In the film Glengarry Glen Ross, salesman Shelley Levene, as played by Jack Lemmon, complains that "The leads are weak" during a demeaning sales speech from Alec Baldwin's character. Baldwin's reaction: "You're weak."
What a bully.
Do you feel like your business has weak leads? Do you feel bullied about bringing in sales and customers?
If your business has weak leads or NO leads, you probably have trouble bringing in customers and making sales. You may be experiencing one or more of these problems:
Customers are only word of mouth
"[If] you find that your only customers are only from references," says Raleigh Kung, Digital Marketing Manager at Burns360, "your primary source of leads is word of mouth. That's not a bad thing, but that also means you're simply not tapping into your online channels yet."
If this is the case, you probably need some help. Kung advises, "A digital program will get you on search engines, essentially aiming for your organic search channels to become statistically significant in driving traffic to your site/leads to your sales funnel."
Not generating leads
"There is no point having a beautiful website that no one visits," says SEO consultant Clare Lankester, from Boutique Digital Media. "You might need to hire a digital marketing agency if you have a beautiful website but no leads."
Devon McCrossin, Director of Marketing at Boomtown Internet Group adds, "Some companies have invested time and energy into their online presence and marketing efforts, yet they are not generating leads through these sources."
Lead generation expert Nico Vargas from Media Services Hawaii explains, "The singular MOST important thing to your business is QUALIFIED LEADS that are ready to move forward. You can have the best-looking feed, first page results, beautiful website, thousands of followers; however without leads you are left to sink or swim."
Hunting down your own leads
Content strategist Mackenzie Deater at Evenbound puts it this way, "You might need to hire a digital marketing agency if you're still hunting down your own leads. If a company is still going out to find leads, rather than drawing them into their own sales funnel with great, informational content and exceptional customer service, then they need a digital marketing agency."
If these examples sound like your company, a digital marketing agency can help boost your lead generation, customers, and sales by focusing on the following:
"A successful website should give you an inbox full of qualified online leads," says Lankester. "Potential customers who are searching for your product or service online should see your website at the top of their search results.
"If you aren't on the first page of Google for your industry keywords," says Lankester, "then the likelihood is [consumers] don't know you exist," and your competitors are on that first page.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO), a primary service offered by digital marketing agencies, can move you to page one of those search results. "SEO gives a greater return on investment than most other forms of advertising and should be part of any organization's long-term strategy. If you don't have the skills to manage your own SEO strategy you need a digital marketing agency to manage it for you."
Paid traffic leads
On the flip side, many businesses use paid ads in addition to organic SEO to bring in customers. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, like Google Ads, is huge in digital marketing, but not easily mastered.
Digital marketer Samantha Cox from Beanstalk Web Solutions advises, "You might need to hire a digital marketing agency if you've tried running your own Google Ads before, and you aren't getting the qualified leads you had hoped for." Most digital marketing agencies offer some sort of PPC service.
PPC campaigns have many moving parts. Hence, says Cox, "There are so many reasons why your pay per click ad campaign might not be bringing in quality leads. You could be using the wrong keywords, you could have your conversion tracking set up incorrectly, you could be using the wrong tone, you could be showing your ads at the wrong time of day. And even if you get all of these things right, it's important to continue to optimize regularly to keep leads coming in over a longer period of time. It's kind of like a full-time job, and for digital marketers, it is their full-time job!"
When it comes to PPC, you don't want to waste money. You literally pay for the ads, so each keyword, etc. is an investment, and you don't just want leads. You want qualified leads.
"A digital marketing agency has the tools and knowledge to create Google Ads campaigns that bring in the most qualified leads," says Cox. When you pay to play, you definitely want to get the best bang for your buck.
Leads vs. qualified leads
To illustrate the difference between weak leads and qualified leads, let's look at this scenario provided by Cox:
"Our own digital marketing agency worked with a client that had been running ads for years on a single keyword that was pretty broad and brought in a good number of conversions, but also a lot of errant clicks from people who were looking for other things.
With the help of our digital marketing agency, we were able to research which keywords would bring in the most qualified clicks and create a campaign that cost the client a lot less per conversion, while bringing in better leads.
A digital marketing agency can do more than just take work off of your plate. Digital marketers have the skills to strategize new approaches that get you the leads you desire as cheaply as possible."
Lead generation specialists
Some digital marketing agencies even offer specialized lead generation services and solutions, through several contact channels.
Lead generation expert Vargas says this on the subject:
"You can even generate leads for your business in various ways from social media or boosting posts; however, how do you then convert that lead to a paying customer so you can get a return on your investment?
The answer is a lead support specialist or a concierge that can follow-up with ALL of your leads consistently and with proper tracking and reminders so your business can be top of mind when they're ready to move forward.
For example, say you get five leads today. You call all of them — two are wrong contact numbers, the other you leave a voicemail, and the other two answer and want you to follow up next month.
Ok great! You now have two leads added to your busy schedule for follow up.
Now the next day, you get five more leads and repeat the process. Pretty soon, you are going to find yourself missing out on opportunities or spending too much time chasing a lead that you're unsure if they're ready to move forward.
What's the solution? A digital marketing agency specialized in lead generation! Beyond the lead generation though, ensure that the agency is also able to facilitate the follow-up so that instead of you getting 50 leads per month that have yet to be contacted. You only get 5–10+ QUALIFIED LEADS that have been verified and contacted prior to being sent to you.
So now you are spending your time with ready-to-go leads that are hot and with correct contact information, as well as a CRM provided to you to see the activity and the lead information.
Many companies can generate leads, however, very few can facilitate the follow-up properly and do it all for you so that you can focus on what you enjoy most without adding more to your plate and busy schedule. "
Gain control over leads
Joe Goldstein, Director of SEO and Operations at Contractor Calls brings us a step further. He says, "You might need to hire a digital marketing agency if you want more control over your lead volume, timing, and market penetration."
Goldstein gives an example of when this would come in handy:
"In California's central valley, where summer temperatures can top 110 degrees, there is plenty of demand for a good HVAC contractor. Irish Heating and Air's strong offline reputation means they could survive by word of mouth alone, but there are limits to those leads. Word-of-mouth lead volume plummets during the summer months, grows in small geographic clusters, and strongly prioritizes repair work.
Digital marketing has offered Irish Heating and Air several distinct benefits:
- Facebook ads and remarketing ads allow them to push discounted services and special offers during the off months, smoothing out demand.
- SEO and content marketing lets them reach wealthier markets and develop new markets faster. It has especially helped them establish a foundation for their satellite location in Modesto.
- Content marketing and on-site cues help them sell services like 5-year maintenance plans, which can greatly boost customer lifetime value. It can also educate customers about the benefits of premium equipment, such as Mitsubishi ductless heating and air systems.
- Digital marketing also helps the business get more out of their offline reputation and investments. Each membership and sponsorship is another opportunity for a link that grows brand authority. Each happy customer is another opportunity for a five-star review. And each supporter can become a follower that boosts Irish's brand and content to other local homeowners."
Converting leads into customers
"Today's consumer seriously dislikes being sold to in the traditional style of "push" marketing," says Deater. "They prefer relevant, personalized ad experiences, and content that helps them make informed decisions about the products and services they're considering buying."
Is your content strategized to appeal to today's consumer?
SEO specialist Derrick Rehn from Integritive, offers, "Anyone can write a blog post, share a picture on Facebook, or create website content. But is that website content written with keyword searches in mind? Have you considered how you will funnel users on your website to making a purchase or submitting a form?"
Once you are organically bringing traffic into your website, you need to make sure that you are guiding customers through your marketing funnel: generating awareness, helping them see the benefits of your product, and converting them into customers. For businesses that haven't created a marketing funnel or used one in the past, this structure can seem kind of nebulous.
"A digital marketing agency can help you develop content that will speak to just your ideal audience in a genuine, personal way," explains Deater. "With content development like that spanning across your website, your blog, your paid search, and your social media ads, you'll start drawing in qualified leads. Rather than pounding pavement, your sales team can focus on providing those qualified leads with the information and experience they need to close. And when you're closing more deals with qualified leads, you're growing your business."
Trouble with conversions
If your site is having trouble turning traffic and leads into conversions (customers), again, a digital marketing agency can help. "Digital marketing agencies have the expertise and access to the best set of tools to conduct an in-depth analysis on why a site is not converting and make recommendations to improve the site," says McCrossin.
"The issues are oftentimes unique and the solutions are not a one-size-fits-all. For example, if your site is suffering from a slow speed score, the effects are a lower search engine ranking, higher bounce rate, and shorter sessions. Together all of these issues result in low conversions.
The solutions to improve site speed are vastly different and range from as simple as scaling some images to as complex as redesigning your entire site.
Another example is site layout and design. Site layout and design can be very personal and challenging to sway a decision maker's opinion. By using a heat mapping software, digital marketing agencies can analyze how customers are interacting with a site and make recommendations backed by data on how to improve your site design and layout to increase conversions and generate more leads."
When it comes to internet commerce. You need leads to convert into customers.
Get more leads
How much can a marketing firm help? Lauren Reed from Sixth City Marketing shares an example:
“With our efforts at Sixth City, we have multiple case studies where the results speak for themselves. Some of these results include a 300 percent increase of inbound leads, new user rate increasing by 58 percent, paid leads increasing by 148 percent and more.”
Remember, Alec Baldwin may have played a terrible boss in Glengarry Glen Ross, but he was right about one thing: "A-B-C = Always Be Closing." Or maybe digital marketing style: A-B-C = Always Be Converting Leads into Customers.
Hint: It's easier if you actually have more leads. It's even easier if you have qualified ones.