One of the main goals of digital marketing is lead generation.
Lead generation is used to describe the process of capturing and stimulating interest in a service or a product. This marketing process thus helps in developing a sales pipeline.
In today’s world, where the complexity of marketing is beyond the skies, lead generation is the most popular strategy one can choose for various things like getting your messages heard across multiple channels in the market. It also helps you to create and boost the demand for your product or service. Lead generation also helps you in building relationships, increasing brand awareness, generating a qualified lead, and most important of all close deals.
Lead generation has proven to be beneficial for both large and small businesses, and it is also prevalent in B2C and B2B companies such as healthcare, automotive organization, and financial services.
Many lead generation tactics are present in the market, such as SEO and website, direct mail, blogging and content marketing, Telesales, content syndication, lead scoring and lead nurturing, Pay per click advertising, optimization and testing, lead generation metrics and many more. A company can simply collect all the information, including contact information about potential clients, and the company can then work on closing the deal with these potential clients.
Importance of Lead Generation
Organizations that are working without lead generation waste much time cold calling people who may not even be interested in what they have to offer. Some of these organizations use methods like calling a person just because they have opened an ad or downloaded a whitepaper. Using such old methods waste a lot of time and resources of an organization. So, cold calling is an old method, and it may not even work in today’s complex market.
Lead Generation Increases Revenues
Using lead generation, the sales team of a company can spend more time on selling rather than qualifying. Recent studies have revealed that the companies that have incorporated mature lead generation techniques have higher sales productivity and better revenue growth. According to a survey, companies with sophisticated lead generation techniques achieve 133% more revenue than the average companies and more than 174% revenue growth versus the least mature companies.
Lead Generation Increases Quality of Time Spent Selling
Studies have also revealed the statistics on the amount of time spent by the sales team selling and other work like administrative work, training, etc. At mature companies, the sales team spent 73% of their time selling. At the same time, in companies without lead generation tactics, the sales team spent only 57% of their time selling and the rest of the time doing administrative work.
These statistics clearly show that lead generation is highly essential for your company as it boosts revenue growth and sales productivity.
Lead Generation Transformation
With the boom of the internet, lead generation has also undergone substantial changes.
New social and online marketing strategies are incorporated into lead generation tactics. Now, the internet is flooded with a lot of information.
In the early days, the norm was that the company had to buy the buyers to sell them their products or services. The sales team had to explain the potential customer about their services or products, and then close the deal. But with the abundance of information on the internet, the people are aware of what they are looking for and which company to buy from.
Over the past decade, lead generation strategies have gone from advertising to customer experience. This has opened up many opportunities to best engage with the customer, one of which is through storytelling.
Increased Buyer Power
So, the new age of abundant information has increased buyer power, and now the buyers have transformed into self-directed buyers. Therefore, the strategy of the companies has also been transformed from finding the customers from being found by the customers.
Similar to this various technique in lead generation has also been transformed to fit the stochastic nature of the market. This massive change not only sparked changes in lead generation tactics, but it has affected the whole market, and everyone needs to adapt to the changing environment to improve their revenue growth and maintain good sales productivity.
The abundance of information leads to the transformation of some of the critical aspects like the mission of the company, customer intelligence, measurements, mechanisms, and tactics that have been changed. From the traditional mass marketing tactics, the transformation has given rise to one-on-one marketing.
Customers are now distributed according to behavior and not according to demographics. Nowadays, continued relationships are being built with customers rather than just points at various time blasts. Simply the company has to make the right online presence so the potential buyers can easily find them. This is because due to the abundance of information, the buyers already know a lot about the product or the service. Therefore, it will be difficult for the salesperson to influence potential customers in buying their products or services.
What is a Lead?
Before jumping into any of the lead generation tactics, one must start with the basics.
First, one needs to define what is a ‘good lead’.
Every company has their definitions of a good lead. If you look it up on the internet, there are a lot of definitions of a lead, and there are even more definitions of what is a good lead. In the process of defining a good lead for your company, you should take many points into consideration.
According to Craig Rosenberg, an expert in sales and marketing, there are two elements in the lead, namely, psychographic and demographic. The psychographic element of a lead depends on where your company is selling and to whom you are selling.
The definition of a good lead in a company is determined by two departments, namely sales and marketing. Both of these departments have to work together to build a definition of a good lead and agree upon the final decision.
The success will highly depend on the collaboration of these two departments. Both of the teams need to check the following points in the checklist to create a universal lead for their company:
- Schedule meetings: Both the team should get the key stakeholders into one room and pick their brains to gather the relevant information that is required.
- Ask the hard question: You need to ask every question possible, but some of the main ones are the most important, like for the sales tea, what type of buyers are closing the deals and what are the prospects that they are speaking to. And for the marketing team, they should answer questions like what is the targeted market and what people are they targeting.
- Getting to know the other side: Sales and the marketing team should know what a bad lead is according to both of the departments.
- Deciding what is good enough: Both the teams should set a base level. They should answer the questions like which lead is good enough to give it to the sales and sales team should decide which lead is good enough to work on.
- Agreeing and writing: After deciding on a definition of a good lead, write it down and do whatever is needed to ensure that both the sales and marketing team are following.
- Repeated iterations over time: The definition of a good Lead should be revised, and required changes need to be made so that the company can keep the revenue growth in the ever-changing market.
This element determines the lead population. Some of the typical attributes involved in demographics that are used by B2B and B2C companies are Title, company, gender, education, income, age, personal email, and years of experience.
These are the characters that will help an organization in finding the ideal customer. For example- Company size, name of the company, company location, products already owned, industry, geographic markets served, number of division, and the revenue.
BANT is abbreviated for Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline. This is an advanced practice for lead qualification. The prospects’ buying place is determined by analyzing his or her BANT.
- Budget: The product or service provided by your company is affordable to the lead or not?
- Time: What is the timeframe of your lead’s purchase, and does it fit with your sales cycle or not?
- Authority: Does the lead have the authority of buying or not?
- Need: Does the lead needs your product or services, and will your product or service will fulfill their needs?
Lead Generation Tactics
Content Marketing for Lead Generation
In this age of internet and information, content marketing is the best for lead generation. Content marketing is defined by the Content Marketing Institute as “the market technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience to drive profitable customer action.”
Content works as a fuel for all the marketing campaigns from social to email to event collateral. In this new age of abundant information, content marketing has become highly popular. In today’s world, where the buyer’s landscape has been changed, marketers relied on content marketing to engage customers and prospects. The content should be able to inspire, educate, and expressed in such a manner that the engaged prospects and customers are ready to share it to further increase your online presence. Good content marketing will help the leads in overcoming the challenges and achieve all their aspirations, which in turn builds trust between the lead and the organization, and ultimately trust is the factor that closes the deal and turns lead into customers.
It can be seen why content marketing is on the rise. In this new era of information, every buyer first does a lot of research before closing any deal, and how will they gather information on any product or serve? Content available on the internet. Any customer or prospect will first search for a particular product or service on Google. If your organization has good content and an excellent online presence the first hit that the potential buyer will get will be of your company, and you will be the one directing and making that potential buyer into a self-directed buyer, and your company will have a much higher chance of closing the deal than any other company. This type of content marketing will be highly beneficial for any kind of company, and building a very good online presence will result in better lead generation.
Content can be of any form like articles, videos, template, blog posts, cheat sheets, email, checklists, infographics, podcasts, slideshares, surveys, webinars, and more.
Aside from branded content (content that your company controls), there is content that your customers, fans, and the general public creates when interacting with you. That’s called user-generated content. Find ideas on how to get more user-generated content for your website.
If your organization can effectively use content marketing, then it can:
- Put the customer in the driver’s seat.
- It will increase the brand awareness of your organization
- It will help in increasing the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) effort.
- It will influence future purchases, and it will help to shape a better brand preference.
- It is cheaper than other lead generation tactics.
- It will also generate inbound links and social media shares.
A good content marketing will drive a lot of business for your company, and this tactic is cheaper than using other marketing tactics. Content marketing will spread awareness in the customers and build a good online presence for your company. Visual content is a good example as it is very interactive and user-friendly. Having a company blog is a must for any organization because it provides info about your organization and your product, services, and people working in your organization as well.
Using Website and SEO for Lead Generation
“Your leads are as good as the website that produces them,” this statement by KISSmetrics, which is an analytics and testing company, clearly states the importance of having an excellent website.
They have shared some impeccable stats about customer interaction. They reported in their blog that you could persuade your online audience in less than 8 seconds only with your landing pages and headlines. They have also mentioned that almost 96% of people that visit your website are not yet ready to buy your website needs to convince them about our product or services.
Therefore you need a good and informative website. Even if the visitors are not willing to buy your product or service, they will at least provide their contact information, which can be a good lead for your organization’s sales team to convince the visitor to buy any product or service.
Anyone can make a simple informative website where many pieces of information are given. Still, you need to optimize your website in order to create more and better lead generation. One of the best ways to create leads is to let visitors fill out simple forms on websites. An organization with a good lead gathering form on their website can get a massive amount of leads without any extra expenditure.
A good form that can capture many leads will ask for simple and essential information like email address, first name, address, last name, job function, and company. Some of the mentioned fields can be removed, and some more can be added as per the need of your organization. But keeping the forms short has proven to be more efficient than long forms because any visitor will prefer a short form over a long-form. Therefore asking only the most important questions and keeping the form as short as possible is considered suitable for better lead generation. According to a statistic, short forms have a conversion rate of 13.4%.
In contrast, the medium forms have a conversion rate of 13%, and long forms have a conversion rate of only 10%. The longer forms are more costly than short forms; therefore, short forms are highly preferred. There are many types of forms available according to the device on which the website has been opened. Different types of forms are required for users using cell phones, desktop, or any other device.
A CTA or (Call-To-Action) is another tactic that can be added to your website to gain more and better leads. You can use a chatbot to help the customers who are not willing to talk to a person on the phone and have specific questions about the product or service that is provided by your company. Blogs can also be added to your website, and this is the best place to generate leads. It is a place where information is provided about the product or services that are provided by your organization. Still, it also helps in achieving measurable goals in lead generation. These goals can be achieved by using a blog subscription. When any visitor subscribes to your blog, they can receive weekly emails and notifications.
Search Engine Optimization is another technique for lead generation. In today’s market, consisting of self-directed buyers, your company needs to have an excellent online presence. But you need to be on the top of organic searches to be able to be found better. Find and follow a complete SEO guide to better optimize your website for search engines.
Google is the most popular search engine, and your company needs to be on the top of the search results in order to attract more visitors and turn them into leads. Authentic and quality content on your company’s website also increases your rank on the search engine.
Google is also optimizing their algorithms to promote quality content over redundant information. Therefore you need to provide that content on your website, which will be ranked highly according to google and other search engine’s algorithm, espeically when you optimize your website for local SEO.
Keywords are also important for Search Engine Optimization. You can determine a keyword that you want to be ranked highly on your website, and you can optimize your content. This basically means that if a person searches for a particular keyword that is ranked highly on your website, then your website will be shown at higher ranks in any search engine.
Keywords for your website should be chosen based on competition, traffic opportunities, and important business goals. On-page SEO can also increase your rank in organic searches. The on-page SEO includes alt tags, canonical URLs, encoding, meta tags, title tags, and keyword stuffing. Other basic things like thank you and confirmation pages should also be added to make the user experience better.
Increasing Lead Generation Through Social Media Optimization
Social media is highly popular on the internet, and it is the busiest platform where people spent plenty of hours just scrolling on their electronic devices. Many studies have revealed that using social media have transformed the lead generation efforts. There are some different rules that work on social media platforms.
Some of the tips to power the lead generation efforts on social media are:
- The posts should be casual and not too serious.
- Boosting your posts will help you achieve a higher online presence and increase user traffic on your page.
- Focus on social offers and valuable content.
- You should have strong CTAs (call-to-action).
- The value should always be added.
- Keep in mind that social media is a two-way street.
Social media is filled with qualified leads and potential customers. Your posts just have to reach these users. Boosting your posts is cheap and very effective. Other social media optimization technique is also available.
Lead Generation Funnels
The sales and leads generation process are both typically referred to as funnels. The process involves sifting through several names and prospects, identifying which of them would classify as a proper sales lead, then transform these leads into customers at the end of the funnel.
The funnel is the best tool for identifying your best leads and their position in the lead generation process.
When you have a clear understanding of the process, you can optimize your campaigns using effective maketing tools such as HubSpot, so that these leads turn into customers at the end of the funnel. Each business has distinctive processes and sales situations.
The lead generation funnel can be divided into the following stages…
Awareness and Befriending
In this stage, your focus should lie on generating huge traffic for your website through inbound marketing. You should create awareness about your products and services through search engine optimization, social media marketing, content marketing, and paid advertising. You should be careful at this stage, especially when you require your first-contact visitors to fill up a form, sign up to your website, or register. If marketers do this too early in the process, they can drive away from numerous great prospects. You may also clog the funnel with prematurely engaged individuals and shall fall down the funnel.
Data Entry (Registration or Subscription)
This stage consists of officially putting names into your database. However, at this point, these names should not be considered real leads. These should be the names captured through your marketing campaigns. You should focus on procuring their contact information and their permission to receive further communication.
Receiving names and their contact information is a crucial part of generating prospective leads, motivating them to move through the lead generation funnel by subscribing to newsletters, downloading an ebook, attending a webinar that might lead to the next stage of the funnel: engagement. Your prospects should go through this stage properly to understand that you shall communicate with them regularly through your marketing strategies.
When your contacts are willingly engaging in your marketing, you should perform lead scoring to check whether a particular contact can be a proper lead or not. Lead scoring can be done manually, as well as automatically. It is done to determine whether the contact fits into the profile of an ideal lead.
Marketing Qualified Leads
If your target fits the profile of an ideal leader, and has a high lead score, then this lead shall be worthy of further marketing efforts. Your lead should have shown considerable interest in your offerings. Otherwise, your campaign may result in a failure.
You should keep in mind that all the prospects shall not become certified leads at once, but this does not prevent them from being viable leads in the future. These prospects may have shown interested in your products and services but might not be ready for committing to a sale. You should try to entice these leads by providing them with educational content so that they can go further down the funnel.
Sales Qualified Leads
After a lead has expressed interest in your products and services, and are engaged with the sales team, your account executive should shoulder responsibility and analyze if the prospect qualified as a sales lead or would require more marketing.
When an account executive is sure that a prospect is a sales lead, he shall enable the lead to undergo opportunity marketing. Engaging with leads at this stage shall involve engagement, conversion, and then opportunity marketing.
Buyer or Customer
The lead you had engaged with has now become a loyal and trustworthy customer who has paid for your products and services.
Final Thoughts on Lead Generation
Lead generation is a powerful marketing tool in the world with abundant information. It saves a lot of resources and time for the company.
Content marketing, blogging, website, and SEO are great ways to increase lead generation effort.
There are other typical techniques for lead generation like Email marketing, where email delivers important pieces of information and helps to build a good relationship of trust between the potential client and your organization. Paid email programs are also available, which can be used to extend the reach of your organization and attract the target audience, and this will result in expanding your organization’s database.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads and context syndication are also some of the typical techniques for lead generation, which comes under the category of paid programs.
Direct mail and events can also be helpful in lead generation.
Lead generation is highly effective, but there is no perfect and clear cut approach that can be applied everywhere for lead generation. You have to work it out for your organization. Follow the points mentioned above to get a definition of a good leader and how to generate your leads. You also need to keep track of the changing trends in the market and change in the behavior of the consumers.
Try to deliver creative and informative content and build good relationships with the targeted audience to get high quality leads for your organization.