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Building a strong customer base is easier said than done. Even with the perfect product, a business will struggle if it fails at the most crucial step of running a business:
And that’s what lead generation is all about.
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into learning everything about Lead Generation.
- What it is and why it is so important to today’s businesses.
- Show the lead generation process and what it is made up of
- How to create a lead gen campaign for your business, including various strategies you can employ right now to generate more leads
- The best tips on running a lead generation campaign.
So if you’re ready, let’s begin by moving on to the first section, which answers the most basic question on this subject:
What is a Lead?
It refers to a person who expresses interest in a company’s product or service.
Someone who asks for a brochure for a condo is a lead. A person who fills an online form to get a free car insurance quote is a lead. Someone who signs up for a free online course training on stock market investing is a lead. The same goes for the person who attends a seminar about franchising a business.
In these examples, each person expressed interest to know more about a product or use their service in exchange for providing their contact info.
What is Lead Generation?
It’s the process of acquiring potential customers by offering information or services that prospects deem valuable.
By knowing who is willing to demo or learn more about their product or service, the company can determine who is likely to be converted into a customer.
Let’s say you’re someone who’s looking to buy life insurance coverage.
You do a quick search online and end up on a popular life insurance provider’s website. They offer a free online quote by simply entering your details.
A few days later, you receive an email from the insurance company with promotional links to some of their most popular insurance products.
You’d probably click and check them out, right? Yes—because you’ve been planning on getting a life insurance policy! And they know this because you used their free online service to get a quote.
The valuable service/product/content/information that is provided for free in exchange for contact information is called a lead magnet.
By offering a valuable service (free insurance quote), the company was able to identify individuals who are interested or ready to buy life insurance.
And that’s how Lead Generation is used to convert prospects into customers.
Benefits of Lead Generation Campaigns?
What we’ve mentioned in the example above is pretty much the main benefit of lead generation (identifying prospects who are ready or likely to buy).
However, the following are worth mentioning too because they show other reasons why lead gen is essential.
- Brand Awareness
Lead gen helps generate buzz around your product or service. It increases recognition for the brand.
When you offer useful and relevant information that is related to your product or services, people will naturally be curious to learn more about you, the company, and what it has to offer.
- Leads to More Sales
Perhaps the ultimate goal of generating leads—converting prospects into paying customers. More customers = More Revenue.
- Creates a Win-Win Situation
Both the prospect and business-owner win since both parties benefit from matching the customer’s needs with their services/product.
The customer gets to solve their problem/need while the business gets more revenue for providing the solution.
- Avoids the Cold-Call Approach
Don’t you just hate it when you receive a random call/text/email from a person or company offering X services that you have absolutely no use for?
Lead generation avoids that trap since it’s able to identify people who might actually need the product or service.
- Inexpensive Way of Promoting Your Business
Providing valuable content or helping people solve X problems are a couple of lead generation tactics that businesses can employ without spending a lot.
It also puts the company in good light since they’re coming from a position to help and not outright sell.
Also Read: 150+ Business Ideas in the Philippines
Why is Lead Generation Important to Today’s Businesses?
Without a steady stream of leads, a business will have a hard time generating revenue. If you don’t know who to sell to, you’ll end up spending way too much time and effort on people who don’t have the slightest inclination or need for your service or product.
Legendary direct-mail response copywriter Gary Halbert once said (paraphrased), “Knowing where the hungry crowd’s at is the ultimate advantage to have if you’re in the business of selling burgers”.
To Halbert, it’s not about having the best burger or having the best location for your restaurant.
It’s about getting in front of the people who want your product.
And in today’s hyper-competitive business space, the ones who are constantly able to identify prospects and convert them into paying customers are the ones who stay ahead of the game.
Lead Generation Process: How Does it Work?
Here’s a quick snapshot of the lead generation process.
Compelling Offer —> CTA —> Landing Page —-> Form —> Database
Let’s begin by defining each element and the role it plays in the lead generation process.
- Compelling Offer – Refers to something that the prospect finds valuable. It can take the form of content, free service, discount, etc., It should be valuable enough to the prospect that they would be willing to give their personal info in exchange for using or obtaining the offer.
- Call to Action (CTA) – It’s a prompt that urges a prospect to act in relation to the compelling offer. Examples include: “Click here to subscribe”, “Buy Now!”, “Click here to download, and more.
- Landing Page – A specific page on the website where the prospect gets directed to upon clicking the CTA button. This page contains information about the product or service that’s being offered.
- Form – If the CTA and Landing Pages provide information to the prospect, the Form asks for the prospect’s information. They receive the offer after they provide their information.
- Database – A repository of prospect data that has been collected and can be accessed, managed, and updated.
Here’s an overview of the steps in the lead generation process:
- Prospect stumbles upon your website/hears about your free webinar/saw your FB ad, wants a free estimate, etc.,
- They click on the call to action button (CTA) to access the compelling offer.
- The prospect gets directed to a landing page containing all relevant information about your product or service.
- To access the compelling offer, they provide their personal information
- Their information gets saved in the database and will be used by the company to contact them and send them related offers.
- When these prospects purchase these offers, they are now considered customers.
This is how lead generation works. The entire process works for the sole purpose of targeting new prospects with the highest chance of being converted into a customer.
Key Challenges of Lead Generation
- Finding high-quality leads
Not all leads are equal. Some are better than others. Your job is to employ systems and strategies to separate the wheat from the chaff.
- No Business Objectives and Key Performance Indicators
Without clear goals and performance metrics, how will you know which methods to use for your lead gen campaign?
- Identifying which lead gen strategy to use for getting the attention of prospects
The great thing about lead generation is that you can choose from various strategies and tools to get the job done. The hard part is knowing which one is best for spreading your brand’s message.
- Having the right systems for managing and tracking leads
It’s important that you have the necessary system and software for managing your leads because without proper list segmentation and customization, you won’t be able to accurately identify the type of lead you have.
It could lead to sending the wrong content and offer which results in them unsubscribing from your list.
- How to Score and Nurture Leads
Lead scoring is the process of classifying your leads according to certain metrics. Nurturing leads refers to the steps you take to keep your leads engaged and ready to buy
- Providing valuable content to leads consistently
What type of content to provide, the frequency, and execution matters if you want your leads to keep your leads engaged
- Measuring and Optimizing Performance
Identifying weak points in your campaign and knowing how to improve upon them is crucial
- Funding for Lead Gen activities
Lastly, the budget. A lead generation campaign will only look good on paper if the actual execution falls short due to errors in managing the budget.
How to Create a Lead Generation Process for Your Business?
Creating an effective lead gen process for your business requires 3 things: setting clear goals, executing the right strategy, and optimization.
In this section, we’ll show you the step-by-step process for creating a successful lead generation solution for your business.
1. Set Business Objectives
As one popular quote goes, “If you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”
Before you start laying down a strategy, identify first what exactly you wish to achieve. By setting concrete goals, you can come up with an accurate game plan and be able to track and measure your progress—very important in making sure your lead gen strategy remains aligned with your target.
A. Write objectives so you know what you need to accomplish.
Objectives set and align expectations for everyone involved in the lead gen strategy. Each person will get to understand their roles and what targets need to be met in order to hit the goal.
Here’s a sample business objective:
“Increase sales by 100,000 pesos in the next 12 months”
This type of goal is a great example because it’s able to identify the following:
- How much revenue you want to generate
- How long will it take to generate that target revenue
With these two targets set, you can then start figuring out how many leads you need to generate to meet those targets.
B. Calculate the number of leads you need to generate
The first thing is to determine the number of leads you need to make in order to hit your goal. And in order to compute for that, you first have to determine the value of each lead (see below).
C. Calculate the value of each lead
Knowing the value of each lead generated is essential in identifying the actual number of leads that need to be produced within the target time frame. Here’s the formula for calculating the value of each lead:
Average Sales Price of Product / Service x Average Lead Close Rate = Value of Each Lead
Here’s a sample table utilizing the elements we mentioned above. Notice how it makes the planning process easier to present and understand.
|Business Objective||Ave. Sales Price of Product or Service||Ave. Lead Close Rate||Value of Each Lead||Lead Gen Objective|
|Increase sales by 100,000 pesos in the next 12 mos||2,000 pesos||10%||2,000 x 10% = 200||100,000 / 200 = 500 new leads to generate in the next 12 mos|
But what if you just want to know how many leads you have to convert in order to hit the target?
Here’s the formula:
Average number of leads generated x Average Conversion Rate = Required Leads to Convert to Hit the Target
For example, if you generate an average of 20 leads per month and convert around 10% of it to new customers, your equation will look like this:
20 leads/mo x 10% conversion rate = 2 new customers/mo
With this information on hand, you and your team now have an actual number to hit which makes goal-setting and strategizing easier, not to mention, it also allows you to measure progress against previous performance.
2. Set KPIs
Key Performance Indicators or KPIs tell you how your lead gen program performs and if objectives are being met. Here are some of the most important ones:
- Cost per lead – How much do you need to spend to attain each new lead?
- Number of qualified leads = Refers to a prospect that has been researched and vetted by the marketing and sales teams.
- Website traffic to lead ratio = Of all website visitors, how many provide their contact information?
- Social media engagement = Who follows, shares, or likes your content? Also, who’s clicked from your page to your website for more information?
So how exactly are KPIs utilized? In the following table, we’ll show how these variables help in measuring and optimizing the performance of the lead generation campaign.
|Business Objective (12 months)||Lead Gen Objective (12 months)||KPI (12 months)|
|Increase sales Php100,000||Get 500 new leads||40% Email Open Rate10,000 FB shares2000 eBook downloads|
From this example, the 3 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) reflect the estimated numbers that need to be met in order to successfully hit the Lead Gen Objective.
Note that the first time you sit down and brainstorm the actual KPI figures, you might not come up with the correct numbers for meeting the lead gen objective. And that’s why it’s important to benchmark your KPIs against your previous results (e.g last year’s performance) so you can adjust your KPIs accordingly.
Using the example above, here’s how it would look when benchmarked against the performance from the previous year:
|Business Objective (12 months)||Lead Gen Objective (12 months)||KPI (12 months)||Benchmark (prior to Lead Gen Campaign)|
|Increase sales Php100,000||Get 500 new leads||40% Email Open Rate10,000 FB shares2000 eBook downloads||12% Email Open Rate2,000+ FB shares300+ eBook downloads|
With actual past performance (and sales) data to compare it with, you can estimate if you need to increase or decrease certain KPIs for the Lead Gen Campaign.
3. Attracting Prospects
This next step is crucial in the entire lead gen process because it teaches the methods for effective customer targeting.
As a business owner or marketer, you have to know your customers inside-out. Because the more you know about them, the better you can tailor your approach and thus get better chances of converting them into actual customers.
Here are the core elements for enticing prospects.
A. Targeting your audience
Business owners and marketers use a combination of demographics and psychographics to gain insight into the characteristics of their target audience.
- Define your target’s demographics
- Age, gender, location, income, education, profession, etc.,
- Determine your target’s psychographics
- In marketing, psychographics is used to understand the “whys” of customer behavior. It helps in giving you a better picture of who your market is. These include: Lifestyle, social class, principles and beliefs, hobbies, activities, interests, personality, etc.,
B. Create valuable content
Enticing people to check out your product and services require a carefully-crafted strategy to ensure higher rates of success. Here’s a quick 4-step guideline for crafting relevant content.
- Review the data you collected from step one. Analyze both demographics and psychographic information to gain insight into what your target customer looks like. Their preferences and perspective will help you create content that they like and find valuable.
- Check out what the competition has to offer. Make a comparative analysis of their strategies versus yours. Not only does this let you discover opportunities that are yet to be tapped by them, but it also lets you make sure you can differentiate your content from what they offer.
- Do a content audit. The goal is to review all content you currently have and find which ones can be repurposed or improved. This helps in saving money and time for content generation as there’s a high chance most of your existing content can be reused and simply improved upon.
- Publish content regularly. Maintain a schedule for publishing content and promoting them. Decide on the frequency based on your strategy and medium.
C. Turn Your Prospects into Leads
The next step is to integrate your lead magnet into your content. A lead magnet is what you’ll offer to your prospects for free in exchange for their contact info. It can come in the following forms:
- Downloadable templates and guides
- Case study or White Paper
- Free webinar
- Exclusive Access
Make sure that your CTA, Landing Page, and Form are optimized for maximum conversion. Here are a few tips for optimizing your lead capture campaign:
- Be honest and transparent
- Align the message and content
- Include social share links
- Provide the right offer at the right time
- Include your company’s information for credibility
- Correct placement of CTA, make sure it’s easy to find
- Create a sense of urgency
- Use action words
- Include testimonials and reviews on the landing page
- The landing page design should be consistent with the brand design
- Test different landing page options
- Only ask for the info you need in your form
- On your form, reassure visitors that their information is safe.
- Have an automated thank you message after they provide their contact info.
D. Transform Leads to Customers
How do you know when a prospect is ready to buy? With a simple method called Lead scoring.
Lead scoring is the process of assigning a specific value to a lead that identifies their readiness to buy.
Before you get to that point, however, you first need to define what a qualified lead looks like for your business. Once you have an idea of what a qualified lead is, the next step is to obtain their behavioral data.
This refers to how leads act and behave within the customer journey. For example, you can observe and analyze how prospects navigate through your website.
Are they reviewing options? Are they showing a willingness to buy by filling out forms? Did they request a demo? All these will serve as stats during the lead scoring process.
This leads us to the last step: creating a lead scoring system.
It acts exactly how it sounds like: You assign a point to each criteria (e.g 1-10) and then get the total. Each score represents a certain weight on the scale. A score of 5, for example, is better than 3 and will thus contribute to a higher total value.
The total score will then determine where they belong in terms of buyer-readiness. Here’s a very basic example of a lead scoring template:
|Criteria||Score (max is 10)|
|Watched promo video on website||7|
|Downloaded PDF guide||5|
|Provided Contact Details||10|
Total = 22 points
Then, using a key like this one, see which category the prospect falls into based on their score along with the corresponding next action.
22-30 pts = Go (contact prospect)
12 – 22 pts = Nurture lead
Less than 12 pts = Store in database
With this data on hand, you can tailor your approach to each lead and make sure that it’s the appropriate move based on their actions and behavior.
Because if you simply go ahead and call each lead you generate, what do you think will happen? Those who are not yet ready to buy will be turned off by your pushiness and likely unsubscribe and ask you to never contact them again.
But if you were able to identify where they’re at exactly during the customer journey (whether they’re still checking options, just want to learn more about your services, or eager to buy), you can execute the right action and make sure you don’t lose them as customers.
4. Measure and Optimize
It’s important to always measure your results in the market to determine if the campaign is in the right direction (successful) or if you need to make some adjustments to improve your results.
Identify what worked well and should be continued. Look for areas that need to be improved. Compare your current results against your KPIs and benchmark to see if you’re hitting goals or missing targets.
Always provide actual and honest results no matter what they look like. Share your thoughts and assessment with the team as to what did and didn’t work and why. Set a schedule for checking results (monthly, quarterly, etc.,) to see how the lead gen campaign is progressing.
Thorough measuring and optimizing will lead you to higher chances of success.
10 Strategies to Generate More Leads for Your Business:
1. Website / Blogging
A website or blog is one of the most effective ways of getting leads. By providing consistent and valuable content, you can build traffic and use that to identify prospects by following the lead gen process we outlined above.
2. Social Media Marketing
Social media became so deeply embedded in our lives that it’s so hard to imagine our dailies without it. And this is why it’s such a powerful marketing tool—almost everyone is in it and using it for hours in a day.
- Facebook Ads – Released in 2007, Facebook Ads is an ad system for businesses to connect with users and conduct targeted advertising to the audiences they want.
- Twitter – A Twitter Business profile lets you connect with an established audience and track them on Twitter. You can embed CTA buttons to your profile asking users to subscribe to your emails, utilize hashtags in your bio to make your business easily searchable, and send tweets to other users asking them to follow your page, subscribe, and re-tweet.
- LinkedIn – LinkedIn offers Sponsored Posts and LinkedIn Ads as lead gen services. They also offer Lead Gen Forms that automatically populate a user’s data upon clicking a CTA button.
3. Content Marketing and SEO
In a nutshell, content marketing for lead generation is all about creating content that will attract leads.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a key ingredient that helps make your content reach more eyeballs and thus more potential leads.
4. Email Marketing
Email marketing remains a popular and proven way of amassing an audience and potential customers through newsletters and other similar content.
It’s an excellent way of nurturing captured leads through content promotion and exclusive offers.
5. PPC and Display Ads
Pay-per-click (PPC) and Display Ads are popular marketing strategies wherein the advertiser pays a fee when their ads are clicked.
With this method, you can attract users who are interested in your offer. One advantage is that your ads will be displayed on top of the search engine results for related keywords.
6. Video Marketing
Video marketing is the use of video content mainly to promote and increase brand awareness.
Done right, video marketing can help boost conversion rates, encourage social media shares, and build credibility for your brand.
7. Online Events
Online events are similar in concept to video marketing but with a big plus—it makes for more engaging user experience for your audience.
The interaction it allows can be a compelling reason for your audience to join (they get to ask questions, share stories, etc.,) not to mention the “live” format somehow gives it a FOMO appeal that can help drive up viewership.
- Webinars – Webinars aims to educate and provide valuable information to an audience while at the same time serving as a platform for offering the presenter’s product or service.
- Facebook Live – Facebook Live lets individuals and businesses use the social media giant as a platform for telling people about their products or services. With it, they stream promotional and exclusive deals, interact with potential customers, redirect followers to the brand’s website, or simply provide entertaining content to boost lead acquisition.
- YouTube Live stream – Same with FB Live but on YouTube as their platform instead. A study conducted by New York magazine and Livestream revealed that 70% of the respondents prefer YouTube as their primary web streaming platform versus FB Live and Livestream.
8. Offline Events
Not all marketing nowadays happens online. In fact, most big marketing events are held offline, where both companies and audiences can literally interact with each other and learn about what’s being offered. Here are a few popular examples:
- Seminars – This type of event primarily aims to educate the target audience about a specific topic or issue. Marketers can take advantage of it by offering products or services that are related to the cause or subject matter after the event.
- Workshops – Workshops are very similar to seminars in terms of goals and structure but there’s more focus on hands-on training about the subject. For example, an art supply company can sponsor a free calligraphy workshop wherein participants will use the company’s latest art products.
- Conferences – Conferences invite thought leaders and decision-makers from prominent and leading organizations and businesses. It’s a great venue for generating leads since you get to manage the content and use that to identify prospects who will be attending the event.
9. Conversational Marketing
Conversational Marketing is defined as the use of targeted messaging through the use of AI and chatbots.
Instead of waiting on prospects to go through the sales funnel, you can open up conversations with them and achieve better engagement in the hopes of “easing” them into becoming your customers.
10. Influencer Marketing
Influencers are individuals who are considered to be experts about a certain niche and have a strong following.
Using this as leverage, marketers, and companies hire them to deliver the brand’s message and promote its products and services.
15 Lead Generation Tips
- Create Compelling Lead Magnets
Lead magnets play a vital role in your campaign. You should take the time and effort to create something truly useful and worth their time.
The right lead magnet could draw in hundreds and thousands of potential leads.
- Engage Acquired Leads
If acquiring leads is the first step, nurturing them via constant contact and providing relevant content will help in keeping them engaged and interested in your offer.
- Effective Website design
A well-executed website makes for a delightful user experience.
The last thing you want to happen is to have someone click on your lead magnet offer only to be redirected to a poorly-designed site that’s frustrating to navigate.
- Create a Positive Purchase Experience
When people are ready to purchase, having a well-thought-out check-out system is crucial. Don’t make it difficult for them to complete the purchase. Here are a couple of good examples:
- Let users make purchases with or without registration.
- Offer multiple payment options.
- Ability to easily modify shopping cart content
- Visible checkout links
- Visuals and links on the order summary page
- Exceed Customer Expectations
The way customers are treated after they’ve made a purchase determines their tendency to be a repeat customer and be someone loyal to your brand.
The key thing to remember is to nurture them not only during the lead gen stage, but also after they’ve gone through the sales funnel.
- Be in your customer’s shoes through Buyer Personas
Buyer Persona is a representation of your customer based on your market research.
You can learn a lot about your prospect’s behavior and tendencies through buyer personas which in turn can help you craft targeted content and offers to move them further down the sales funnel.
- Quality Over Quantity
When generating content, strive to always come up with the best. People get turned off by generic, run-of-the-mill content. They want something useful, relevant, or entertaining.
And if that means taking more time and resources to build, then so be it, you’ll have better results versus content that might be plenty but is seriously lacking in value.
- Be Unique with Your Email Marketing
With literally hundreds of email newsletters out there, standing out will be a challenge. It doesn’t mean, however, that you should strive to be the best.
Rather, you should focus your efforts on being unique by using your brand’s voice and keeping your readers engaged through timely offers and useful information.
- Leverage Social Media
Tap into the power of social networks to easily amass an audience for your brand.
The secret to a solid following is a brand message that resonates with them through relevant, entertaining, helpful, and engaging content.
- Be Available for Queries
How would you feel if you posted a query on your Internet Service Provider’s FB page but no one bothered to answer?
Pretty disappointed, right? This happens quite often. As a brand, it’s your responsibility to assist both prospects and customers with their queries.
Show and prove your commitment to them because failing to do so would lead to them leaving and having a bad impression about you. Worse, they would probably tell other people about it.
- Tap the Power of Influencers
Influencers are highly influential (hence the term) individuals who can help you spread your brand’s message and promote your services and products.
Be careful to choose only those who truly know what your brand is all about and are true experts in the niche that you’ll collaborate with.
- Track and Measure Results
Doing so will allow you to adjust and adapt your methods based on the feedback on your actions.
Not only will this save you money by pivoting away from failed strategies, but it will also speed up the process of getting your campaign in the right direction.
- Have a well-optimized funnel
It would be painful to realize that you’re losing potential customers because of a badly implemented sales funnel.
To avoid this, make sure that each stage is optimized with the right elements and user-experience in mind.
Go back to the section “Turn your leads into Prospects” above for a few tips in crafting your sales funnel.
- Have multiple lead magnets
Lead magnets come in the form of videos, software, free tools like worksheets, templates, etc., and useful content like guides, white papers, case studies, and more.
The more you have, the wider you can cast your net since people have different preferences on the type of offers that interest them.
- Do A/B Testing
A/B testing means comparing the results of two methods and choosing the one which garnered better results.
It’s a key strategy in marketing as it lets you determine which method works best and gets the most engagement or revenue.