Welcome to the beginners’ guide to lead generation. Lead generation has been around for a long time, but methods have changed from simply stumbling across a customer early on in their sales journey and sending the sales team their way.
Instead of buying unqualified email lists and using outdated variations of mass advertising, businesses must build good relationships with their potential buyers in order to find success with lead generation.
What is lead generation?
Lead generation is the process of attracting leads with the hope of converting them into a paying customer. A lead is anyone who shows interest in your company’s product or service but may not be ready to purchase yet.
The leads have given you a reason to believe that they may be interested in your product or service, so can be defined as potential customers.
Why is lead generation so important?
If you want to grow your business and attract more customers online, then lead generation is vital. Any size of business can benefit from effective lead generation and it is equally as important for B2C and B2B companies.
Effective lead generation enables businesses to generate more traffic to their website, which in turn, leads to the further conversion of such leads into customers. An increase in conversion rates is always a welcome outcome as it leads to higher profits.
The lead generation process
Generally speaking, the lead generation process consists of three simple steps:
- A potential customer finds your business through a marketing channel such as your website, social media page, or blog.
- From this channel, they click on a call-to-action (CTA) that encourages them to take some form of action
- For the final step, the CTA takes them to a landing page which is a page designed to capture the valuable lead information on a form in exchange for your offer (forms are typically on landing pages, but can be embedded anywhere on your site)
Examples of the ‘offer’ can include more information about a certain product or service, an email newsletter sign up, a discount, free trial, template, or eBook. The offer must be valuable enough to the visitor that they are willing to provide you with their personal information.
How do I generate leads?
Once you have your lead generation form and offer set up, you can begin using various channels to start generating leads. We’re going to run through the top 5 most popular lead generation methods to get you started:
Creating valuable content is a great way to drive traffic onto your page. Provide visitors with information that they will find useful then use a CTA to encourage them to sign up for something even more useful such as an eBook or free trial.We have a whole article dedicated to helping beginners get to grips with content marketing here.
You can use emails to encourage further action from people who have already signed up to receive communication from your business. This action could include signing up to a free trial or an offer to buy a product or service you have reason to believe they will be interested in. You can read our beginners guide to email marketing here.
Ads and Retargeting
You can use ads to collect brand new leads by using them to promote your offer. It’s important that your landing page or form matches exactly what is promised in the ad, otherwise you’ll find yourself spending a lot of money with a low conversion rate. You can also use retargeting ads to target leads you already have to encourage them to take more advanced actions such as purchasing.
Use your own site to generate leads! You have full control over your blog posts so you can fit the entire piece around your end goal of lead generation. If your offer is is a free trial for accountancy software, then you can write a blog on why choosing the right software is so important for accountants… which makes your offer extra appealing and relevant!
Social media platforms have made it easy to encourage your followers to act. Instagram’s swipe up highlight, Facebook’s CTA on page and shortened links on Twitter are all features that you should utilise for lead generation. Promote your offer on your social posts and include a call-to-action in your caption. You can read our beginners guide to social media here if you aren’t sure where to start.
What do I do with my leads?
Now you’ve got your leads, what comes next? The process doesn’t end when you generate the leads, there are several other steps that are just as important to the overall lead generation strategy:
Organise your leads
As you generate leads, you find it useful to be able to track them, attribute them to a generation source, score, and segment them before you begin nurturing. While you can do this manually for a smaller business, an automated system in place such as HubSpot can be an excellent tool to use if you want to scale up.
Get sales on board
A lead should have a seamless experience when jumping from marketing efforts to the sales team. This means the customer experience doesn’t differ when the sales team are following up with a potential customer that has come from a marketing lead.
Track every step of the way
It’s important to track what meaningful returns you’re seeing from the generated leads. You may well have generated 1000 email addresses, but if none of those have taken further action yet (purchase or other valuable action) there could be a problem with the lead quality.
Measure and optimise
You’ve heard it before – the more you test, the more you know! A/B testing for lead generation is important to make sure you’re not wasting resources. Test various CTAs, images, and copy choices to make sure you’re giving your audience what they want. Once you know what they like, you can optimise your strategy for the best results.
Lead Generation for small businesses
Small business who are looking to make the most of their marketing efforts, should never overlook the importance of lead generation. Businesses that use lead generation are more likely to make more sales and as a result, make more profit.
As we always suggest for small businesses, start small and scale up from there. There’s no problem with starting out manually organising your leads if this is what suits your business and you have the time to do so. Make the most of your platforms and start turning your audience into leads today!