How Natural Language Generation Can Help Your Digital Marketing

How Natural Language Generation Can Help Your Digital Marketing

You might be familiar with A.I. and what it can do. You might not know that there is a subset of it that plays a vital part in digital marketing. It’s called Natural Language Generation, and it’s more prevalent than you might think.

One of the best examples of natural language generation is Google’s Smart Compose. If you use Google’s email platform, you’ve already seen this in action: as you type out an email, Google provides suggestions to finish your sentence.

That’s natural language generation at work.

Natural language generation has some incredible implications for your digital marketing campaigns

Before we go in-depth about natural language generation and how it can help your promotions, let’s take a minute to explain what precisely natural language generation is and what it does.

What Is Natural Language Generation (NLG)?

The definition of natural language generation is the “process of producing meaningful phrases and sentences in the form of natural language.”

Natural language generation comes from your structured data. It transforms the data you have into natural-sounding text. It can also produce a vast volume of written words far quicker than the average person.

However, its capabilities don’t stop there. Natural language generation allows the updating of existing text and automation. You can also use it to create:

  • Images
  • Graphs
  • Numerical data

You can see why natural language generation is attractive to marketers. However, natural language generation is beneficial for a range of other sectors, including:

  • Finance and data analysis: For report creation
  • Healthcare: For interpreting data and creating medical reports
  • E-commerce and retail: Produce accurate product descriptions and improve the overall customer experience
  • Journalism: Create and update news reports. The Associated Press and Bloomberg are just two organizations using data to expand their news coverage.
  • Logistics and travel: Keep passengers updated, write itineraries, and translate texts into various languages.
  • Customer service: Enables chatbots to answer questions and follow up with personalized emails for a more ‘human’ approach.
  • The insurance, energy, and telecommunications industries: These sectors have successfully introduced natural language generation to optimize their customer service, send out bills and invoices, and for report creation.

If the forecasts are correct, natural language generation will be used even more in the future.

Natural Language Generation and the Wider AI Picture

Now you know what natural language generation is and a bit about what it does. Let’s take a moment to explain how it fits into the overall AI picture.

If you’ve read about natural language generation before, you’re probably aware of similar terms like natural language processing and natural language understanding. These terms are often used in the same conversation, as they all fall under the AI umbrella.

There might be a bit of confusion on how these terms differ, so we’ve highlighted key differences below.

Natural Language Processing (NLP): While natural language generation’s purpose is to use your data to produce text, it’s NLP’s role to process and read the language.

NLP can also help with

  • Spelling corrections and grammar
  • Machine translation
  • Syntax and context

Natural Language Understanding: Another term you’re likely to come across is Natural Language Understanding (NLU). NLU analyzes text to understand intent and meaning. NLU enables:

  • Text summarization
  • Spelling correction
  • Sarcasm detection

Then there’s machine learning.

You’ll find a wide range of definitions out there, so let’s go with the one from the MIT Technology Review:

 Machine Learning algorithms use statistics to find patterns in massive amounts of data.

Machine learning can process far more than just text. ML can also process images, figures, and clicks. Without it, we wouldn’t have the likes of Siri or YouTube.

Now we’ve covered these key terms, let’s delve into natural language generation and its possibilities for your digital marketing campaigns.

How Does Natural Language Generation Affect Digital Marketing? 

Natural language generation has been with us since the 1960s, so it’s not new. However, what has changed is its commercialization and wide availability. You may have noticed there are numerous types of natural language generation software available now.

Plus, natural language generation’s capabilities have transformed recently, meaning improved accuracy. Its potential for the future of digital marketing is enormous.

From the first time a customer interacts with you to the follow-up and personalization of your marketing efforts, natural language generation can play a role in every stage.

Suppose you regularly employ a team to identify keywords, perform SEO, create product descriptions, and analyze marketing data. With natural language generation, you can automate all these tasks. Here are a few other ways natural language generation can help in your marketing.

Create Content

As a marketer, you know the importance of communicating regularly with your customers and would-be buyers. It can help build consumer trust, enhance customer loyalty, and allow you to demonstrate your expertise. It also goes a long way toward growing your brand.

Regularly producing fresh content that speaks to your customers is time-consuming and often costly. Natural language generation can solve this issue by allowing you to create keyword-optimized:

  • Blog posts
  • Web and landing pages
  • Newsletter and email content
  • Reports
  • General marketing content

However, it also helps create targeted content and enables teams to make sense of their data. Marketers can then use the information they have to create compelling, tailored campaigns for improved success.  

But the real beauty of natural language generation? All it takes is three simple steps:

  1. Get your data ready
  2. Prepare/use a template
  3. Let natural language generation choose your narratives and write your content

The Associated Press is an excellent example of how to use natural language generation well. AP uses natural language generation to produce financial reports and expand sports coverage, among other things. Additionally, the Washington Post uses natural language generation to generate hundreds of press releases.

Generate Product Descriptions

If you’re an e-commerce business owner, you understand the importance of well-crafted product descriptions to drive traffic to your site. However, it can be challenging to produce vast quantities of unique, SEO-orientated content that matches your company’s tone and voice.

While you could just go with the original, manufacturer-supplied descriptions, they’ll lack originality, which isn’t great for SEO.

Imagine if you had a way to take your unstructured data and insert it into a template and have the writing done for you?

That’s what natural language generation can do. It can transform your data into hundreds or even thousands of original descriptions that match your brand’s voice.

With natural language generation, you can create thousands of automated descriptions detailing:

  • Weight
  • Size
  • Key features
  • Colors

To get a better idea of what this looks like in practice, let’s use a free natural language generator tool.

 You just enter your:

  • Product name
  • The problem it solves
  • Benefits and features
  • Objections
  • Product style

Then click “generate” and wait for your description to appear.

Write Ads

With its ability to personalize and tailor content, natural language generation has a lot of potential for writing ads. However, it’s not just about putting words on the page. Natural language generation aids ad creation by helping you understand your audience and their intent.

Natural language generation is even intelligent enough to adapt to a brand’s audience and use the language and tone most likely to resonate with them — all without compromising your ads’ creativity.

A further benefit of using natural language generation to create ads is it allows mass scaling while also sounding human and personalized. That all makes natural language generation ideal for:

  • Online paid ad (Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc.)
  • Landing pages
  • Individual customer offers

These are just examples. However, they should illustrate the possibilities for your digital marketing efforts.

Personalization

Personalization isn’t a buzzword or a passing trend: It’s one of the most critical elements of a successful marketing campaign.

When you apply natural language generation to your marketing efforts, there are several ways you can use it to tailor it to your customers, including:

  • Use natural language generation to understand individual customer’s metadata for the personalization of marketing materials.
  • Improve customer loyalty by targeting products, services, and special offers to your buyers.
  • Automatically updating and tailoring content for individual customers
  • Reach a broader customer base through localization

From these examples, it’s easy to see why brands turn to natural language generation to apply personalization to their campaigns.

Automated Updates

Relevant content is essential to online sales, and it’s vital for seasonal promotions. For example, when you want to promote your Black Friday sales or if someone is searching for Valentine’s gift.

However, keeping your content up-to-date is a challenge.

Updating seasonal content is another area where natural language generation shines. For example, you could automate category pages aimed at specific buyers by letting natural language generation create individualized content, making it targeted and more likely to convert.

By automating and updating content through natural language generation, you enhance the overall customer experience, increasing the likelihood of a sale.

Subject Line Generation    

A good subject line is one of the essential parts of your email. After all, it can mean the difference between your message getting opened or not. Natural language generation can take your data and optimize subject lines to ‘speak’ to the receiver.

Natural language generation can convey and personalize sentiments, tone, and language, helping improve your email open rates. One example of this is the AI technology company Phrase.

The UK-based business’s natural language generation tool allows you to generate hundreds of effective subject lines. For instance, when Virgin Holidays wanted to improve customer experience and grow digital sales, it introduced Phrase to tweak its subject lines.

The result? A two percent increase in open rate, which may not seem like a huge increase, but it was worth millions to Virgin Holidays.

If you want to leverage the potential of natural language generation for your email campaigns, there are a few tools you can try:

First, Active Campaign has a free tool. Just choose a keyword category from the drop-down list, enter your keyword, and click the “generate subject lines” button.

We used “headaches” as our keyword, and these are the suggested subject lines:

Automizy is another free tool. It uses three steps to generator subject lines.

  • You copy and paste your email marketing content
  • Automizy will take your text and analyze it
  • Then, it generates a set of subject lines based on your copy.

From experience, we can say the above tools might not be perfect. However, they do illustrate the potential and give you a starting place.

SEO Optimization

According to Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute, there are several ways marketers are using A.I. in SEO optimization. They’ve introduced it to:

  • Discover keywords and create topic clusters
  • Optimize content for better discoverability
  • Content analysis to find content caps
  • Create real-time targeted content
  • Write meta descriptions
  • Tag images
  • Write outlines and titles for your content calendar

Using natural language generation can help marketers drive more traffic, create more sales, and build their brands.

Conclusion

Natural language generation software has applications across a broad range of industries. Natural language generation allows users to create personalized, automated text. Still, its real power lies in adapting to individual brand voices, making it an ideal way for digital marketers to build relationships with a specific audience.

Digital marketers can also generate cost-effective, timely campaigns, optimize their ROI, and interact more authentically.  

Despite some people’s fears, natural language generation is not going to steal anyone’s jobs. Rather, natural language generation complements copywriters’ work while freeing up vital time to concentrate on ROI-generating goals.

How could natural language generation help your business? Share your thoughts below.

The Ultimate Guide To Lead Generation For Small Business

The Ultimate Guide To Lead Generation For Small Business

As we often say:

Sales are the lifeblood of any business.

And if you want to make more sales, you need first to get more leads.

Today we are going to discuss:

  • What is a lead?
  • What is lead generation, and why is it important?
  • How to generate leads for a small business?

Want to keep your sales pipeline full?

Continue reading…

What Is a Lead?

A lead is anyone who has:

  1. Expressed an interest in your product.
  2. Provided you with their contact details.

For example, an email subscriber is a lead because they visited your website and gave you their email address.

What Is Lead Generation?

Lead generation is the process of collecting the contact details of people who have expressed an interest in your product.

There are many different lead generation strategies, but they can all be divided into these two categories:

  • Inbound lead generation is about attracting potential customers (e.g. content marketing).
  • Outbound lead generation is about reaching out to potential customers (e.g. cold calling).

Which one of these two approaches is better?

It depends. Some companies benefit more from inbound lead generation, some from outbound lead generation, and some get the best results by combining the two.

It’s best to try things out for yourself and see what works for your business.

B2C Vs. B2B Lead Generation

It’s worth noting that there are three key differences between B2C lead generation and B2B lead generation.

b2b and b2c lead generation puzzle

#1 B2C Lead Generation is Low-Touch, B2B Lead Generation Is High-Touch

The main difference is this:

  • B2C lead generation is low-touch.
  • B2B lead generation is high-touch.

In other words, the former can be fully automated. Meanwhile, there the latter may require networking, cold outreach, sales presentations, etc.

different stages and statistics of b2b and b2c lead generation process

Of course, this is just the general rule, there are plenty of exceptions.

The lower the price, the lower touch the lead generation, so when you are creating a lead generation strategy, the cost of your product is more important than whether you are selling to consumers or businesses.

For example, a boutique that sells luxury items to consumers may need to put more effort into lead generation than a SaaS company that sells $47/month software to businesses.

#2 B2C Cold Calling Taboo Vs. B2B Cold Calling Norm

b2b and b2c cold calling

Another important difference between B2C and B2B lead generation is the way people view cold outreach.

Cold calling an individual consumer may be seen as invasive and weird. Meanwhile, cold calling the relevant person in a company that may benefit from your product is generally seen as acceptable.

#3 One-Sided B2C Relationships Vs. Personal B2B Relationships

b2b and b2c prospect relationship for lead generation

Relationships are essential in both B2C and B2B lead generation, but the strength of a relationship required to generate a lead is different.

For B2C companies, a one-sided relationship where the company establishes itself as an authority in their field through content but doesn’t interact with individual potential customers may be enough.

However, for B2B companies, personal relationships are much more important because in the world of business, the old “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” adage holds true.

When it comes to making purchases with your employer’s money, there’s additional risk involved because buying the wrong product makes you look bad in front of your boss and can negatively impact your career.

That is why decision-makers want to buy from people they have met in real life, with whom they have personal relationships, and whom they trust.

This means that B2B businesses may benefit from investing in networking by attending industry events, inviting people for lunch, etc.

How To Generate Leads for a Small Business

Okay, so what can you do to generate leads?

Here are seven lead generation strategies that work well for small businesses…

#1 Cold Emails

cold emails for lead generation

Cold emails are the most straightforward way of generating leads.

Justin McGill, the founder of LeadFuze, had great success with this approach.

Here’s how he used cold emails to grow his startup to $30,000 monthly recurring revenue in a year:

Step #1: He Created a List of Potential Customers

LeadFuze is a search engine for leads that can help you find verified email addresses, mobile numbers, and social media information.

Justin created a list of potential customers that he wanted to reach out to, then used his product to find their email addresses.

Alternatively, you can use SellHack, FindEmails, or Hunter to find the email addresses that you need. 

Step #2: He Wrote a Personalized Email To Each of Them Using the Question-Value Proposition-CTA (QVC) Formula

Justin used a specific formula to write his cold emails:

  • Question – He opened with a question that was relevant to that company.
  • Value Proposition – He then got to the core of his message by highlighting what made his product unique.
  • Call-to-Action (CTA) – He ended the email with a clear call to action. “Don’t end the email weakly, with a “Look forward to hearing from you” type closing. Instead, ask directly if they can speak in the next few days OR give them some sort of closing question that begs an answer to elicit some kind of response, ” he explains.

Take a look at this sample cold email that follows the QVC formula:

cold email outreach template

Justin also advises giving the recipient a way to opt-out of follow-up emails:

cold email outreach template

This is important because you don’t want to come across as a spammer that won’t leave them alone.

#3 He Followed-Up on the Initial Cold Email

Merely sending one cold email is not enough. You need to follow up on it.

But Justin didn’t just follow up; he made sure to add value with each subsequent email.

“You don’t want these to be simply “checking in” type messages. Instead, you want to bring more value than you didn’t bring in the first email.

For example, it is the perfect time to now highlight a case study of a company you have worked with and their results, “ he explains.

Justin has seen a lot of success with this email sequence:

  1. QVC Email
  2. Case Study
  3. Value Add (recent blog post link, relevant news article, another case study, etc.).
  4. Break-up Email (letting them know you won’t be following up anymore).

You can also experiment with sending follow-up emails until you get a response, whatever that response may be. Just remember that each email should add value!

#2 Cold Calls

cold calling for lead generation

Cold calling may be nerve-racking, but it’s another straightforward way to generate leads. It can work well once you get the hang of it.

Here are a few tips that will help you get better results with this lead generation method:

Stop Being Awkward

People are often uncomfortable with cold calling.

They either feel as if they are begging for the sale or pushing their product onto someone. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Best-selling author and renowned sales coach Grant Cardone emphasize that if you believe in your product, then not trying to sell it would disservice potential customers. It makes sense, doesn’t it?

So do you believe in your product? Then you are doing people a favor by cold calling them. You are letting them know about something that would add value to their lives.

Pre-Qualify Leads

You don’t want to waste your time calling up businesses that have no use for your product.

That’s why it’s important to research each company before contacting them to make sure that they belong to your target audience.

Look at the company’s LinkedIn profile, recent press coverage, news on their blog, etc.

This will give you a better understanding of whether or not they would benefit from your product.

Do Customer Research

Once you have pre-qualified a lead, it is time to do customer research.

Here’s what you want to understand:

  • What challenges is the company facing right now?
  • What challenges is the decision-maker facing right now?

You want to present your product to make it clear not only how it will solve a specific problem for a company but also how it will make the decision maker’s life easier.

Keep in mind that the better you understand a potential customer, the easier it is to sell to them, so make sure to do your homework before picking up the phone.

Learn more: Why Entrepreneurs Feel Like A School Bully When Selling On The Phone” (ClickFunnels)

#3 Blogging

blogging for lead generation

Blogging is a great inbound lead generation strategy.

Here’s how you can turn your blog into a lead generation machine:

Step #1: Do Keyword Research

You probably already have a pretty good idea of what your target audience is struggling with.

Do keyword research to identify specific keywords related to those problems that can attract a significant amount of traffic if you rank for them.

Ubbersuggest is a free keyword research tool that you can use for that.

unersuggest dashboard for keyword research

Alternatively, you can use Ahrefs, which is arguably the most powerful SEO tool on the market.

ahref homepage screenshot

Learn more: “Keyword Research for Your Business”(ClickFunnels)

Step #2: Create SEO Content

Now that you have a list of profitable keywords, it’s time to create SEO content around them. 

What matters the most is that you provide genuine value to the reader. Your article should be a comprehensive guide to that particular topic. It should tell the reader everything they need to know about it.

It’s best to go to Google, search for that keyword, then read all the results on the first page. How can you make your article better than what it is currently ranking?

Clearscope comes in handy here. It allows you to analyze competitor content quickly and then optimize your content accordingly. 

writing blog post about best travel credit card

Learn more:“What is SEO Content? How to Write Content that Ranks” (Ahrefs)

Step #3: Get Backlinks

Backlinks are the most important ranking signal that tells Google that your content deserves to be on the first page.

This makes sense. When established websites link to your site, they are effectively vouching for it. Presumably, they wouldn’t link to it if they didn’t think you offer quality content.

That’s why writing great articles isn’t enough to build a popular blog; you need to go out there and get those backlinks.

Here are the three most straightforward ways to do that:

  • Guest post – The easiest way to get a backlink from an authoritative website is to write a free blog post for them. Adam Enfroy used guest posting to grow his blog from zero to 178,021 unique visitors in 2019, so it works.
  • Broken link building – Use Ahfrefs to analyze list posts on popular websites in your niche, find broken links in them, then email the site owners to let them know about the links and suggest your blog posts that they could link to instead. 
  • Creating linkable resources – You can also get links by creating resources that other people want to include in their content (infographics, statistics, case studies, etc.). Remember the infographic at the beginning of this article that illustrates the difference between low-touch and high-touch sales? That’s a great example of linkable content. CrankWheel got a backlink from us without contacting us because they created an image that happens to add value to this post.

It’s important to understand that if you want to create a popular blog in 2021, you need to be aggressive about link building.

 A link here and a link there is not enough. You should aim to build at least one link per week proactively. Ideally more.

For example, back in 2019, Adam Enfroy wrote 80+ blog posts in one year to get his blog off the ground.

That’s the pace you should set for yourself if you are serious about blogging.

Learn more:Link Building for SEO: The Definitive Guide(Backlinko)

Step #4: Create a Lead Magnet

Once your blog starts getting traffic, it’s time to convert that traffic into leads.

You can do that by offering website visitors a freebie in exchange for their email address.

This freebie is called a lead magnet. It can be an e-book, a case study, an email course, a video course, an app, etc. What matters is that it provides genuine value to the visitor.

What does “genuine value” mean? It means that the lead magnet should provide a solution to a problem that the visitor struggles with. 

For example, Jon Morrow is a famous blogger that teaches people how to build a lucrative freelance writing career. 

When you go to his website SmartBlogger you are immediately offered a free cheat sheet for becoming a freelance writer:

freebie offer from jon morrow's smartblogger site

If you are an aspiring freelance writer, you want to know how to get that first paycheck, so you probably won’t hesitate to give Jon Morrow your email address.

Of course, it’s not enough to promise a website visitor something extraordinary in exchange for their email address; you then have to deliver on what you promised. It better be good!

Keep in mind that people use your free content to decide whether they should invest in your premium products, so you want to exceed their expectations with your lead magnet.

Learn more:“How To Create a Lead Magnet That is Highly Effective [With Examples]”(ClickFunnels)

Step #5: Use Pop-Ups to Collect Emails

You can capture more email addresses with pop-ups.

Use ClickFunnels to set up an exit-intent pop-up shown to people as they are about to leave your website. You have nothing to lose at that point.

You may also want to consider experimenting with other types of pop-ups, such as a welcome pop-up shown to the visitor when they arrive on your website. 

That’s riskier because you may alienate the visitor, but you won’t know if it’s worth it until you split test it.

#4 Paid Advertising

paid advertisement drawing

Now that you have a lead magnet, you can promote it via paid advertising.

Step #1: Create a Landing Page for the Lead Magnet

You should start by creating a landing page for the lead magnet. Think about it as a sales page for your freebie. Its purpose is to “sell” the lead magnet.

Step #2: Create an Ad for the Lead Magnet

You should then create an ad that promotes your lead magnet.

Make sure that you emphasize the main benefit a potential customer will derive from getting it.

Remember that Jon Morrow’s subheadline “Go From Total Beginner to Watching Your First Paycheck Deposited in Your Bank Account”?

That’s a great example of a powerful copy. What does an aspiring freelance writer want the most? That first paycheck! 

Now, the question is, what do your potential customers want the most?

Step #3: Drive Traffic To the Landing Page

Run the ad and send people that click on it to the landing page. 

What’s important here is that you figure out how to get email subscribers profitably.

Learn more:“7 Ways to Lower Your Facebook Advertising Costs”(ClickFunnels)

#5 Podcast Sponsorships

Did you know that 75% of the United States population over age 12 are familiar with podcasts?

And U.S. weekly podcast listeners listen to an average of six podcasts per week:

statistics on podcast listeners in us

Consider sponsoring a podcast in your niche. It doesn’t have to be big. What matters is that its listeners are your target audience. 

Usually, podcast advertising includes a custom link for that podcast’s listeners to get a special offer, usually a discount.

However, that special offer can be your lead magnet, in which case you would be using podcast advertising to generate leads.

#6 Print Advertising

print advertising for lead generation

Print advertising may seem old-fashioned, but it nevertheless works well for some small businesses, especially the brick-and-mortar ones.

You can make print advertising more effective by including a link to your lead magnet landing page and a call to action encouraging people to download it.

You can also make it easier for them to provide a QR code that takes them straight to the landing page.

#7 Networking

network building for lead generation

As we have discussed in the section on the differences between B2C and B2B lead generation, personal relationships play an essential role in B2B sales.

So if you have a B2B business, you may want to consider investing in networking by attending industry meetups, conferences, etc.

You may also want to reach out to individual people in your space and invite them to lunch just to get to know each other.

Of course, you shouldn’t expect immediate results from this, but if you play the long game and consistently work at building your network, it will eventually generate leads.

Conclusion

Generating leads is how you keep your sales pipeline full.

When you are just starting, you might have to reach out to potential customers yourself, but your aim should be to eventually get to the point where potential customers come to you instead.

You should also look for ways to automate lead generation as much as possible. 

That may mean complete automation for B2C businesses or partial automation for B2B businesses. You need to figure out what works for your company.

What matters is that you create a system that allows you to generate high-quality leads consistently.

15 Cold Calling Alternatives for Lead Generation To Boost Your Income

15 Cold Calling Alternatives for Lead Generation To Boost Your Income

Can you cry underwater? Or sweat while swimming? Do fishes swim while eating or how long do they wait to swim after eating?

These ancient questions have perplexed humanity for decades, but for many sales representatives, the question that’s left them troubled is whether cold calling still works or not.

man in black suit holding a laptop in hand

There’s tons of research that highlight the idea that soon enough cold calling will be discarded. Whether it’s going to be forsaken is up for an argument, but what’s certain in the minds of many sales leaders is that it’ll be less frequently used than other prospecting methods and lead generation techniques. 

Cold calling was one of the most effective prospecting strategies but in the last 4 decades, a host of other alternatives emerged. 

While we can’t say that cold calling is never successful, necessary, or useful. It’s a wise move to ensure that your other prospecting strategies are solid enough so it’s not your go-to technique. 

Why? For one, cold calling has a 2% success rate. Imagine driving with your eyes closed. That’s what you do with your marketing every time you opt for a cold call. 

As a salesperson or marketer, you have more information, technology, and tools at your disposal than has ever been available for a quality sales process. And the worst move you could make is trying to make sales blindly with cold calls. 

Once you’re able to generate leads without cold calls, you’ll dramatically boost your marketing budget ROI. 

So let’s go through the list below and explore 15 alternatives to cold calling geared towards helping you hit your future sales targets. 

Before that though, let’s see why you need cold calling alternatives. 

Why Opt for Alternatives to Cold Calling Lead Generation?

Cold calling is an ancient sales strategy that works by calling persons that you have no relationship with. It still is infused into the sales reps’ contemporary workflow, but there are far better ways to implement this outreach. 

man working on alternative of cold calling lead generation

For example, a great prospecting strategy must be: 

  • Consistent: That is it can reliably generate fresh leads continuously. 
  • Targeted: A good prospecting strategy should connect you with relevant prospects, not random people. 
  • High Returns: A solid prospecting strategy pulls in a huge number of prospects for the equivalent amount of energy put in. 

Cold calling achieves none of this. With it, you’re calling people you have no connection to and the conversation is just about your offer. 

And when you relate this to the statistics available, you can see why this approach isn’t efficient anymore. For instance, more than 200 million people are on a national list for “do not call”.  

That’s not all. Most businesses are not even taking calls except you want to speak to a contact you already know. And telecom giants like T-Mobile are offering data-only packages for mobiles. 

All these make it clear that the desire of humans to talk to people over the phone is fading, most especially if those calls are unexpected. 

Besides, potential customers can now research brand reviews, information, and feedback. And every kind of data online about your business. All these things make cold calling appear as an unnecessary nuisance. 

Potential customers don’t need sales reps how they used to. 

It’s even fair to state that any random person who interrupts your day with an unexpected 3-minute call script may have to do some impressive speedy talking to stop you from ending the call. 

What’s worse is further research reports that cold calling is ineffective 90% of the time and another study revealed that 63.27% of people reject or ignore calls from businesses and random numbers. 

cold calling effectiveness statistics

This means that if we assume a 0.3% booking rate for appointments and a 20% success rate, you would have to make 6264 cold calls to get 4 sales! That’s horrible!

The odds are certainly not in your favor if you stick with cold calling as your only lead generation strategy. 

With that in mind, we’ve put together a huge list of alternative techniques in this piece to enable you to properly and effectively generate leads. You can also merge the strategies below for better results. 

1. LinkedIn

linkedin lead generation

LinkedIn is an excellent way to build a personal relationship with a prospect before calling them. That said, it’s also valuable for increasing your network audience. 

For instance, tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator, are great for locating leads that satisfy your buyer persona and taking full advantage of your mutual connections to build relationships with top-level decision-makers. 

90% of business-to-business (B2B) executives do not respond to cold calls anymore. 

Also, these LinkedIn messages create room for personalization from prospect and company research, which is information that usually isn’t evident in a cold call. And they take much less time than cold calls. That’s not taking into account the loss of drive that can occur in a harsh cold call rejection. 

You can share content on LinkedIn as well to initiate organic interactions with your current connections or generate inbound leads.  This is a form of “thought leadership” that’s rapidly gaining popularity amongst salespersons to prospect fresh leads. 

2. Email Promotion

lead generation with email marketing

Email marketing or promotion is the use of emails to promote or market your brand and its services. Every email you send to prospects on your mailing list should nurture them as they head towards conversion.

And to automate and segment this process you can take advantage of customer relationship management (CRM) solutions.  Email promotion is also a powerful way to keep your business in the mind of people who are interested in it, as well as, induce repeat business.

An email campaign that offers valuable data to your inbound and does not revolve around your offer is an excellent way to connect with prospects.

Plus, offering email content that isn’t just satisfying a sales pitch or meeting requests is a great way to build engagement from leads that may be hard to get to otherwise. 

If you get your email leads via your website it offers you information on the user’s behavior. You get to see what they engaged with while on your website and how long. This gives you enough information on how to contact the lead and the target message to use. 

That said, it’s vital to state that if you’re in Europe, your web visitors need to opt-in to your email subscription because of GDPF regulations.

3. Sales Process Relationships

persons shaking hands to build sales relationship

Sales process relationships or social selling involves fostering relationships during the sales process by connecting directly or sharing relevant content via mediums like social media. 

There are so many techniques in this lead generation method. For example, joining LinkedIn or Facebook groups that are relevant in subjects that are of interest to your target buyers can be a crucial place for interacting with fresh leads. 

Also, answering questions on platforms like Quora displays your passion, experience, and expertise. This attracts interest in your skills which you can then follow up with a sales targeted interaction in a non-pushy way. 

You can host webinars to share your expertise and knowledge with prospects in your target audience as they’ll be more likely to embrace your solution after listening to you because it shows them that you know your stuff and understand the pain points they need satisfied.

Every form of content like blogs, or vlogs can be used to display the intertwined relationship between your prospects’ pain points and the value your solution offers. 

Just sharing relevant content from other sources can also work perfectly in building prospect engagement and fostering your brand’s credibility. 

Also, you can use social listening tools like Sales Navigator and Google alerts to set up notifications that show up when a particular prospect puts up a post that’s relevant to your brand or experiences a major change. 

So rather than use an out-of-tune cold call, you can engage with your prospect’s content in a genuine way to build a connection before you make your sales pitch. 

4. Referrals

referral marketing

Did you know that 84% of B2B executives begin their buying journeys via referrals? 

Requesting your loyal customers to refer people to your business who are relevant to the same is an effective strategy. Such channel multipliers and partners are especially vital for small scale businesses to grow. 

Again, there’s something you can take advantage of with LinkedIn when seeking referrals as the platform allows you to see your network’s mutual connections. This allows you to target your advocates for referral leads. 

Plus, direct referral requests are better sent via LinkedIn or email rather than via calling. 

Not only can you find referrals in your current customer base, but you can also generate leads through consultants, and coaches.

5. Warm Calling

girl working on customer service

Warm calling involves you establishing contact with the prospect before you reach out to them. 

The connection can happen over social media networks like LinkedIn, or via a mutual colleague introducing you to each other before you try to close the interaction by making a sale.

Normally, warm calling happens through personal referrals, however, it’s very effective when implemented via social media channels. 

Analyzing warm calls’s 30% success rate versus the 2% for cold calls is enough evidence that it offers better methodologies for sales reps to implement. 

It’s also obvious that salespersons are more likely to get an appointment if they’ve previously built a connection with the prospect. This is another reason warm calling produces better results than cold calling. 

Warm calling can also happen after engaging with content that the prospect shared or posted.

6. Webinars

studio setup for webinar

We’ve already touched on this previously, but let’s get into a bit more detail. Webinars are online seminars that may consist of panel discussions, interviews, or the host talking directly to the viewer. 

Webinars can also be used in lead generation by collecting prospect contact information via online forms in exchange for access to the webinar. 

This method even allows you to classify prospects based on how close they are to converting by analyzing what topics they are interested in. 

Inviting guest speakers who are known in your niche can pull in a fresh audience as well. 

7. Paid Advertisements

drawing of online advertisement methods

Online ads on social media channels and search engines are a quick way to direct traffic to your website, especially if it’s just been launched. 

Platforms like Facebook allow you to create ads that target particular demographics and keywords to amplify your ad’s impact. 

Paid ads are a crucial aspect of any ad campaign and must be a continuous component of your marketing budget till you get a stable organic inflow.

8. Retargeted Ads

retargeting process illustration

Retargeted ads are adverts on search engines or social media platforms that are targeted at your website’s past visitors. This is possible via tracking codes, or cookies, which gather information about people when they come to your website. 

You can then use this information to show them relevant ads when they’re off your website. Research shows that retargeted ads are 10 times more powerful in causing sales conversions than display ads. 

The moment your website starts getting huge traffic volumes, retargeted ads are one of the best ways to take advantage of it.

9. Direct Mails

direct letter sending marketing

Do you recall when last you sent a letter or even opened one? Probably not, either way, many accounts of successful snail mail or direct letters marketing campaigns exist. Why this method works is due to the opportunity for personalization it presents.

Also, a small gift sent alongside the letter can even be included as an incentive without overshooting your customer acquisition costs because of how cost-effective this strategy is to lead generation budgets. 

10. Physical Events

speaker presenting on a live conference in front of audience

Besides networking via social media, there are loads of physical networking events that happen in all regions and industries and such programs offer a huge opportunity to find decision-makers. 

These events may be conferences, fairs, and exhibitions as well as networking events. The entry costs to such events are usually worth the number of leads you can generate if you chose the event correctly. 

11. Incentives

incentive offers to acquire leads

Loyal or returning clients cost less in terms of acquisition than fresh ones, and a great way to pull in more recurring customers is by giving incentives. 

Think of running a rewards or loyalty program for clients who sign up. Perks like discounts after making a certain number of purchases or even rewards for referrals are great offers to keep customers spreading the word about your business. 

Incentives can amplify your marketing opportunity as popular offers can magnet new leads by word of mouth or online buzz.

12. Gated Downloads

gated download icon

A gated download is content that requires the prospect to take a step like inputting contact details to access the information to be downloaded. 

The download offer could be a checklist, case study, white paper, infographics, video, or anything that can be valuable to the prospect’s journey. 

The moment you get the person’s information, you can then market them some more to get additional information that’ll push them nearer to your sales pitch. 

13.  Landing Pages

digital diagram of landing page

The first place a web visitor arrives when they click through to your website is a landing page. That said, the term is usually used to imply a dedicated page created to convert traffic to leads. 

Most landing pages are used to gather prospect contact information for gated content. You can use landing pages at any point in the buyer’s journey but it’s most effective in the consideration stage when prospects know they need a solution to their problems.

14. SEO

search engine optimization

SEO or search engine optimization is the process that a website undergoes to optimize it for search engine algorithms. Websites that have better SEO rank higher in the search engine results pages than other sites competing for the same keywords. 

This increases the chances of a prospect clicking on the website. A lot of the SEO changes done to a website can boost its overall accessibility and user experience. And this results in a cycle of traffic boost that further amplifies rankings. 

15. Social Media Engagement

instagram twitter facebook apps on a smartphone

Maintain interaction with prospects on the various social media platforms that you have pages on. And always reply whenever a potential client reaches out to you, cautiously though.  

For example, if you share or repost a prospect’s content on LinkedIn and they like a tweet from you, don’t send them a private message immediately. 

Maintain casual social media engagement by tagging them to content that they may find interesting, follow them, or like any other posts they put up. 

By turning your social media visitors and followers who would still be in the research stage into prospects by engaging them you ensure that they’d be more receptive and willing to listen to you when you make your sales pitch. 

Since you’ve built a relationship, it’ll be a lot easier to make the sales pitch than if you simply give them an unexpected phone call.

Plus, by looking at your social pages as lead generation channels, you get to connect your marketing team and sales team which results in an effective approach that excels in nurturing leads and closing deals. 

Conclusion

Prospects don’t respond to cold calls as they used to anymore and some even loathe receiving such calls. With the advancement of humanity, people have so many ways of engaging with a product or service before the purchase to build trust, that they simply prefer not to make buying decisions randomly. 

With that in mind, we listed out these cold calling alternatives that can help you effortlessly generate leads and ultimately improve sales.

Implement them and watch your income rise.