- admin 21-Mar-2019 221 views
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Lead generation is a common term in the modern world. It refers to the marketing process in which the focus is laid upon motivating as well as capturing the interest of the customers in a particular service or a product for the sole purpose of generating sales. This process normally makes use of digital channels, and has gone through a sea change over the last few years owing to the introduction of new technologies online.
Why is Lead Generation Important?
Lead generation is particularly important because it is regarded as the fuel which runs the companies. In general, you cannot just consider a lead generation strategy as the best one or the worst. In other words, you can find many companies using either or all of the lead generation tactics like SEO, content marketing, email marketing, etc., and getting sufficient clients. Lead generation is in fact, a great way to get in touch with people who may be interested in your offerings.
Without lead gen in action, you are compelled to rely upon the element of luck and expect that a certain customer would visit your page in order to buy something. In the lead generation process, you usually reach out to people who are present in the lower level of the conversion funnel. Instead of expecting a customer to access your site to purchase something, you can start taking initiative like finding the customer and send him an email to begin with.
Interestingly, you do not have to spend a whole lot of money to get started with the lead generation process. In other words, most of the lead gen tactics could be carried out successfully without having to spend a fortune on the leads. A few examples of lead generators for sale include job applications, coupons, and online content. Talking about job applications, a person who fills out an application form is most willing to share his personal details because he is so keen on getting the job. In fact, filling the application form indicates that the person is genuinely interested in the job, thereby getting himself qualified as a lead as far as the recruiting department of the company is concerned. Discussing about coupons, contrary to the job applications, you may be totally unaware of someone who has procured the online coupons provided by the company. However, if the person finds the coupon to be valuable, he may not have any problem in providing details like name and email address in exchange for the coupon. Though it does not provide detailed information as such, it is quite sufficient for a business to identify whether someone is interested in its products or services. The last one, the online content which comprises of educational tools like eBooks or webinars, do not help that much to understand whether people have a genuine liking for the offerings of the company. Owing to this reason, it would be required to collect more details.
By displaying a natural interest in your brand or business, the prospects take the initiative to start a relationship with your company and also vice versa, in which the concerned company is that which takes the initiative. In fact, this process makes it easy and natural for the visitors to purchase something from you at a later stage. Moreover, lead generation is regarded as the second stage in the entire inbound network marketing process. It generally occurs after you have drawn the attention of the people to your business and is about to get these visitors converted to valuable leads.
The below given diagram clearly shows how strangers get converted to delighted customers.
Qualifying a Lead
As per the lead definition, it refers to a person who is interested in the products or services of a company in some way or the other. In other words, rather than receiving a random call from somebody who came across your contact details, you could hear from a company or a business you have already interacted with.
Now we can examine the different ways through which somebody actually expresses that interest. Generally, a new lead is generated by way of collecting information. In fact, as discussed above, it could happen as a result of a job aspirant displaying interest in a position by filling the job application, or a customer providing contact details in exchange for a coupon, or someone filling a form in order to download educational content like a kit, a podcast, an eBook, a trial, and the like. In other words, lead generation differs according to the kind of companies involved, and also from one person to another.
As we define lead as somebody who is interested in the offerings of a company, in order to identify whether his interest is genuine or not, we need to gather enough information. However, the extent of information to be collected depends on the list of businesses concerned. In general, many marketers as well as sales personnel would like to have their sales funnel filled in as swiftly as possible. At this juncture, they are tempted to buy leads. This is a different concept altogether, as against the definition already provided for what is lead. Further, the idea of buying sales leads is a bit easier and also consumes a less amount of time and effort, though it is costly as compared to organic lead generation. However, there are certain risks associated with this concept. In fact, a lead whom you have bought is totally unaware of your identity. In other words, he has just picked up something at another site while he signed up for an offer or something else. In other words, he has not actually opted for obtaining anything from your firm. Moreover, this strategy can harm your reputation as a market leader in the long run because the messages sent by you would irritate the other party who does not know who you are in the literal sense, and would be considered as spam. Therefore, it would be always better to generate a lead in the natural way, instead of buying the same.
Some of the Effective Lead Generation Strategies
The lead generation strategies needed to be constantly reviewed according to the type of business you are dealing with, in order to meet the requirements of the target audience in a better manner. The first step to be taken in this regard is developing high-quality, compelling content followed by the second step – to utilize this content in such a way as to convert those who visit your site into leads. However, this is not quite easy as you may think.
In order to bring out the importance of a powerful and effective lead generation tactic, we shall consider an example of a professor who challenged his class to fill in pebbles, rocks, water, and sand into a jar in the best way possible. By giving priority to the largest items and keeping them in the jar first, he was able to utilize the space quite efficiently. This is applicable for your business as well when you are employing the lead generation techniques. When you see this analogy in a business perspective, many marketers maintain that the “stones” are the customers. Though it goes without saying that the customers are an integral part of any business, they would better fit in as “water” which is used to fill the jar finally. In fact, water was filled after the rest of the components were placed firmly in the jar. Further, your content would best fit in as the “stones”. As discussed earlier, compelling content has a bigger role to play in lead generation, and includes different tools like blog, SEO, PPC, and various social media platforms. Now the next component, the “pebbles” in the analogy corresponds to the best practices of lead generation which utilizes content to bring about fruitful results.
Now let us have a look at some of the effective strategies for lead generation.
- Utilizing Suitable Lead Generation Tools
The marketers who have become successful make use of a formal system in order to organize and preserve their leads. This is made possible through various lead generation tools and software available today. In other words, with the right kind of lead generation tools combined with the best kind of lead management, you would be able to provide answers to questions like:
- How informed are you about those who visit your website?
- Do you know their details like names and email addresses?
- Have you got any idea regarding the pages they visit or how they move about in your site?
- What actions do they perform before and after filling out a form concerned with lead generation?
There are a number of tools as well as templates available today which helps you to create the various assets of lead generation which you can keep on your site. These include free and customizable Call-to-Action (CTA) templates in PowerPoint, free lead generation software, form scraping tool, and the like.
- Provide Attractive Offers for Various Stages of the Buying Cycle
Many of the site visitors may not like the idea of speaking to the sales team or seeing a product demo. In fact, they might like informational stuff like a guide or an eBook. Ensure that you create offers for every phase and present CTAs for the same in the site. It takes some time to develop high-quality, engaging content and nurture the leads towards the lower end of the funnel. However, if you do not offer something to those who are not ready to buy yet, then they may never return to your website.
For achieving higher conversion rates, you can use personalized CTAs on your webpages as well as blogs. These are known as smart CTAs which detect the position of a certain prospect in the buying cycle like whether he is a new visitor or a customer or a lead, and update as per this data. In fact, these kinds of personalized CTAs are found to convert about 42% more visitors as compared to basic CTAs.
- Try Linking Your CTA to a Landing Page Dedicated for It
Many marketers commit the mistake of not creating exclusive landing pages for the offers they provide. In fact, CTAs are intended to send the visitors to a certain landing page designed for showcasing a particular offer. Further, avoid using CTAs to direct people to the home page. Even if the CTA is related to your product or brand, and though it is not an offer which prompts the people to download something, you should still send them to a relevant landing page which tempts them to get converted into a lead.
- Utilize the Power of Social Media
Though most of the marketers consider social media ideal for marketing purposes at the top of the funnel, you can use it as a cost-effective lead generation source. For this, you need to post links regularly in various social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., and link directly to the landing pages which provide offers that are appealing. Running contests in social media platforms is another great way for lead generation. Above all, make the most out of the lead generation opportunities offered by different social media outlets.
The Four ‘L’s which make a Lead Generation Strategy Successful
There are chances that almost half of the visitors may not be interested to return to your site if you do not capture at least some sort of information from these people. Though the email addresses could be requested by the marketers, the visitors may not always be willing to part with this type of personal information. Further, CTA buttons such as “Sign Up Here” gives a feeling of something spammy to the visitors. At this point, two ways are suggested by Nicholas Kusmich, a Facebook Ads Specialist and Strategic Marketing Consultant, for obtaining the details of the visitors like, giving before asking and to make each step of the marketing process valuable in itself. In fact, it is high time for marketers to think of strategies which are mutually beneficial in order to procure information from the prospects. For the “giving before we ask” strategy, we need to make use of lead magnets.
For a client lifecycle to become successful, we need to augment the process of converting the visitors into qualified leads. To the dismay of the marketers, there exists a hole in between the stages of traffic generation and lead generation, which ends up in one-time visitors who do not provide their personal details despite your efforts, and leave the site to never return.
However, much to the relief of the marketers, it is possible to cover this hole using lead magnets which are tools that offer value for your visitors in exchange for giving away their contact information. Businesses make use of lead magnets like subscriptions, social media posts, email opt-ins, etc., to understand whether the visitors show any sign of interest.
The main goal of lead magnets is to obtain permission from the visitors for the follow up process. A few examples of lead magnets include free training video series, webinars, free trials, eBooks, white papers, bonus tips, and so on. These educational tools help to create a sense of trust among the visitors about your offerings, which enable you to get their email addresses, and at the same time, educate them about what your business is about.
Landing Page Conversion Strategies
Landing pages are considered as a great asset for your business, and are instrumental in converting the visitors into leads. In fact, a landing page can be any page where someone reaches after he clicks on an ad or any other marketing element online. Further, it is important to remember that landing pages normally exist as a separate entity from the company website, and is generally used for a single marketing campaign. They come with a dual purpose of cheering up the potential clients and capturing leads. Both these aspects are important in terms of encouraging a prospective customer to move along the sales funnel.
There are two kinds of landing pages of which the first variety is named as the lead generation landing pages. These are used for obtaining a user’s or company’s information in exchange for some goodies. This is in line with the concept discussed earlier, “giving before we ask”. The second kind, the click-through landing pages, are used for attracting the attention of the visitors to a particular product or service provided by your company. Here, the primary goal is to educate the visitors by providing sufficient information so as to encourage them to buy something.
Moreover, the landing pages should focus on a single Call-to-Action. In other words, instead of confusing the visitors with details about your business and all that you offer, it is necessary to focus on a particular goal. In fact, unnecessary details should be avoided and ensure that there is only a single form provided as a link pertaining to Call-to-Action, which prompts the visitors to take further action.
An important aspect of landing page is that it fulfills the promise made by the ad source of the company. For example, if the ad goes like “Get 50% off for computer here”, you need to assure the visitors that this promise would be taken care of once they reach the landing page. This is made possible by keeping the Call-to-Action given in the ad source as the headline of the landing page. Another method is to make sure that the font, color scheme, images, etc. used in the ad are repeated in the landing page to some extent.
Lead scoring is a significant element of the marketing automation software, and helps to give priority to the leads as per their engagement level with the inbound marketing-related content. This also gives an idea about who is ready to make a purchase, and further helps to understand what they are interested in. In this technique, points are allocated for various levels of engagement of the prospects with the marketing content. For example, the different kinds of engagement levels and the corresponding points may look like:
Watch a product demo video – Add 7 points
Downloading an eBook – Add 5 points
Job role does not match – Deduct 10 points
Unsubscribing from a list – Deduct 7 points
Interestingly, over 79% of the marketers have not seriously considered the idea of implementing a lead scoring strategy. In fact, lead scoring offers real-time feedback on how the leads respond to your marketing initiatives. It also helps to identify people who are ready for a purchase, but not contacted you yet. The point-based strategy to recognize and analyze the hottest leads of a company would help in saving a considerable amount of money and time, and also helps to take advantage of new sales opportunities.
To summarize, lead generation plays a significant role in the marketing structure of each and every business. Moreover, it is important to remember the jar analogy by the professor of prioritizing the essential elements of marketing, so as to develop an effective approach which makes your business successful.