Whether your company sells products to everyday consumers, small business owners, or manufacturers, bringing in new leads is essential. Generating leads is one of the keystones for building a healthy, growing business.
So what is lead generation, and how does it work?
What Is Lead Generation?
Lead generation involves finding new customers for your business. This process has many steps, from attracting your target audience and convincing visitors to fill out a contact form to nurturing their interest and making a sale. Your end goal is to build a large customer base with high-value clients.
The Lead Generation Process
Lead generation has five main stages:
- Marketing: Attracting potential customers through search results, blog articles, or web pages
- Conversion: Prompting visitors to take a desired action, such as clicking on a call-to-action
- Nurturing: Cultivating the interest of leads with follow-up communications
- Sales: Successfully persuading leads to purchase, turning them into customers
- Remarketing: Building a good client relationship to encourage repeat business
For B2B companies, nurturing the right leads can eventually result in lucrative sales agreements.
How Can Your Business Generate Leads Online?
Digital marketing is arguably the most critical part of any lead generation strategy. To reach potential clients online, you need to invest in the following avenues.
Your company’s website is its base of operations online. So how can you stand out?
- Simple, persuasive web pages: Create powerful web pages using unique content and images that drive home the main points.
- Well-organized product pages: Help potential customers find exactly what they’re looking for with a website layout that’s easy to navigate.
- Authoritative blog articles: Show your brand’s industry expertise and friendly nature with well-researched guides, blog articles, and other high-quality content.
- Keyword-optimized landing pages: Motivate your target audience with landing pages that connect with the right online searches.
With an attractive, easy-to-use, and professional website, you make a great first impression on potential clients.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO helps your business rank high on Google search results. When potential leads search for topics related to your services, they can see and visit your website. Nearly 50% of all product-related searches start on Google. In fact, the majority of users perform three or more searches every day! That’s a lot of opportunities to attract clicks.
If you own a small business, most of your target audience probably involves local customers. Local SEO helps your company stand out for nearby searches using a Google Business Profile, proximity-based keywords, content marketing, and other techniques.
Search advertising lets you customize your keywords, demographics, advertising messages, and target audience. For B2B companies with niche clients — such as manufacturers — search ads are a massive help for delivering the right message to the right people.
Google Local Services Ads (LSA)
Google Local Services Ads combine the value of local SEO with the speed of pay-per-click advertising. With LSA, you only pay when clicks generate leads. Potential customers contact your business directly from targeted ads.
Posts on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube capture the attention of potential customers, showing off your brand’s attractive qualities in a personal way. Similarly, B2B companies connect with countless valuable industry leads thanks to LinkedIn.
What Are Qualified Leads?
The lead qualification process rates potential clients from cold (not interested) to hot (ready to buy). Each type of qualified lead is at a different stage of the sales funnel:
- Information Qualified Leads: IQLs warm up to your business. They have clicked on one of your CTAs and want more information about your services or products.
- Marketing Qualified Leads: MQLs know what kind of product they need, and they’re weighing options before making a purchase. Whitepapers, videos, buying guides, and FAQs pages can help nudge them in the right direction.
- Sales Ready Leads: SRLs are nearly ready to buy. At this stage, your sales team can contact the leads and offer custom solutions that address their budget, needs, and goals.
- Sales Qualified Leads: SQLs have selected the products they want and put them in their shopping cart, so to speak. Your sales team and website design should help SQLs complete the purchase as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
The takeaway from this process is that some leads are more valuable than others. Therefore, prioritize the hottest leads first.
Why Is Lead Generation Vital for a Healthy Business?
Lead generation requires effort, but it provides enormous benefits:
- Drives website traffic: Lead generation revolves around building trust, industry authority, and visibility, which can significantly increase web traffic.
- Boosts brand awareness: New customers increase your brand’s reach and reputation, making it more likely for other people to buy your products.
- Targets high-value customers: It’s intelligent to spend your time and money cultivating the contacts that provide the best return on investment.
- Increases sales: Increased traffic from your target audience helps you make more significant sales.
- Improves client retention: Actively cultivating leads and providing excellent customer service after sales results in repeat business.
The more potential clients trust you, the more likely they will take your business relationship to the next level.
How Can You Improve Your Next Lead Gen Campaign?
Getting new customers shouldn’t be just a happy accident. Follow these tips to make lead generation more effective.
1. Do Keyword Research
The first step in lead generation is knowing your target audience. Choose keywords that match up with customer searches and needs. Tools like Google Analytics provide high-quality keyword data for SEO and PPC campaigns, so you’re not throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.
2. Create a Database for Your Leads
Don’t miss conversion opportunities. A CRM lead database can help you keep track of interest. The more data you have, the better you can cultivate current and future leads.
3. Use a Scoring System
To figure out where leads are in the sales funnel, assign points to your target customer’s journey. Here is an example:
- Clicking on a CTA: 20 points
- Filling out a contact form: 30 points
- Browsing a product page: 15 points per page
- Calling your business for more information: 40 points
Add up the actions. A lead worth 40 points is warm, 70 points is hot, and 90 is very hot!
4. Study the Competition
Ultimately, lead generation is about making your target customers happy. Looking at your competitors can provide valuable insights. What are they doing right to attract clients? How can you do it better?
5. Optimize Your Website for Mobile Devices
Over 50% of all web searches happen on mobile devices. Many consumers and business owners browse for products using a smartphone. If you want to attract more business, your website should look good on mobile and support mobile payments.
6. Make Landing Pages Simple and Direct
Don’t confuse your leads. Keep landing pages focused on one message. Tell potential customers what to do, why, and how. Use bullet points for benefits and features. Make sure the CTA is always visible.
7. Engage with Your Audience on Social Media
Make time for potential customers on social media (or have our team manage it for you). Respond appreciatively to praise and keep comments positive in the case of criticism. Above all, make a great impression.
8. Integrate Multiple Marketing Channels
Maximize your opportunities to bring in leads by connecting your marketing avenues. For example, use QR codes and in-store ads to direct mobile users to your website. Promote new blog articles or YouTube videos on social media. Encourage website visitors to follow you on Facebook or LinkedIn.
How Can Lead Generation Help Your Business?
A smart lead gen campaign doesn’t just attract more customers – it markets to the right kind of customers. By implementing lead generation strategies across SEO, website, advertising, and other channels, you can bring in clients that offer high long-term value for your business.
What is lead generation for marketing? It’s the single most important goal for e-commerce. Today’s hot leads become tomorrow’s loyal clients. At Digital Neighbor, we have designed many campaigns to drive lead strategy, and we can improve your lead gen techniques, too! Contact us today for a customized solution.