How to effectively combine online and offline lead generation

Lead Forensics, Wednesday 6 April 2016

Two sales people with a nodepad and laptop comparing online and offline information

In a digitally-driven world it’s no surprise that marketing teams are now focusing a lot of time and effort on generating leads online. From investing in lead generation software to having an awesome website that hits all the right buttons, online can now be a major source of new business. 

But as a marketer, it’s not the only area that’s deserving of your attention and that can prove invaluable for your bottom line. Just because you’re focusing online, doesn’t mean you should forget about the power of your offline activity. As the way to fully maximise your results is to effectively combine your online and offline lead generation efforts. 

There’s a saying in marketing that it takes 6-8 touch points with a customer before they will be ready to make a sale. That means taking an online/offline approach can be the perfect mix, giving you plenty of opportunities to make yourself visible, to start conversations, follow up and nurture leads along. Emails, blogs and social media channels mean there are now loads more options than ever before to connect.

What is an offline generated lead?

These are leads that you have generated offline, such as through person-to-person contact. For example, potential new prospects you may have met while attending a trade show or at a networking event. This includes leads you’ve generated through phone calls, printed ads or a direct mail campaign. 

What is an online generated lead?

Online leads are any leads that you have driven through your website, including using tools such as SEO, blogging, PPC and webinars. It’s worth noting here that despite being web-based, social media fans and LinkedIn page followers do not count, as you do not have their contact details yet. 

How can you combine both lead sources to work together?

Repurpose online content for offline use

Content marketing is one of the main tactics that teams can use to successfully generate leads online. Very often though, content will be specifically created for a campaign and nobody thinks how else the material could be used. Repurposing content so you can use it offline too is an easy way to enhance your offline activities. Here are a couple of ideas for doing just that: 

 

  • Leave-behinds: Why not print out and bind your e-books, then give them to the sales reps team to dish out. They can be a great leave-behind that adds value and that will always be appreciated.
  • Flyers: Make flyers using key information from your e-books and hand these out. Make sure to include a QR code on it (see below point for more info) that leads directly back to the landing page of the e-book and not to your website’s homepage. 

    Promote your online presence at all times

    Make sure your offline content always refers back to your online presence, so any direct mailers, ads or printed brochures should always include links to your website. Don’t forget about company materials too, like business cards and letterheads.

    If you send out pdf’s make sure all your links are hyperlinked, so one click is enough to open them. If they include an email address then also make sure you have hyperlinked that, so it will open a new email with that address automatically put it.

    Make use of QR codes

    QR codes are an easy way to provide a ‘point and open’ solution on the go. Instead of having to type in a link (which can be a pain, especially if the link is very long or uses usual spelling. With a QR code you simply scan the code and get transferred instantly to the website page it links to. Top tip: make sure it is clear where your code goes to so people have the option to type it in themselves and in case their device fails to read the QR code, that way you cover all bases.

    It is good practice for a QR code to go through to some sort of offer, so the person scanning it gets something in return. This could be an informative e-book or a coupon code for example.

    Social media

    If you add your social media icons on offline materials then make sure you add the relevant links too - i.e. write out the full link to your page. It’s pointless simply saying you’re on Facebook and expecting people to search and find you. Plus it’s not always easy to do that. Grab your Facebook page URL and add this next to the icon. The same for any other icons you include. If you use pdf’s, again make sure the links are hyperlinked. On most social media sites you can now change your page name, so it's something you choose rather than the name and a load of numbers. It's far easier and more professional to direct someone to a simple facebook.com/companyname link.

    Easy landing pages

    Make it easy to go from offline to online by creating user-friendly and trackable landing pages. For example, with a radio ad you can send people directly to a special landing page. Just make sure the link is really easy to understand, remember and use. If it’s:www.mycompany.com/categoryname/anotherthing/heresthepage nobody will ever remember it! Instead make it short and ditch the ‘www’ as you no-longer need to specify that with browsers nowadays. Create a short, snappy link like mycompany.com/campaign that will redirect people to the page you want and have that redirect to the long tracking URL. 

    Use tracking URLs

    Think about using these for both your online and offline activities. They are a great way to track all your activities and campaigns, meaning you can better see where your traffic is coming from. They can help you measure the success of specific activities, so who has used a link shared on your brochure or in a radio campaign etc. Top tip: If the URL needs to go on printed materials like a hardcopy brochure then make sure you choose a short one that will redirect to the full, long one. The simplest way to create tracking URLs is using Google’s URL builder tool. That way you will avoid making punctuation mistakes and providing broken links. 

    Make the most of PR

    Make the most of everything you are achieving to help you generate even more leads. It’s hard to get any traction in the news, so when your PR efforts do get picked up, make sure you are helping to spread the message even further. Send an email to your database with a link to the article and feature it prominently on your website. The publication will also appreciate you helping to up their readership numbers, which can help encourage them to look favourably at future stories you send them.

    Ultimately, the place you want to reach is where all your marketing activities are feeding in to the same, slick and highly polished sales funnel. Whether a lead is generated online or offline, it’s how you then nurture and move them forwards that really counts. Make sure you’re maximising your impact by making full use of any content you are producing and that you always promote your online presence through any offline activity you undertake. The best returns will be generated when you have a strong and well-thought through sales process that offers regular touch points, helps build the relationship and keeps you front of mind as you guide leads on towards a sale. 

    Your ultimate guide to building a leads database online

Topics: Lead generation, Drive Traffic

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