The Do’s and Don’ts of Digital Prospecting

When it comes to finding new customers, today’s marketers have a plethora of options for lead generation – including email, targeted online ads, paid search, social and more. In this blog we explore how, with the right planning, digital marketers can execute powerful prospecting campaigns that get results...

Boosting online visibility is a challenging task for any brand. Indeed, targeting and connecting with potential customers is a skilled process that will involve using data gathering techniques to develop campaigns that precisely target the right prospects with the right messages – at the right time.

But while everyone acknowledges that one of the most time-consuming aspects of online marketing is lead generation, done well, all this time and effort investment can yield game-changing results.

The good news is that reaching out to new audiences is becoming easier, thanks to powerful data management platforms that can help narrow down and pinpoint target audiences, based on their interests and behaviors.

By turning consumer data into actions that reveal new potential customers, digital marketers can get closer to those likeliest to be most attracted by what their business has to offer. But prospect data only gets you so far. And while ‘interest’ is a great start to a nurture campaign, we want engagement. And, of course, action!

Whether you’re looking to generate new leads, enhance consumer brand awareness and engagement, or nurture potential prospects into becoming customers, you’ll need to carefully consider the best strategies to achieve your goals.

Here’s our guide to rolling out an integrated marketing campaign that nets more customers.

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1. Define a detailed game plan

Effectively connecting with potential customers depends on defining who the members of your target market are so you can better present your product or service, or identify what prospects might be missing from what you’re currently offering. Once you know who your target audiences are, where they hang out online and what they respond to best, then you can begin to market.

Armed with your target group profile, you’ll be able to seek out new potential customers that have similar demographic characteristics and behavioral patterns as existing customers. The aim of the game here is to address a clearly defined target group to minimize wastage and maximize conversion.

Remember, target audiences aren’t always as consolidated as you might think. Casting your net wide and thinking outside the box can pay dividends. With the right data, a picture of the real target users should start to take form.

Having defined your target audiences, review and select the appropriate media for the campaign, defining the audience interaction and participation. As part of this process, develop a clear message hierarchy and set goals that you can track using analytics.

2. Make it personal

Today’s consumers have more choice than ever, which means digital marketing needs to be personal, cross-channel and in real time to maximize the acquisition of new customers.

Way back in 2013, research by Hanley-Wood Business Media found that 78% of consumers are more interested in building relationships with brands that create personalized content.

Today, consumers are becoming more accustomed to dynamically personalized content experiences. They now want and expect branded content that’s specific to their individual preferences, but beware: anything that feels irrelevant or just plain spam is likely to stir up a negative brand perception.

From personalized email campaigns targeting inactive prospects held on CRM systems to dynamic ads or social feeds that boost response rates, the ability to reach different consumers with different creative messages is no longer a throwaway gimmick.

Tailor your executions based on demographics, interests, location, gender and even browsing histories. Tweaks can be subtle like different copy or video thumbnails – whatever it takes to enable positive and immediate digital actions.

Think in programmatic terms – so you can reach the right people with the right creative across a variety of media and channels.

3. Get creative

There’s no escaping the fact that creativity matters. Executives in the world of advertising will tell you that nothing is more efficient than creative advertising – it’s more memorable, longer-lasting, and builds a fan community faster.

The same applies to digital marketing. Don’t just focus on the data-driven dimensions of your campaign – like identifying your target audiences and where they hang out. To boost impact and response rates, you’ll also need to invest in some creative thinking. Data certainly drives valuable insight. But creativity delivers the impact – in terms of engagement and action.

Using original content, delivered across channels, and intelligently connected to actionable events – such as abandoned baskets and birthdays – your goal is to develop the inventive. Relevant messages attract attention and lead to positive attitudes about your brand and products. The result will be more digital traffic and higher conversion rates.

It’s an approach that paid off for Thomas Cook in the UK when it embarked on an integrated consumer prospecting campaign as a way of delivering incremental new customer sales.

integrated consumer prospecting campaign

Take a look here to see how the global holiday brand allied an inventive approach to information gathering with an impressive dose of creativity – not only delivering the initial customer insights, but establishing an engagement process that ultimately delivered over 65,000 leads back to the business.

4. Leverage retargeting

Finally, don’t always take a lack of engagement for a lack of interest. Customers are busy people, time-limited, and have a long list of priorities.

Taking advantage of branding and conversion optimization tools like retargeting (also known as remarketing) can be a powerful way to nudge potential customers who may not have instantly engaged with your offer, but may still be prepared to take the next step.

Support your efforts with clever content marketing, AdWords and targeted display banners to drive website traffic and reach out again and again.

Final thoughts

With careful planning, marketers should be well prepared to execute high impact and personalized prospecting campaigns across multiple channels that reveal new customers. Doing this well depends on having the right skills in place to define target audiences and build creative campaigns that maximize results and drive engagement.