don’t want to overwhelm them in the process. Keep it simple! If you have multiple fields on your form, try making only the email entry required – that way it’s up to the person if they want to provide more. You don’t want to lose the email because you required too much unnecessary information up front. You can always engage the lead later by having them fill out a profile or take a survey. Allow them to warm up to you with a simple welcome email first. 

The best way to look at digital lead generation is like a relationship. You often must court the person. They want to know what you’re about before they invest in you. They want to know that you are worth their time and energy. At the beginning, an email address may be all they are willing to provide but that’s enough to get you started on the courtship. Always keep in mind that the user on the other side of the screen isn't just a potential lead, they are a person. Invest in the time to figure out how to talk to them. Unlike that awkward eHarmony date, you won’t regret it! 

Marisa Pisani, director of marketing strategy and automation at Adcom, spends her days creating and executing data-driven strategies to drive measurable results for Adcom’s diverse group of clients. Adcom specializes in Brand Building & Positioning, Generating Demand & Conversion, and Marketing Consulting.



 

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    Next up: How to Earn Business from Your Next Networking Event

    How to Earn Business from Your Next Networking Event

    Effective networking is harder than it looks. But if you do a little bit of homework first, you’ll find it easier to make the contacts you need during these events to help your business grow.

    As a small business owner, growing and nurturing a network is critical for current and future business. People like to do business with people they know, like and trust—and earning that trust is critical. Successful small businesses grow through referrals that come from satisfied customers. When you think of going to a networking event, do you cringe? Is it because you will be hounded by people and getting business cards you don’t want, having to listen to endless elevator pitches? Well, it is time to rethink how to leverage events and grow a profitable network.

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    • RELATED: Learn about COSE’s B2B Cleveland Matchmaker event

    The first thing to do is get into the right mindset. Effective networking is about farming versus hunting. Farmers plant seeds. They are patient and make sure their seeds get the proper caring and feeding and then they can reap the harvest. Hunters go a mile wide and an inch deep, they value quantity and shoot at anything that moves. Most people do not go to networking events to buy something, so why go there with the intent to immediately sell?

    When you are going to a networking event, do your homework first. Find out who else might be there you want to connect with. Learn what you can about them on social sites such as LinkedIn and also go to their website. When you find them at the event, ask them questions about themselves, their business and their challenges. Take the time to learn about them, show them you care and you want to build a relationship. There will be time for talking about how you can support them—but only really after you know what they need. When you get to share, tell them a story of how you have solved business problems for clients similar to their problems, then it shows you listened and you have some experience.

    Ivan Misner, Ph.D, founder of BNI, shares the need to first have visibility. People have to know who you are and what you do. He warns against premature solicitation and asking for a sale before you have visibility and offers some tips on effectively navigating networking events. He uses a 12 x 12 x 12 rule. From 12 feet away—make sure you are dressed the part. At 12 inches away, perception is reality. Don’t complain to someone you just met because they will think you are a negative person. And think about the 12 words you’re going to say. After you listen to them, be able to concisely share your value proposition.

    I facilitate a leadership program focused on building influence and connecting with others leveraging John Maxwell’s books—“Everybody Communicates, Few Connect” and “Becoming a Person of Influence”. In it, we focus on how to really listen to others to better connect. It’s not about us, it’s about them. I love this quote by Norman Vincent Peale:

    “Humble people don't think less of themselves ... they just think of themselves less. When you really listen to others, you make a connection.” John Maxwell says “Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand” and it is the same here for connecting.

    10 questions to ask at networking events
    Bob Burg, author of Endless Referrals and other great books, is a great connector and says, “All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.” He shares 10 Feel-Good Questions to ask at networking events:

    1. How did you get your start in the widget business?

    2. What do you enjoy most about your profession?

    3. What separates you and your company from the competition?

    4. What advice would you give someone just starting in the widget business?

    5. What one thing would you do with your business if you knew you could not fail?

    6. What significant changes have you seen take place in your profession through the years?

    7. What do you see as the coming trends in the widget business?

    8. What ways have you found to be the most effective for promoting your business?

    9. What ways have you found to be the most effective for promotion your business?

    10. What one sentence would you like people to use in describing the way you do business?

    The One “key” questions that will set you apart from everyone else: “How can I know if someone I’m speaking with is a good prospect for you?

    Important: Please keep in mind you won’t have time to ask more than two or three of these questions in any one conversation. These are questions people enjoy answering and they are simply meant to make them feel good and establish initial rapport.

    So, it’s about farming and cultivating relationships and building a network of people that really know, like and trust you—this is your referral network. Be selective, don’t chase everyone, and focus on building a network of people that can leverage your services or product. Focus first on adding value and the rest will come! And most of all: Happy networking!

    Jill Windelspecht is president of Talent Specialists Consulting. Contact her via email at Jillwindel@talentspecialists.net.

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    Next up: How to Get New Employees AND New Business

    How to Get New Employees AND New Business

    COSE members explain how they are overcoming two of the most vexing issues facing small businesses.


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    Next up: How to Get ROI from Social Media

    How to Get ROI from Social Media

    With everything a small business owner has to contend with these days, it’s no wonder social media often takes a back seat. The thinking goes: Sure, it’s important, but promoting a business on social media isn’t going to have a dramatic impact on a bottom line. Not so fast! Jason Guyer and Paul Marnecheck, two members of COSE and the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s membership development team would disagree with that line of thinking. Guyer and Marnecheck recently took time to answer some common questions entrepreneurs have about social media and also relate how they’ve used social channels to drive business.

    With everything a small business owner has to contend with these days, it’s no wonder social media often takes a back seat. The thinking goes: Sure, it’s important, but promoting a business on social media isn’t going to have a dramatic impact on a bottom line.

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    Not so fast! Jason Guyer and Paul Marnecheck, two members of COSE and the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s membership development team would disagree with that line of thinking. Guyer and Marnecheck recently took time to answer some common questions entrepreneurs have about social media and also relate how they’ve used social channels to drive business.

    Q: Talk about how you leverage social in your day-to-day at COSE/GCP?

    Guyer: Social media in general is sometimes viewed by others as a time-waster in the workplace. I think that is a stale, outdated, and antiquated mindset on how social media can impact your business—assuming you use it the right way. I’d guess roughly 75% of all members that I’ve welcomed to our chamber or who are trying to decide if membership is right for them are all on social media in one form or another. 

    Day-to-day on Twitter, I’m always on the lookout for content I can share or retweet that might matter to those who follow me, whether it’s my own or content of those I follow. Anything I can do to help spread the word for our Northeast Ohio companies on Twitter—members or not—I’m happy to do it.

    Similarly, LinkedIn is a great way to connect and put a face to a name for companies I am trying to engage with who may not be active on Twitter. If I am exchanging emails or phone calls with someone looking for more information on GCP or COSE, I always check to see if they have a LinkedIn profile so I can connect and engage with them that way.

    Q: What networks are you most active on and does your strategy change based on the platform you’re using?

    Marnecheck: I would say I am most active for work on Twitter and Linkedin. I use Linkedin more for background research while I use Twitter to help push content out. I agree that social media is a great way to remain current with our members and the business community. By creating lists in Twitter for instance, I am able to organize my feed in a productive way. Also, Linkedin allows me to see when a connection changes jobs, gains a new title, or reaches a professional milestone.  It allows me to remain current quickly.

    Q: What strategies work best as you try to encourage engagement from your followers?

    Guyer: To me, the goal is to stay top of mind. Simple retweets and comments on whatever it is my followers and those I follow are putting out there shows them that A) you’re noticing their content and B) you care about what it is they have to say. People create these accounts to engage (ideally!), so why not go back and forth and strike up a social conversation?

    Q: This question is probably highest on the mind of a small business owner: Have you been able to turn social into sales?

    Marnecheck: YES! I have found one of the biggest factors in making a sale is timing. Linkedin & Twitter gives me a good sense of when things might have changed for the client and when the time could be right to approach, reapproach etc.

    Q: What’s one thing a business development professional or small business owner should keep in mind about social media?

    Guyer: If you’re using social media to ask your prospects to “marry you on the first date” then I think you’re utilizing these tools the wrong way. Do I use social media as a sales tool? Of course I do. However, rarely—if ever—do I ask someone to join via social media. To me, Twitter and LinkedIn serve as a way to establish and cultivate the relationship throughout the sales process. In today’s day and age where it’s easier to point and click than it is dial and answer the phone (thanks caller ID), social media is a way to bridge the gap in communication.

    Marnecheck: ALWAYS have current content. One of the biggest red flags to me is when a business lists a social network site (especially Twitter) on their company website only to find the content on the site is outdated.  Must always have fresh content.

    Want to continue the conversation with Paul and Jason? Paul is on Twitter @marnecheck while Jason can be found @GCP_Jason.

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    Next up: How to Get the Most Out of a Trade Show

    How to Get the Most Out of a Trade Show

    With hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of attendees, it can be overwhelming to attend a robust trade show. There are so many seminars, discussions, presentations and exhibits, how can you see everything? Simply put, you can’t. But with a bit of prep beforehand; you can set yourself up to get the most out of your trade show attendance.

    With hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of attendees, it can be overwhelming to attend a robust trade show. There are so many seminars, discussions, presentations and exhibits, how can you see everything? Simply put, you can’t. But with a bit of prep beforehand; you can set yourself up to get the most out of your trade show attendance.

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    Create Show Objectives

    Although you are not exhibiting, you and your team should still have trade show goals and objectives. A team meeting before you travel to the show will make sure your team is aligned, and that everyone is working towards the same goal.

    Here are some examples of attendee show objectives:

    • To visit with potential vendors
    • To visit with current or potential customers
    • To learn from the seminars or lectures
    • To set up meetings with decision makers

    Outline ‘Must See’ Booths and Companies

    Trade shows can be spread across a large area. Often, you can access the exhibitor list and map on the trade show website. Create a list and map out the booths that you must visit. When you walk the floor, visit your list first and then you can walk the rest of the floor leisurely. If a booth is crowded, come back another time for better face time and conversation.

    Create a Schedule

    Prepare a schedule ahead of time by using the trade show literature and website to choose what speakers and seminars you want to see. Create a schedule and choose backup plans in case your first choices fill up. If you have a team, you can spread out and report the key details back to the team.

    Make sure to come prepared. A notepad and pen are a must; don’t assume they will be provided. If you are sitting up close, you can consider recording or taking photos on your phone. Also, bring a good amount of business cards for networking after the events.

    Book Meetings in Advance

    Once you create your schedule, you can easily set up key meetings ahead of time. When people start traveling, it is often difficult to get ahold of them to schedule meetings. During the weeks before the trade show, connect with your contacts and set up meetings. A remote trade show is a great place to set up breakfast meetings, dinner meetings or to meet for happy hour. A trade show website will often suggest local places to visit outside of the show.

    Monitor Social for Updates

    You can’t get away from social media. Most trade shows will have a few social media pages or even an event hashtag that you can follow online. This is an excellent way to see show updates, schedule changes or announcements. Other attendees will be participating so you can see what is going on from all over the show. The show website will have the best way to stay connected!

    Want more tips? Visit the GTS blog to read about leadership, business and supply chain news.  Visit onestopshipping.com to take control of your shipping and supply chain.

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    Next up: How to Handle Workplace Injuries Resulting from Marijuana Usage

    How to Handle Workplace Injuries Resulting from Marijuana Usage

    Election Day 2016 is just over a month away, and the potential for legalized marijuana - both medicinal and recreational - should be weighing on your mind as a business owner. Employee safety is one of the biggest concerns that we hear from small business owners. There is a commitment to safety and a genuine concern for all employees - everyone should return home as healthy as they were when they reported for their shift.   But, what happens if an employee is injured and a post-accident drug screen shows marijuana metabolite levels? Surprisingly, the claim could be allowed by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). Why? Because during the initial review done by the BWC, they have no way of knowing just how impaired the individual was at the time of the injury. While this can typically be the case for any controlled substances including alcohol, marijuana poses a problem because it stays in the system far longer than other substances, making it difficult to prove the level of impairment. 

    Election Day 2016 is just over a month away, and the potential for legalized marijuana - both medicinal and recreational - should be weighing on your mind as a business owner. Employee safety is one of the biggest concerns that we hear from small business owners. There is a commitment to safety and a genuine concern for all employees - everyone should return home as healthy as they were when they reported for their shift.  

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    But, what happens if an employee is injured and a post-accident drug screen shows marijuana metabolite levels? Surprisingly, the claim could be allowed by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). Why? Because during the initial review done by the BWC, they have no way of knowing just how impaired the individual was at the time of the injury. While this can typically be the case for any controlled substances including alcohol, marijuana poses a problem because it stays in the system far longer than other substances, making it difficult to prove the level of impairment. 

    In order to protect your business, the BWC decision will need to be appealed and this is where an effective post accident drug screen policy is critical—  Two important steps to remember - the drug screen needs to be done immediately after the injury  and you should also ask supervisors and co-workers if the injured employee was displaying any behaviors that raise suspicion of being impaired.  

    A copy of the medical records, complete drug testing results (which could be over 100 pages), custody control forms and procedure and policy documentation from the lab will all need to be obtained and then reviewed by an independent medical examiner (IME).  

    The IME should be able to provide an expert medical opinion as to whether the employee was impaired at the time of the injury. He/she will take several important factors into consideration—was the drug test obtained in the proper fashion?  Was it indeed positive?  In the case of marijuana, what was the marijuana metabolites level?  Did the individual’s behavior or actions suggest some degree of poor judgment or poor reaction time?  

    Workplace example

    Let’s think about an employee in a manufacturing facility who is working with machinery. A belt comes off of a conveyor and the employee attempts to fix it without turning off the machine. His hand is caught, causing a crushing injury.

    He is taken to an emergency room for an examination. Company policy requires post-accident drug testing, so a urine drug test is collected upon arrival, which is approximately an hour after the injury occurred. Even though the drug test was positive for marijuana, the BWC allowed the claim for the diagnosed conditions as it didn’t have access to the detailed lab results and specific metabolites level. In order to have a chance at a successful appeal, the employer obtained a file review and provided the IME with the lab documentation and witness statements.

    The IME’s expert opinion, based on the marijuana metabolite levels and the employee’s poor judgment and delayed reaction, is that the employee was impaired at the time of injury. While there is never a guarantee of success, obtaining expert medical opinions gives you the best shot of a positive outcome upon appeal.

    COSE recommends voting NO on Issue 3 (the marijuana legalization issue) and YES on Issue 2 (which would limit monopolies and oligopolies in Ohio).   


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