Here’s something you’ll rarely – if ever – hear someone say: “I have enough customers. I’m happy with my current profit-level. I don’t need to grow.”
The old axiom tells us that if your business isn’t growing, it’s dying. You’re either gaining or losing ground. And in the business world, you have two options for growth: convince your existing customers to spend more than they’ve done historically, or generate new leads.
The best growth plans include both: add new products, services, and upsell features for your existing customers, and actively work to generate a steady stream of new leads into the top of your sales funnel.
Done and done, right? If only it were that easy. In fact, 63% of surveyed businesses list generating leads and traffic as their top marketing challenges.
And just getting the traffic does not automatically translate into getting the lead. Marketo estimates that roughly 96% of website traffic is not ready to buy.
You’ve got to generate traffic, then nurture and convert that traffic to leads, then nurture and convert those leads into customers. That’s the lion’s share of the job. A full 70% identify converting leads to customers as their top priority.
Starting to see a trend? Getting and converting leads – growing your business, in other words – is your main job.
You can generate leads in a variety of ways, some good – content marketing, email, social media, PPC ads, and more – and some not so good – buying a list and hoping that some of the “leads” on it will bite.
The good ones work, but they do take time, effort, and money. It’s a worthwhile investment, of course, but wouldn’t it be nice if you had another option to throw into that mix that did a bit more of the work for you?
Enter data extraction for lead generation.
Data Extraction for Lead Generation
Before we look at a few ways it can help with your lead generation, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page.
You already know that there’s a great deal of data available if you know where to look, and we add to the unfathomable amount that exists already every day. 2.5 quintillion bytes are tossed on the pile every 24 hours.
Trying to find something useful can feel like searching for a needle in the proverbial haystack. And that’s where data extraction tools for business can turn the impossible into the possible and necessary.
These tools and services scrape an online resource for relevant data based on your chosen criteria. It pulls everything that meets your pre-set requirements together for you, and presents it for analysis. You can identify trends, highs and lows, increase productivity and accuracy, improve your SEO, monitor your brand, and more.
And yes, that includes generating potential leads.
Structured data, as the name suggests, is organized and easily searched and analyzed. It typically resides in relational databases (RDBMS).
Most data on the internet is unstructured. It’s either human-generated – think emails, social media posts, blogs, articles, instant messaging, media, other communication, and so on – or machine-generated, like satellite imagery, scientific data, and more.
In the structured vs. unstructured debate, you obviously want more of the former and less of the latter.
Data extraction can simplify the process from start to finish: finding, extracting, cleansing – the removal of incomplete, duplicate, or incorrect data points – and structuring. Forrester estimates that data analysts spend up to 80% of their time simply collecting and preparing the data for analysis.
Find. Extract. Cleanse. Structure. Would you rather do that manually or automatically? A comprehensive data tool makes it fast, simple, and convenient for anyone to draw valuable conclusions and make data-backed business decisions.
Here are 4 ways to use it with your lead generation.
1. Look to Your Competition
No matter your industry, product, or niche, you have competition in your city, in your country, and most likely internationally, too.
Rather than seeing the competition as an obstacle, consider it one of the best sources for new leads. They have customers past and present, they have followers and fans, and they have leads sitting on the fence.
They could be yours.
Scrape the competition’s public community portals, forums, and other online platforms like social media to see who’s following and engaging with them. What are those people talking about, what issues or complaints do they have with your competitor’s product, what needs and wants are not being met.
Address those topics, concerns, and wishes, and you’ll win them over.
A web extraction tool is both faster and cheaper than a third-party solution, but requires no coding skills. Select the sites to scrape, input your criteria, and let the tool do the work. It’ll structure and organize the data points, and then you can share your new list with your CRM or email platform. Reach out and connect with those potential customers. Acknowledge their problems, recognize their needs, and offer a solution – your product or service – that remedies them both.
2. Target by Keyword and Location
Simply select the relevant targets – say caterers in New York City, or landscapers in California, or financial advisors in the United States – and scrape popular listing directories like the Yellow Pages, Yelp, local directories, business and industry associations, informal groups on Facebook or Meetup, and so on.
All you need is a keyword or phrase relating to your offering, and a location where you want to offer it. That’s it. The data extraction tool can then scrape together a list of people that fit your criteria, and you’ve got a targeted list of potential leads.
Easy? Absolutely. But don’t let that fool you. This is the type of targeted, segmented list that every business wants and should go after.
How’s that for lead generation, version 2.0?!
3. Conferences and Events
Conferences and events are still a wonderful way to a) network and make new connections, b) increase your brand awareness and authority, and c) get away from your desk once in a while. So much of business is done digitally these days that a real-world break is crucial.
But in addition to those very worthwhile benefits, conferences and events can be a goldmine of lead generation data. Find one relevant to you, your business, and your ideal customers.
Many keep a detailed list on their official website or mobile app of who is attending, who’s speaking, contact details, business names, and more.
A quick online search should present you with a treasure trove of targets. Just google “[ideal customer] conferences 2018” or something similar, and you’ll instantly see what’s happening, where, and when.
Or if you’re already aware of the premier industry group or governing association or popular thinktank, check out their website. They’ll likely list the upcoming events for you in the sidebar or on a special page.
Once you’ve identified one, it’s essentially a ready-made collection of relevant data for the taking. Enter the source, your criteria, and scrape.
Instant qualified leads.
4. Popular Industry Websites and Blogs
Likewise, a website or blog devoted to a particular industry or profession is also a great source for lead generation.
Much like looking at your competition, you can target their related public portals, social media accounts, and community forums.
Not sure where to start? An online tool like BuzzSumo makes finding the most important and influential sites a snap. Enter a topic or keyword into the search field, and it’ll deliver the most shared content – and the corresponding site – that matches your search parameters.
Searching for “small business tools,” for example, showed popular sites include Small Biz Trends, Techcrunch, and Entrepreneur.
“Social media marketing”? Sites with the most shared content include Adweek, ClickFunnels, Entrepreneur, and Social Media Is Now.
Once you’ve identified the sites that matter, extract, cleanse, and structure a convenient list of people spending time on, following, or talking about them. Leads, leads, and more leads.
A BuzzSumo Pro account will also allow you to View Sharers in addition to the share numbers, sites, and content being shared. It’ll actually list the people sharing the content that matches your specific criteria and keywords. Those are your leads. Collect and engage.
Find your sources. Where are your ideal customers online? Create and use buyer personas to help guide you in that first crucial step. Read existing market research. Look at your competition.
Because once you have a few solid targets, data extraction can deliver the goods faster and cheaper than ever before.
Data extraction gives you a large amount of data in a short amount of time, versus the traditional method which delivered a small amount of data in a long amount of time. One guess as to which is the smarter business decision.
You’ll have an untapped source of new leads, yes, but more specifically, you’ll be pulling in qualified leads by including relevant keywords and criteria during the extraction itself. It’s the future of lead generation for a fraction of the cost or time investment.
Is your business ever big enough? Can you ever truly rest on your laurels? Not really. But lead generation doesn’t have to be the only thing you do…after all, no one starts a business because lead gen is their passion.
The data is there. Take it. Use it. Lead generation should work for you, not the other way around.