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Automate Your Lead Generation Without Investing in Marketing Automation…yet

cupcakes desserts“Which marketing automation solution should I use for lead generation?”

I get this question regularly.  Trying to evaluate all the solutions available today is nearly impossible when you have no idea how you will use this information later.

There are outstanding solutions available today, all having excellent tools to make your marketing campaigns convert, nurture and report data.  But sometimes baby steps are the best method to saving money, time and giving your company the opportunity to learn it’s ability to manage the many facets of a successful marketing campaign with the available resources. These are recommendations that are in use today at some very large firms. Don’t snub your nose at the simple solutions yet.

Below are recommendations that are in use today at some very large firms. Don’t snub your nose at the simple solutions yet.

Build Your Foundation
The first element of any digital marketing campaign is the website. The size of your business doesn’t matter and you don’t need a big fancy site either. As long as you have a decent place for prospects to learn about your business and the solutions you offer online that is on a responsive (mobile-friendly) template, you should fare just fine.

As long as you have a decent place for prospects to learn about your business and the solutions you offer online that is on a responsive (mobile-friendly) template, you should fare just fine.

Conversion Bait
Next, you need to consider your offer. What is it your prospects want that you can provide in exchange for their email address?

conversion baitIt may be information in the form of a report or guide, it might be weekly information that comes to their inbox, a webinar teaching something important or a consultation – though, these are are better received  later in the buying cycle.

Capturing Their Information
This used to require a landing page or a boring Contact Us page with a form. Instead, I recommend starting with one (or more) of the simple free solutions available.

There are many available: HelloBar, LeadIn, QuickTapSurvey and more. These are free information capture apps.

You can build a pop-up in minutes with the information you want from your prospect and load it onto most sites.

Storing Your Data
You do not need a massive database, yet. You only need a place to maintain and manage your lists.

MailChimp does this well for email intensive campaigns and APIs easily with other software. It is one of the best, free email delivery systems around and has numerous upgrades as the complexity of your campaigns and data needs grow.

Create a list based on your offer. E.g. “Video Marketing Report Conversions”  Start with a good naming convention from the beginning as these can get messy fast. You can also jump into CRM with

You can also jump into CRM with Zurmo or Zoho before you go nuts with Salesforce. If you have no choice, plan all your use cases before paying for Salesforce. Their 90-day free support will zip by fast!

automate your marketingAutomate Everything Possible
Once a prospect converts, you want to automatically send them their prize. Set this up in most automation sections of your email delivery system.

But don’t stop there! Add more emails to this series to continue the conversation.

Let’s say you offer them a report on the benefits of using video in their marketing. There are probably elements you didn’t have enough time to go into deeply.

These emails are the extra value. You can use them to convey more of your company’s knowledge and authority in the field and help the prospect as well.

Keep sending more information regularly along with low barrier to entry offers for other free stuff – reports, webinars, consultations.

When to Migrate
If you are working campaigns well, you may find yourself needing more features to automate, measure and push your campaigns further.

when to upgrade marketing automationTHIS is when you start reviewing the features of the marketing automation players. Now you have some concept of how you are using marketing automation, what you have time and interest in doing in-house, what you don’t have time or interest in doing, and how you are willing to pay for this.

This is why I recommend going into inbound and lead generation marketing slowly.

I’m sure the Hubspots and Marketos of the world don’t want me telling you this, but many large companies and start-ups are seeing through their sales pitches.

Like marriage in most states, changing your marketing automation and CRM is like a messy divorce. You’ll need to invest lots of additional time and money to make a move. You want to choose wisely when you do.

In the interim, you can work well with free products and small upgrades from free services.

Inbound marketing and lead generation takes more man hours than you are probably allocating. Just regular weekly content updates kill most businesses as they aren’t used to being creative on demand. It’s harder than it looks.