Marketing is all about getting as many quality leads for your business as possible. One of the best-known forms of lead generation is advertising, which plays a specific role in the modern marketer's toolkit.
The final goal of any kind of marketing strategy for a company is to find and attract possible buyers for its products or services. Those possible buyers are called leads. Any process a company uses to work out who they are and how to reach them is lead generation, also called "lead gen."
Lead gen’s different forms fall into categories known as inbound and outbound marketing. Inbound marketing is about making targeted content to attract the ideal customer to your brand. Outbound marketing is about getting the attention of customers who might not have heard about your product.
One of the most important marketing tools is the well-known but quickly changing discipline of advertising, which plays a key role in outbound marketing. Here, we'll look at ads as part of the big picture and at what they have in common with inbound marketing.
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Outbound Marketing & Ad Campaigns
When you’re deciding how to get more leads, outbound tools have a major part to play. Outbound marketing uses public platforms you can access cheaply. This used to mean radio, TV, and print media, but today the pillars are blogs, email campaigns, and social media.
Search-engine optimized (SEO) content and relevant blogs, vlogs, and video testimonials are all part of outbound marketing. Ad campaigns play a role, too.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ad Campaigns
The most useful leads are the kind you know are interested and have a motive to spend money on your brand. Online ads present useful tools for finding them.
With pay-per-click ads on social media platforms like Facebook or search engines like Google, you pay for each time a customer clicks through to the landing page the ad links to. That landing page on your website gathers data on customers and their interests. You can then transmit that data to your sales team so they can convert those leads into active business.
PPC campaigns are cheap, but they do come with a lot of moving parts that are worth thinking about before you start one:
- Your website needs to be compatible with the platform that’s linking to it.
- Your site needs to be optimized for speed for click-throughs to have a chance to turn into conversions.
- Ads come with costs for art, design, copywriting, and editing for the ad itself, the landing page, thank-you messages, and automated responses.
- A good ad campaign is optimized and its platform chosen based on the details of your product or service, the target audience, and related market research.
- A PPC campaign needs to set aside resources for a sales team to follow up with leads who click through and opt in for finding out more about your brand.
If your team can manage the many aspects of running a PPC campaign, it's a valuable form of outbound advertising. But it's not the only kind of ad; a more streamlined option is pay-per-lead.
Pay-Per-Lead (PPL) Ad Campaigns
Pay-per-lead ads are a service you can buy from ad agencies. The agency handles the details of the ad campaign up to the point of actually doing the first follow-up with interested leads. Sometimes, they'll even take on that first contact step.
It's an appealing approach to online ads for small businesses because it doesn't involve directly running a lot of digital marketing tech. Staging your own PPC campaigns means a lot more work and stress in-house. PPL gives your company access to the agency's skill and knowledge, and the agency can tailor a separate sales funnel without linking to your website.
Ads are the core of PPL campaigns, which cost much more up front than running PPC campaigns but should save money overall if you’re working with the right agency. When comparing prices, though, remember that the costs of PPL go beyond simply making the ads. The richer the data that comes with each lead, the more the price per lead will be.
The key factor in using PPL is being able to trust the agency you choose, which means doing your homework before you commit.
Traditional Ad Campaigns
Old-fashioned ads through mass commercial media — newspapers, television, and radio — have been in decline for the past decade as digital ads have risen. After all, the digital space has big benefits:
- It's less expensive.
- It has an unbounded reach.
- It's far easier to track and measure results.
- It's easier to target certain audiences.
- Making interactive and appealing ads is easier.
For all these reasons, the internet's share of combined ad spend has hit the roof in the past decade. Only TV has stayed close to being competitive, and most other conventional media has declined. Today’s youth is simply more used to interacting with online content and less likely to pay attention to traditional ads.
However, this doesn't mean traditional ads are irrelevant. They still have a role to play in local brand-building, which makes them useful for contractors.
Print ads still have the power to boost brand recall beyond what digital media can achieve. Local television and radio still reach interested audiences. Those people will be much more motivated to seek out a contractor in their community than most casual online contacts.
The venues that make up old-school advertising are changing, of course. TV broadcasters are rapidly evolving to inhabit the online streaming space. The embrace of the digital economy is likely to encompass the bulk of ads in one way or another in the near future. That said, it doesn't do to write off traditional ads just yet.
Inbound Marketing For Contractors
Inbound marketing is driven by content. Where advertising focuses on putting your brand in front of fresh eyes, inbound marketing builds recognition and trust with people who find your content. Today’s customers are very informed and picky about which brands they'll do business with — they need more than just information about your product to be willing to buy from you.
E-books, white papers, webinars, and infographics are common forms of inbound marketing. Other tools like blogs, videos, and customer spotlights are suited to small businesses and contractors. Used the right way, these tools can produce leads without needing to hard-sell the customer on your product.
The Role Of Blogs, Videos, & Customer Spotlights
Inbound marketing is at its most powerful when it gives leads a personal context for, and connection to, your business and what it does. Blogs can be a great starting point for that.
Blogging performs well in terms of its typical return on investment (ROI) for the associated budget. It's a great way for contractors to showcase the breadth of their expertise and problem-solving abilities. You can talk about what gives you a passion for your work and about the values you support. You can also highlight specific jobs and use them to showcase what you bring to the table for your clients.
Video marketing is another powerful tool. It can come connected with a blog or be carried out as a separate campaign on a social media platform. YouTube and Facebook are currently the two most popular choices, although TikTok is also showing promise. Video is superb for showing off the skills of contractors and giving the viewer an all-around look at their process.
Customer spotlights or case studies are a way to reach customers who are on the fence about hiring you for their needs. These spotlights show that customers just like them have been delighted with your work. A customer spotlight provides a candid, real-world look at someone who's benefited by hiring you and can go a long way toward turning leads into sales.
What Inbound Marketing & Advertising Have In Common
There are several things that advertising and inbound content-based marketing have in common.
- There are a lot of moving parts. Content-driven marketing is a big investment of time and money, much like running your own ad campaigns. It requires lots of content planning, scheduling, and expenses for design, copywriting, and copyediting. Other costs depend on how much you want to use video or photography content. It can all be a tricky prospect for a small business with few employees.
- The richer the resulting leads, the more they'll cost. Inbound marketing is a powerful method of motivating and connecting with visitors to your website and social media channels. To get the most out of those connections means spending more money up front. It's not guaranteed that this will result in enough profitable leads to offset the costs; a lot of research and strategy goes into making inbound marketing cost-efficient.
- Just like outbound ads, inbound marketing can be outsourced. There are marketing agencies that specialize in building inbound marketing strategies and campaigns. They can manage everything from content generation and SEO to building complex social media strategies. Working with the right agency can relieve a lot of the pressures of inbound lead gen, but the cost means doing careful homework about which agency you hire.
Broadly speaking, what inbound marketing and advertising have most in common is that doing them in-house isn't easy and outsourcing them is often preferable for contractors. Both can be effective options for lead generation with the right approach and resources behind them.
Discover Powerful Lead Generation With CraftJack
Lead generation is a simple-sounding objective but a complex reality. As the primary outcome of marketing your business, it's a topic that pays to be informed about. Fortunately, CraftJack can provide the information and support your business needs to make the most of any kind of lead generation strategy, whether it's inbound and content-driven marketing or outbound advertising in all its forms.
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