It’s no secret that growing a business and finding new customers are hard work. 61% of businesses point to lead generation as the biggest challenge they face.
But the rules of lead generation are changing. Consumers are wary of being “sold” to. So marketers have to get creative in order to bypass consumer advertising fatigue to drive revenue.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, trends change at such a rapid pace that keeping up with those changes becomes a challenge in itself.
2020 will undoubtedly be no different. Not only is this a brand new year, but also the start of a new decade.
So as you look to drive more traffic to your website and convert more leads for 2020, be mindful of these trends.
1. Chatbots are here to stay.
Love them or hate them, chatbots can be quite effective in turning anonymous traffic into a captured (even qualified) lead.
Brands using chatbots as part of their conversion strategy have seen an increase in visitor-to-lead conversion rates by up to 10%.
But how do you integrate a chatbot in such a way that isn’t annoying to customers?
One way companies have found success is through the use of rule-based chat automation. Disverse, for example, uses a rule-based chatbot to help customers understand its offering and get answers quickly.
Instead of sending their visitors to a landing page in hopes that they will convert, their visitors are directed to a full-page chatroom. Even though our offering is a phone system solution for mid-size businesses we are huge fans of chatbots. We deployed and use chatbot automation on every page on our site be it a blog post or a landing page. This one single change from “no chatbots” to “automated chatbots” has considerably increased our sign-ups as it removed multiple points of friction for prospective customers.” says Gaetano DiNardi Head of Demand Generation at Nextiva.
The chatbot’s replies are straightforward and written in a way that we would message a friend or colleague. The visitors can go as deep as they want into the conversation with the chatbot to learn more about the company’s product offering. This guided approach makes it easier for customers to determine if the brand is the right fit for their needs.
2. The demand for voice-driven interfaces will increase.
The number of people using voice-driven assistants like Siri and Alexa is growing at a rapid pace. A recent study done by Juniper Research projects that the number of people using voice-driven interfaces will skyrocket to an outstanding 1000% in five short years.
Also, voice is no longer being used just for online search. Voice-driven interfaces are now being used practically everywhere, from turning on your speakers to taking down notes during a meeting.
Even the way businesses capture and nurture leads are being transformed. Instead of the traditional marketing and sales process that looks something like this:
Businesses are now beginning to shift towards using conversational marketing strategies using real-time messaging and chatbots to reduce response times with potential leads and progress through their sales process.
How quickly you respond to your leads is crucial because your chances of connecting with your site’s visitor and converting them into a lead are 10x lower if you get back to them after 5 minutes.
Account-based marketing platform provider, DemandBase, is one company already reaping the benefits of using chatbots to generate leads.
By replacing their lead forms with a chatbot, DemandBase converted 33% of their visitors that engaged with their chatbot into leads. At the same time, DemandBase generated 150x more qualified leads compared to when they were using traditional lead forms.
Right now, visitors engaging with these chatbots have to type in their responses. But with the way how voice technology is progressing, businesses would be able to generate leads with the help of voice-enabled chatbots.
Voice-enabled chatbots work very much like traditional text-based chatbots, with the main difference being how your customers and the chatbot communicates. Instead of typing your question, you say it to the chatbot.
As a result, your visitors will not only receive a prompt response that can shorten your sales cycle, but they’ll also have a more enjoyable user experience.
Manipal University in India generated 9.5x more leads on their website while reducing their cost per conversion to just 4.5% with the help of a voice-enabled chatbot named Al Timey.
Developed by Triny.io, the chatbot welcomes prospective students as soon as they arrive at the University’s website, walks through the admission process, and collects their email to send them additional information.
3. Personalization is the new conversion rate optimization.
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) isn’t the most attractive lead generation strategy in this list of trends. However, if you want to get more leads for your business, this is one trend you must consider.
The reason is simple: CRO can boost your ROI by up to 223% while reducing your Cost Per Acquisition by as much as 50%—even if your site traffic volume stays the same.
What’s one key to successfully improving conversion rate optimization?
Consumers today not only expect that you can anticipate their wants and needs, but they also want to be treated as unique individuals. Each time that they visit a landing page, they ask a straightforward question: “What’s in it for me?”
It’s imperative to ensure your content answers the following questions:
- What do you do?
- Why should I care?
- How do I believe you?
- Where do I begin?
Taking personalization a step further, now, and leverage your visitors’ behavioral patterns on your website, particularly when it comes to the blog posts and articles they read.
For example, if someone reads these following articles on the Growth Marketing Conference website:
- 5 Phases of the Startup Cycle
- Building a Growth Marketing Roadmap for Your Product
- How to Hire a Growth Marketing Team
It’s possible that this visitor is someone who is planning to start (or has already begun) building a startup, and is looking into using Growth Marketing techniques to launch and scale quickly.
Using a tool like BrightInfo allows you to gather data about the topics that interest each of your visitors and then recommend related offers and resources.
It’s this technique that helped cybersecurity company BitSight increase the leads they generated by 100%.
4. A growing emphasis on audience-centric storytelling.
Brand storytelling has proven as an effective marketing strategy for two reasons.
First, we all love a good story. It’s an entertaining way for us to learn something new. Storytelling was how human beings learned and passed on knowledge from one generation to the next long before the internet, or even writing was even invented.
Second, brand storytelling allows you to connect with your potential customers at a personal and emotional level. Being able to connect with your customers at this level is crucial because it’s your customer’s emotions that drive them to buy, especially when they know that purchasing a product or service will prevent them from losing or missing out on something. Psychologists coin this as loss aversion.
However, brand storytelling is expected to make way for audience-centric storytelling because it’s far more compelling than brand storytelling.
As its name suggests, audience-centric storytelling is a story told from the perspective of a customer.
The reason why this type of storytelling is so compelling is that it blends both the power of storytelling and social proof. Both of which your customers consider as important factors when they make a buying decision.
Airbnb is one of the forerunners to this lead generation tactic through its “Stories from the Airbnb Community” platform, where they regularly publish stories shared by their customers about their experiences as Airbnb hosts.
By sharing these stories, Airbnb achieves three things:
- The stories serve as social proof of how becoming an Airbnb host can be a lucrative source of income. In a paid ad space, there’s a great opportunity for lead generation.
- By sharing the stories of these hosts, Airbnb is also promoting these hosts to their Airbnb customers looking for accommodations that fit their budgets and needs.
- The stories shared by the Airbnb hosts focus on how becoming an Airbnb host help these people live out their dreams, which is something people desire.
When combined, these three factors help Airbnb encourage more people to either sign up to become an Airbnb host or learn more about becoming one.
5. The rise of interactive content.
Interactive content isn’t new. However, it’s making a comeback as a high-converting lead magnet businesses are using on their landing pages. 81% of marketers point out that the reason is that it does a far better job in capturing their target audience’s attention compared to other content types.
More importantly, interactive content rakes in a higher lead capture rate than static content.
Quizzes like those you find on Buzzfeed, deliver an average lead capture rate of 33.6%.
Meanwhile, calculators like this advertising budget calculator from Outgrow are 51% more effective in generating leads in the Consideration Stage of your marketing funnel.
The reason why interactive content works so well is that it provides an entertaining way to get information that’s helpful and valuable for your visitors. To access that information, potential customers are required to divulge contact info.
And this sort of content can be useful at all stages of your marketing funnel.
6. Micro-content is back with a vengeance.
From 15-second Instagram Stories to 5-second ads on YouTube and 140 tweets, more and more brands are now reverting to using publishing micro-content on social media as a way to generate leads.
Much of this lies in the extremely short attention people have when they’re online. On average, businesses have only eight short seconds to capture their audience’s attention.
The key to successfully using this as part of your 2020 marketing strategy is in its frequency. A study by Buffer revealed that posting up to seven stories on Instagram would deliver the best results.
That may sound like a lot of micro-content to publish. But this is precisely the strategy that Gary Vaynerchuk used in his Reverse Pyramid model for him to grow his following and generate leads for his companies and his clients.
The way how his Reverse Pyramid model works is very similar to the Topic Cluster model that many marketers are now using to generate leads and improve their search rankings.
Here’s what the Reverse Pyramid model looks like:
The Reverse Pyramid model starts by creating a piece of long-form content. Usually, the long-form content is a Pillar Article with a call-to-action to download a printable version. After all, studies have shown that long-form content ranks better on Google.
Next, you will take sections from the Pillar Article and then use these to create your micro-content that you will publish across your social media channels.
For example, you can create quote cards featuring one single tip from the Pillar Article and publishing it on Instagram or Facebook either on your feed, as a story, or both.
Another piece of micro-content you can share is quoting a statistic you included in your Pillar Article on Twitter.
You can also create a LinkedIn article about some of the insights you shared on the Pillar Article.
All of these pieces of the micro-content you create all link back to your Pillar article where the conversion from visitor to lead will take place.
7. Sales and marketing team alignment will prove more vital for B2B lead generation.
Just like their B2C counterparts, B2B businesses are expected to provide their client accounts with personalized content and user experience.
That’s why it’s not enough for your marketing team to hand over leads that they considered as market qualified to your sales team. They need to work together by having their goals, objectives, and qualifications aligned with each other.
That said, allow your sales team to take a more active role during the planning stage of your lead generation campaigns and other marketing strategies. This step is critical since the B2B buying process is extremely complex.
Since they’re the ones in charge of closing the deals for you, they’ll be in the best position to tell your marketing team the bottlenecks and objections they encounter that keep them from converting a lead to a customer.
Your marketing team can then take these pieces of information and create the necessary content to overcome these, increasing your lead-to-customer conversion rates.
The best time to prepare for the lead generation trends in 2020 is now.
Are there any other 2020 trends you know that’s not included in the list? If so, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor: Kimberly Barnes, Growth Marketing Conference