The basic premise of marketing and sales is that lead generation is essential to growing a business. To meet marketing objectives and sales goals, leads need to be plentiful, and they also need to be qualified. Qualified lead generation is one of the toughest challenges facing businesses, but it is not impossible. In today’s business environment, it is important to have multi-channel marketing and advertising efforts in place to drive an adequate quantity of leads, which can then be qualified. While there are certainly theories on which tactics and response tools are the best at driving qualified leads, there is consensus among many business owners that not all leads are of equal quality, and the “best” leads are those that start with a live conversation, providing a more direct path to closing a sale.
Here is an overview of effective practices to drive quantity, while also generating high quality leads:
Traditional & Digital Advertising – A Well-Rounded Mix
The world of advertising continues to evolve as digital options become more cost-effective, and human nature drives people to the web. However, marketing experts agree that advertisers should not completely abandon the use of traditional forms of advertising, like radio, television, outdoor and even newspapers. These forms of media are still prominent in the advertising mix.
In fact, TVB, the trade association of America’s commercial broadcast television industry, reported in 2012 that TV continues to be the best driver of automotive marketers, and that local TV stations are the biggest advertising category for the largest industry category that conducts TV advertising. The association reported that from January through September 2012, Chrysler committed 36% of its ad budget to local TV and saw a 14% boost in November unit sales versus November 2011 levels. Honda also increased its local TV ad spend by 38% and garnered a 39% sales bump. And, Subaru spent 95% more on spot television and was rewarded with a nearly 60% rise in November sales over 2011.
The trade group also says 43% of the consumer “purchase” factor for automotive sales came from local TV advertising, with digital advertising (including all online usage except email) factoring into the purchase at a much lower rate of 12%.
The Radio Advertising Bureau reported that the automotive industry also accounts for the top spending on radio advertising in 2012. Furthermore, BIA/Kelsey projected in 2012 that local radio ad spending will continue to grow through 2016. And, the Outdoor Advertising Association reported that Q2 2012 advertising expenditures experienced the ninth consecutive quarter of revenue gains. All proof that traditional advertising is still being used by businesses in the U.S. to reach their consumers.
It’s been said many times – traditional advertising is still a critical component to the overall advertising strategy. Today, people watch TV while reading the newspaper, or listen to the radio while driving past billboards. And, they are also online much of the time, consuming advertising from all sources simultaneously. This is why finding the right media mix to reach the right audience at the right time takes experience, finesse, and exposure in multiple marketing channels, including a blend of digital media AND traditional media.
Regardless of the types of advertising used in the media mix, choosing the response tool or call-to-action to drive consumer action is the next step.
The Value of Inbound Phone Calls vs. Online Leads
Marketers face a litany of tools to improve business performance, generate more leads, and grow their business. Often though, they are not given good direction on how to incorporate all of those tools into their multi-channel strategy so that they work together to deliver optimal leads to their sales force.
Connecting with customers and building relationships is increasingly important in order for businesses to compete and survive in today’s crowded and competitive marketplace.
Connections can be made online through Twitter, Facebook, live chat and other social outlets, but live phone conversations are often more productive and a better way to build relationships with customers. And so, encouraging customers to contact a business by phone, to have a live conversation, still plays an extremely important role in advertising strategies.
Although it is undeniable that a company’s website is becoming increasingly important as a resource for their customers, it is still not always the preferred method for the sales force, or the most easily remembered method of contact for the customers.
Most recently, social media is playing a large role in the communication channels between companies and their customers. As with a website, this is not always the best way for customers to interact with a company. Tracking a company’s promotions and special events can be done effectively on these social media sites but, they are not as user-friendly, or secure, when it comes to resolving customer issues as are live conversations.
Consumer preferences of having live interactions with companies demonstrate that it is prudent for businesses to include a phone number in their advertising campaigns. Doing so ensures customer satisfaction, higher customer recall, as well as improved lead generation and quality.