Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
If you have ever been to the beach, chances are you have seen a person with a metal detector searching through the sand for treasure. Perhaps you have even tried it yourself, imagining that you’ll discover a lost diamond, a rare coin or gold bracelet. Just one stroll on the sand could reap rewards in hundreds or thousands of dollars. On the other hand, you could end up just finding pennies.
So, how would you find quality treasure? In business, leads are the treasure, and companies are constantly hunting for that shiny diamond in the rough that will bring in lots of cash. Lead generation software, social media, printed advertisements, websites and more are the tools helping them find it.
What is your strategy? Much like you wouldn’t simply rely on your eyesight alone to look for treasure in the sand, you shouldn’t rely on just one tool for lead generation. You need to boost your search team.
Related: 6 Super Simple Content Marketing Hacks to Double Your Lead Generation
Identify your tools
The best place to start is by selecting a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software that will organize all of your contacts and sales leads and track where they came from. Some of the top CRM Software systems include Zoho, HubSpot and Salesforce. According to Statista, the CRM market is expected to grow exponentially, increasing to 49.6 billion globally by 2025. Many companies use CRMs, because they streamline and simplify the process of managing and nurturing leads.
However, a CRM can be costly. If you’re just starting out, you’ll still want to track your leads, so consider other tools like Google Sheets or an Excel spreadsheet.
Test your tools
Once you have a CRM Software system in place, you can start tracking your leads. Where are they coming from? Let’s say you spent $500 in Facebook and Instagram advertising over one month and received 25 leads from it.
Out of those 25 leads, three became sales. Comparatively, that same month, you spent $500 on an email marketing campaign and received zero sales from it. However, your website traffic got a boost.
You can conclude that while emails will likely make your website clicks rise, they may not equate to actual profits like Facebook and Instagram advertisements will. Not all leads are created equal. The key to your success is spending marketing dollars on the tools that will return the highest value over time.
Related: Is Your Strongest Lead-Generating Tool Doing Its Job?
Analyze your leads
What makes one person follow through with a purchase while another simply dismisses the idea? Every business is different, and what works for one company might not work for another. You have to do the digging yourself and find out which tool is the most effective.
One of the key performance indicators you need to pay attention to is dwell time. According to a study by the online media company Eyeblaster, marketing campaigns that actively engage consumers for longer periods of time — by enticing them to dwell — are more likely to generate high conversion rates and are three times more effective at driving brand-related web searches.
An analysis of more than 13 billion rich-media impressions found that increasing dwell time from 5% to 15% increases conversion rates 45% on average, from 0.4% to 0.6%.
A client of mine at PostcardMania (a manufacturer of branded promotional products) shared their website’s dwell times with us based on lead source, and the results were surprising. It showed that out of the seven chosen tools to drive traffic, the highest average session duration resulted from postcards, while the lowest resulted from email advertisements:
Google organic: 1:37
Direct traffic: 1:02
Google paid ad: 0:54
Facebook ad: 0:35
Email Advertisement: 0:24
We can conclude that this particular client should invest more of their budget on direct mail marketing and SEO, and they should invest less on email marketing and Pinterest.
When it comes to printed ads, people almost always spend more time looking at those than online ads. According to a study done by Lumen Research that tracked eye data, people spent .3 seconds looking at a digital ad as opposed to 1.5 seconds on a printed ad. They also reported that consumers have a 22% chance of noticing a digital ad on a computer screen and a 76% chance of noticing the ad if it is printed. Also consider this:
People can more easily recall your business in print. In 2019, the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General and Temple University partnered together to study the power of print and digital advertisements. The study found that not only did participants spend more time with physical ads, they also recalled them faster. The physical ads also elicited a stronger emotional response than the digital ads, and overall, had a longer-lasting impact.
About half of all Americans look forward to checking their mail. A Gallup poll revealed 4 out of 10 Americans get excited to check their mail every day.
When it comes to lead generation, you have to test everything, track everything, and then stay consistent with what works for your business — whether the ad is in print or in cyberspace.
Related: 6-Step Plan to Convert Leads Into Sales
Execute a plan
Once you have identified which lead generation tools bring in the most revenue, you can start putting a plan into action. For example, you could identify your top three income-generating sources and break down how much you are going to invest in each one.
Start sending postcards/direct mail to prospective customers in your local area every month.
Pay for social media advertising through online ads and influencers.
Ensure your company lands in the top three suggested businesses on Google (the coveted first page) through organic SEO.
It is true: Not all leads are created equal. You don’t necessarily need more leads; you need the right leads that bring in sales. Working with the best marketing professionals will help you find, analyze and track them with the most advanced tools available.
Will you find your diamond in the rough? It’s time to start organizing the search committee. Stop staring at the sand, and start digging for the treasure.
Business Strategies, Entrepreneurial Advice & Inspiring Stories are all in one place. Explore the new Entrepreneur Bookstore.