Lead generation helps a business identify and target potential customers, so it is an essential part. Lead generation is also known to increase business profits and revenues. This can be a tedious process, especially when using manual methods.
Fortunately, there are technologies like web scraping that make lead generation processes relatively easier. Unlike the manual process of getting data, web scraping uses intelligent automation methods to get thousands and millions of data in a small amount of time. Web scraping is used by many businesses as a trusted and tested method of efficiently executing the lead generation process. It helps businesses obtain a concise list of contact information of customers.
This post discusses web scraping and scraping bots, and how web scraping can be used for lead generation.
Web scraping is an automated process of obtaining data that can be structured or unstructured from websites. This data is usually stored in HTML format, the scraper is usually designed to locate structured or unstructured information using markers called data locators.
The data locators help identify data that the web scraper can then extract and store offline in databases or spreadsheets for analysis. Web scraping uses two main components namely; crawlers which is a program that searches the internet and identifies the content of interest.
The other component called the scraper receives the information from the crawler and extracts the information.
There are many ways to perform web scraping, APIs can be used for scraping, or custom codes can be written to scrape data. In this process, you should protect your IP address by using proxies.
Servers such as Blazing SEO residential proxies minimize the risk of your real IP address getting blocked. They also allow you to make unlimited requests without getting banned. Further, residential proxies allow you to scrape geo-blocked content by providing entry through a different location. This is important for businesses that have competitors all over the world.
Scraping bots are software that are programmed to search through databases to extract information. They are used to recognize HTML site structures, extract content and data from APIs, and store the scraped data. Legitimate web scraping bots do not get blocked while scraping data. A web scraper bot sends HTTP GET requests and saves all the information from the server.
Lead generation is the process of getting data about potential customers for your business. Web scraping bots can help to directly obtain data on the ideal customer for your business. The scrapping parameters can be set to exclude certain kinds of people that do not correspond with the lead generation. Web scrapers can help increase audience engagement. The following steps explain the process of lead generation with web scrapers.
The first step is to gather data for lead generation from corresponding sources. A well-known lead generation source is the internet. Figure out where the target customers are located on the internet. Another source is the competitor’s websites. When scraping competitors’ websites you can get potential customers and can collect data on them. Social media platforms are another source for web scraping and lead generation. Almost everybody has a social media profile. Identify the social media platform where your ideal client is present and start scraping data. Information such as email addresses, telephone numbers, etc. can be scrapped.
After identifying the source for lead generation, the next step is to extract data with a web scraping bot. This scrapped data is then used for lead generation. Many web scraping bot tools can be chosen for web scraping. Examples of web scraping bot tools are ParseHub, Scrapy, Python beautiful soup, OctoParse, Scraper API, Content grabber. Etc. These web scraping bot tools are expected to have key features such as
The extraction of data can be done by first choosing a web scraping tool that can be used to build a web scraping bot. Also, custom bots can be built with programming languages such as python, java, etc. for example a custom bot can be built with python beautiful soup and Scrapy, and java selenium.
The general process for web scraping is to first gather the URLs of the pages where data is to be extracted, then the web scraper requests to get HTML from the page. Then finally the web scrapers use locators to find data in the HTML.
It is important to choose residential proxies such as Blazing SEO residential proxies, during the web scraping process, to avoid being blocked. These proxies help the web scraping bot to mimic real human behavior so it does not get blocked. Also, proxies like Blazing SEO residential proxies have a high industry standard for ethical usage. It also provides the ability to limit the conditions in which connections may be used.
Then data analysis needs to be performed on this extracted data by removing missing values and performing data preprocessing. Data analysis also entails performing data visualization and removing unwanted, incomplete, and unwanted information from the scraped data.
After extracting data, then it needs to be organized and stored appropriately. This scrapped data can be used for lead generation. For example, structured data such as text files can be stored in spreadsheets for easy access. Unstructured data such as images needed to be stored on large storage mediums like databases. Storage makes the data very organized for access and then used for lead generation.
This is the final step for using web scraping for lead generation. After the scraped data is stored and organized in an appropriate storage medium, the data can now be accessed. Potential clients can now be contacted and reached out to. It is important to start reaching out to strong leads so that they can be easily converted to potential and returning customers.
Lead scraping is a transparent process and has a lot of benefits for businesses. Web scraping has become a universal tool for acquiring thousands of customers. Web scraping bots help collect all the data that is needed on your leads or potential customers. This post discussed web scraping and how to use web scraping for lead generation. Hence businesses can use web scraping for lead generation which in turn helps identify target customers and provide other benefits.
Online sales leads are one of the most lucrative avenues for any business or brand. Pushing customers or visitors through a sales funnel with the intent to capitalize on an opportunity is the ultimate goal.
Almost everything on a site, from the moment of discovery to the moment visitors provide their financial information and check out, has the sole purpose of encouraging customers to move further and further through that process. It stands to reason that the concept of lead generation should embody just about everything your site stands for. Even if you’re not openly showing that’s the case, your underlying goal should be to boost those leads.
Whether or not they pan out, leads offer nothing of use if you cannot measure and track them with a degree of accuracy. The only information you have after closing a sale is that, well, you made a sale.
Sales and marketing technology — particularly customer relationship management, or CRM, software — can fill the role of tracking all this information and building actionable insights into your customers, leads and more. More importantly, it helps establish an automated process that’s essentially self-sustaining, with little to no input from your or your team.
Before you go about setting up a funnel and process and building a lead generation pattern, you need to have the tools to track and analyze what’s happening behind the scenes. That’s why step one should always be to choose, incorporate and enable these platforms, if you haven’t already.
Dollar Shave Club relies on an in-house CRM to deliver targeted products and services to their customers. It clearly has worked out well, as they now claim to have more than 1.5 million happy subscribers to their mail-order grooming gear service.
There’s a reason company websites include a variety of contact info for the support team, such as a telephone number, address and email. It establishes both credibility and trust, and tells new visitors your brand and team are available for them. Even if no one ever uses the contact information to reach out — though it’s likely some will — the presence of this information makes others more comfortable.
Common practice is to build a separate page expressly for displaying ways to contact a team or company. While this may be a good idea in some scenarios, it’s not always the best solution. Why? Forty-four percent of website visitors will leave your site if they cannot quickly find contact information. Sometimes, it’s better to just place it where everyone can see it, such as in your site’s header or footer. That way, it shows up on every page, no matter where your customer is on the site.
Pixpa does have a separate contact page — which may or may not work for you — but the more important point is how they used it. It’s a subtle nod to customers, offering just the right amount of information and encouragement they need to get in touch with the brand. It doesn’t overstay its welcome by including lengthy forms or lines of detailed contact info. It merely includes a simple in-line form to reach out, as well as their email and mailing addresses, and that’s it.
Again, this step is about establishing more trust and credibility, but you’ll soon notice that’s crucial to building a successful rapport with your customers. If your product or services are officially certified, display the related logo or seal proudly. If you’ve won awards, make sure your visitors know it. Finally, if you have prominent credentials that are relevant to the industry or business, share them.
You may be uncomfortable with self-promotion, but customers look for these kinds of affirmations before dealing with a brand they’re personally unfamiliar with. Considering a whopping 70 percent of customers learn about a company or brand through their blog, as opposed to ads, that’s a big deal. They’re learning about a new brand most often through official channels, which means you have that initial opportunity to build trust and engage their interest. Get as many prestigious details in front of them as soon as possible.
It’s a common misconception that if you want information from your audience, or want them to engage further, you need to set up some kind of form. In fact, many marketers and designers err on the side of “more forms is always better.” That philosophy couldn’t be further from the truth.
Forms are boring, intrusive and can be a huge deterrent for visitors. Not to mention, they’re more about gathering the right information, as opposed to as much as possible. If all you’re looking for is an email address, for example, requiring them to provide their mailing address, first and last name, phone number and social URLs is a bit much.
When you can, implement smart-field and auto-fill technologies to pre-populate information for the customer. It makes things a whole lot easier for everyone. For personal fields, this obviously isn’t going to be possible, so try to keep the requirements for those at a minimum. Asking your customer to provide a credit card number for a free trial, for example, is going to turn them away faster than you can say “poop sandwich,” and no one likes to eat poop.
In other words, if for nothing else but for sanity’s sake, go easy on the darn forms.
Notice how McElroy Metal used a single form field on their front page to direct new visitors? Not only did they keep the form itself to a minimum, they used in a highly engaging and beneficial way for the audience. Just select the relevant category, and you automatically land on a related page with the necessary information. It’s efficient, quick and unobtrusive.
Video will persuade 73 percent of people to buy a product or service, if and when they encounter the media on a brand or company website. But if you don’t have the resources to provide high-quality, attractive videos, it’s OK to settle for images instead. The point is that you should use the media you have available to your advantage, to invoke emotions and reactions from your audience.
Saying a consumer drone can do all kinds of cool tricks and handle some pretty crazy flying maneuvers is just not the same as showing it happening in real time in a high-quality video. Use a combination of media, including visual content, to entice your customers and make a sale.
If you offer a service, as opposed to a product, this advice is still relevant. You could provide a demonstration of your team or service(s) in action, for instance. Engaging visual media make it more likely your customers will follow through your lead generation funnel.
A remarkably effective visual element of modern web design is called “white space.” This concept refers to the blank areas on a page or site. Just because there’s nothing there, of course, don’t take that to mean it’s wasted space, because it’s not.
The most beneficial way of using white space is to highlight important elements on the page, such as a button or icon. It highlights the element you want to stand out, without overstating the obvious — and without using a conventional highlight method.
Plus, white space also helps eliminate distractions in many cases, especially when your page design or related content is a bit busy. Sometimes, your visitors just need some breathing room to maintain the flow of the experience.
Chanel makes excellent use of white space on their site, which highlights the beauty and style in their main image slider. Of course, that design strategy permeates nearly every sub-page or additional portal, making for an astonishingly visual experience. Check out their jewelry page to see white space combined with gorgeous imagery.
Sadly, many businesses fail to follow any of the rules above. Their websites end up being a remarkably ineffective mix of various elements, disembodied calls to action and more easily avoidable mistakes. Promoting lead generation on your site starts with the design, and should follow through in nearly every element, component and media piece available.
Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.
Are you craving fresh new leads? Lead generation is tricky business – you need the right ingredients and method for it to really be successful. Most marketers, about 9 out of 10, don’t believe their lead generation campaigns are effective, according to Hubspot research.
So if you’re hungry for a mouth-watering lead generation strategy that actually works, follow this recipe and let’s get started.
However long it takes to get that qualified lead. Patience is a virtue.
Lots of leads for the lucky marketer (that’s you!).
STEP 1: Get found. Optimize your website for search engines based on relevant and attainable keywords. Go for the long tail keywords, which are a combination of several words (3-5) that are specifically targeted to your products and services and tend to rank more easily in search engines. And don’t stop at your website – optimize all of your landing pages, your blog, and your content as well.
STEP 2: Cook up premium, original content. In addition to short-form content like blogs and product information, you need to create in-depth, highly useful content pieces your target market would be willing to sacrifice their contact information for. Things like white papers, webinars, ebooks, demo videos and templates that give your users the information they seek will help you to capture those leads.
STEP 3: Mix in some social media. Social networking sites are a great way to funnel leads to your website. Select social media channels that are relevant to your business (don’t forget about blogs!) and use them to funnel users to your optimized website and killer content.
STEP 4: Add a sprinkle of CTA (Call to Action). A call to action is what gets your website visitor to take the next step and actually download your delicious content. A CTA can be a button, image or text link that asks the user to take action (“download this ebook today!”) and directs people to a landing page (discussed more in step 5). CTAs are what help you convert website visitors into qualified leads. They can be located practically anywhere on your website and should be on your blogs, social media pages and your content pieces.
STEP 5: Top it off with some landing pages. Now it’s time for the conversion. Your potential customers have found you, either through an organic Google search or on a social media channel, you’ve interested and enticed them with your incredible content, they’ve clicked on a call to action button and ta da! They arrive at a landing page, which should be specifically designed to 1) fulfill the call to action and 2) capture their information. You need a landing page for each CTA. The page should tell the user why they are there (to download an ebook, template, etc.) and include a form that asks for a name, email address, phone number, etc.
Once they’ve completed the form – BAM! You just got a lead. Bon Appétit!
About the Author
Natalie McCatty is a content writer for Solutions 8, Arizona’s fastest growing internet marketing firm offering search engine marketing, video production, web design, social media and more. Follow her on Twitter @nmccatty8 or read more of her work on the Sol8 blog.