There are more than 3 billion people online. Imagine tapping into this unbelievably large market! If you manage to capture even a fraction of this remarkable source of customers, it could pave the way for significant profits for your brand and the products and services you provide.
But the question here is: how?
Obviously, the time of simply passing out mailbox flyers is long gone. Putting up content online half-heartedly in hopes of generating potential leads isn’t going to cut it either. Survival in this fast-paced world of business is the key to strengthening your commercial roots and out.
For this to happen, you need to step up your game, and Online Lead Generation will help you in your quest to be successful!
Arming Yourself With The Right Lead Generation Strategies
Cold sales calling and structured sales team efforts are slowly becoming history. Therefore, tapping into this market is the need of the hour for business owners all over.
For this, businesses will need to arm themselves with effective digital marketing tools that are specially designed to drive maximum lead generation results.
Every passing year we witness an increased number of possibilities with lead generation, which is becoming more competitive day by day.
You will need to resort to unconventional strategies that the rest of your competitors haven’t gotten around to using yet. And thereafter, capitalise on them before they become redundant and inundated.
This comprehensive guide will help you understand and explore the various avenues of lead generation with tried and tested methods that have proven to be result-driven.
Lead generation continues to be essential for any marketing campaign.
Smart are those marketers who ingeniously gather best practices, survey digital channels and apply social techniques to convert today’s self-directed buyers into potential leads.
Stay with us here – we promise to give you a blow by blow account of the lead generation process, the strategies and planning involved!
What Is A Lead?
A lead is any person who has indicated interest in the products or services that your company has to offer in some way, shape or form.
They are prospective consumers who visit your website, develop an interest in the products and services that you offer and freely supply their contact information. A visitor on your site converts into a lead only when they:
- Sign up for a free trial, webinar or a product demo
- Fill up the lead capture form and voluntarily give their contact details
- Call or shoot an email to know more about what you offer
This characterises a potential customer is a ‘lead’, as it is very likely that they may eventually affect a conversion and at a later point, a sale. Keep in mind that a constant and steady flow of leads is what will make your business thrive.
However, the glitch with majority of the buyers is that they actually never end up buying from you the first time around.
According to Kissmetrics, nearly 96% of the visitors are ‘cold’ and not ready to seal the deal with a purchase.
As an online business, your focus should be on converting these 96% website visitors into concrete buyers. So what wizardry will you have to use to turn these 96% visitors into paying customers?
Strategies vs. Tactics
Before we get into strategies that will help attain more leads, you need to understand the difference between strategies and tactics.
While these words are often used in the same context in the online marketing world, they are very different.
A strategy is when one thinks of a long term play that requires constancy, measuring and adjustments to accomplish a goal in the long run. For instance, you may blog twice in a week a part of your lead generation strategy with the intent of building brand authority.
Tactics are the micro nuggets that help strategy achieve fruition. For instance, using content upgrades in your blogs would fall under the tactical category.
What Is Lead Generation?
The process of enticing people online to come visit your site and warming them up as prospective customers by getting them to purchase your products or services in order to enhance your conversion rates is what lead generation is all about.
From a marketing perspective, lead generation is the process of luring visitors to your site. Appeal to their interests with what you’ve got to offer. Persuade them to willingly provide their personal information. You may build leads for the purpose of list building, sales or e-newsletter list acquisition.
Generating leads that are high on both quality and quantity tops every marketer’s priority list. But, many marketers believe that lead generation is an art to master to generate more sales-ready, quality content.
However, lead generation has more of a scientific streak compared to an artistic one.This is because it is based on an approach that is systematic and well-defined, has the inputs of the best practices along with incessant testing and constant improvement.
Generating leads that are constant and stable are integral for a business to thrive in today’s competitive market. The very success of a business can be measured by its ability to generate quality leads.
Why Do You Need Lead Generation?
Lead generation is easily the crux of any business. It is the essence that builds brand awareness, abridge relationships with your users, create sales-ready leads and eventually help shoot your conversions.
This is where lead generation strategies come into play.
These strategies are what will help you tease the interest of your target market in the products and services that you are offering.
But, with a variety of buyers in the market comes varying levels of interests. So, how are you supposed to gauge and tap into the wide ranging interest of your potential buyers?
The Answer is Pretty Straight-Forward!
You will need to devise a plan that will help categorise your prospects on the basis of their level of interest and then formulate mature lead generation strategies that will take hold of their attention and interest them into making a purchase.
A study by Marketo claims that businesses with strategic lead generation practices pull off 133% greater sales revenue.
Additionally, sales personnel at companies who practice mature lead generation strategies spend 73% of their time selling. Compared to companies without mature lead generation strategies whereas sales personnel spend only 57% of their time selling.
But, the rise of social techniques and plethora of information readily available online has completely altered the buying process. Now, marketers face the challenge of relentlessly discovering new ways to reach out to prospects and make themselves heard through the noise.
Nailing the Challenge of Lead Generation
Nearly 41% marketers believe that their premier marketing priority is to generate more and more leads. But, the process of pushing through a large number of prospects or potential buyers into their lead generation funnel is easier said than done.
A study reveals that 78% marketers struggle to nail lead generation and more than 60% marketers feel that improving the quality of an acquired lead is the biggest challenge. Now, the pressing question is, how would you drive through a large amount of quality leads and sales-ready prospects into your lead generation funnel?
If you are firm on boosting conversions, you will need to apply lead generation strategies to keep the top of your lead funnel full to the brim without wasting either time or budget.
Wait… what’s a Lead Funnel?
Understanding the Term ‘Lead Funnel’
It is clear that generating leads is one of the most crucial steps in sales and marketing. This is where businesses obtain their valuable pool of prospects who can ultimately become paying customers.
However, the process of lead generation is one that involves a careful process that if done right can bring huge Return on Investment (ROI) in the fastest possible time. For this to happen, this process undergoes what marketers refer to as the ‘Lead Generation Funnel’.
Lead funnel is the system that solely focuses on capturing a large amount of prospects. Then, it pushes them down from the top of the ‘funnel’ towards the bottom, converting these prospects into buying customers.
Understanding the mechanism that drives a lead funnel is important as it will help you optimise your marketing activities and advertising campaigns. As a result, your conversion rate will go up.
Lead Funnel refers to the AIDA model (Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action) of marketing. This defines the various stages of a buyer’s journey right from landing up on a website to the summit of sale.
While the funnel is classified into four different stages for buyers, the stages that a lead goes through on its passage through the funnel are a little more intricate for marketers.
Mapping Lead Generation to Your Funnel
The next step is to identify with your lead generation process and map out your lead funnel. This is in order to get an understanding of where your prospects are in their buying expedition. This will help you devise an apt strategy to tempt them into making a purchase.
Much like a dining experience where your meal starts with an appetiser, followed by the main course and dessert, your efforts towards lead attraction and its nurturing should be organised down to the T. All to ensure that you’re serving the right content at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
50% of qualified leads are not ready to make a purchase when they are newly converted. So, instead of bothering them with old selling techniques, here’s an overview on nurturing your inbound leads. We’ll take you through the use of TOFu, MOFu and BOFu content creation and interrelated promotional tactics.
Top of the Funnel (TOFu)
At the peak of your sales funnel, you will be looking to pull in a much larger audience of potential leads, because you are working to lure relevant traffic without knowingly filtering or discouraging conversions.
The top of the funnel is where you will find the broadest amount of leads. Prospects are at the commencement stage of their sales journey and aware of the your product/service, but aren’t yet prepared to make a purchase.
A great number of marketers believe that the top of the lead funnel isn’t all that important. On the other hand, it is perhaps the most crucial aspect. After all, without any kind of optimisation at the top of your lead funnel, how will you hook people in?
This is where you grab hold of a prospective customer’s attention and maintain it all the way till a purchase is realised.
Blog articles are the most common form of TOFu content. From there, call-to-actions should direct TOFu prospects to conversion opportunities, like tip sheets or eBooks that promotes leads to exchange their contact information for the useful content inside.
This stage is further divided into three sub stages:
This is the stage where a prospect lands on your site, takes a tour and voluntarily provides his/her name and contact details. Keep in mind that by merely providing their name and contact details, these prospects do not become your leads. For all you know, they aren’t yet prepared to communicate with your company.
This is the stage where the prospect has successfully engaged into an insightful communication with your company. These prospects are aware of the fact that their name and contact details has been added to your database and they expect your company to communicate its offerings to them by way of emails or calls.
This is the stage where you decide whether the engaged prospect is a qualified buyer or not. For this, you will need to evaluate if the engaged prospect fits well into your demographic and behavioural criteria. Only when you deem the engaged prospects as qualified, they are then moved to the next stage of the funnel.
Your objective with TOFu content should be to enlighten your audience on a specific query, need or the hotspot that they look forward to address, but without a sales tie-in. You get the chance to do this with your MOFu content as explained below.
Middle Of the Funnel (MOFu)
A lead will progress into the MOFu stage once it converts on an initial TOFu content offer. This is considered as the most complicated funnel stage because of the extensive diversity of leads that are interested.
The thing you need to keep in mind is that you don’t just need to obtain leads, but you will also have to nurture them till they become actual paying customers.
At this stage of the funnel, the content should continue to inform the leads of the value that your products and services will bring to the table. This should be coupled with the process of positioning your company as the answer to the needs and challenges that the leads may have.
Advanced eBooks are a brilliant form of content at this stage, but add to that videos, white papers, case studies and quizzes and you will have a whole new round of credibility to call yours. This is also the place where you realise the offer you have promised at the top of the funnel.
Middle of the Funnel is your chance to go all out to gain trust and to smoothly advertise what it is that you have to offer. This stage is further divided into two sub-stages.
The wait is finally over and you have got yourself a qualifying lead!
A lead or Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) is a person who is genuinely interested in spending on your products and services. This stage is all about reaching out to the lead and establish contact with them.
If they are ready, you simply transfer them into the official sales lead list. But, if they aren’t, you will need to move them back to the target stage for more nurturing. Don’t leave them thinking that the conversation was a total waste of time.
Also, referred to as Sales Accepted Lead, are the leads that have been passed by you to your sales team who will then continue with direct follow up. In this sub-stage, your sales can either turn the sales lead into a concrete prospect (an actual paying customer) or send that lead back to the target stage for more nurturing.
Bottom Of Funnel (BOFu)
So, you have successfully attracted a collection of leads with your TOFu content and have carried on with the process of engagement and warming them up with your MOFu content as well. So, what’s the next step?
Enter the BOFu stage which is arguably the most fundamental, since you’re going for the kill (read: sale!)
Bottom of the Funnel is where the real buying, or more appropriately conversion takes place. It is at the bottom of the funnel where you finally convert your sales-ready leads into tangible paying customers.
Quite logically, bottom of the Funnel continues to remain one of the most crucial stages of lead generation. At this stage, you will need to come up with ways to promote offers that are product/service specific.
This stage is further divided into two different sub-stages:
Leads that you’ve gathered at this stage are the ones who are ready to spend on your products and services. All you will need to do is work your magic, pursue them properly and keep the level of interest high in what you’ve got to offer.
At this point, you will want to offer them something that will get them to commit. This you could do by offering a free trial, a discount offer, a demo or a free consultation.
A customer is that trophy lead who has finally parted with his/her money and spent on your products and services.
This is the stage where a free assessment, evaluation or trial works well and opens the door to conversation and start processing fully qualifying your most interested leads.
Be mindful of the fact that customers today are bombarded with an array of offers, products and services. This incites the need for you to understand their behaviour and journey all the way through the lead funnel to outline an effective lead generation strategy. This will not only help generate sales, but also let advocacy and reliability take root amongst customers.
After mapping your lead funnel and getting a good idea of stages that follow once a visitor lands on your site, it is essential to construct lead generation programs that identify and reflect with what the buyers want and influence their decision before making a purchase. In order to do that effectively, you need to understand the essence of making a robust plan for lead generation.
Making a Robust Plan For Lead Generation
The change that the buying process has witnessed over the years is quite dramatic. With the evolution of the internet and large quantity of information available, today’s buyer has become very self-directed.
Buyers today are done with almost 90% of their buying process before they even reach a business. Catching hold of a customer’s attention and keeping them engaged all the way through the buying process has become a monumental effort in itself.
Given the situation, marketers now face the challenge to discover new and innovative ways to reach out to customers and work on creating lead generation plans that cancels out the meows, making your roar heard loud and clear.
But, coming up with a lead generation plan that is concrete is the only way for marketers to capture the interest of buyers and gain their trust.
However, coming up with an infallible plan for lead generation is easier said than done. 46% of the marketers believe that lack of an effective strategy is possibly the leading challenge in reaching the next level of lead generation performance.
Take a look at this seven step plan to put together an appealing lead generation strategy.
A great campaign kicks off with a great plan in place. You must have heard this about a million times, and for good reason, that a well laid plan is important for the success of your lead generation efforts.
It aids decision making and increases the effectiveness of your strategies by cutting down the risks involved.
- Scrutinise your current needs: Conduct an in-depth scrutiny of your needs in advance. Carry out ‘needs analysis’ early in the process.
- Set smart goals: It’s really important to set out smart goals. Once you’ve figured out what you need to achieve with your lead generation strategy, do well to lay down a precise, quantifiable, accurate, appropriate and time-bound goal for your lead generation program.
- Create buyer personas: To chart out the perfect lead generation strategy, determine who your model customer is, where they come from, what their average age is, what they need and how your products and services can benefit them and their concerns.
Now that you know what your needs are along with understanding the needs of your customers, it is time to create offers, messages and content and communicate it all in a way that they simply cannot resist. Know that you have to create a lead generation plan that is likely to turn even the most determined souls into new clients.
- Create rewarding offers: The entire process of lead generation begins and thrives only on one thing – creating an appealing offer for your prospects. You need to come up with the most amazing offers for each stage of your lead funnel.
- Create great content: At every stage of your lead funnel, you will find that you need great content. You will need content to educate, connect your prospects and to get them to commit. Be cautious while mapping out different and innovative content strategy for each stage of the funnel.
Now that you have created content that is convincing and engages your audiences, it is time to uniformly distribute your content to ascertain maximum impact.
An effective distribution strategy is the answer to a successful lead generation program. Make use of relevant keywords that your content offers. To schedule timely and strategic content distribution, use a content calendar.
- Use owned media channels: Distribute your content on your website, your company blog and your social media pages to attract more traffic. Moreover, use your email and send out content and offers to your email contacts as well.
- Use earned media networks: Use social proof, customer reviews, press coverage and testimonials to your advantage in order to increase brand awareness and capture the attention of users towards your business.
- Use paid media platforms: You can use paid media, which is the third part channel that can be leveraged to grab the attention of your target audience. Paid media channels can deliver quick results in terms of surge in traffic and inbound leads.
Now that you are armed with content that is compelling and offers that drives traffic, the next step is to get hold of customer information so that you can convert them to a full-fledged lead.
You will need to make your leads familiar with your business and get them to your call-to-action while convincing them to fill out the lead capture form present on your landing pages.
- Provide productive offers: Because offers are the most critical aspect of your lead generation process, add a sense of urgency to it to make visitors act fast. Remember to align your offers with trending topics.
- Use call-to-action that is persuasive: Call-to-action is what makes your users to complete the rite of conversion. Therefore, you will do well to make sure that your CTAs capture the attention of your visitors and entice them to click on it. Place your CTAs above the fold and make use of contrasting colours to make them stand out.
- Optimise lead capture forms: Keep in mind that the goal here is to make your visitors provide contact information willingly. In order to effectively do that, keep your form short and to the point.Ask for information that is relevant. Add privacy assurance to win the trust of your visitors.
Analysis of what works and what doesn’t is integral so that necessary changes can be introduced to your lead generation strategy.
It is important to keep close tabs on your key performance indicators to recognise areas of strengths and identify the areas that aren’t working well and could do with a bit of improvement.
- Lookout for top lead sources: Evaluate your lead sources to find out which source gets you the most traffic.
- Observe your content: Track the performance of your content at every stage of the funnel to see what type of content is favourable for your business. Check out topics that are most read and the ones that aren’t, driving no new clicks or views.
- Screen your offers: Just putting across an offer doesn’t necessarily mean that your audiences will like it. That is why constant tracking and monitoring is required to ensure that your offers identify well with your target audience.
Not every visitor who comes to your site is ready to purchase your products or services. Employ the best practices to move your leads through the funnel. Put in consistent efforts in order to retain the interest of your leads and prevent them from dropping off. Establish and maintain their desire to interact with your company and stick around to see what you’ve got to offer.
- Wield the power of email campaigns: To help visitors know your business and the products and services that you offer in a better manner, make use of email campaigns. You have got to see that the interest of the customers is retained as this is vital for your email list.
- Foster relations: Put in good amount of work in your strategies to make it work in the long run. Building relationships develops trust and makes your customers loyal to your brand.
Finally, the time to devise an amazing conversion strategy has arrived. This strategy will be such that it persuades customers to the point of sale. You will need to employ a careful plan of approach and conversion to close in on new customers.
- Section your visitors: When you are at the top of the lead funnel where there’s an overflow of customers, it is better to arrange them in sections in accordance to their site behaviour and browsing history.
- Personalised offers: Put up offers that are personalised fitting the taste and preferences of the users to lure them into making a purchase and cultivate the relationship with your business for a long time.
Lead generation plans involves rousing the interest of prospects towards your product or service. But what’s surprising is that even the most carefully made plans may backfire if you have no clue about the mechanics of lead generation. The knowledge of how it all fits will help you revamp your lead generation plan.
The Mechanics Of Lead Generation
Now you have a clear understanding of the lead generation process and the major challenges associated with it, you are armed with your marketing combat gears to capture leads and build your subscriber base.
To begin with, you need to be able to determine the mechanics of lead generation process to be able to succeed in achieving your desired goal.
In today’s battle of business, your war cry should be ‘Lead generation!’ But to win a war is a complex affair. Along with the perfect strategy, shield and ammo, you also must know the art of war. Have a clear understanding of When to strike, Where to strike and How to strike.
Here are the 4 major components of the lead generation process:
- Landing Page
- Lead Capture Forms
These elements are your ammunition. Let them be the hero of your lead generation strategy and you may witness tons of traffic to your site and start generating high-quality and sales ready leads.
These are just blunt points to have some sense about the major components of lead generation process. It is always important to know the range and capabilities of your ammos. Let us discuss a little more on how to optimise these elements for maximum lead generation impact.
Part 1: Landing Pages
“A landing page is a web page that serves as the entry point for visitors who click on your banner ads or social media links. Landing pages are most frequently used to capture leads.”
A landing page does justice to its term, because it actually is the first page of your website that a visitor lands on. They are often the most critical elements of your lead generation process.
Landing pages help convert the visitors on your website into leads for your business. You can escalate the chance of your lead finding your landing page by optimising it with Google’s search algorithm in mind.
Here are some top tips to optimise your landing pages for maximum lead generation with minimum efforts:
- Make the information about the offer that you’re promoting clear, simple and attractive.
- Incorporate bold, attention grabbing images on your landing page.
- Avoid too many images to ensure clutter-free space.
- Handpick images that focus on your brand.
- Don’t forget to engage your customers with their pictures as well.
- Keep it short and clear.
- Convince them to take an action. Make it action-oriented.
- Convey your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
- Don’t use more than 2 pop-ups.
- Keep pop-forms short and crisp.
- Don’t let pop ups slow your page.
- Use powerful teaser headlines. Hold back the rest of the content to get them to click.
- Be specific. Avoid using metaphors that might make your headlines appear vague.
- Use trigger words as ninjas to add energy and prevent visitors from leaving your page.
Call To Action
- CTA buttons must be clear and must have contrasting colours.
- Use scarcity tactics to create a sense of urgency.
- Don’t let any other element in a page overpower CTA buttons.
- Keep it tidy and attractive.
- Maintain consistency in design and navigation.
- Incorporate complimentary colour schemes to make your page appealing to the eye.
Part 2: Lead Capture Forms
“A lead capture form helps you gather user data. The form contains a series of fields to collect information from users in exchange for an offer.”
Lead capture forms are the prime source of converting a visitor into a lead. This is the key component in a landing page. They promote the entire process of lead generation by collecting personal information of the users.
These forms come in handy when people sign up, download an offer or subscribe to your site. The data obtained can be used to personalise your offerings to better the target users. This course is what makes marketers successfully capture leads.
But to be able to reach a point where people give out their personal information requires no less devising than in a calculated combat. The acquisition of a visitor’s personal data is like a rush of adrenaline before the final win.
Here are some critical elements to help you to reach this point:
Eliminate any trust issues, because without trust your visitors can in no way turn into leads. Ensuring the safety of their information is a way to build trust. Have your logo placed on the form if that makes it seem more secure.
Short Form Relationship
The fewer the fields your form has, the higher your conversion rate will be. Too many fields to be filled only make it feel like more work for the visitor. Each unnecessary field gives the visitor more reason to abandon the page.
Many a time, pages have forms that asks for way too much or the wrong kind of information. The goal here should be to collect just enough information to enable you to contact and qualify the lead.
Avoid Unnecessary Space
Avoid adding unnecessary space in your form. Don’t leave a lot of space in between your form fields. Make sure that all the fields are in a clutter-free space.
It has been noticed that two-step forms have more potential to convert leads than one paged ones as they reduce psychological friction.
The progress bars shown during a two-step form filling encourage users to complete the form as well.
Mind Your Language
Another way to increase form conversion rates is to avoid using default language on your button. Make it a point that your button text reinforces what is being offered in return for giving out their valuable contact information.
Place your form above the fold and avoid using captcha on the forms.
Part 3: Offer
“An offer is something that you’re offering to your prospects in exchange for their personal information.”
Basically an offer is a tempting bribe that gives a piece of valuable information to a potential lead in exchange for their contact information. Offer is one of the important components of your lead generation process.
You must remind yourself that this is why your visitors have come to your landing page in the first place.
It is a transaction where money is yet to change hands, and online content is the currency. It is important for you to ensure that your offer has enough value to persuade your visitors to provide their personal information in exchange for access to it.
Here’s how you can make your offer irresistible for your visitors:
- Play the time factor game by making it a ‘grab it or miss it’ offer. This will help add a sense of urgency to your offer persuading your visitors to act upon it before it is gone.
- Showcase your social proof. This makes it clear that there are other people interested in your proposition which incentivises customers more likely to engage.
- Associate your offers with trending topics. This process is called “news jacking”. It can help you increase your traffic as more and more people tend to search for trending topics.
- Promise what you deliver.
- Don’t forget to keep testing your offer.
Part 4: Call To Action
“Call-to-Action is an image, button, or message that guides visitors to take some action. In terms of lead generation, this action is filling out the lead capture form on the landing page in order to redeem the offer.”
Call-to-action (CTA) remains the key component to drive users to your offers. It is the only actual way to convert visitors into leads, and so more effort is required into optimising it for conversions.
Successful businesses know the value of a good CTA. If CTAs fail to capture user’s attention, then every effort you invest in lead generation will only go down the drain.
Here are some ways to make your CTA more click-friendly:
- Make it a basic button – Clean, simple and above the fold.
- Use contrasting colour schemes to make CTAs stand out on the landing page.
- Use smart content for your CTAs. Include words that provoke emotion or enthusiasm. But don’t forget to keep your button copy short.
- Make your button a size that makes sense. Test your CTA size to understand what works better with your audiences; a bigger CTA button or a smaller one.
- Ensure that your CTA looks clickable.
How Do You Qualify Someone As A Lead?
Identifying the wrong individual as a lead can result in a considerable amount of wastage of your valuable time and resources. In lead generation, the following five key foundations are relied on to enable an evaluation of a lead’s potential.
Here’s what you must keep in mind to qualify someone as a lead:
Identify the needs of the prospect and analyse if what you offer has the capability to fulfil their need. This is the main criterion of qualification. Sometimes there are cases where clients may not be aware of the fact that they have a need. Regardless of whether a potential lead comes forward with a need or not, it is extremely important to dig a little deeper in your research and identify their need.
Provide an out of the box approach to meet the needs of the prospects. It becomes mediocre if what you provide is exactly the same as what another dozen others provide. People are always attracted towards a fresh and unique approach.
Find out if your prospects can afford or are willing to spend for the product or services that you offer. There is a huge difference between a prospect who has money and a prospect who is willing to spend money to make a purchase.
Determine if your prospects have the authority or influence to make a purchase decision.
Identify and understand whether your prospect is looking for a specified timeline to make their purchase.
Lead Generation Methods
Lead generation has seen a rapid development in the last decades. Marketers are now more focused on lead quality rather than lead quantity.
But the modern field of online marketing is changing at an immeasurable velocity.
To survive in the fast-paced world of entrepreneurship, you need to step up your game. There are diverse lead generation strategies being implemented, some more successful than others.
Amidst the noise in the market, there are some clear trends and tactics that will ensure that your company doesn’t miss valuable conversions out of your inbound visitors.
This means that lead generation strategies need to be revamped in order to better meet the needs of target markets. While online marketing will continue to evolve, here is a brief classification of some lead generation strategies.
Lead generation strategies are broadly segmented into Outbound Lead Generation and Inbound Lead Generation.
Outbound Lead Generation strategies majorly includes:
- Display Ads
- Pay-per-Click Ads
- Content Syndication
- Direct Mail Advertisements
- Event Marketing
Inbound Lead Generation strategies include:
- Content Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Website Optimisation
- Email Marketing
Next, we will be discussing the Inbound and Outbound classification of Lead Generation Strategies in greater detail.
Part 1: Outbound Lead Generation
“Outbound lead generation, also commonly referred to as interruption lead generation, is the traditional lead gen strategy where marketers send messages directly to their prospects at times best suited to their business.”
Outbound Lead Generation is basically the process where you send a direct message to your prospects. The type of interaction as well as the timing is decided by you and not your prospects. A few of the examples of this type of lead generation are e-mails and normal calls.
Outbound strategies are generally helpful to reach out to consumers who are still unaware of your business or brand. Outbound lead generation are generally marketing tactics that are paid for, both online and offline. It would be an outbound tactic if you had to pay for acquiring new customers.
It does have some distinct advantages over inbound lead generation methods, although it is universally not appreciated as a ‘Holy Grail’ of marketing. While inbound lead generation drives organic engagement and attracts leads, outbound on the other hand helps you target specific prospects more accurately.
In order to get the most out of leads you generate, filter them through the scoring process and prioritise them for immediate results. Although quite a number of marketers and experts dismiss this traditional method as outdated and ineffective, it is highly target oriented and can push a prospect down the lead funnel at a faster rate.
Let us take a look at some of the most popular outbound lead generation strategies.
Part 1(a): Display Ads
“Display ads are the search engine advertisements that typically include an offer, company logo and images.”
Display ads allow you to select where you want those ads to be seen by your target audiences. Display ads serve their own specific purpose at every stage of the funnel. Whether it be building a brand audience at the top of funnel (TOFu), educating and helping with evaluation at mid-funnel (MOFu), or increasing conversions at the bottom of the funnel (BOFu). Display ads play a decisive role at every stage of a lead funnel.
Part 1(b): Pay-Per-Click Ads
“PPC is an online advertising model where advertisers display ads for their products, services or offers. The model allows advertisers to pay only when a user actually clicks on their ad.”
PPC is a kind of advertisement that is based online and can enable advertisers to display ads for their goods or services when relevant queries are entered into search engines. It is termed as “pay-per-click” because advertisers are only charged when a user actually clicks on their ad. Since keywords play a crucial role in paid search, pay-per-click advertisements are also sometimes referred to as keyword advertising.
Advertisers cannot simply pay more to be certain that their ads appear more prominently than their competitor’s ads on a search engine (commonly referred to as a Search Engine Results Page, or SERP). Rather, ads are subject to what is known as the Ad Auction. It is an automated process that Google and other major search engines use to determine the relevance and validity of advertisements that appear on their SERPs.
Google as the most popular search engine gets massive amounts of traffic and therefore delivers the most impressions and clicks to your ads. You must now be wondering how often your PPC ads will appear. Well, this entirely depends on which keywords and match types you select. These are some key factors that determine how successful your PPC advertising campaign will be:
Comprehending keyword relevance is the difference between a successful Google marketing campaign and a marketing process that squanders your budget down the drain.
Keywords that have multiple meanings have lesser potential to convert users to customers or leads. This will result in the increase of your cost per acquisition (CPA). Another common mistake that insensitivity of keyword relevance leads to is using words that have similar, but not exact meanings. While crafting your keyword phrases keep in mind to comprise relevant PPC keyword lists, tight keyword groups, and proper ad text.
Landing Page Quality
Google highlights four factors that determine the quality score of the landing page. These factors are relevant and original content, transparency, loading speed of the landing page and navigability. A good web design will help you to optimise your landing page!
What the user is looking for and where you send them are two extremely powerful points that must be tied with a very clear and strong thread. Make sure that there is a distinct connection between those two power points.
This is a super sleek and a sonic fast era. Nobody likes to wait. Don’t let your site take an eternity to load, otherwise users will end up bailing out on your page, and find other, better sites to visit within your niche. That’s why it’s important to keep the load time of your landing pages to the bare minimum.
Make users land on a page that is easy to navigate. If navigation becomes complex and sloppy they are likely to ditch your page.
This is basically an estimation of the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages. It is Google’s version of rating the quality and relevance of both your keywords and PPC ads.
Quality score is used to determine your cost per click (CPC) which is multiplied by your maximum bid to determine your ad rank in the ad auction process. Higher quality ads lead to lower prices which in turn lead to better ad positions.
Quality Score depends on a multiple of factors some of which are:
- Your click-through rate (CTR).
- Keyword relevance to its ad group.
- The quality and relevance of landing page.
- The relevance of your ad text.
- Your historical AdWords account performance.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is an affordable option for marketers because it allows them to pay for each click on your ad displayed on a search engine or on a website. They are one of the best ways to capture the attention of your audience to latest contents or service offerings. PPC ads are highly-targeted ads and can help you generate very high quality leads.
Part 1(c): Content Syndication
“Content syndication is the process of promoting and pushing your content on third-party sites.”
We live in a world of content saturation: webinars, videos, texts, podcasts, tweets, updates and vlogs feeds us information about a company, product, or service. As a marketer it is important to envisage how to find the right venue that encourages customer engagement, or how to make your content more accessible to the right prospect.
Content syndication is the answer here.
Syndication is the process of taking content, which is already published on your own site, and giving it one or more parties to be posted on their site (with their permission). It is a content sharing strategy that can be used to promote articles, news releases and the likes on other websites for greater exposure and engagement.
How much of content can be syndicated depends on the business objective. The content can be an exact copy of the content on your site, or only a snippet of it. Syndication can prove to be a very effective way to help boost your reputation and visibility online.
Content syndication helps you to drive more traffic to your site by wiring your content into related digital contexts. Appropriate execution of content syndication can prove to be a very effective way to boost your reputation and visibility online. The advantages include:
Syndication can be useful for fresh start-ups or companies seeking to increase visibility. It primarily makes your existence in the digital realm more prominent. By dispersing your content through syndication you increase your power over reaching more users to generate more leads.
You can’t be a single man army when it comes to generating new marketing leads. Syndicating your content through publishers can increase the chance of adding new names in your system.
You can choose which websites you want to syndicate your content to according to their target users. Targeted prospects are the most likely to convert to sales.
Part 1(d): Direct Mail Advertisements
“Direct mail advertisements mean contacting carefully targeted prospects with custom tailored offers or promotional material (such as brochures, circulars, letters, newsletters) on one-to-one basis via ordinary mail or email.”
Direct-mail advertising is the process of contacting carefully targeted prospects on one-to-one basis via ordinary mail or email. Offers or promotions such as such as brochures, circulars, letters or newsletters are custom tailored for direct advertising for current customers or other consumers.
The advertisements often include an order form, sales letter, brochure, or a prepaid envelope.These mails very often carry a response mechanism such as a website address, toll-free number, and/or a business-reply card.
Direct Mail is not yet an old school approach because it is still as effective as it used to be. This technique can be used to keep consumers notified of new products, services and alterations. These mails can be sent to a specific list of people, keeping the target group very specific and exclusive. Direct mail generates responses which make advertising effectiveness an easy process to be monitored.
By referring to which mails are left without response, the target markets and lists can easily be refined. It is sadly an underrated yet an effective way to grab attention and add more potential customers.
Part 1(e): Event Marketing
“It is the lead generation activity that involves designing or developing of a themed occasion, display, or exhibit (such as a sporting event, music festival, fair, or concert) to promote a product, cause, or organisation.”
Don’t underestimate the potential of an event or a key conference for lead generation. It has the power to put masses of ideal prospects in the same location and in the mood to make purchasing decisions.
Event marketing generally describes the course of developing a themed exhibit, display, or presentation in order to promote a product, service or even a cause. These events can occur either online or offline, and can be hosted, sponsored, or participated in. If you score big in these events, you can reap great returns. Event marketing is one way for B2B marketers to engage and enhance their relationships with customers.
These marketing events can either be an online event or a physical event. Online events may include:
As the name suggests, the events are attended via the web and involve events like presentations, workshops or discussions that are delivered. They usually last for 30-60 minutes.
Live Streaming Events
These are events that can be streamed live to your viewers. You can carry out streaming events with the help of a simple webcam or employ a full production crew for higher quality broadcasting.
This kind of event enables individuals from different locations to participate in a common virtual environment that has the look and feel of an offline event. The features are usually a combination of education, networking, and interaction.
Physical events may include:
Seminars may include small meetings, road shows, or field events where an expert shares information with the audience in a traditional and a more formal style. Some seminars are styled as road shows, where marketers take their company’s message out in a more casual manner.
A tradeshow refers to a gathering of individuals in a particular industry or profession in a common forum that typically features a specific market. Sometimes a company might sponsor or participate in a tradeshow in order to publicise a product or simply to network and strengthen its presence in a market.
Breakfasts, Lunches, and Dinners
These are normally smaller are more targeted oriented events. These events are usually quite intimate with very selective attendees and can be both customer and prospect focused. They tend to be high level and provide executives a private setting for networking.
These are often company-specific marketing events for the purpose of delivering information such as a user summit. They are generally held by companies for training or educational purposes.
Part 2: Inbound Lead Generation
“Inbound lead generation is the process of helping prospects find your company, even before they plan to make a purchase, and then turn that early awareness into brand preference, and ultimately into leads and revenue.”
Simply put, Inbound Lead Generation is a process where marketing is focused on creating quality content in order to attract people so that they can naturally be drawn towards your company and product or services offered. This strategy allows your prospects to come to you through SEO and the provision of irresistible contents.
Buyers these days are more educated, self-directed and aware about their choice of products, hence, making it hard for a marketer to come up with new tactics for generating leads.
Contradictory to outbound lead generation in its concept, it is the prospect who decides when and how they reach you. The finest example of inbound lead generation is content marketing, where you publish relevant content with the intent of captivating your target audience to your website. A major challenge of inbound lead generation is standing out from the crowd.
Part 2(a): Content Marketing
“Content marketing is the marketing practice focused upon creating and distributing relevant, informative and consistent content to attract, acquire, and engage a well-defined target audience.”
Content is the under-structure of your lead generation and lead nurturing efforts. Marketers rely on content to engage prospects and customers, but to do so content must be original and unparalleled. It should be able to drive leads to exactly where you want them to be without sounding needy or pushy. If your content has the power to do that, rest assured that there aren’t many things to be worried about to generate leads.
Below are three ways to improvise your content to generate better leads.
Interactive content is one of the clearest trends in content marketing. Very few people have the time or focus span to read a dragging blog or a 2000-words white paper. The ones who actually start reading it, almost never make it to the last paragraphs. Your content must not only attract but also make the prospects’ attention cling to it.
Consumers are more drawn towards interactive content that adds value by keeping them engaged. Quizzes and calculators evoke an instant indulgence and deliver personalised results for your prospects. They also have an amazing potential to go viral and be shared, which makes them ideal content material for social media channels.
Viva La Visual
Variety adds zap in the recipe for your content marketing success. A great way to do this is by using visual materials such as presentations, videos or infographics. An informational video or presentation which provides the same content as a white paper does, can provide much better results.There are a number of tools out there that allows you to broadcast your presentation or video content in exchange for your prospect’s valuable contact details.
Let The Games Begin
There is a way through which you can interact actively with your customers and generate countless leads while doing so: engaging directly with them. This direct process of engaging doesn’t involve cold calls and emails or door to door selling.
It refers to a content strategy where a business and its prospects together participate right from the first until the last step. Contests are one of the best examples for it. There are hundreds of creative ways that companies use to gather user generated content. Innovative trends range from picture contests on Instagram to prize contests for participating in surveys. All the company has to do is provide the concept while the users provide the content. Creating an attractive contest is the job here.
Part 2(b): SEO
“SEO or Search engine optimisation simply means strategies to rank higher on the online search engine result pages.”
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It is a set of techniques that help generate more high-quality and sales-ready leads. Its appropriate execution ensures the visibility of your website and its content on a search engine.
But generating leads through SEO is a backbreaker. This is because SEO is a constantly evolving industry and SEO trends keep shifting like a clock. Therefore, it is important to stay up-to-date on trends in SEO if you want to be at the top of your game.
Here are some bullet points to help you improve your website’s SEO:
- Identify and understand your customers.
- Probe and identify keywords.
- Keep your customers first in mind.
- Use links strategically.
- Post new content on a regular basis.
Part 2(c): Website Optimisation
“Website optimisation is the process of designing or ameliorating your website to rank well on SERPS, provide ultimate user experience and generate more leads.”
The process of using controlled experimentation to improve a website’s ability to drive in leads is called Website Optimisation. The entire process is based on the expected result for a website to rank well in search engines.
Website optimisation is one of the most reliable ways to generate more filtered leads and is often confused with Search Optimisation. Lead generation is all about driving traffic to your site and turning the users into paying customers. Your website must be optimised to capture and qualify potential leads.
The process for Website Optimisation follows the same principles as Conversion Rate Optimisation and very often the two terms are used interchangeably.
The process includes the following steps:
- Nail down the objective of your website optimisation. A variety of business types will have a variety of objectives you will want to optimise for.
- Establish a hypothesis by reviewing your analytics and looking for parts of your funnel that are performing poorly. Collect quality feedback from visitors and check for potential causes of poor performance, use the list for website optimisations to test.
- Prioritise your list of potential optimisations. You can put them in a spreadsheet and rank them in order of their anticipated impact, confidence in their potential to improve performance and convenience to implement the change.
- Test your optimisations by implementing A/B testing to experiment with variations on your website to determine which changes will ultimately result in more conversion.
- Analyse your test results and determine which hypotheses were true and which weren’t. Implement the winning tests for higher conversions with each winning variation.
Part 2(d): Social Media Marketing
“Social media marketing essentially means using social networking sites such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram to market a brand, products or services.”
Social media is here to stay, and in no way does it indicate that it will be leaving us anytime soon. Amidst the social media revolution, IT and software companies have been surprising us with better and faster business solutions every day.
(For all that, in a busy marketplace that has extremely strong hustle and tussle, it can be difficult to make your mark in the crowd.)
Over the years, social media has shifted gears from being just a leisurely platform to becoming one of the most important lead generation tools for businesses. A staggering number of companies are using social media to their advantage, only adding more confusion on how to make your strategy stand out from the crowd and generate more and more leads.
Lead generation with the aid of social media channels is simple, quick, and potent. It is relatively an inexpensive way of increasing your website traffic. Here are some tips to include in your social media game plan that can help you attract more leads:
Who doesn’t love freebies? Host a sweepstake or offer giveaways on social media. These are things people enjoy sharing on their social channels. Including an entry form for your contests, you’ll have the opportunity to capture important lead data.
Make sure to incorporate a way for entrants to share the offer via their social channels. This is a win-win for you as you’ll gain a participant who gives you exposure by spreading the word with their social community.
Polls and Surveys
Instead of assuming what your audience cares about, go ahead and ask them. Your digital community can provide you with a vast wealth of knowledge. Polls and surveys offer a unique way for people to express their opinions. It is also a fantastic tactic to get feedbacks on how people are using your product, what their pain points are, and what they expect from you in the days to come.
Discount codes and flash deals are a great way to increase brand awareness and generate demand. By including a sense of urgency indicating a strong call-to-action you can make people respond to your campaigns.
Link It Up
Promoting gated content on social media is one of the easiest ways to generate leads. By linking your posts to landing pages where users are prompted to fill out a form can generate new leads.
Part 1: Challenges
Executing a content marketing strategy can be a backbreaking task. You need a number of different parts working all at the same time. This means that you will either be firing on all cylinders as a one-man-army, or attempting to coordinate a team working on different tasks at one go.
As a content marketer, you have to stay shoulder to shoulder with rapidly changing technology across many different mediums. To be working in the digital landscape means to be throwing yourself at the mercy of other systems.
Some major content marketing challenges are as mentioned:
Producing engaging content
According to a recent study by the Content Marketing Institute, producing engaging content is a main pain point.
Producing enough content
Content marketers often face extremely difficult obstacles as they lack the time and sustained effort to create contents in order to execute a sophisticated and custom tailored content marketing strategy. To produce quality content consistently takes time.
Budget To Produce Content
To solely rely on organic social promotion might work just fine for some time. To expand your reach and grow your audience, you may want to explore paid promotion options which don’t come without ample investment.
This is a time when regardless of what your content is about or how interesting the content is someone else has already been blogging about it for a long time. The competition is intense.
Part 2: How To Optimise Content Marketing For Lead Generation
Optimisation basically means to work towards continuously improving the marketing efforts to maximise results. Each page on a website must be created with lead generation in mind. Even if a piece of content does not include a lead generation form, it must still fit into a full strategy that leads users through the purchase funnel.
Here are some ways of optimising content marketing that can help you craft a solid content marketing strategy:
- Identify your target audience, their needs and requirements. And then answer all their questions through your blogs, articles, white papers and eBooks. Find out their key source of information, their goals and their challenges.
- Increase your exposure as blog visitors cannot be converted into leads if no one is visiting your blog. In general blog audiences are highly targeted, so guest posts on the right blogs can make massive impacts. Expose your content through a host of different multimedia resources.
- Have a clear definition of what you expect to achieve from your content strategy by identifying key business challenges that you want to solve using content marketing.
- Create a high quality landing page because people visit your website to read its contents. Don’t just focus on the colour and aesthetics of your landing page; focus on your landing page’s usability.
- Headlines should be power house within a limited space. It must make your readers want to read the story underneath it. Use clever and strong headlines to capture the attention of reader’s right from the start.
Trends for Lead Generation Program
For marketers looking to generate more and more concrete and quality leads that are sales-ready, every second counts. This is because each year the world of lead generation undergoes an absolute transformation. But, how can marketers stay on the top to let their lead generation efforts take flight with an almighty bang?
Simple. They need to get schooled with lead generation trends that are at the summit!
The Dawn of ‘Exit Intent’ Technology
Exit intent technology is all set to trend in the world of lead generation as it helps capture as many leads as possible and nurture them till they convert. Exit intent technologies like micro and popup surveys can help attend to shopping cart abandonments and engagement related issues.
Customisation is the Thing
With a deluge of websites out there, it has become rather tasking to stay afloat. This is where customisation has garnered much needed attention and has become an important aspect of lead generation strategies. Customisation makes it easy for you to serve your content, its inherent message and offers in a way that identifies with your target audience and resonates with them in the best way possible.
It’s all About Retargeting
Retargeting is all set to break the mould as a brilliant method to draw out responses from target prospects. It shoulders lead generation ventures with as little commotion as possible. It will come as no surprise if Retargeting takes the centre stage of the lead generation process.
On-site tracking as the Voted Norm
It has become integral for businesses and marketers to assemble data and get an understanding on the site behaviour of their visitors. This is so they can use this to use target ads. Doing so will assist you in building targeted ads as per your visitors preferences and behaviours and engage them to convert.
Testing Will Have Newfound Importance
Marketers who are smart know that they can’t rest on their laurels. Regularly testing the efficiency of your lead generation strategies keeps them adding to the number of leads and level of engagement. Marketers are bound to follow suit and consistently put their strategies to test to stay a step ahead in the game!
Winding it Up
By now, it is crystal clear that a marketing strategy thrives on the volume and quality of leads it drives in. By successfully generating leads, you will be able to steer revenue for your business and take your business off the ground.
But, the eternally competitive market on the web has made lead generation a daunting task. In spite of the mine of actionable data available at your disposal, marketers still struggle to generate high-quality leads. This calls for a good marketing agency who can help you get where you want to be.
This is where the various avenues of lead generation that we’ve explained here come to your rescue! At dapa, our team of professionals are well versed in the art of lead generation. And we help you make solid returns on your investment by transforming website traffic into valuable leads.
With a mix of techniques discussed above, we’ll help you to easily position your business as a thought leader. Also, we’ll help you put together market share, enter new markets and generate sales-ready leads that are high in quality