Lead Generation Article in Direct Mag

Heading: Talkin? about lead generation

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Intro: These simple techniques can turn your website into a lead generation powerhouse, writes dgm?s Account Director Chris Garner.

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Text:

I recently received ? in the mail ? my invitation to the ADMA Forum 2010, encouraging me to ?learn the science of marketing with a quick reference guide to digital and direct marketing statistics.?

The 36 statistics are cleverly presented as a periodic table of the elements. Interestingly, only 8.3 per cent of the ?elements? are from traditional DM practices while 91.7 per cent relate to digital. This is indicative of the marketplace in which we as marketers are operating.

The ?element? that scared me the most says ?377.5 million consumer mail packs were delivered in the 12 months to September 2009? ? that?s more than 21 mail packs for every man and woman over the age of 15 in Australia. Despite that startling stat, there seems to be a seismic shift in the direct marketing industry right now. The terminology is changing ? the industry now refers to itself simply as ?direct?, and the same ADMA Forum invitation refers to the event as ?Australia?s premier multi-channel marketing event.?

DM patriarch Stan Rapp has even applied the familiar ?i?, stating ?iDirect is the future of marketing?, using ?a plethora of digital tools for engagement with consumers at a time and a place of their own choosing?.

?Direct is Digital. Digital is Direct,? says Stan. One of the plethora of tools in this new digital/direct/multi-channel landscape is lead generation. Australian marketers would do well to familiarise themselves with the techniques available, and learn from some successful examples both locally and from overseas.

Online lead generation has a very clear cost structure. It is simple to see the origin and quality of each lead ? and companies can then pay only for data on engaged consumers that meet their predetermined criteria. This means online lead generation is highly cost-effective, and the value of each lead is higher. The better the quality of the data, the easier it is for companies to drive down their CPA (cost per acquisition), which is a key measure of ROI.

The discipline of online lead generation can be used as a standalone campaign, meaning that it finds potential new customers by using a specific offer that is only promoted on the internet. It can also be used as part of a wider campaign very effectively, particularly ad-based online lead generation. The response of TV, newspapers and outdoor can be boosted by tying in an online lead generation campaign.

Online lead generation offers a wide range of business benefits, especially the ability to increase the customer base and build a prospect list. Cost effectiveness and the ability to target consumers are equally important.

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[Subhead] A-tisket a-tasket, an abandoned basket

Disappointingly, online shopping basket conversion in Australia (and indeed globally) averages 5 per cent. This means 95 per cent of visitors are leaving the online store empty-handed. What does that mean for advertisers? There are two key questions. Firstly, how can the website be improved to convert more customers? Secondly, how can the advertising budget be made to work harder, to deliver real customers (not just costly clicks from Google Adwords to your website)? Here are three examples of advertisers who have overcome these problems using online lead generation.

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[Subhead] Aussie Mortgages

As a customer interested in a home loan, you aren?t going to take the time to complete an 18-page application form online.

To avoid customers switching off, Aussie merely begins to capture data at an early stage of the inquiry, priming the call centre with hot leads from the website that they can call back at a time convenient to the customer.

Another technique is to use call back forms instead of standard telephone numbers during the sign up basket process, as a lead generation tool allowing for web tracking analytics to be installed. This can track web site leakage to offline.

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[Subhead] The Broadband market

In this increasingly competitive sector, a two-year fixed-plan contract can cost more than $2,000 for the duration of the contract.

This type of transaction is both complex and contractually prohibitive to complete online.

This is where online lead generation can play a vital role, increasing the customer confidence in the product via the use of a telesales call centre contacting hot leads generated via a simple online form.

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[Subhead] Baileys

A recent European campaign signed up more than 400,000 potential Baileys drinkers to the Baileys Lounge ? all with the idea of increasing the engagement of customers with Baileys from once a year at Christmas to a drink that is entwined in the life of the customers.

The Lounge included recipes for Mocha Coffee and chocolate fondue.

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[Subhead] FMCG Lead by a sample

Samples are a very powerful way to win customers. In December 2009, Opinion Research Corp. surveyed consumers on behalf of the United States Postal Service ? all of them primarily responsible for sorting their household?s mail.

Here are a few findings:

81per cent of those surveyed said they will try a product after they receive a free sample.

61per cent said an actual product sample is the most effective way for a brand to get them to try a product.

P&G’s “eStore” opening will harness a formidable FMCG sampling strategy – P&G’s Chief Executive Bob McDonald said last August that the company wanted to increase its online sales “substantially” over the next few years. Online sales accounted for about $500 million, or 0.6 percent, of P&G’s fiscal year 2009 sales of $79 billion. P&G plans a full scale launch this spring, after a pilot test with 5,000 consumers starting in the next few weeks.

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[Subhead] What caused the change

The reasons why there have been a dramatic change in where marketers are allocating their budget may have their roots in the Global Financial Crisis. This has certainly encouraged marketers to spend more in areas that they wouldn?t previously have been, such as online lead generation. But more than that, the digital channels are increasingly viewed as the most cost effective. Online also allows for indirect lead generation by simply avoiding untargeted traffic via costly and inflated CPCs (cost per click) from the search engines.

And companies who are generating leads online with the intention of converting them offline are maximising the margin opportunity by using traditional call centres, which can convert customers at more than 30 per cent (CMO Council).

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[Subhead] Lead Generation Do?s

1. Capture simple opt in data at the beginning of the form process that is recorded by your database even if the process is abandoned ?? email address, mobile number, mail address (if required)

2. Set criteria of what exactly qualifies as a relevant lead and measure it.? For example, a respondent that answers the telephone number they provided, a lead that clicks an activation email, or in fact an email address that is not already in your CRM database

3. Capture the time it is convenient to make contact and stick to it.

4. Act fast. Follow up immediately with the leads generated. Real-time auto-response is best. Your response rate diminishes over time.

5. Use unique identifiers for each lead generated in order to measure quality therefore each lead can be tracked for the life time value of the relationship

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[Subhead] Lead Generation Don?ts

1. Don?t use the same telesales number throughout the whole site, use unique ones at different points so that you can attribute where on the web site calls originate from

2. Don?t assume all lead generation is the same. Look for what other advertisers are running on that network so they are reputable sites. You will be known by the company you keep, so see what other advertisers are running lead generation programs on the sites you are considering.

3. Don?t employ incentives too early in the process. Using incentives in lead generation can increase the number of leads you get, but it can also decrease the quality of those leads.

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BIO: Chris Garner is the Account Director for dgm.?

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