Lead generation is the process of guiding high-prospect customers through your conversion funnel. It involves attracting potential customers from your target audience and nurturing their interest in your business, ultimately resulting in a conversion.
What is a lead?
A lead is any person that has shown interest in your business. They usually open communication first, e.g. by:
- Requesting a free trial
- Signing up to a newsletter
- Making an inquiry
- Calling your business
This process will usually involve them completing a CTA (Call to Action) and giving you some personal information – such as a name, contact number, public profile, or email address, that you can then use to guide them further through their buying journey.
To cut the marketing jargon: lead generation is how you warm up potential customers and set them on the path to conversion. It’s a process that builds trust, interest, and credibility and creates high-value customers.
Attracting potential leads usually involves creating content: marketing material that generates positive interest in your business. Once you’ve attracted an audience, you’re ready for lead generation – converting that audience into leads that are interested in purchasing (this is called a sales-qualified lead, but we’ll get into that later).
Lead generation looks different for different businesses. For some, it might involve setting a customer up to get a call from their sales team. For others it might look like signing them up to a loyalty program that encourages them to purchase frequently. However lead generation might look for your business, it offers huge benefits.
What are the benefits of lead generation?
Lead generation packs some serious benefits for your business. It’s the key to creating a customer base that grows your brand and drives revenue, while getting the most out of your marketing budget.
Here are a few of the ways lead generation can help your business:
Eliminate cold calling:
It’s no secret that cold calling is usually unsuccessful – and annoying to potential customers. Some disheartening statistics: not only is the success rate of cold calling usually around 1-2%, it’s also not popular with your staff – 63% of sales representatives say that cold-calling is the worst part of their job.
The good news? Lead generation can reduce or eliminate the need for cold calling. Lead generation brings prospects to you, so that your sales team can focus on closing deals rather that introducing people to your business.
Cultivate positive word of mouth:
Using lead generation to start conversations about your content helps build an audience of people familiar with your brand. It also builds credibility with your potential customers. Lead generation guides customers through the purchasing journey in a way that creates a positive purchasing experience – which in turn means that they’re more likely to want to talk about your business.
Build brand loyalty:
Lead generation draws customers in by giving them a chance to familiarise and gain interest in your brand. Customers are less likely to experience cognitive dissonance after purchasing, and more likely to want to purchase again once they have built a relationship with your brand.
Boost your profits:
Lead generation focuses on attracting high-value customers within a specific target audience with the right content, messaging strategy, and offer to gain their interest, rather than agnostically pursuing customers. Key to lead generation is capturing the attention of qualified leads – leads that have shown interest in your company in some way and are more likely to purchase.
Why is lead generation so effective?
There’s a reason that 67% of companies use lead generation as the sole metric to determine content success. Lead generation is the link between content and profit. It’s also a great return on investment as it’s highly cost-effective. Lead generation can be fairly cheap; however, the higher value the lead is, the more it will usually cost to attract them.
Lead generation also opens a two-way dialogue with customers, allowing them to express what they are interested in – through a direct query, a phone call, or simply commenting on a piece of content. This builds the relationship between the brand and the customer, and gives you an opportunity to take their feedback on board when designing offers and content.
Ever heard of the 80/20 rule? It states that 80% of your income comes from 20% of your customers – this might not be strictly true for every brand, but it makes a powerful point. Attracting customers with a high lifetime value is a highly strategic way of generating revenue. Customers that repeat purchase are more likely to spend more money with every purchase. A study by Bain and Company found that customers who had been shopping at an apparel store for more than 30 months spent 67% more per order.
Strategies for lead generation
Lead generation marketing can take many forms – anything that attracts customers to show interest and give up some contact information can be lead generation marketing. However, there are some key tried-and-tested ways to generate leads that companies love to use. Here are our top strategies:
Content that adds value to the customer without requiring a purchase is an excellent way to drum up interest in your brand. A blog is a fantastic way to do this – it also demonstrates authority in your industry.
Social media is often the first touchpoint between customers and a business – it may very well be how they become aware of you in the first place. Many social media platforms, especially Facebook, offer customisations to your page and advertisements that prompt customers to message you. Even a comment on a post is a great way to begin a conversation with a lead.
Ads and retargeting
Advertisements start the process by attracting attention – but retargeting is where you generate leads. You can retarget customers on social media or using Google display ads once they have looked at your website – or you can retarget customers who already like your social media page. This keeps you on their radar and drums up their interest.
Customers love free stuff. Free trials offer customers a chance to fall in love with your product. If your product is designed to treat a pain point of theirs, they will quickly realise how much they enjoy having that problem solved for them. It also offers a chance to generate goodwill.
How do you qualify a lead?
All leads are not created equal. Some leads are much higher in quality than others, and therefore require a very different response from the brand. Qualifying a lead helps you understand where they are in the purchasing process.
Leads can generally be qualified as one of these categories:
Marketing qualified lead:
These are leads that have engaged in some way with your marketing but aren’t ready to be contacted about a sale.
Sales qualified lead:
These are leads that have taken action in some way that shows interest in paying for your product (or service). They’re ready to be contacted by your sales team.
Product (or service) qualified lead:
These are leads that have engaged with your product in some way – e.g. through a free trial – and has shown interest in paying for it – e.g. by showing interest in “premium” features.
A final word…
Generating leads is tricky business, and while it’s key to generating revenue, it’s definitely not every business’s area of expertise. At Ambitious Digital Marketing, we’re experts in lead generation. We can help you generate genuine, high-value leads – leaving you to focus on what you do best: running an awesome business. Get in touch with our team today to find out how we can help your business thrive.