Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Out-Of-The-Box Demand Gen: Turning Blog Commenters Into Your Next Customers

By Neil Sequeira, Director Client Operations, ReadyContacts

Social media marketing has made its presence felt over the last year or two and has caught the attention of several large companies. Whether it’s publishing a company blog, creating pages on Facebook and LinkedIn or having key executives stay active on Twitter, several well established companies have joined the social media marketing bandwagon to interact with the online world.

As businesses become aware how it can help them put a human touch to their online image, how it can help them interact with customers, engage online audiences, get feedback and leverage word of mouth marketing and awareness, the question “how can some of this translate to direct sales or marketing leads?”comes to mind. The proven method: creating call-to-action in the form of landing pages, online registration forms, subscription forms and similar incentives for inbound traffic and visitors to part with information such as their name, company, title and contact details. Are those the only channels of generating leads online? Time to think out of the box.

The company blog, if active and engaging is one of best sources of search driven and referral web traffic to the company website. Well established blogs can drive regular comments and discussions around their content and considering a certain percentage of those who post comments can also be good prospects, the blog should essentially be a good source of leads. Even if they are not well qualified or sales ready leads, they can be qualified and introduced to the lead nurturing cycle as potential future customers. However, the devil is in the details and the details are what blog comments lack compared to what can be termed as a captured or actionable lead complete with contact details. If comments would capture complete account and contact details like form fills do, everyone would have their blogs connected to their CRM databases.

Thankfully with a little data append effort, a simple blog comment can be transformed into an inbound lead. The name and email address are usually the mandatory fields to be filled in by anyone who wants to post a comment. URL or website being the third field most blog engines capture is one field most commenters do fill up even if it’s just to drive traffic back to their sites. More often than not, the email or website will give you enough clues to determine the company or organization the person belongs to and adding company addresses, telephone numbers and other contact details are just few steps from there before you have a complete actionable lead which can be added straight to the database.

Enriching comment data with all the details needed to turn it into a lead may involve additional effort but looking at turning the companies buzzing blog into a demand generation channel through generating more comments is an exciting challenge. If you are dedicating time on building a strong social marketing program, you might as well draw the most out of it. After all, even a comment on your blog post can be your next customer.

Neil Sequeira is Director of Client Operations at ReadyContacts and a regular blogger on the ReadyContacts B2B Marketing Database Management blog. ReadyContacts delivers comprehensive B2B marketing database management solutions to companies to empower sales and marketing organizations with accurate, current and complete lead databases. The company is passionate believer in rich data as the key to successful campaigns and has several years of experience in delivering custom role based list building and other marketing data solutions in a range of industry verticals and across geographies including North America, EMEA, APAC and Australia.

1 comment:

Debbie Qaqish said...


Great ideas for thinking out of hte box. In an effort to do the same, we recently ran the following experiment.

We sent out an email (limited number and to friends for the test) with a link to complete a 10 question survey on Demand Generation. We set it up so that once you answered the questions and submitted your answers, our blog was auto-populated with YOUR answers. The title was: A Demand Generation Interview with ____. This helps address the issue of relevant blog content but is also a compelling way to enter into a dialog and listen.