What is lead generation? And how do you as a business owner master it? Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know.
Generating leads is the biggest challenge that 60% of B2B marketers face. Converting these leads to a customer is another matter.
What makes lead generation difficult for marketers? What is lead generation and why is it important anyway?
Well, it can be a little complex because you don’t want low-quality leads. Your marketing campaigns should filter those out from the start. In the end, you’ll only get high-quality leads.
These leads are tricky to get, however. And then you have to go through the lead funnel and the sales funnel to complete the transaction.
It’s a process that involves a lot of other ones. Learn more about lead generation and why marketers are racking their brains for it right here.
What Is Lead Generation?
Before mastering it, let’s learn first what is lead generation. It’s the process of identifying potential customers and converting them into customers who are ready to purchase.
It involves the process of qualifying a lead. In this method of marketing, not everyone can be a lead.
What happens is that you don’t waste time and resources on non-qualified leads. These won’t likely be buying your product anyway.
Attracting customers is the first step in marketing. After this comes identifying who among these strangers is a likely candidate.
Does it seem easy? If it does, then you’re only getting a fraction of the whole picture. It’s a complicated process that includes several strategies that work together.
Why Do You Need Lead Generation?
In the old days of marketing, it was quite simpler. You run an ad on television several times a day or buy a spot in the magazine. Either way, the idea is to reach out to customers.
Nowadays, businesses are investing in inbound marketing too. They’re getting smarter at targeting customers, not targeting everyone all the time, hoping one or two will bite.
The idea of lead generation is to let the customers come to you instead. How do you do this? You increase your online visibility as much as possible.
Customers now have the internet to get information on their own. They don’t need to rely on salespeople to find the right products for them.
The internet comes with a disadvantage, however. It’s a huge contributor to the shrinking attention span of humans. It has become crowded with ads and other unwanted information.
In turn, consumers have become selective in what they pay attention to.
That’s where inbound marketing comes in. Its number one goal is to own the customer’s attention rather than capture it for a short while.
How Do You Qualify a Lead?
So when does a lead become a lead? You gauge their level of interest in your product or service.
You can do this in several ways, one of which is lead scoring. In this method, you assign a numerical value to every lead. Based on their scores, you can then identify if they’re only interested or ready for a sale.
How you want to score a lead depends on you. But to give you an idea, some companies calculate a lead’s score by the number of actions they’ve taken on their website or other marketing channels.
You may also use the information they’ve provided to gauge their interest. Or you can see how they engage with your brand.
From their scores, you can then categorize them into MQL or SQL.
What Are MQL and SQL?
MQL refers to marketing qualified lead while SQL stands for sales qualified lead.
MQLs are leads that have expressed their interest but are not yet ready for a sales push. They may have already given you their information via your landing page or engaged with your company in any manner.
The marketing team handles MQLs. They nurture these leads to turn them into buying customers. This is how a lead funnel works.
When MQLs seem ready to purchase, they become SQLs and the sales team takes over. Your sales department then contacts the lead to make the final sales push.
That said, a lead can be a SQL from the get-go, such as when they contact you to ask a specific question about your product.
Lead Generation Marketing
Like we said above, you have to increase your online visibility so that customers can find you. How do you do that? Learn some lead generation strategies below.
PPC (pay-per-click) ads are ads you pay only when a user clicks on yours. This means you don’t need to pay for an ad spot in search engines like Google, which receives 3.5 billion searches in a day.
PPC ads are highly targeted. If a user isn’t interested, they don’t click your ad, and you don’t have to pay for that. When a user does click on your ad, they already have a decent level of interest in your product or service.
This gives you high-quality leads. Still, converting them to customers depends on the rest of your strategy.
What if that user leaves the website without doing anything else after clicking the ad? For sure, they must not be that interested to be a lead?
You might be right, but you shouldn’t give up on them right away. The fact remains that they exhibited some level of interest by clicking on the ad. So you should then find out a way to get them back.
One way to do that is through retargeting campaigns. You target those you’ve already targeted, but you show a new ad with a better message or promotion. Then, make sure these ads lead to a better landing page that will convert them.
Content marketing refers to blog posts, videos, infographics, images, webinars, and such. It’s the heart of any inbound marketing campaign, so it’s not surprising that companies are willing to invest much in creating valuable content.
It generates leads by capturing the attention of users who have an interest in the subject. After you’ve gained their attention, you can then direct them to a landing page via a call-to-action (CTA).
It won’t be successful if they don’t like the content, however. Make sure the content is valuable to the users to get more engagement.
Don’t know what to write? Read Content Discovery: How to Generate Data-Driven Content Marketing Ideas
Got the email of a lead? That’s great, but don’t celebrate yet. You still have to nurture them to make them a paying customer.
Let your email marketing campaign do that for you. Create emails that will make these leads want to open your emails.
It should then direct to the relevant page; a blog, a landing page, or the product page.
Having a Blog
Creating a blog increases the chances of customers finding you. It improves your online presence, as long as you are doing SEO right.
Your blog can be about anything relevant to your industry. Post helpful content that provides value; at the end of each post, encourage the reader to subscribe.
They may not be ready to make a purchase yet; after all, they’re only reading a blog post. Asking them to subscribe, though, takes them one step forward in the sales process.
Use your blog to keep them interested. At some point, they’ll move forward on their own to conversion.
Social Media Marketing
Most likely, your customer is lurking on some social media platform, whether that be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Your job is to find out where they are and then establish social media marketing campaigns to capture them.
Fortunately, social media companies have optimized their platforms for advertisers. You can, for example, roll out a native ad that leads to your account or a landing page.
Read our free guide: How to Develop a Goal-Driven Social Media Marketing Plan
Social media has a lot of data about their customers, which makes targeting here a breeze. The leads you can get here is also of high quality.
Even if you don’t use ads, you can use your social media account to drive engagement. Likely leads will flock to your page, and you can begin your lead funnel strategy.
Is Lead Generation Worth It?
Lead generation sounds like a lot of work. Is it worth it?
The short answer is yes. Buying leads is easier, but you’ll have a harder time converting those leads.
Most of the time, such leads don’t even know about you. To them, you’re only an annoying telemarketer who’ll do nothing but waste their time. They might not even answer the phone, as people don’t like receiving phone calls anymore.
To put it down in the simplest way possible, cold calls are intrusive, whether you believe what you have is going to change their lives for the better.
This applies to emails too. They’ll likely mark your email as spam, which earns you a ticket to the email provider’s blacklist.
On the other hand, organic leads already have an interest in your product or service. The difference is they’ve opted in to know more about you. They only need a nudge in the right direction to complete the transaction.
Find High-Quality Leads
What is lead generation and what can it do for you? We hope this guide provided all the answers you seek because it’s an aspect of digital marketing you shouldn’t ignore.
Learning about it is only the beginning, however. Your next task is to find high-quality leads.
This is a whole subject on its own with lots of things to discuss, so make sure to check out our blog for more help. We provide tons of guides and tips so hop on now and stay on top of the competition!