In an era where information sources are abundant, and competition is extreme, it’s becoming complicated for companies in any field to reach, track, and engage with potential clients. Traditional email blasts used to be enough to attract customers a decade or two ago. Nowadays, however, businesses need to implement smart lead generation strategies to attract potential customers.
But what is lead generation, and how effective is it really? As a marketing technique that focuses on stimulating and capturing interest in a product or service with the aim of developing a sales pipeline, lead generation allows companies to nurture contacts until they’re ready to make a purchase. No matter if you run a B2B company or a B2C company, you’ll find lead generation beneficial. It helps increase brand awareness, build relationships, and ultimately close important business deals.
Lead generation marketing is important for real estate, eCommerce, and many other businesses, and email marketing is still one of the most effective digital marketing channels. Gathering potential customers’ contact info allows the company to market to them later, even if they do not make a purchase immediately.
In online marketing, acquiring leads typically involves collecting a site visitor’s contact information (called a “lead”) via a web form. Before we dive deeper into explaining the benefits of implementing lead gen strategies and describing the process itself, let’s start by defining what a lead is and talking about different types of leads.
In the context of sales and marketing, a person who indicates interest in a company's product or service is considered a lead. From customer referrals to digital marketing efforts, there’s a wide variety of sources that leads can come from. Whether they come through offline or online lead generation channels, leads usually learn about a business or organization after opening communication by themselves instead of receiving a random cold call from someone who purchased their contact information. This is generally done by submitting personal details while looking for a quote, trial, or subscription to a product or service.
Still, given that people have different preferences and needs, not every contact is a lead. Many businesses make the mistake of marketing their products and services to a broad audience when they should instead focus on those individuals who have already shown interest in what the company has to offer.
Let's say an individual takes an online survey to learn about accounting and bookkeeping for a small business. A few days later, they receive an email from the accounting software provider who created the survey to generate leads. The information the accounting software company gathers about the prospective customers helps it personalize that opening communication to address their specific problems and challenges - and not waste time calling individuals who aren't interested in this type of business service. This process is a lot less intrusive than it would be if the accounting software company just got in touch with you out of the blue with no knowledge of whether you even run a business.
Leads are part of the lifecycle that consumers follow when they move on from the visitor to the customer stage. Still, not all leads are created equal. One of the most crucial lead generation tips we can give you is to determine whether your leads are “qualified”. So, what are qualified leads, you may wonder. Also referred to as quality leads, these are contacts who have taken a step showing they are considering a purchase. While some leads may be ready to do so right away, others may be taking a little more time to research their options.
Assuring the quality of leads you find using lead gen tools is essential. Sending the wrong message at the wrong time can waste your time and resources while ruining the relationship with a prospective customer.
Here’s an overview of several different types of qualified leads:
So, what is inbound marketing, and how is lead generation related to it?
Inbound marketing is a type of marketing strategy that aims to attract customers by creating valuable content tailored to them, thus encouraging individuals to engage with the company’s brand actively. In contrast with outbound marketing which interrupts the audience with content they may or may not be interested in, inbound marketing offers solutions to problems your prospective customers already have.
Implementing an inbound marketing strategy typically involves creating digital resources or content marketing materials such as newsletters, ebooks, blog posts, and social media posts that offer value to potential customers. Most inbound marketing efforts aim to raise awareness, build trust, and manage the relationship between customers and your brand.
Although closely related, lead generation techniques and inbound marketing aren’t the same. In fact, lead generation is a part of a broader marketing strategy. While the process of creating leads helps bring more interested people to your company, inbound marketing efforts aim to nurture those prospective clients and turn them into paying customers that will eventually come back for more. In short, a synchronized implementation of the two practices ensures a sustainable approach to digital marketing.
When an individual shows interest in your company’s offerings without getting contacted first, the steps they take towards making a purchase seem more natural to them. After all, you’ve just helped them fulfill a need or solve a problem.
On the other hand, if people show no interest in the products or services you provide yet you still try to convert them into customers, they may feel like they are being forced to spend their money on something they don’t need. This could ultimately hurt your brand’s reputation, which is far worse than losing a couple of leads.
Using inbound lead generation techniques to find your target audience helps ensure that your brand is matched with the right customers in the right markets. Here’s an overview of some additional lead generation benefits :
Now that we’ve pointed out the importance of lead generation and explained how it fits into a company’s inbound marketing strategy, it’s time to walk through the actual process of generating leads online:
The process of generating leads is quite straightforward. Still, if you want to make sure that your efforts are rewarded with guaranteed success, here are a few more pieces of advice we suggest you follow:
By now, you’re probably aware that a simple batch and blast approach to advertising doesn’t appeal to most customers. However, having a solid lead generation system in place can help you navigate the complexities of finding prospective clients in today’s crowded market. Let’s take a look at a few common problems the concept of lead generation can help solve.
Solution: What is lead generation good for? Generating lots of leads, of course. The great thing about it is that you can use this practice just as effectively if you’re just starting out or an experienced marketer with a thriving business. If you’re at the beginning, a lead generation program can result in increased brand awareness, improved relationships with your audience, higher quality leads, and, ultimately, more sales. If you’re looking to optimize an existing inbound marketing strategy, we suggest reevaluating your audience profiles, buyer journey roadmap, marketing tactics, and communication channels.
When developing a lead generation network, make sure to keep your goals, challenges, and customer concerns in mind at all times. That way, you’ll be able to create and deliver content that solves your target audience’s problems.
Solution: There are several ways to explain why your sales team is struggling to convert leads into customers. Your sales and marketing teams should work together on planning lead generation strategies and agree on what constitutes a qualified lead. If the sales team approaches prospective clients too soon, they may feel put off. When it comes to sales lead generation, lead quality is of utmost importance, so we advise patience.
Solution: The act of generating customer leads is just one part of lead generation. Once you bring these contacts in, you must use lead scoring and nurturing to qualify leads before your sales team can step in and do their job. In other words, the best way to generate leads is to let your prospective buyers gather some information about your products or services on their own first.
Solution: If your lead generation efforts have yet to catch up to the age of the self-directed buyer, it’s time to rethink the whole strategy. Statistics reveal that companies using CRM successfully improve their sales by 29%. Why are we mentioning this?
Let’s say you’re a real estate agent who uses a CRM software solution to collect and track buyer and seller data. Did you know that your CRM tool can be very useful as a sales lead generator? The insights these programs provide can help you choose the most effective way to nurture your leads. Focus on increasing the brand visibility of your brokerage but also look to capture leads’ interest with informational content. You can focus on topics such as home staging, applying for a mortgage, relocating to a different part of the county, and more.
So what is lead generation, and what are the phases of this inbound marketing practice? In short, lead generation is the process of attracting potential customers into a contact management system to nurture them throughout the buying process so that they may eventually become paying customers. You start by determining your audience and setting campaign goals. Next, you need to figure out what type of offer may attract your ideal client. After that, it’s time to create content and integrate the process with technology. Lastly, keep in mind that all lead generation systems should be tested before you start driving traffic and sourcing leads.
There are two main categories lead generation falls into - outbound lead generation (cold calls, direct mail) and inbound lead generation (SEO, PPC, and social media).
No matter if you run a B2B company or a B2C company, you’ll find lead generation beneficial. It helps increase brand awareness, build relationships, and ultimately close deals for companies of all types and sizes.
Leads may come from various sources or activities: digitally via social media sites or through personal referrals, telephone, advertisements, and events. After all, what is lead generation, if not a highly adjustable process that can easily integrate with various marketing and sales strategies?
Your email address will not be published.