Lead Generation: A Complete Guide to Attracting Leads to Your Business
There’s a lot of steps to running a successful business, and some may seem easier than others. You know that you need to offer a compelling product or service and have an active audience that’s interested in your solution. But other important questions, like “What is lead generation?” may take some research and time to figure out.
Depending on your background and experience, you might have different opinions about how to generate leads. But whether you take a traditional or more modern approach, the important part is recognizing how vital new prospects are to your company’s future.
Let’s take a closer look at unique lead generation ideas that will help set you up for success. Keep reading to also learn more about how the process differs from other marketing methods and how to generate leads more effectively. Whether you work with an agency, keep the service in-house, or use modern lead generation tools, you won’t want to overlook some of the basics.
What is Lead Generation?
When you hear the word lead, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind? In marketing, a lead is generally described as any individual who expresses some type of interest in a company’s product or services, whether directly or indirectly. Leads might be described as “hot or cold” depending on how directly they’ve expressed interest in making a purchase.
According to Hubspot, lead generation is the process of turning strangers and distant prospects into the kind of people who are actively interested in what you have to offer. Lead generation marketing is focused on creating compelling, helpful, and engaging elements that attract people to your business.
Why do I need to focus on the lead generation process?
If you don’t spend time on lead generation, you’ll be neglecting an important part of the buyer journey. Although it’s exciting to have customers come to the table ready and excited to buy, part of your company’s responsibility is communicating your value to those who aren’t as prepared.
Lead generation starts with attraction and conversion, which are two steps in the inbound marketing process that you can’t afford to miss. During these stages of the buyer journey, you’re helping buyers understand who you are, and turning them into loyal visitors. When they move beyond that point, your sales team can convert this interest into actual sales.
Types of Lead Generation
Sometimes, a lead generation definition distinguishes between two different types of acquired leads. We’ll go into more detail below, but the most common types of lead generation involve Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs).
How Lead Generation Differs from Other Marketing Methods
When it comes to marketing, business leaders and sales personnel can leverage many useful tools. Lead generation is one of those strategies, but it’s certainly not the only one. Occasionally, you might have to clarify the difference between lead generation and other types of marketing initiatives.
When it comes to demand generation versus lead generation, the distinction is in awareness. Demand generation tends to be more focused on creating long-term engagement and relational interactions. Additionally, demand generation communicates the important value of your business, and it encourages customers to become loyal advocates.
Outbound marketing is another type of campaign that differs from lead generation. With outbound marketing, your team is focused more on an outward push of the brand message to a very broad audience. The cost for this type of campaign tends to be higher, since prospects haven’t interacted with your service before and may not be interested.
How to Generate Leads for Your Business – 8 Ideas
Now that you’ve learned the basics of lead generation marketing, it’s time to take a closer look at the practical ways you can generate leads. With each strategy you implement, it’s important to consider the time, cost, and manpower that each one may require. While you do want to be cost-effective, you should also aim to play to the strengths of your business model.
1. Google and Facebook ads
If you have marketing dollars to spend, Google and Facebook ads are two highly effective ways to generate leads for your business. Although you should be willing to pay and experiment with different creative copy, these tools can drastically increase your potential lead count.
- Facebook ads. The Facebook Ad Manager allows for highly effective targeting and demographic data to ensure that you reach the perfect target audience. Facebook even offers specialized lead ads that serve as the perfect tools for getting eyes on your paid efforts. These ads include relevant calls to action that provide specific directions when someone expresses interest.
- Google ads. Google ads are often included as part of a PPC, or “pay-per-click” marketing strategy. When you purchase a Google ad as part of a PPC campaign, your company’s information will appear on Google’s search results pages. You can also attract visitors through retargeting campaigns that engage users with display ads after they’ve left your website.
2. Social Media
Although Facebook is one of the most popular social media platforms for lead generation, it’s certainly not the only one. Marketers can use platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube to strengthen customer relationships and generate new leads. Social media leads can come in through organic efforts or paid ads like previously mentioned.
When you post on social media, many platforms allow you to create clickable content with specific calls to action. You can take advantage of these opportunities to direct visitors to important pages of your website, where they can take further action.
Another best practice is using social media to spread the word about discounts, promotions, and special incentives. If individuals want to receive a coupon or download a piece of content, they may even be willing to hand over details like their name and email address. If you secure a lead with a discount offer, be sure to develop a plan for follow-up and nurturing.
3. Email Lead Generation and Email Marketing
Email marketing is especially important when it comes to B2B lead generation strategies. According to UK-based Lead Forensics, some organizations report that leads gathered from email marketing contribute to up to 58% of all yearly revenue. This underscores the importance of developing an intuitive and specialized email marketing plan.
How exactly does email marketing benefit lead generation? For starters, email marketing can be highly personalized. Savvy marketers can also deliver email in a variety of ways, including text-based messages or image-rich newsletters. By developing subscriber lists, it’s possible to interact with leads in even more personalized ways.
Email marketing also helps you capitalize on opportunities like we previously mentioned where a prospect downloads a piece of content. With email nurturing strategies, you can continue to engage these prospects over time. You may even choose to offer a specific discount to help nudge them towards conversion.
4. Word of Mouth Referrals
There’s no denying that word of mouth marketing still exists, even in a technology-driven culture like we have today. Personal referrals, customer testimonials, and online reviews are some of the many ways that people still turn to the advice of others for purchasing decisions.
Research from Hubspot shows that a shocking 90% of customers are more likely to believe business recommendations that come from friends. This highlights the importance of focusing on each and every customer experience, no matter how small. The more you can delight your customers, the more likely they are to help you generate leads through word of mouth referrals.
But in today’s digital age, there are some downsides to word of mouth referrals. A lack of data and control over outreach makes it more difficult to capitalize on leads that come through in-person conversation. As a result, be proactive in getting your customers to spread the word through online channels and referral networks.
5. Marketing Automation
Marketing automation is one of the ways that B2B and B2C companies can use technology and software to streamline marketing tasks to drive better results. Automation includes things like email sequences, workflows, data structure, and more.
How does marketing automation help organizations generate more business leads? For starters, strong automation prevents mishandled data and simple human errors. With automation tools, you never have to worry about losing track of contact information or forgetting to send out an important message about your product.
Marketing automation tools can also help you locate the right customers from the start, with key demographic and search data. This prevents you from spending marketing budget or ad money on wasted channels that miss the mark. Automation also helps track analytics and results so that your entire team can see the return on investment of your lead capture efforts.
6. Organic Traffic
With more companies and businesses paying to play, using organic traffic as a primary lead generation strategy might be a slower journey. That’s not to say, however, that organic traffic can’t be a significant factor in your lead generation goals.
To capitalize on organic traffic for leads, it’s important to improve some of your other marketing methods. For example, boosting your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) is one way to increase organic traffic and drive new leads.
Factors such as site speed, website structure, and user experience can also improve lead generation results with organic traffic. When new visitors land on your website, it’s important to deliver a strong first impression while providing a clear message about next steps. You can accomplish this by using strong CTAs and by including multiple opportunities for prospects to engage.
7. Lead Capture Forms
Lead capture forms are often used on website landing pages and in social advertisements to collect data from visitors. While these forms can be extremely effective for capturing contact information, there are several industry best practices to follow. These include:
- Placing a form at the top of the page or “above the fold”
- Offering a picture or image of the content download or special offer
- Using as short a form as possible to increase response rate
- Asking for the right kind of information in required fields
- Communicating data privacy to increase consumer confidence
There are many different services and tools you can use to create professional and branded lead capture forms. Depending on how you want to integrate the lead data with your customer relationship management platform (CRM), you can tweak your lead capture forms accordingly.
8. Optimized Content and Blog Posts
Developing strong website content is one of the primary ways that a marketing team generates leads. There are many different types of content you can incorporate on your website, ranging from shorter blog posts to longer pieces of content such as eBooks and whitepapers.
No matter what type of content you produce, it should always be timely, educational, and high-quality. Good content not only addresses the pain points or questions that your target audience has, but it also answers them in the proper context. Additionally, content should deliver exceptional value in order to build trust.
The process of optimizing your content should include:
- Targeted keywords to address popular pain points
- Evidence and support to help the buyer overcome objections
- Positioning the product or service as an industry-leading solution
- Information for top, middle, and bottom-of-funnel leads
Create a Recurring Lead Generation Strategy
Once you’ve created a lead generation strategy that provides high-quality contacts to grow your business, the next step is to replicate it. While a one-time referral can generate a huge business break, you need to be able to repeat the process for continued sales and growth over time.
With services such as inbound marketing strategy and digital advertising, the professional team at Striventa can help you create recurring results for years to come. Instead of a one size fits all approach, our marketing experts take a personalized look at your organization’s values and goals. We’ll help you define your target audience, create compelling content, and generate results year-round.