Technology Trends To Ignite Your Lead Gen in 2022

Quarter four is upon us. The numbers don’t lie. A majority of industry experts reported that weak technology infrastructure was the main reason businesses struggled so hard to survive during the pandemic. How about you? Is your technology where it needs to be? Technology isn’t a trend that is going away. There will be a continued move next year away from sales-centric models and toward working with digital lead resources—website, social media, content marketing, e-mail marketing, and others.

As you begin your allocations for next year’s marketing budget – and your lead generation, to be specific – keep the following information in mind. I’ve outlined the trends we’ll see next year and highlight what they mean for you and your lead generation strategy and budget. 

Digital Channels for Sales and Service

As we continue to try to distance ourselves from the Covid-19 pandemic and the effects it has had on our traditional lead gen activities, such as travel, conferences, tradeshows, lunch meetings, and other offline marketing and sales events, we must admit that some of the changes weren’t so bad. Marketers were forced to turn to automation to drive leads while still providing the best customer experience. Inbound and outbound lead generation saw the continued use of artificial intelligence in sales operations. Increasingly, more and more marketers used digital and online channels like video conferencing and live chat offerings to achieve their lead and sales performance targets. Lead generation activities will still be performed through offline channels, but increased emphasis will be placed on digital channels. 

Value-Based Selling to Secure Customers

An increase in digital business strategies means an increase in data available for your use. 2022 will see a movement toward better use of data to shape a value-based selling approach. This trend has marketers responding to their data in real time as a way to slowly build to a sale, showing prospects over time the value of their product or service. 

Artificial Intelligence to Increase Value

AI is becoming more widely used across a broader platform now. That will continue in 2022 and well beyond. More and more companies are looking to AI to improve lead generation and sales because this technology helps gather valuable data on existing as well as potential customers. This data then helps marketers develop  more effective marketing strategies to increase sales. AI is also an effective way to influence future behavior based on prior transactions or interactions and helps identify hot leads that are more likely to convert.

Also on the rise is the use of chatbots. This is a relatively easy way to enhance communication with prospects and customers and to provide better overall service. Chatbots allow companies to be available 24/7 to answer common questions and respond to typical issues. Customers report they love this option.

Better Customer Experience to Build Customer Loyalty

Nothing makes you value a personalized experience more than a global pandemic. Companies will use 2022 to continue work to enhance and personalize their brand’s customer experience. 

Social Media to Generate Better Leads 

Using social media to generate leads is nothing new. Companies will use 2022 to look for ideas to develop better ways of using social media platforms that make sense for their brand. Content will become more personalized using the data available. Video content marketing will continue to dominate, with experts predicting it will account for 82% of total Internet traffic. E-mail marketing is another hot area for 2022. That is because it is highly effective at influencing prospects. Researchers found that interactive e-mails increase their click-to-open rate by 73% and videos boost it an amazing 300%.

Marketers looking to grow in 2022 will want to capitalize on these trends to maintain a competitive advantage in the market.

The Producers Network is a digital media company specializing in franchise development marketing.  We’ve developed  first-party data, cookie-less advertising products and historical data analytics to deliver results.  Learn more at


Do You Do These 5 Things Successful Retailers Do?

greatest_bannersIllustration: KrizzDaPaul/GettyImagesWhile online sales continue to take on retail, the most successful retailers have discovered that the secret to success is to prioritize what it is your customers truly want, invest in the technology and people to deliver it, and make the experience seamless across channels. Before I talk about the five ways they do this, I want to share recent Custora research that gives insight into what’s driving retail growth.

Average Order Frequency Beats Customer Acquisition

Yes, you read that right. High-growth brands invest significantly in acquiring new customers, but it’s relatively inefficient.

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Savvy retailers have responded, instead investing their dollars in things like welcome series, hybrid subscription models, and personalization across channels and devices to drive brand engagement and product discovery.

Increasing Average Order Size Increases Revenue

Another powerful finding from Custora is that increasing basket size is more beneficial than just trying for repeat business.  The most successful data-driven retailers excel at cross-selling by suggesting complementary products the customer may like or upselling by showing the customer premium merchandise and full-price new arrivals.

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But, most retailers will tell you that growing basket size is more difficult than driving repeat business. They are right – unless they are doing these five things.

The 5 Steps to Retail Success

  1. Analyze Your Customer Data: You gather lots of data on your customers. Take a look at it and see what it’s telling you about your customers’ relationship to your brand.
  2. Create A Plan: Are you going to try to cross-sell or upsell? Determine that objective and then set goals. In general, cross-selling is a good starting approach for retailers of relatively low price-point goods, impulse purchases, or a wide merchandise assortment. Retailers of homogeneous or high-consideration goods might instead focus on upselling.
  3. Look At Your Sales: Now it’s time to study your sales and see what that data tells you. What products are typically purchased together? Which customer type tends to buy premium products? Knowing this information is invaluable.
  4. Start Small: The most successful retailers keep it simple when they are just beginning. So, begin with just one offer and measure its impacts and adjust accordingly, then expand from there.
  5. Optimize And Automate: Once you have identified what works, keep your momentum going by continuing to monitor your data and tweaking your approach in response to what your data is telling you.

By implementing these five steps, retailers unlock untapped opportunity and increase their ability to grow and thrive – even in the digital age.


How to Make Your Prospects’ E-Mail Experience Better

E-mail marketing is so effective it’s easy to begin to think of it as simply an engine that drives your sales results. The problem with this thinking is that it removes the human element from the equation. And, the success of e-mail campaigns relies on the human element. Your e-mail must be a personal experience for your prospects. Here are four questions you need to answer to get you headed in the right direction to make your prospects’ e-mail experience better.

  1. Why did your prospects sign up to receive your e-mails?

You have to know the answers to this so you can make sure you meet those objectives. Then you begin the work of striking a comfortable balance between pleasing your prospects and driving revenue.

When you know why your prospects want to hear from you, you can create very strategic content so it’s not necessary to bombard your prospects with too many e-mails, which will only work to turn them off on your brand. Predictive modeling can help you further segment your prospects to ensure a better e-mail experience for them.

  1. How often do you think about your prospects when you develop your e-mail campaigns?

We’re all a little guilty of it. We fall into the trap of thinking of e-mail simply as a tool for driving leads. We sometimes forget that there are living prospects on the receiving end of our e-mails. And, e-mail is a great medium to really address your prospects’ different needs and wants, developing content that speaks to them. Always keep the human element in mind when executing your e-mail campaigns.

  1. Is your content hitting the right note?

I believe e-mail is a great way to have a personal conversation with your prospects. So, even when you’re announcing a special sale, a new product launch – whatever – you need to make sure you are keeping it personal for your prospects. Tell them why it should matter to them. This thinking should start at the subject line with a message that has meaning and relevance to the prospects receiving the e-mail.

Prospects only view your e-mails for a few seconds. To have impact, your e-mails must be “scanable” to easily determine value. Best practices really apply here. Often the urge is to overdesign e-mails, but you do so to your peril. Keep in mind that most prospects view your e-mail on a mobile phone. Keep reminding yourself of that when you’re tempted to keep adding to the design.

  1. Is how you’re saying what you’re saying making a connection?

It’s not only important what you say but also how you say it. The tone of your e-mail matters. The tone should be in line with your brand and reinforce how you want prospects to view your brand. There is a tendency to forget this when creating content for e-mail.

Your e-mails should also set a good customer service tone. Give prospects links to helpful or pertinent information. Don’t make them hunt for it.

E-mail is a personal medium that works wonders to drive leads and sales. It has a high ROI. Make sure you are using it to its fullest potential.

How to Use Content to Attract Customers and Close Sales

We all know that content is king. It’s the driving force behind attracting customers and closing the deal. The following seven tips should help you get the highest ROI from your content marketing. Choose the ones that work best for you.

  1. Approach Content Like It’s Tactical Warfare

If you’re going to win the marketing war, you have to have a strategy that has multiple components that reach your prospects on different platforms and specialized ways. Even more importantly, you have to make sure you publish new, relevant content regularly to boost your SEO. And, while you’re at it, refresh your old content so it appears new. Your prospects will like this and so will search engines.

  1. Make Content Laser Focused

You can’t be all things to all people, but by using data analytics, you can get pretty darn close. See what your prospects’ actions are telling you about what they want from you – then deliver it to them with content that speaks to their desires or that answers frequently asked questions. An added advantage of this approach is that it boosts your key word search results.

  1. Develop Content That has Value

If you want prospects to give you their information, you have to give them something in return. And, it needs to be something they want and can use. This encourages paid ad clickthroughs, increasing the number of eyeballs that see your content. Consider offering exclusive content for social followers or build a highly targeted Facebook group for prospects that offers content your data has indicated will be useful to them. Work with sales to find out common objections and address those in your content.

  1. Disseminate Content Far and Wide

Use your website and other social channels strategically to get your content to your prospects where they are.

  1. Actually Look at Your Data

I know it takes time, but if you actually look at your data, it tells you quite a bit about what’s working and what isn’t. You can use your data to determine where you have content gaps and then work to fill them.

  1. Build Targeted E-mail List Segments

The data you gather from engagement in your content pieces can be use to create an e-mail list group that is highly targeted and features specific conversion pieces.

  1. Advertise Special Content Pieces

If you have created an exceptional content piece – like a white paper, case study, or e-book – advertise it to prospects. Ask them to request it from you, which is a much easier way to get the process to “yes” going.

These seven tips are pretty comprehensive. Don’t worry if you’re not doing all of them all of the time. The point is to have them on your radar and to implement as many of them as works for your business. Good luck!


E-mail Ideas Sure to Get Your Prospects Clicking


There’s no denying it’s hard work to create an e-mail that really speaks to your prospects, getting them to open the e-mail and then to take you up on your call to action. Luckily, there are some really good examples we all can learn from. Here are a few I saw that I thought were especially good.

1. Celebrate An Anniversary

Keep track of when prospects enter your sales funnel or sign up for your newsletter or follow your blog – whatever. Then, use that date to send them a personalized anniversary e-mail with a special offer. Here’s an example from Hawaiian Airlines that does this very well.


2. Reward Active Prospects

Prospects showing a high level of interest ought to be recognized. Send them an e-mail that makes them feel special, like they’re part of an elite group. Phrases like “be the first to know,” or “top customer” work well. This Spotify example shows you how it’s done.



3. Provide a List of Top Picks

Watch your prospects’ activity. Is there a helpful list you can send them? Keep it relevant to what they have shown you they are interested in. LinkedIn does a really great job with this.


4. Give Them Additional Ways to Learn More About You

Use prospects’ activity to provide additional information about your business that you think will be of interest to them. Pinterest does an amazing job at this.



3 Ways You Can Make Your Online Newsletter Better


E-Mail ImageThere are plenty of tools out there that have made it easier than ever to deliver an electronic newsletter. However, ease of use is not a substitute for good content. The hard work still needs to be done there. Here are three steps you can take to help your newsletter promote your brand and drive sales.

  1. Build a Database of Engaged Prospects

You want your newsletter to go to prospects who actually have an interest in your product or service. Respect their time and their in box. If they decide they no longer want to receive your newsletter, respect that.

  1. Recognize That Your Newsletter is a User Experience

Sending a newsletter via e-mail is a great opportunity to build a relationship with your prospects. Make sure you deliver information that is relevant to your prospects – not necessarily just information you want to share. There has to be a reason why prospects should want to read your newsletter. And, create a schedule and stick to it. Prospects want to know when they are going to receive communication from you. If you promise to reach out to them every week, make sure you do that.

  1. Always Start at the Beginning

Prospects opt-in to your newsletter at different times, so not everyone sees all of the same information. That can cause some confusion. It’s a good idea to catch prospects up by doing a series of e-mails geared directly to doing just that. Here’s where analytics can help you. After sending a welcome e-mail, you will want to follow up with strategic e-mails that highlight important information that may have been missed due to when the prospect entered the buying cycle. Choose past newsletter content that has scored the highest at converting to sales and send them out in a campaign.

Newsletters can be very successful at driving sales if you make sure you approach the opportunity correctly. Follow these three steps to get your newsletter on track.

What You Need To Know To Close Leads Faster


lead-generation-imgWhile some may think the biggest obstacle is getting the lead, the reality is that the hardest work begins once you have the lead. What do I mean by this? Well, most of the leads you get aren’t ready to buy – yet. They’ll be ready to buy from someone within 24 months. How can you increase your chances that it’s you? Nurture your leads. This keeps you in top-of-mind awareness with the lead, building a valuable relationship through the entirety of the lead’s decision to buy journey.

Facts About Your Leads

  • Only about 27% of your leads will be qualified and ready for sales when they come to you – 73% won’t. {Source: Marketing Survey B2B Benchmark Survey}
  • When sales and marketing are aligned, working synergistically on demand generation, the amount of closes accelerates between 2 to 7 times higher than when these departments function separately.{Source: Sirius Decisions}
  • A/B testing is the most used and most consistent method to improve conversion rates for the last two years. {Source: EConsultancy}

You must learn how to plan and build a nurturing program that really works. Your plan should address the following:

  1. Outline of your lead nurturing approach
  2. A plan to refine and expand your plan
  3. A process to measure the effectiveness of your plan

The value of lead nurturing cannot be overstated. Once your leads come in, get to work nurturing the relationship and see your close rate improve. Later this week I’ll give you more specific tips that will help you create your nurturing program.

4 Steps To A Scientific Approach To Lead Generation



Each of us has lead generation goals. Digital marketing tactics, pay-per-click, SEO, e-mail, and affiliate and digital advertising drive traffic to the company website.  Google analytics (and other analytic tools) help us determine what is working.  But, what do you do when things are not working?  Do you really have the right plan in place to meet your goals?  Here are some tips that will help you focus and ensure that you are putting your efforts into the best plan to produce the highest return.

1.  Use a traffic and lead generation calculator has a pretty good traffic and lead generation calculator you can check out.  It’s an Excel based tool that will help you estimate how much web traffic you’ll need to meet your lead generation goals.  Or just follow these steps:

  • How many units do you plan to sell each month?
  • Translate that into a monthly revenue goal.
  • What is the average revenue per unit sold?
  • How many leads do you need to meet the monthly units sold goal?
  • How many monthly visitors do you need to meet the lead goal?

 2.  Set up a dashboard to track results

If you are not using marketing automation to track your marketing campaigns, set up your own dashboard to track results.  Key performance analytics like traffic source, behavior, clicks, opens, conversion, and cost per campaign should be captured and tracked over time.

3.  Track results by call-to-action

Track individual call-to-action and content campaigns by traffic and lead conversion. Focus on what is working best and work to design new campaigns using the most productive content.

4.  Design an idea generator and call-to-action calendar

Using analytics, identify what is working best.  Then brainstorm related content idea that could generate similar results.  Finally, create a call-to-action calendar to schedule content tests and use your dashboard to help track success.

By being proactive and implementing these four tactics, your lead gen strategy should continue to thrive and deliver results. As with anything, the best plan delivers the best results.

How Digital Body Language Helps You Target Your Prospects


datawoman-189x300Most of us can remember the day when just about all sales calls were done face to face, but that is no longer the case. With the advent of telesales, web technology, go-to-meetings, and other virtual sales mediums, face-to-face time has taken on a whole new meaning.

The advantage of an actual (as opposed to virtual) face-to-face meeting is that you can more easily read your prospect and judge interest. That’s not so easy these days. Or is it? This whole idea got me thinking: Is there digital body language? The answer is: absolutely! If you pay attention to your analytics, they’ll tell you the story that your face-to-face meetings used to provide you.

If you haven’t convinced your prospect that you can deliver on your promise, then you’re not going to close the deal, right? Right. So, take a look at your data and see what your prospects are doing with the informational content you send them. You are sending them content, right? I hope so because this is your opportunity to build your relationship with prospects while simultaneously educating them on what you can do for them. And, if you take a good look at your data, you’ll see that it’s clearly telling you what each of your prospects wants and needs from you.

Chances are high that once you take a look at your data, your prospects will fall into groups based on their actions or lack thereof. So, how do you gather this digital behavioral data? Marketing automation tools provide you with the ability to weigh and score a prospect’s behavior. Assigning a score to specific page visits, clicks, and actions (like downloading content, for example) will help you segment the hot prospects from the ones that need further nurturing.

Using this valuable information you gather, you can easily see what microsites and content materials need to be created and which groups of prospects you want to direct to each one, effectively creating a metric that will help you see your prospects’ online body language. The next step will be in seeing what further actions your prospects took and steering them accordingly by adapting your message and the content you send them.

How To Increase Clicks From Your Website

bestpractice_longThe way we conduct Internet searches has changed recently. And, in the world of the Internet, you’re only as good as the number of clicks you get. If users don’t click on your site/offer, then the opportunity is lost. So, what’s an effective strategy to gain clicks? Let me introduce you to rich snippets. It kinda sounds like a delicious new cracker, but it’s really something much, much better than that.

Rich snippets are part of what is called a semantic search. Semantic searches deliver detailed listings we never saw before. They do this through predictive technologies from search engines. Semantic searches or rich snippets enable a new and better way to display products and services by including ratings, reviews, availability, price, and much more.

Enhanced search results means your site has been awarded a rich snippet by the search engine. Users are more inclined to respond to search results that have additional information, images, and colors. Rich snippets are your way to embellish your search results with additional information geared toward attracting users. Rich snippets are your way to break through the clutter, get noticed, and increase your clicks.

A Closer Look At How Snippets Work

When you do a search, a list of results pop up on your screen. Snippets are the lines of text that you see at the end of each search result listing. Snippets provide additional information regarding the page’s relevance to the word or phrase that you searched, with the words that match the query shown in bold as shown below.

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In this example, the snippet is the information in the green box. Ratings, pricing, and availability are commonly seen in e-commerce rich snippets, indicating the “value” of the page relevant to the search word or phrase. This additional information enables users to make more educated click decisions.

Including structured data markup in web content helps Google and other search engine algorithms better index and understand the content. Some data can also be used to create and display rich snippets within the search results, including review stars, an aggregate rating value, and vote count, for example. All of these are very useful to anyone searching for information about your product or service.

Rich snippets work for all types of e-commerce sites. If you are selling a product or service, and you have a published price, you can make use of rich snippets. The markup code that helps search engines classify the information for rich snippets can be easily inserted into your page templates so that the code appears on every relevant page on the site. Here’s an example of a rich snippet with the cost added.

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Rich Snippet Options

The goal of rich snippets is to improve a user’s search experience by showing only the highest-quality and most relevant results to a search query. This is done by a process called semantic markup. (A tiny bit more on that in a minute.) Whether your product or service is searched on Google or Bing won’t matter because both support all of the rich snippet types most relevant to e-commerce sites.

To make your pages eligible for rich snippets in search results, add structured data of the appropriate type to your content. Make sure to comply with any policies that each type has regarding rich snippet display. Google supports rich snippets for the following data types:

  • Product – Information about a product, including price, availability, SKU number, and review ratings.
  • Recipe – Recipes that can be displayed in web searches and Recipe View. Recipe rich snippets with photos are widely used in both Google and Bing. They are a highly effective option if your site sells food products or offers unique recipes.
  • Review – A review of an item such as a restaurant, movie, or store. The commonly used properties are Item, Rating, and Count, the last of which identifies the number of reviews submitted. The Reviews markup type also includes the ability to mark up a product photo.
  • Event – An organized event, such as musical concerts or art festivals, that people may attend at a particular time and place.
  • Software Application – Information about a software app, including its URL, review ratings, and price.

Bing offers the additional ability to add a photo of the item to your search results. Here’s an example of that.

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How to Implement Rich Snippets

Rich snippets are the next new thing driving the success of e-commerce. Google and Bing both publish detailed information on how to implement semantic markup for rich snippets and offer support. However, your web developer is your best bet here. They can guide you through the process so you make the best use of the available options.

Already using rich snippets? What kind of results have you experienced? Please let us know.