There are three ways to slice and dice your integrated public relations to help grow your business: awareness, SEO and lead generation. Awareness is well understood but here we will deep dive into how you can leverage your PR efforts within your integrated digital marketing strategy to drive fresh leads into your marketing funnel.
Public relations is still one of the most effective tools in the financial services marketer’s kit. It builds trust through perceived third party endorsement, broadens your audience beyond your own networks and can help drive new leads to your website. Wait! Drive leads? How does that work?
Glad you asked.
Previously we’ve written about using PR for brand awareness through your content strategy and for driving SEO, The unlikely marriage of PR and SEO, and five tips to make the match.
In this post, we will deep dive into how you can keep the sales team (and CEO) happy with new leads, and not just any old leads but high quality, likely-to-convert ones.
- Define what a lead is
Different financial services organisations and different campaigns will have different definitions of a lead. For one of our clients, a robo-advice start up, a lead is a new user of their free financial planning tool. For another client, a lead is a subscriber to a weekly newsletter.
And while you may be in a hurry to get “doing”, defining what a lead is for your company and the campaign at hand is important because:
- It forces you to focus on the desired outcome (e.g. newsletter subscribers, webinar attendees, users of your online tool/calculator)
- It allows you to set KPIs (e.g. 25% increase in subscribers, 50 webinar attendees, 200 online tool/ calculator users)
- You will know where in the marketing funnel your campaign is operating and therefore what offer is going to be most compelling. Are your leads top of the funnel in information gathering mode or further down and getting ready to make a purchase decision?
- The lead’s position in the marketing funnel will inform what you do with them next. For example, prospects who sign up for a newsletter are more likely to be educating themselves and unlikely to be ready for a call from a sales team member. Better to put them on an education-driven nurture track. Conversely, someone who downloaded your e-book comparing the features of your insurance policy versus the competitors’ is more likely on the verge of making a purchase decision and could benefit from speaking to a helpful customer service team member.
- Create your offer and content package (a.k.a. lead magnet)
There’s no getting around this step – and it involves a bit of work. This is what you need to know:
- Segment e.g. SMSF trustees
- Problem e.g. administering their funds’ assets
- Solution e.g. Top tips on how to effortlessly set up your SMSF’s administration structure – could be an e-book, checklist, video etc – also known as “lead magnet”
- Landing page i.e. where the prospect can enter their contact details and receive the solution (lead magnet). Ideally the contact details form is integrated with your CRM
- Landing page URL e.g. bestsmsfadministratorever.com.au/top_tips_for_SMSF_administration (and see how we used our SEO keywords in the title of the offer and the landing page’s URL. Use your keywords wherever you can)
Tip: Choose one problem and one solution at a time.
Your lead magnet must solve a real problem for your target audience. It should be high value enough that a prospect is willing to exchange their details for it. Subsequently it should contain enough “meat” that you will be able to break it down to a series of blogs, social media posts and potentially social media ads and a media pitch (see next section).
Importantly, all these atomised pieces of content should include a link to your lead magnet landing page. Someone who reads your blog without leaving any contact details is just a visitor, not a lead, and may never come back. Basically you haven’t created a lead. And that won’t make your sales team (or CEO) happy!
- Research potentially interested media outlets
There are two places to research.
First, look at your website analytics data, for instance Google Analytics, to see which media outlets drive your most engaged visitors. A simple definition of an engaged visitor is someone who visits a lot of pages and stays on your website for a while. If you’re looking for a more complex engagement score, Marketing Sherpa shows how to calculate your engagement index based on click depth, recency, duration, loyalty, brand, feedback and interaction.
Second, research what topics media outlets and journalists have previously covered (e.g. SMSF administration if we continue the example from section 2). Clearly you’ll want to start with the media outlets and influencers we’ve just identified. Your pitch should acknowledge the journalist’s previous articles and offer a further insight or development worth covering.
Most important, ensure your landing page URL is in your media pitch or contributed content. The journalist isn’t going to include it if you don’t suggest it and indeed may not even include it in the final article anyway. But quite often they do IF the meaty piece of content you’re driving people to offers the journalist’s readers some value.
- Beyond PR
You should also include the landing page URL in the relevant blogs, social media posts etc. Essentially, include that baby anywhere it makes sense to do so. This goes beyond PR, obviously, but there is no point building beautiful content if no one knows about it. Some suggested places for your landing page URL are:
- Email signature
- Press release footer/ boilerplate section
- Social media
- Website homepage
- Launch, measure, learn, launch again
I heard a wonderful quote that there is no failure in marketing, only wins and learnings. Perhaps the only failure is the failure to act. So, now armed with this shiny lead gen strategy, it’s your turn to act. As always, we recommend planning, tracking, analysing and improving, no matter what marketing activity you’re undertaking.
And if you want to learn more about lead gen, we recently hosted a webinar on how PR has the ability to drive revenue growth and increase ROI on your marketing costs. In the recording, we explain 10 simple tips to turn your PR into a profit centre. You can download the recording now.