Having an effective lead generation program is one crucial strategy that businesses all over the globe should have. It can bring success because it provides you with an opportunity to focus on contacts that can potentially develop an interest in what you have to offer. Eventually, these contacts can become your loyal, paying customers.
Simply put, lead generation is essential because without it, you will not have leads. This also means that you will have fewer customers. With this in mind, we need to make sure first that you understand what a lead is before we talk about how to start a lead generation program in more detail.
What is a Lead?
A lead refers to a person or an organization that has shown interest in your products or services. It can come from various sources and generators such as blog posts, coupons, live events or workshops, website landing pages, email marketing, social media marketing, and other online content.
Typically, a lead initiates communication by submitting personal information for an offer, trial, or subscription through an opt-in page. You will then use the information provided to reach out and talk more about your business. The interest shown can either be the lead’s initiative or a response to your marketing efforts.
For instance, you saw an online survey about car maintenance. Since you are interested, you decide to participate and submit your responses. After a few days, you will most likely receive an email from the company that ran the survey. If you think about it, this approach is effective because the company targeted people who are knowledgeable about their products or services. So, hearing from this particular company can be considered as less intrusive compared to receiving an outright call from a company, without even knowing whether you care about car maintenance or not.
So, what does this mean from a business perspective?
From a business perspective, the data that the auto company collects from you help them to come up with a more personalized approach. Your responses allow the company to reach out to you and communicate their offer to provide solutions to your problems. The same applies to your business. Having people or organizations reach out and willingly provide their information could mean a higher probability of converting them into paying customers.
How to Identify Your Leads
You can always use more leads for your business, but getting leads is not child’s play. This is because not everyone on your radar can be considered as a lead. As the digital space gets bigger and bigger, the emergence of more competitors makes it even more difficult to get qualified leads.
To help you get started, you need to identify what your ideal customer should be. This can be done by creating a buyer persona which is a description of what your target is. It is like a fictional person that you create to serve as your guide in developing your strategies. By doing this, you can also avoid spending unnecessary time and energy on leads that are not within the buyer persona that you created.
It would be challenging to get the results that you need if you do not set the right goals. Make sure that the goals will allow you to measure the performance of your business and do adjustments, as necessary.
Another key step is to build a targeted lead generation campaign by knowing where you can connect with your potential leads. Choose the right channels and identify their online and offline activities. Nowadays, quality leads can be generated from social media channels, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. In fact, a study conducted in 2019 showed that these four are the best social media platforms for lead generation. You just need to identify the platforms that are best suited for the industry that you are in.
Now that you have a better understanding of leads, it is time to talk about lead generation.
Why is Lead Generation Important to Businesses?
For decades, businesses relied on traditional, old-fashioned methods of getting more prospects. Some do cold calling and networking, while some rely on referrals or word of mouth. While these strategies can still work for some, modern-day businesses need to come up with more advanced marketing strategies to drive growth.
If you have been used to strategies in conventional marketing, print ads or cold calls to random prospects would have been enough. However, trends in marketing change along with time. Nowadays, traditional lead generation methods are no longer sufficient. You can even say that spending time and energy with leads that are never going to take your service is not practical anymore.
Needless to say, businesses must have a consistent stimulant for potential customers. To do this, you can make use of lead generation services to see a boost in sales and continuous growth. Through this strategy, your business can provide solutions to individuals or organizations more naturally as they have already shown interest in your products and services. All you have to do is follow through in fulfilling their needs and solving their problems.
Lead generation allows your business to target the right customers instead of going after those who will only turn you down multiple times. It also enables you to choose the geographic areas that you are interested in, as well as the product or service that you want to offer. Having control over the leads that you target can make you focus on specific markets and increase your sales resulting to a higher return of investment.
Unlike traditional marketing methods, lead generation can allow you to generate a strategy where prospects start finding you instead of you finding them.
Starting Your Lead Generation Journey
No matter how small or big your business is now, it should keep on growing and expanding. In business growth, there is no saturation point at all.
Strategies have changed a lot in modern times. As a business owner, you need to make sure that you will be able to reach your potential buyers with the use of different marketing channels. Some of these include your company website, social media channels, blog posts, search engines, live events, online courses, and more. By creating a smart lead generation strategy that focuses on business priorities, you can effectively grow your business by generating more leads. Therefore, considering a multi-channel lead generation program would be a beneficial approach.
One strategy that has been accelerating in recent years is account based marketing or ABM. Before we dive further into starting a lead generation program for your business, let us first try to answer the question - what is account based marketing?
Linkedin defines account-based marketing as a strategy that directs marketing resources to engage a specific set of target accounts. It forces Marketing and Sales to collaborate and come up with personalized efforts focusing on high-value target accounts. It differs from other marketing campaigns in such a way that it tries to identify key targets instead of a mass audience.
A study conducted in 2016 shows that more than 70% of B2B companies have people who are dedicated to driving programs that are specific to ABM. It means that the adoption of this strategy has grown rapidly and has gained fast acceptance, as marketers recognize that ABM can impact businesses in many ways. Thus, we can say that account-based marketing is an important part of a lead generation strategy now and in the years to come.
Now that you have a better understanding of leads and lead generation, let us talk about the different marketing initiatives that you can use to complement your lead generation program.
I. Content Marketing
Content marketing is the new social media and is a hot topic in lead generation. As defined by the American author and marketing consultant C.C. Chapman in his book Content Rules, “Content marketing is anything a company creates and shares to tell their story. It is conversational, human, and doesn’t try to constantly sell to you.”
Using content marketing is a great way to drive users to a landing page, you just have to ensure that you create content that is suitable for your audience. Some of the contents that you can utilize to generate traffic to your website are the following:
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- Video contents
- Cheat sheets
Generally, you create content to provide free yet valuable information to your visitors. You can include a call to action so that the visitors can take action right away. So, the happier the visitors are with your content, the more likely they are to click the CTA button and go to your landing page.
For example, if you sell a Bluetooth tracker device that can be tied to your customer’s dog to track them, a social media post about missing dogs and the pain of losing one would definitely attract them to your product. If the content is genuine, the post may be shared extensively and would become viral.
Content marketing provides the following benefits to lead generation:
- Demonstrates the product or business’ core branding
- Utilizes a variety of media formats such as text, video, photos, eBooks, and infographics to craft a brand story
- Can be consumed on a variety of devices such as computers, smartphones, and tablets
- Is distributed through your owned properties like your website and blog, through third-party contacts and vendors, and social media platforms
- Provides scalable results through the use of appropriate CTA
II. Cold Emails and Telemarketing
It is important to understand when to use email campaigns for lead generation.
Email can be an excellent tool to reach the desired audience only if they know your brand and your product or service. It would even be better if they have already subscribed to your newsletter. Services like MailClickConvert help you send ‘hyper-targeted emails’ (a filtered email list of people that are relevant to your business) to tons of people at a time to achieve more sales with less effort.
Emails have a reputation for being cluttered, so make sure that you craft a compelling copy to grab the attention of your target readers. The email should talk about the customers and needs, and not about yourself or your company. Offer your solution to their problems. Do not overuse words like ‘free’, ‘offer’, ‘deal’ etc. so that your email will not go to the junk folder.
Telemarketing, on the other hand, remains to be one of the best ways to increase qualified leads. With this strategy, customers receive calls from company executives who discuss the needs and offer value to the customers, focusing on the customer first approach. The executives do not try to sell, they just highlight the value proposition of the product or service.
Many businesses utilize telemarketing because it touches the untapped areas with little investment. It is an aggressive approach which allows you to get immediate information about your potential buyer. More importantly, it provides an opportunity for your business to build a connection with your potential buyers through a sincere and personal conversation.
III. Company Website
Since the visitors have already expressed interest in the topic on your website, the next steps should be all about engaging them, providing them with additional insightful information, and making them aware of your solutions.
It may sound really simple, however, there are certain nuances that you need to know. Take note of these tips to optimize your site for lead generation.
1. Optimize your CTA text.
A “call to action” or a CTA is a phrase that marketers use to tell your site visitors the action that they need to take and how these actions can be done. The goal of the CTA is for your visitors to find your content extremely useful. The next step is to create a CTA that will make them take that leap and leave their contact details.
Make sure that you use powerful words to attract the already impressed customer. Words and phrases like “free,” “trial,” “try,” “exclusive,” “download,” “limited-time offer” and “access” are extremely powerful in grabbing attention.
Sometimes, a negative CTA that talks about the pain points of customers can also work well. After all, your call to action can be an opportunity for you to play on the emotions of your visitors and make them want to act on the offer that you are presenting. For instance, CTAs such as “Slumping profits? We can help”, or “Low conversion rate? Let us fix it”, can be effective because they emphasize pain points while also expressing your expertise and willingness to help.
2. Optimize the offers.
Any attractive content or CTA text will be ineffective without a real mouth-watering offer that your customers need or want. Make sure the visitors get or learn things that help them update themselves with your offer. For example, offer an eBook or free course along the way.
3. Optimize your landing pages.
First, whether to float a landing page or not is an important decision to take. Once you created it, you need to ensure that the landing page is well optimized and user-friendly. It should always help your website visitors to identify the specific benefits that they can get from you, should they decide to sign up.
Take note of the page loading speed, easy-on-eyes graphics, and the overall aesthetics of your page in order to present a pleasing experience to your visitors. Elements like big and catchy popup windows greeting the visitors would turn them off and most likely, they would leave your page right away. Create a seamless experience for them by making sure that contact forms are always placed above the fold even when viewed using any device.
Invest time in optimizing your landing pages because well-optimized pages can generate good leads. Your website can only be considered effective if it gives your business more exposure and increases your conversion rate.
Make sure that your website visitors can easily see the information that they came for. They will most likely remember the information that will be beneficial to them and your landing page will serve as the final button in letting them know why they should invest in what you have to offer.
IV. Social Media
For a marketer who is ready to move above and beyond brand awareness, learning the tricks to get more leads from social media is very crucial. There are many proven tricks to garner leads and here are some powerful strategies:
1. Special offer
Everyone loves special offers, and your customers are no exception. The more attractive and unique offers you have in your social media posts, the more leads are expected to come in.
2. Surveys and polls
There is nothing more important than user feedback and poll results for a successful marketing campaign. Run as many polls and surveys as possible but still make sure not to overdo it.
3. Discount coupons
Flash deals and discount coupons are a great way to boost your brand awareness and create demand. By adding a compelling call-to-action and deadline, you also create a sense of urgency for visitors to respond to your campaign efforts.
4. Host a live chat session
Going live is a very powerful way to directly talk with your followers in real-time. By replying to their questions, getting feedback, and creating awareness about your products or services, real-time live chats (not bots) give you the edge to position your brand as an expert in the industry you are in.
5. Paid posts on social media
Yes, you read that right. It is not paid ads, but rather paid posts. Paid posts on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are the hot trends now. It looks like an organic post, which is why it becomes a hit with the audience.
A well-structured social media strategy has a huge potential to get desirable results in lead generation. In fact, many marketers have ranked social media high in their lead generation checklist. That is why modern-day businesses take advantage of a strong social media presence to build their reputation and branding.
Social media paid campaigns partnered with Google Advertising provide excellent results. This is one of the reasons why modern-day marketers really invest on Google as a platform for paid advertising.
Google Paid Search Campaigns and Retargeting Display Ads
Benefits of Google AdWords
The most beneficial part of Google AdWords is that it works faster than SEO. Remember, both SEO and Google AdWords are search engine marketing strategies used to create more traffic and leads. The beauty of it is that a well-optimized AdWords campaign can work much faster for a business to get the top spot in search results.
Undeniably, the most popular marketing strategy in any business is email marketing, which is why the ads on Gmail can be helpful in lead generation as well. In September 2015, Google integrated native Gmail ads with Google AdWords and made it available to all advertisers, opening great opportunities for marketers to reach more prospects through their Gmail inbox.
Generating leads for your business is crucial as it paves the way for more sales and increases organic customers. Simply put, without a lead generation program, you will not have enough leads. Without leads, you will have lesser customers. Needless to say, if you do not have customers, then your business will not make any money and that is definitely not in anyone’s goal.
A well-planned lead generation program plays an integral part in any business as it can help boost your ROI. With the right tools and strategies, you can be assured of revenue from your customers as well as a continuous influx of potential ones.
Keep in mind that it can be challenging, but doable. Our team of marketing experts at SOURCEit Marketing continues to generate premium leads for B2B businesses through our flagship service called LeadForce. It is a complete lead generation system that can help you grow your business with our unique ABM approach, making lead generation and digital marketing easier for you.