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Stop Losing Leads - 10/22/2013 -

Here are four common reasons you may be missing good advertising and sponsorship prospects, as well as members.

U.S. businesses spend billions of dollars generating sales leads only to lose more than 70 percent of them simply because they don’t make contact quickly enough, according to one study. But that’s not the only way they’re losing out on opportunities, says Brandon Stuerke, president of Advisors Edge Marketing, a specialist in marketing strategy and automation.

"A study of more than 600 companies by Dr. James Oldroyd of MIT found that the odds of a lead entering the sales process were 21 times greater if the business made contact within 5 minutes of generating the lead versus contact in 30 minutes,” Stuerke says. "Another study, this one by the Harvard Business Review, found that the average response time by businesses to a generated lead is 42 hours – and that’s just for responses that occurred within 30 days.”

Whether it’s members, advertisers, sponsors, or customers, generating leads is big business, he says, with more than $23 billion spent on internet leads alone. Stuerke, who began developing innovative marketing strategies while working as a financial advisor, says he has found four ways professionals commonly lose sales leads.

1. Advertising calls-to-action that are all-or-nothing. Most sales people offer only a face-to-face meeting or a telephone appointment as their call-to-action in their promotions. But that’s asking a lot of prospects who are simply exploring options and aren’t yet ready for that level of commitment. Those are leads that, three to six months from now, may become sales – but they’re lost early in the process. Instead, offer a less committed option such as "download this free report” in exchange for their information for follow up.

2. No lead capture on your website. This is a huge problem, says Stuerke. Many sites have no strategy for capturing information about visitors to the site, such as an email address. As a result, organizations spend thousands of dollars driving traffic to their websites, but capturing none of the prospects’ information. As a result, those prospects come to the site and leave and the organization never knows they were there. A free report, or series of reports or videos with useful information based on your association’s expertise are good lead-capture tools. Potential members and advertisers turn to the web for information while doing research, so that's what you should give them. Offering free resources in exchange for a small bit of information is a great way to do that.

3. Indifference in interactions. No matter what industry you serve, it’s likely you’ve got a lot of competition. If your interactions with advertising or sponsorship prospects fail to wow them, they will quickly move on. But most association professionals don’t have a storyboarded plan for giving prospects that experience, which is what is needed for consistent results. An automated system that delivers carefully planned interactions is a great way to achieve this.

4. Using social media without a plan. Many organizations have discovered that delivering useful content through social media is an effective means of attracting followers and cultivating prospects. However, one of the biggest problems with how associations and other organizations use social media is that they post a lot of high-level, one-way communication with no call-to-action.Having a call-to-action in your posts leading prospects back to a website designed to capture leads is critical for producing tangible results through social media.

A lot of these issues stem from a common problem: organizations focusing only on the hottest leads – the people who are ready to buy today, Stuerke says.

"Instead of allowing those ‘cooler’ leads to fall by the wayside, organizations should capture and cultivate them,” he says. Eventually, he says, associations will find that instead of constantly chasing leads, they’re harvesting new prospects.

Brandon Stuerke is a business coach, marketing strategist, and founder and president of Advisors Edge Marketing, Inc.


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