Lead Generation 101: A Simple Guide
What is a Marketing Lead?
A marketing lead can be any consumer that’s shown interest in your brand’s product and/or service.
What is Lead Generation?
This is the process of converting a lead into an actual customer so that your sales start to increase. Leads can come from any form of content or call-to-action whereby the brand is able to open direct communication with the consumer e.g. chat bots, sign up forms, coupons, etc.
Types of Lead Generation
There are two ways of going about your lead generation,
Outbound Lead Generation – this is a very proactive approach to generating leads whereby one would either procure their leads or simply by simply running an above-the-line ad campaign e.g. billboards, TV ads, radio ads, print, etc.
Inbound Lead Generation – this approach follows the opposite approach where you take a more direct route in creating your leads, generally done through online content. Typical methods include SEO, blogging, social media, etc.
Why Do Leads Matter?
Leads are what fuels or sales, and therefore your business. Seeing as such a small percentage of your leads will actually convert into customers, it’s important that you implement a health ratio of quality vs quanta when seeking out these consumers.
Lead Generation Tactics
There are several basic tactics for creating lead generation, but understand that every industry is different and you might start to find your own way of generating more leads.
Content marketing – Delivering high quality content that stands out, educates and/or evokes positive emotion in your audience. Usually done in the forms of a blog post, infographics, guide, video, etc.
Social Media – The easiest way to reach your consumer is by targeting them through your social channels, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.
Email – You can use email to engage with consumers directly, ask them further questions, serve them unique content, offer them a discount and more.
Webinars – A great way to gain details from your audience by getting them to sign up to an upcoming webinar.
PPC (pay-per-click) ads – direct consumers to your landing page which should ask them for further information.
Display ads – also known as digital banner ads, which need to be persuasive enough for the user to click through. Including a CTA (call-to-action) can help you in this instance.
Offers – something unique and ion value you can offer your users, like a free e-book, webinar, guide, template, etc. Again, useful for gaining contact information.
Newsletter – An easy way to generate a lead is to get the consumer to fill out a newsletter form. Try keep them short and to the point, you’re just looking for an email address at best.
Direct – A user might know you by reputation and Google you by name, this is where you need to ensure that your organic SEO is in tip top shape.
Affiliates – Having your website listed on an affiliate website will help drive traffic.
Now, before you go counting every website visit as a potential lead, it’s important that you understand that only a small percentage of these visitors will actually purchase your product/service.
In order to distinguish which leads will be most profitable, we assign quantitative values to each one, allowing us to focus on the customers that will generate the most profit. This is called Lead Scoring, and is generally measured by their level of interest, until the moment that they’re ready to make a purchase.
How you score your leads is completely up to you, your business and your sales team. Remember, every business has a unique offering and this should be considered carefully when developing your sales funnels.
What is the Lead Generation Process?
The lead generation process starts on the far left, in the “attract phase” and ends in the “convert phase” when the individual officially turned from a stranger, or prospect, to a lead. But that’s only half the battle.
The other half is what marketers refer to as the “lead nurturing” process. It’s the process where you turn your leads into customers, sales or orders. The key to success here is to educate your potential customers and show them the true value of your product/service effectively.
Step 1: Content Strategy
There are three elements that make up your content strategy, or rather three questions you should ask yourself.
a. Know who to target – the first mistake marketers make is that they go after quantity and not quality, a returning customer has almost x5 the value of a new customer. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be focusing on quantity, but rather understand where most of your value lies.
b. Be human – add as much value as you can by finding out exactly what the consumers needs are, then take it a step further and provide them with answers to questions that they haven’t even asked yet.
d. Choose the right lead magnet – this will be the tool that allows you to acquire your customer’s contact information in exchange for an offering. Provide your customers with something extremely valuable and most importantly free (or at least affordable).
Step 2: Visual Formats
Online users don’t always enjoy reading blog posts, as much as they enjoy digesting a good old infographic, video, or webinar. By diversifying your content, you’re not only making your message stand-out, but you’re giving your users the ability to choose how to digest your information.
Types of visual content include:
Step 3: Promotion
First step is to direct your CTA to a standalone landing page that you’ve built onto your site. Don’t expect consumers to know where to go once they visit your website, make it as easy as possible by letting them know exactly what to expect.
Then comes the promotional part:
Social Media content is the easiest way to promote this landing page. Typically, your lead magnet will help draw in the online user e.g. a limited-time offer.
PPC ads are another method you can use to reach your audience and promote your page.
Emails can be just as effective in driving traffic.
Step 4: Nurturing
If you’ve made it this far you should have been successful in targeting and acquiring some nifty leads. However, the battle is not won, you still have to nurture these potential customers so that they will convert.
Note, it time they will learn on their own why your product/service is worth purchasing, without being sold to.
Best Practice for Lead Generation
1. Tailor Offers for Different Stages of The User Buyer Cycle.
Understanding that each phase of the user buyer cycle requires a different message or CTA (call-to-action) and offering is your first step to achieving lead generation. For example, a first time buyer might be interested in a free guide, whereas a returning customer might prefer a free experience or trial.
2. Offer Value Before You Sell
Too many brands sell to their consumers before they offer them actual value. Make consumers feel like they’re gaining something for free, before you serve them a product or service and you will see your conversion rate start to skyrocket.
3. Tell a story
It said that a consumer is only ready to make a purchase, once they’ve seen or interacted with your brand at least seven times. That doesn’t mean that you should start throwing ads at them, but rather send them on a journey that allows them to build a relationship with your brand first.
5. Use social media strategically
Take your best performing content, and offer it to your users through social media. Make sure that you capture their details before they download the free asset that you’re offering them e.g. template, free guide, template, etc.
Who doesn’t love free products? Contents can be really fun, and a great way to generate more leads while engaging with your audience.
7. Analytics is key
At the end of the day, your best lead magnets are the assets that are already bringing you traffic. Focus on these elements and offer them to your audience with a strong CTA. Experiment with different formats, designs, content until you find out what works.
Just like that, you’re on your way to creating long-lasting clients and generating more profits. Remember, customers always appreciate value, as long as you give this to them before they feel like they’re being sold to, they will gladly invest in you. Be authentic, be unique and most of all learn to listen and engage with your audience to find out what makes them tick.
Next week we’ll delve a bit deeper, exploring the next avenue of converting leads into customers, Marketing Funnels.