Lead generation is a process companies either struggle with or forget about.
You could have a business that’s doing well, making around $500k a year. But to scale, to start making $1M a year, you need to take in more clients. So how do you do that?
Well, you need a lead generation strategy in place. You can’t attract more clients if you don’t have a plan to attract them to your business. A case study by digital marketing company Lean Labs demonstrated a 355% increase in sales qualified lead generation. All because they had different strategies they were implementing to help them attract their clients.
But before we talk about planning your lead generation, let’s first define what it is so we’re on the same page.
According to HubSpot, lead generation involves the attraction and conversion of strangers and prospects into someone interested in your company’s product or service.
This process usually involves offering valuable content they can use. By offering them such content, you can create a natural interest in your company and your offer.
Lead generation is important for the future of any business. Without it, businesses can’t hope to grow in any way and may be at risk.
Businesses without a lead generation strategy will struggle, especially if they rely only on their current network of contacts. They'll find it difficult to generate new contacts to convert and close. And without new contacts, these businesses may begin to die.
Even if these businesses could get new contacts, customers today are different. Studies show that about 81% of buyers do their research before they go to a vendor and buy. They become experts in their own right since they want to avoid the pain of regret. Don’t we all?
But do you know what’s good about this? Most of these customers take to the Internet for their research. So, if you can make valuable content they find useful, you can position yourself as an expert they can trust.
Through that trust, you can attract them into your business and its offers to turn them into leads. Then, you can finally close them into becoming your revenue-generators.
Also, by providing your sales team qualified leads who are ready to buy, you save them time. Time they might have spent cold-calling strangers that end up being the wrong fit for your company. Is that what you want?
So, having a lead generation strategy is important for any business that wants to scale and grow.
Now, there are two ways you can generate leads. It's important to keep them in mind when developing your strategy.
Now, you could develop a strategy using all sorts of tactics. But did you know these tactics fall under specific categories?
As you know, today most people engage on digital platforms. Engagement on TV, billboards, or over the phone is quite low compared to 20 somewhat years ago. And these channels fall under what we call inbound and outbound strategies, respectively.
Each one has its merit, but due to the new age we live in, customers tend to favor one method over the other. But that doesn’t mean you should choose one and neglect the other. A combination of the two can help maximize your lead generation efforts.
This method puts your message in front of your prospects or audience whether they asked for it or not. You’re the one who chooses where and when they see your message. It’s what’s referred to as "interruption marketing".
You’ve seen Times Square, right? Ads are right in front of your face wherever you look and they can be distracting. However, this method still does work.
“The interruption model is extremely effective when there’s not an overflow of interruptions...But there’s too much going on in our lives for us to enjoy being interrupted anymore.” - Seth Godin, author
But those aren’t the only ways to "interrupt". TV commercials, print ads, cold-calling, and Internet pop-ups can also find their way into daily life. Sometimes, depending on how it's used, even email marketing can be outbound.
These methods are usually paid, skewing this lead generation method towards selling instead of helping and educating. Businesses need to make those dollars back somehow.
But like I mentioned earlier, these methods do work.
Inbound is the creation of content that attracts visitors to your sites organically. It isn’t intrusive since your audience or prospects choose the platforms they visit. This makes communications with you easier and warmer overall.
So when creating content, you should place it on platforms your ideal buyer uses. The great thing about these valuable pieces of content you make is how you can trade them for your leads' information. Doing this helps you build your contact base.
And what can you do with this contact base? You can do focused research that can help develop or optimize your lead generation or marketing campaigns.
So, as you might imagine, inbound shifts the perspective from selling to educating.
The primary goal becomes establishing a relationship and trust. After all, you're providing your lead with valuable information and education to help identify their problem(s) and solve it.
This, in turn, allows you to establish yourself as an expert in your field and someone for them to look up to.
This method has been called permission marketing. Godin put it as letting the consumer "raise their hand" as they agree to learn more about your company and products.
“Permission marketing turns strangers into friends and friends into loyal customers...It’s not just about entertainment – it’s about education.” - Seth Godin
So how do you educate them? Content marketing, blogging, SEO, lead nurturing, and social media are a few ways you could do that. Also, email marketing can be inbound depending on how it's used.
Well, whether one is better than the other is subject to opinion now, isn’t it?
Different companies have different strategies they use and therefore can produce different results. But it can be said that the outbound strategies aren’t as effective as they used to be. As I said, we now live in different times and you need to adapt to these new times.
Unlike in the past, customers today have taken control of their own buyer’s journey. They do much of the research themselves. Because of that, we need to be able to guide them. And that’s where inbound comes into play.
You still need a way to grab the customer's attention. You need to "interrupt" them from their daily routines.
You can create all the compelling content you want, but if you can’t get their attention, then they won’t know about your content. Likewise, grabbing the attention of strangers with nothing to offer won’t work either. With nothing to keep their attention, they'll simply move onto the next thing.
So now you know of two different categories of lead generation and even strategies you could use to start generating leads. However, these tactics and strategies would be ineffective. You need to leverage the fundamentals to your advantage.
Improper use of strategy would be a waste of time and resources for both yourself and your team. So, what are these fundamentals?
Before you think of generating a lead, you first need to identify who your ideal buyer is. You can’t market to everyone. That’s a poor tactic. Not everyone can be your customer. And not everyone who may express interest is an ideal buyer either.
You need to make sure you create an avatar of your ideal buyer. Doing this ensures your lead generation strategies are streamlined.
Who wants to waste time catering to leads that don't need your content, product, or service?
Merely identifying your ideal buyer isn’t enough. You need to be able to communicate with them at a place they frequently go to. After all, if you don’t know where those ideal buyers spend their time, then you can’t possibly communicate with them.
So you need to find out which channel they prefer to use. Do they like to use email, instant messaging, phone calls, direct mail, or social media?
If you create conversations with your leads on the right channels, they’d be more than happy to make conversation with you. After all, you’ve just made it possible for them to contact you on their preferred channel.
And isn’t it better to have your prospects approach you instead of you looking for them?
So you've identified your ideal customer and the channels they prefer to use. Now what? Well, now you want to create content that's tailored to their needs.
You can create all sorts of content. But if that content is irrelevant to your ideal customer then it isn’t all that useful now, is it?
Not only that, but you also need to ensure the content you create is of high value. Remember, you want your content to encourage your lead to give up their information. So you have to make sure your content has a high degree of perceived value.
Low perceived value will only deter your prospect and make them cautious. A cautious buyer is less likely to give their information, especially if they believe you’re sketchy. Would you want your potential buyer to believe you're sketchy?
And don’t forget. Their contact details are crucial for your company’s future campaigns. Their information can help you improve your research, especially if they expressed an interest in your product.
So, now you have the fundamentals in place and you’re ready to generate leads. But what do you do after you attract and convert these leads?
Do you hand them over to your sales team? No!
Doing that would be like sending in a new army recruit out into the battlefield without giving them the proper training. And it’s the same with your leads.
Your leads need to be qualified. You have to help them become experts in your industry so that when it comes time to providing them your product or service, they’ll know how to use it effectively.
And if they achieve great results with your product or service, they’ll feel safe knowing they made the right decision in trusting you.
But how do you qualify leads?
Enter lead scoring. Lead nurturing has a role to play in qualifying leads, but not all nurtured leads can be sales qualified. Because of that, you need a system to track the ‘quality’ of your leads. Lead scoring is such a system.
You can use it to ‘score’ each of your leads based on certain actions they take. Their place in the sales funnel, the level of interest they have in your product, which content they have viewed or downloaded, and anything else your company might want to track to score your leads.
The metrics your company tracks depends on your ideal buyer persona. And every company and business is different. Each has different products or services and different goals.
You may also want to get your sales team on board with scoring as well since they’ll be the ones closing the prospects. A study by CSO Insights shows an 89.1% increase in lead conversion to opportunities for companies that aligned both sales and marketing.
So, by having a lead scoring system, you can create an effective lead nurturing strategy. That strategy can help guide your lead throughout their buyer’s journey in the best way possible: from lead to prospect to a qualified prospect you can turn over to one of your salespeople to close. And if successful, they will be one you can turn into a regular paying customer and possibly an advocate for your brand.
And there you have it. You may not have been given the how-to strategies of lead generation, but I hope you’ve gained a general understanding of its importance. There are a lot of strategies. So much that they would need an article of their own to discuss them in-depth. But at least you have the fundamentals.
Now it’s up to you to decide how you can implement what you’ve learned in this article. Will you implement what you learned? Whatever you choose to do, this article will be here for your reference.
And if you would like some help, you can hire one of our expert copywriters here at copywriters.com to help you create high-value content. Now go out there and start growing your business like never before!
Neil Jorvina is a copywriter who writes to help companies and individuals achieve success. He helps businesses go from zero to hero. He enjoys looking for ways to improve what he has written. He doesn't settle for good writing, he only settles for his best work. He makes all this possible through Jedi Mind Tricks... But please, don't let Vader know.Hire Neil