More and more companies are relying on AI to power or improve their lead generation strategies. From finance to real estate, the advantages are clear: reduced operating costs, an increased quantity in potential leads, and a larger market reach through social media.
In particular, we’re starting to see how AI is revolutionizing content marketing. Marketing tools powered by AI provide significant insight into the purchase process, which allows companies to assess their conversion rates, hence allowing businesses to tighten up their sales funnels by targeting customers only with relevant content.
How AI Revolutionizes Lead Generation Strategies
#1: Automate homepage customization
Neil Patel is the first to point out that “lead generation starts at home,” and that businesses should focus on their homepage messaging before moving on to other lead generation strategies. Making sure that your messaging matches your target persona is a great first step to generating more leads from your homepage.
With a more advanced marketing strategy, however, things get a bit more complicated. What if you have several relevant personas that could benefit from your product? Using AI-powered search and a relevance algorithm can help your business identify users as personas and customize home page content to what is relevant to them.
A good example is CMSWire. In a recent upgrade to their homepage, CMSWire customized their homepage content for different users in certain markets or industries. By unifying all of their articles through a single site-search index, the publication was able to bring relevant content that is tailored to the user’s location, the discount codes available to them, and the subject matter that interests them. By doing so, CMSWire was able to to increase mobile conversion rates by 125 percent.
Nurturing leads through your homepage isn’t a new tactic — but it is a tactic that can be strongly improved using automated customization. Making your homepage more relevant earlier on can help nurture a lead in the very initial stages of their discovery of your brand.
#2: Simplify personalization with a search-first website
According to a study done by the The University of Texas at Austin, internet users want personalization for two related reasons:
- They crave control over their online user experiences
- They often get bogged down with web information overload.
If a website does not have enough relevant information, users tend to get frustrated and leave, which means that your company might be dropping a potential lead.
Personalizing an entire website, however, is challenging for many marketing organizations. Without an army of data scientists and additional marketers, creating content and developing algorithms to identify your audience is nearly impossible for even a modest website audience, let alone one that expect to grow at all in the next year. This is why many have turned to internal site search as the foundation of their personalization.
A good search experience personalizes results according to the users’ context, as well as their previous online behavior. As the system “understands” the user base with more data, it will automatically improve the personalization algorithms and make your website content experience more targeted and personalized — all without the army of data scientists.
What many companies are realizing is that this search experience can be expanded across the entire website by creating search-driven content pages and predictive recommendations
Oil and gas leader, Enbridge, used AI-powered search in order to create personalized and search-driven content on its website. Search powers the most popular features on the site, from the Q&A portal to investor documents, to bring relevance and personalization to every interaction.
Find out more about the Enbridge story by watching the webinar with Fishtank Consulting, “Building Intelligent Websites with Sitecore and Coveo.”
#3: Complete your buyers’ journey with content
Recent studies have shown that 93 percent of all companies ignore their internal search data. Internal searches are a gold mine for the data-driven content marketer, but without using it strategically, it’s an overlooked clue into high bounce rates, exit rates, and low conversion rates.
For example, a prospect comes to your website and is about ready to purchase one of your products. Right before they do, they want to check the compatibility of the product with their other products. They go to the search box, but their search returns no results. Now frustrated by your website, they hop over to their favorite external search engine, and your sale has evaporated into the hands of your competitors’. This is happening on almost every website, but most website teams just aren’t looking at the data to see it.
Once your content marketers do have this information, however, they can start to chip away at your “content gaps” in your buyers’ journeys and create a more effective content strategy for your prospects. Knowing your “content gaps” — information that is often search for but that doesn’t exist — is a great first step to build up your existing lead generation strategies. By incorporating search data into your buyer journey research, you can effectively introduce a higher amount of leads into your existing sales funnel.
AI-powered search can automatically identify and label user searches that are not mapped on to any of your content, passing this information on to your marketing or content team. Filling in popular use-cases that are under-represented by your brand strategy can, in turn, generate a significant amount of potential leads. Ultimately, a comprehensive search framework can help you figure out what your leads want from your product.
#4: Install predictive content recommendations
What kind of content effectively generates leads?
For most B2B marketers, answering this question is a best guess, rather than a response based on your existing data. Hubspot reports that 65 percent of marketers are unable to determine the content that is effective at getting them leads.
After you’ve diagnosed your content gaps, one effective lead generation strategy is to proactively deliver the content that your users need with predictive content recommendations. Much like the “customers also bought” feature with popular retail experiences, this feature makes reading more content as easy as possible for your website visitors. Keep them enticed with a steady flow of content that anticipates their questions and moves them closer to purchase.
How do you set this up? Use AI-powered search to automatically understand the content that your users need and then automatically serve up the right content.
#5: Tap into AI to power your advertising decisions
Advertising platforms have gotten even more advanced with microtargeting audiences in the last five years. It’s now possible to target exactly the right audience that you need, and stop wasting money on impressions that won’t convert.
The problem? It’s the content and message that it still struggling to catch up to this level of targeting. Marketers are still relying on their estimates of the content that prospects need to see at each stage of the buyer journey, rather than “listening” to their customers and using that to automatically provide content to the right person at the right time. Users provide a staggering amount of data with every interaction, but advertisers aren’t able to synthesize that data into a compelling advertising experience, without machine learning powering their advertising.
Welcome to the world of “programmatic advertising.” Instead of other advertising platforms relying on the fact that a single web visit equates to interest, programmatic advertising will leverage several touchpoints, and past success to deliver the best ad, at the best time. This may still be a few years away from reaching its full potential, but you can expect a full overhaul of your media strategy when it does.
In short, progress in the artificial intelligence space is significantly changing digital lead generation strategies. By boosting the amount of relevant content that is put at your visitors’ fingertips, AI can help increase the amount of leads that your sales team receives organically.
In that sense, AI-powered search — which can help capture user personas, suggest relevant content, fix your content gaps, and improve the buyer journey — is an indispensable tool for many marketers.
If you would like to hear more about the reasons for bringing relevance to your digital properties, check out our blog post on how to achieve relevance in the digital age.