Dustin Haisler, Chief Innovation Officer of e.Republic, sat down with e.Republic’s marketing experts — Erin Molina, Creative Director of Marketing and Zach Presnall, Director of Digital Marketing — for a lead generation Q&A. He asked them everything from “What makes a strong lead?” and “What type of content performs best/worse for lead generation?” to “What types of campaigns collect the best leads?” and more. Check out the written Q&A below or watch the on-demand livestream here.

Q: What are the characteristics of a qualified lead? Erin: There are many things to consider when scoring a lead, but I personally look for a contact that has had multiple touches — someone who has consumed multiple pieces of content, for example, attended a webinar, downloaded a paper, maybe visited our website and then submitted a form. These actions indicate they’re engaged and interested, making them a qualified lead.

Q. What’s the magical number of touches to acquire a lead? Zach: I don’t know if there is a magic number, but the important thing is to start them off with a nurture campaign with multiple touches. Also, don’t just use one vehicle to generate leads.

Q. Is there one title you should focus on when marketing to state and local government? Erin: Government makes buying decisions by groups. You need to identify all the roles that are involved in the purchasing decision and understand each of their needs to align your marketing strategies accordingly. We often see multiple contacts from the same agency download a content piece, and then nine months later issue an RFP on that subject.

Q. What about reaching out to non-traditional buyers in the state and local government space? Dustin: A successful lead gen campaign should reach out to some of the non-traditional buyers. When you think about technology, it’s natural to go after IT titles. But we’re starting to see, especially in response to the pandemic, elected officials, policymakers, mayors, governors and line-of-business leaders influencing IT decisions as well.

Q. You have a lead. What’s next? Erin: Keep in mind that you must reach the right lead at the right time. The government buying cycle is typically 9 to 24 months. If you get a lead for a government contact and you reach out and don’t get a response, don’t give up on them! They may just be in the exploration process. This is when it’s important to look at the buying cycle specifically tied to that jurisdiction. When they’re ready to buy, you can put them in a nurture campaign of some sort. Analyze the lead itself. Look at their title and where they fit in the jurisdiction. Where do they fit in the buying process? Then, create a buyer’s persona. Each persona should have a targeted marketing campaign.

Q. What types of campaigns garner the most actionable leads for clients? Zach: Identify the audience you are seeking and then build a campaign that caters to that audience. When someone is reading your content they should feel like it was written for them. Narrow down your topic and your audience so that the content you produce is not only specific but useful and actionable to the reader.

Q. What kind of content performs the best for lead generation? Zach: Educational content. Your audience is looking for best practices, inspiration and for something newsworthy. They’re not necessarily looking for product-specific information. Take a step back and ask yourself, how am I helping my reader do their job? Am I creating content that is job critical?

Q. What kind of content performs the worst for lead generation? Zach: Product promotion does not work — data sheets, brochures or any sales pitch. Your content should be robust and educational, not product-focused.Erin: It’s all about how your service can solve a problem. Keep in mind that everyone consumes content in different ways. Consider repackaging and reusing the same content in different formats. Do a webinar, then break it down into a short-form video, then convert the content to a written Q&A (like this one) and so on.

Q: Do leads expire? Zach: Yes, it is important to follow up with leads right away, either directly or by putting them into a nurture campaign.

Q. Why should companies expand beyond lead gen and take a holistic approach? Zach: If you buy 100 leads in a lead campaign, that’s only 100 people consuming your content. That’s a narrow strategy. If you layer a banner awareness ad with a newsletter on top of a webinar, you constantly have a market presence and will ultimately generate more leads.

So now you’ve generated the leads. What’s next?

  1. Understand your leads. If mainly CIOs and IT directors are engaging with your content piece, you know you have resonated with them. If you created content for those titles but are getting other titles, what kind of signals can you extract from your leads to understand their intent?
  2. Personalize your outreach to the individual and to the organization that you’re targeting. Look up their IT strategic plan and leverage Industry Navigator to find what their goals are. Every time you reach out to a prospect, create value for that prospect.
  3. Have a point of view embedded in your outreach. Stand out from competitors with your unique take on the problem you solve.
  4. Reverse engineer your best customers. Take the successes of winning sales cycles and work backward to figure out what you did, what content resonated with them at what point in the buying process, so that you can repeat that cycle. We know our market is cyclical and follows the same patterns year after year. Find ways to align your marketing best practices to those patterns.

We’d love to help you develop an effective lead-gen strategy. Let us know if you are interested and we will schedule a call to discuss.

Use this lead assessment form to find out how many targeted leads can be generated for your company. All we need to know is your target audience (agency type, department, job title/function) and (optionally) any content you would like to use for gating.