Lead generation is the process of attracting leads (your potential customers) into a contact management or marketing software system with the hope of nurturing them throughout the buying process to help convince them about your offerings and then convert them into a paying customer
The strategies used to generate these contacts are put in place by your business to ensure that your leads are quality and worth nurturing for the future. Lead generation is all about building trust with your audience and educating them about your industry and offerings along the way
There are 5 steps to get more effective Lead Generation Process / Strategies
1. Acquire Leads
Begin by attracting leads to your website by generating engaging content that can be shared throughout your various marketing channels. Create content about your business in the form of eBooks, blog posts, white papers, photos, infographics or whatever else that would fit your business and your audience. Distribute this content across your blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, SlideShare, other social channels, email and where ever your potential customers are active.
1. Include a strong call-to-action at the end of a content-rich webinar your company hosts to help drive viewers to sign up for future updates from your company on the subjects covered during the session. The call to action should relate to the topics covered, as well as what type of leads you’re hoping to generate.
2. Co-host with relevant industry experts to help draw in their audience of relevant viewers to your webinar. Coordinate with these influencers to share content about their participation in your webinar on their blog and social channels to help drive further visibility, traffic and potential leads.
3. Mention and share links to other pieces of relevant content created by your company in your webinar that live on landing pages with sign-up forms on your website. Viewers can then convert to leads if they choose to sign-up and download an eBook, white paper or other form of premium content your company offers.
4. Keep the webinar registration form on your website thorough to ensure quality leads, yet concise to make it simple for registrants to sign-up. Be sure to only include 4 to 5 fields on your sign-up form to achieve the right balance of quality and quantity when it comes to your leads. Don’t be discouraged by a low number of attendees, since 40% to 50% of registrants on average attend a webinar they signed up for.
5. Add more ways for viewers to stay in touch with your company after the completion of the webinar. This could include adding anything from links or linked icons to your social media channels, a sign-up form for your email list, the RSS feed for your blog content and more. In many cases, a past webinar viewer will be captured as a lead from another marketing channel at another time once they become more familiar with your brand over time.
6. Create follow-up opportunities either through continued conversations about the webinar on Twitter, by sharing the slides from the webinar on SlideShare, announcing the next webinar hosted by your company and more to insight continued interactions with your company. This strategy will help your business provide as much value as possible to viewers before, during and after your webinar to foster an ongoing bond with them overtime
Free Guides, eBooks & White Papers
7. Educate readers with topics relevant to their interests and your offerings in the form of eBooks, white papers, free guides and other forms of premium content. This information should help solve ongoing problems faced by your target demographic to eventually associate your business with the topics covered in your content. Listen to feedback from existing customer to best understand the type of content that will help educate them, as well as potential leads.
8. Allow contributions from industry experts and influencers related to the subject of the long-form content you’re developing. These individuals bring an original perspective that can add needed credibility to your content, as well as a relevant audience willing to share their content across social media. Both the original perspective and relevant audiences of the contributors can help drive more leads and longevity to each piece.
9. Create an optimized landing page for each of piece of content to live on that contains a sign-up form, a description of the resource, benefits of the resource, trust elements like company testimonials, images related to the content and more to help sell the value of the content. The more convincing the landing page is at selling your guides, eBooks or white papers, the more likely you’ll increase the leads generated from these resources.
10. Include a healthy combination of high level insights on the topic you’re covering in your pieces of premium content, as well as actionable tips that illustrate how to execute against the larger ideas presented.
Adding both the theory as well as the application of the information shared is important to accommodate different ways people absorb content. The more you accommodate to different types of learners, the more likely your content will resonate with readers and help covert more of them into leads
11. Share images, snippets of information and other interesting aspects of your content from blog posts, eBooks, white papers, infographics and elsewhere on your social media channels. This content drives traffic, engagement and visibility to these resources, which down the pipeline can help generate more leads. Create a unique post for each piece of content, specific to the intricacies of each social channel your business shares its content on
12. Utilize paid social advertising on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter to make the most of the reach of these social channels with updates focused around your most valuable content. For example, use Twitter’s promoted tweets to get your tweets about your eBooks more traction on the social channel, which should lead to more traffic, engagement and visibility of your tweets.
When spending money on promoting your content to a wider audience on social media, stick to mostly sharing content that requires a sign-up form to view. This way you’ll be able to more effectively capture leads attributed to the money you applied to paid advertising.
13. Encourage sign-ups to your email list as a form of entry into a contest, sweepstakes or promotion your company is hosting at an event. The sign-up can be done through one of many apps on a tablet or by hand with pencil and paper. Make sure the prize that is being awarded to the winners is relevant to your company’s offerings to ensure the quality of your leads. For instance, many companies give away iPads as prizes for contests, which is quite often completely unrelated to their business and draws the attention of anyone looking for free swag.
14. Whether you’re giving a demo, hosting a contest or any other kind of engagement with attendees at an event, be sure to deliver value no matter what to create warm leads. The more value you’re adding to a person’s day, the more likely they will listen to information about your product and service offerings. When you’ve presented attendees with more value through free content, relevant swag or insights on industry trends, the better your engagement will be with them at the event and for the future.
15. Communicate with event attendees before, during and after the event to get the most of your time in front of them with a variety of communication tactics. Send registration emails before the event as well as reminders about the date, time and location to keep potential attendees engaged. Use social media to alert attendees of your presence at a large-scale industry event to make sure you aren’t lost in the crowd of other companies and competitors
2. Nurture Existing Leads
Once a lead is a part of your lead management system or email list, it is important to continually nurture them to ensure they move through the sales funnel when the time is right or to encourage another purchase. Retaining their interest in being part of your email list is vital. It’s time to work to build this lead into a long-term relationship that involves both trust and loyalty with your business
There are top three funnel stages you need to nurture :
Top of the Funnel (TOFU)
People at this stage are searching for ideas, tips, and resources to help them answer questions and get ideas for problems they’re facing. You’re attracting relevant visitors, but they are unknown. At this stage, the goal is to assist and provide enough value to get a conversion and move them from anonymous visitors to known people (i.e. name, company, email, etc.)
Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)
At this stage, people took some conversion step to express interest (subscribe, register, or download, etc.). You need to learn if this person and/or their company is a fit and their level of qualification. You also want to learn about their motivation. During this stage, you’ll share content to help progress them from interest towards purchase intent.
Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)
People are moving through a series of micro-decisions on their journey. At this stage, you’re moving them from being a lead to a sales qualified opportunity. This is where the hand-off from marketing to sales takes place and where people ultimately make the buying decision. All three are part of an integrated lead generation funnel, and this article touches on each element while taking a closer look at lead nurturing
3. Score Each Lead
Scoring leads allows your business to understand which leads in your system are more valuable than others. A valuable lead is one that is interacting more with your business online whether they are downloading more content or viewing more web pages as compared to other leads.
By progressively profiling your leads over time you can build up a clear picture of who your lead is and how qualified they are to make a purchase. Moving leads through lifecycle stages from subscriber to lead, to marketing then sales qualified helps you to visualise your sales funnel and segment leads for better targeting of your communications.
Focus your teams efforts on nurturing better quality leads that will have a greater impact on your sales since these leads are already interested in your content and services, closer to converting to a customer than other leads with a lower score. Analyze the rise and fall of your lead’s score to better understand what stage in the process most leads begin to fall off and how can this be corrected, as well as when most leads are ready to be passed off to sales.
4. Pass Along Leads to Sales
Setting the different stages in your own lead management process is important for the continually flow of leads from beginning to end of the sales funnel. The lead generation process of reaching leads, retaining interest, nurturing leads to prevent them from dropping off and establishing their desire to interact with your company is the focus of the marketing team.
The sales team should focus on moving the desire a customer has, that was originally spurred by the marketing team, to action in the form of a conversion. Once a customer has bought from your company, it is the sales team’s responsibility to enrich the experience with existing customers and retain them overtime.
Look at your leads and create definitions for a lead ready to be passed on to sales as opposed to a lead that still needs to be nurtured by the marketing team. Some common ways to define a sales ready lead is if there is a healthy profile created about them from different data points, their lead score is high, certain behavioral attributes show there is high interest, they appear to have a budget, the authority and need of your services and lastly, their timeline implies that the entire buying process must be expedited.
5. Evaluate Lead Generation Process
The entire lead generation process should be under scrutiny by your team to ensure that it is as effective as possible in bringing in new leads, nurturing them, converting them into customers and retaining those customers overtime.
One of the most successful ways to have a measurable impact on your lead process is identifying where your leads drop off and attempting to resolve the issue, while learning how to recapture the leads that were lost. Many leads drop off before they are passed to sales because there was an interest in your company but it did not develop enough to move from an interest to a desire. These warm leads can be recaptured, but this costs more time, money and effort from the marketing team, which is why it’s important not to lose them in the first place
Marketing analytics can also help your team continue to understand if certain benchmarks are being reached such as an increased flow of traffic to your website, if more visitors are signing up to your list, an increased conversion rate, more time spent on your website etc. Monitor these benchmarks and more to determine whether they are directly impacting a leads journey through the funnel and helping to prevent them from losing interest in your business. Constantly experiment and test out new iterations of the process to understand what works best for your organization as a whole
Aligning content to your lead’s goals
Generating and nurturing leads requires that you have content that is of interest at different stages of your customer’s buying journey. Don’t forget that what you are doing is solving a problem for your customer, and as they get closer to making a purchase decision, they are learning better questions to ask in order to make a sound decision.
Spend time understanding your different customer types and the specifics of that they are aiming to achieve. Are they novices or professional buyers? Are they buying for themselves or making a recommendation? Is it an emotional or a rational purchase? Clarity on these points will help guide you in creating content that is effective at addressing your lead’s needs.
Managing your lead generation Process
It’s important to ensure that you have an agreed organisational process for your lead generation, particularly when you are relying upon teams working together and leveraging marketing automation. While marketing automation will deal with the day to day messaging and nurturing, this process needs to be watched and managed.
It makes great sense to ensure there is agreement on how your lead generation will be run, some things to consider are:
- Individual roles and responsibilities.
- Agreement on how lead stages are defined and when handovers occur.
- What KPI’s and benchmarks are being used and how often they are evaluated for teams.
- Required reporting and stakeholders.
Marketing automation and content creation
In order to technically deliver full funnel lead generation and nurturing you’ll need to choose a marketing automation system, ensuring that the teams required to use the software have any necessary training. Also, it will help to have IT support particularly during the initial software set up phase.
You may choose to create content in house, commission your content from an external supplier or a combination of the two. Make sure that you have enough time to get your content in place before committing to a launch date.
Also, don’t forget to factor in the cost of ongoing content creation when cost planning.
A good lead generation process has a number of moving parts, all of which are required to best attract, nurture, and convert leads into customers.
You will need to remain open minded about the assumptions you made regarding how best to run your lead generation process, and be willing to try new approaches and ideas. As the marketplace changes so will your customers and leads. Requiring you to evolve your content and approaches.
Lead generation is the process of converting and to some extent nurturing business leads. It can be as basic as converting visitors into leads via a landing page.
However nurtured leads produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities and businesses who nurture leads make 50% more sales at a cost 33% less than non-nurtured prospects. This is why effective lead generation software combines both lead generation and nurturing capabilities to qualify and transition leads from marketing to sales.
LEAD ANALYSIS :
Find out more about how businesses are generating leads, what’s working and what’s not.
61% of B2B marketers think generating high-quality leads is one of their biggest challenges.
B2B Technology Marketing Community
Strategic landing pages are used by 68% of B2B businesses to acquire leads.
63% of consumers requesting info on your company today will not purchase for at least 3 months.
The three most commonly used B2B lead generation strategies are email marketing (78%), event marketing (73%), and content marketing (67%).
Demand Metric Research Corporation via Direct Marketing News
Only 56% of B2B companies check valid leads before passing them to the sales dept.
Increasing quality leads is the top priority for 68% of B2B professionals, followed by increasing lead volume (at 55%.)
B2B Technology Marketing Community
85% of B2B marketers say lead generation is their most important content marketing goal in 2016.
Content Marketing Institute
Companies see a 55% increase in leads when increasing their number of landing pages from 10 to 15.
Lead generation from LinkedIn was successful for 65% of B2B companies.
79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of nurture is the main cause for this.
Only 3% of your market is actively buying. 56% are not ready, 40% are poised to begin.
Approximately 96% of website visitors aren’t ready to purchase.
68% of businesses report struggling with lead generation.
Verifying business leads before passing it to the sales team is conducted by only 56% of B2B companies.
MarketingSherpa via HubSpot