63% of marketers claim that generating traffic and figuring out how to generate leads is their most difficult challenge.
Attention is the gold dust that marketers compete aggressively for, which is why generating leads is seen as a difficult challenge, a challenge you are all too familiar with.
In a business that generates recurring revenue each month, it’s obviously important you concentrate a chunk of time on retaining these customers long term. On the other hand, it’s also necessary to have a well oil lead generation function churning out high quality leads that will eventually become long term customers.
If you think about it carefully, the lead generation process is the first step in your retention strategy. First impressions matter and relationship building starts from the moment you encounter the potential customer for the first time.
In this article we will go through exactly what lead generation is, the processes you need to follow to make your lead generation successful and look at some strategies to follow to make your lead generation successful.
Skip ahead to:
- What is lead generation?
- What are the different lead generation channels?
- Factors to consider for lead generation
- How to generate leads: 9 different strategies you can use
What is lead generation?
Lead generation is the process of attracting the attention of potential customers that could lead to future sales. A lead is someone who has engaged with one of your marketing channels and has registered interest in finding out more about what you offer.
In the past lead generation was very much associated with cold calling. Leads would be generated through the sales person working through a list of numbers with a script at hand to pitch the person to sign them up. Think of films like The Wolf of Wall Street or Glengarry Glen Ross – but less aggressive!
Nowadays lead generation is much more process driven and data driven than before. Data especially has allowed marketers to tailor their pitch in a more personalized fashion, leading to better quality leads for the sales team. However since everyone has access to the same technology, the market will be more competitive.
What are the different lead generation channels?
Typically lead generation is done through both inbound and outbound channels. As we have mentioned before, cold calling is largely a thing of the past. In saying that though some outbound strategies are still key to lead generation. Let’s take a closer look at the inbound and outbound channels used for lead generation.
In the past salespeople usually reached out to a prospect who in turn would be completely uneducated on the product or service. Today however, with tonnes of information just a Google search away, the modern day consumer is more informed than ever before.
Inbound marketing involves creating relevant content to the consumer. This could be in the form of blogs, ebooks, videos or whitepapers. The person is seeking out information around your industry or product so are actively engaging with your content to educate themselves.
The goal of content marketing should be to create high quality relevant content that firstly attracts the attention of the person. Then, as the person moves along the funnel from potential lead to fully qualified lead, content should be made available to them to further educate them.
Inbound marketing is crucial to modern lead generation. In fact, 85% of B2B marketers consider content marketing one of their most important marketing goals.
In the age of the internet and search engines it’s very easy for the consumer to be in the know about a product or service. This has led to outbound marketing taking a less prominent role in the leads generation process. Despite this, there is still merit in combining outbound strategies with inbound strategies to yield better results for your lead generation process.
Email marketing is probably the most important of these outbound strategies. Say for example you have created a high impact whitepaper that a person needs to submit their email to download. If this person doesn’t immediately want to find out more about your product or service, you can steadily drip feed them content until they are ready to talk to a salesperson.
Other forms of outbound marketing include event marketing and digital ads. Digital ads have become a big driver of leads in recent years. This is especially true with social media advertising where you can disrupt the person’s timeline with a highly targeted ad. However people can get tired quite quickly of being sold too, with a survey finding recently that 74% of people are tired of seeing ads on their timeline.
Factors to consider for lead generation
Before embarking on a lead generation strategy there are a couple of key factors you should consider. Learning how to generate leads can be a tough nut to crack and there are a lot of things that can go wrong. Here are a few essential factors to consider before you can start generating leads.
Know your customer
A common mistake that businesses make is trying to be all things to all people. By casting your net far and wide there is actually less of a chance of success as your messaging will be bland and generic. Before you even consider launching your first Facebook Ad campaign or writing your first data driven whitepaper, take some time to figure out who you are trying to attract to your business.
Let’s take the example of a fitness studio. The studio could choose to offer a range of different fitness disciplines to a range of different ages. The likelihood is they’ll get nowhere fast however as the studio will have no clear identity that appeals to a specific demographic.
What this studio needs to do is pick a specific fitness discipline like HIIT, and a specific target audience – for example women aged 23 to 35 who would be considered high earners. Knowing this information means you can be super specific with your messaging and lead generation tactics.
Lead generation is a challenge precisely because of the competitive nature of the market. Put simply you are going to have competition now matter what. Being aware of what what strategies your competitors are implementing is a no-brainer
As a business owner, you need to be more mindful about all the businesses selling the same products and services as yours. Additionally, if your competitors are using a specific strategy that works for them, it could be great for your business as well.
By researching your competitor, you can better understand how your rivals go about customer acquisition. The research will also give you hints about what’s wrong with your competitor’s strategy.
If you thought the location was not an important consideration, you’re wrong. You’ll be surprised to see the number of ways location can change the structure of your lead generation strategy.
If you intend to target your services to one specific geographical location, you need to ensure that you build your strategy accordingly. Any other approach to acquiring target audience data would lead you to the wrong people.
As we looked at in our article on the best location to open a gym, your location can dictate the type of members you will target. For example if you are in an urban area with lots of offices you may be targeting leads with higher income – which means tailoring your messaging to suit this target market.
Budget is yet another critical factor for your lead generation strategy. The reason for this is because some marketing strategies demand more budget and investment than others. About 53% of marketers spend almost 50% of their budget on lead generation.
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Because of this, it means that small businesses might not have the budget for all strategies. If you find yourself in a similar position, it’s best to put the plan on hold.Only once you have the funds to implement those strategies, should you use it.
Like many other businesses, don’t commit the mistake of accommodating investment-intensive marketing plans in a peanut-sized budget. You’ll be only stretching your budget! Also, this plan will deliver nothing but disappointing ROI and low-quality leads.
How to generate leads: 9 different strategies you can use
There is no one single way to generate leads. Multiple channels and strategies can be used to get your message across and attract an audience. These channels and strategies, both inbound and outbound, can be combined to get better results than your competitors. In this list we will look at things like high value content, paid ads, event marketing and many other lead generation strategies.
1. Make use of high-value content
Nowadays, the last thing people want is to be “sold to”. With large masses of marketing messages present nearly everywhere we look, there is no doubt that fatigue has set in amongst the general population when it comes to sales and marketing.
A way around this is to create high value content. What we mean by high value content is something that actually is useful to the person consuming it. It could be a white paper, in-depth case study, video, infographic, ebook guide, or anything else.
Make sure that your content is targeted and valuable. For instance, if your customer is in the hospitality industry, create content for hospitality leaders. Learn about what interests your audience and offer content that appeals the most.
2. Personalized email marketing
Research by Experian claims that personalized email marketing can result in 6x higher revenue. Something as simple as an email greeting with the recipients’ names can do the trick.
A slight personal touch can drive more leads while helping you to build a loyal customer base.
You should also track your progress along the way. Test, modify, and evolve is the right way to go for a personalized email marketing plan.
3. Facebook ads
Facebook ads are one of the most effective ways of generating leads for your business. The business ads on Facebook can help you pinpoint and target your customers. The targeting options such as location, age, and interests allow your approach to be more aggressive.
If you use this tactic, make sure that the ads feel relevant to your target audience. If your content is not to the point, people are more likely not to opt for your services. Also, make sure that your ads are attractive and catchy. You can use colours, typography, graphics, or images to ensure that the ads are impressive.
4. Leverage social media hashtags
You might not realize, but more than 50% of your customers might be actively using social media. The good news is that your business can explore a variety of social media.
Depending on the product type, you can use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other social media channels. Relevant hashtags can attract the right audience for your business. The hashtags should be targeted and strategic.
5. Share videos related to your business on YouTube
Sharing videos might sound like a quirky idea, but it works for a majority of businesses. YouTube is longer just a hosting service; it has become a massive search engine. It is as popular as any other social media.
You can leverage this platform to increase engagement with your target audience and potential lead gen. That’s not it – YouTube is beneficial when it comes to building a concrete ideal customer base. A YouTube channel will let your business stand out and attract more prospects. Plus, as many as 90% of the audience claim that video helps them make buying decisions, and 64% of the audience state that seeing a video makes them more likely to purchase.
6. Start guest blogs
Guest blogs are no longer an uncommon lead generation strategy among a new business or ones that have existed for a while now. It can become a powerful source of leads for your business. Once you attract people to your website, you have to try and convert them.
You might be already struggling with generating more traffic on your website. By contributing through guest posts, you can increase visibility.
Here are some aspects that you need to implement for your guest blogs:
- Pick a well-respected and established website for your guest blogs
- The article or content should be valuable for the audience
- It would help if you redirected the visitors to an appropriate landing page on your website
- Each guest post should possess unique information
7. Host a webinar
Webinars have an equal effect to that of a lead generation tool. You might be wondering how and why webinars are so impactful?
Firstly, if you offer an hour-long session that delivers value to the attendees, they feel obligated to revert. Secondly, by giving coupons at the end of these webinars, you offer your attendees an incentive.
These coupons compel the attendees to at least check out the business website and potentially invite paying customers into your business.
8. Attach a free software tool on your site
By offering an easy-to-use software tool on your site, you’ll be a step closer to building trust within your customer base and extending a list of contact information such as phone numbers for prospective customers.
An easy-to-use free software tool can help the audience derive value from your website. The best example of this is Neil Patel’s blog Quick Sprout. Quick Sprout offers a website analyzer that resonates well with the website’s visitors.
9. Referral partnerships
You can unlock a flow of leads by partnering with small businesses around you. An easy way to facilitate this plan is with referral partnerships. Besides, referral partnerships have a great scope of generating high-quality leads and increasing your conversion rate from startups and small businesses.
In the case of referral partnerships, you receive a small percentage of the revenue from referrals that you redirect to your partner and vice versa.
While searching for the best ways to generate leads, it is easy to get tangled in a web of different tactics. Even if your business is at its peak, creating fresh leads is crucial.
Using the proven strategies that we have mentioned above, you can drive leads for your business. Lead generation enables your business to not only survive but also grow and diversify.
Simply take up these tactics and discuss them with your team to see which one works best for your business. Once you’ve agreed, it’s important to know how to manage your leads, you can learn how to do this here.