Did you know that 63% of people on the Internet prefer messaging a chatbot to communicate with a brand? Chatbots
If you are a start-up entrepreneur or in any way related to a business organisation, this lead generation guide is meant for you. We have everything you need to know, right from the basics, to the tips and tricks involved as well as the cost implications. After all, there are several methods to generate leads, and it’s the versatility of the process makes it so lucrative for every form of business.
You also need to consider the strategies based on the nature of your business, the product or service you are marketing, and finally, the people who will be buying your products. When you think about it in this way, it becomes quite clear that there is a lot involved in the process.
For example, take a business with a product meant for the luxury class and can only be marketed well through visual mediums. For such a product and target customer group, social media platforms will be the best for lead generation.
Moving on from the example, now let us focus on the basics of lead generation. These include the definition of a lead, the concept of lead generation, why it is important for your business, how to generate leads and how to market your business for lead generation. We will also touch upon the Lead Generation Funnel, its benefits and stages of application.
What is a Lead?
Lead refers to a possible client or contact who could be changed into a potential customer. Leads are prospects who could be interested in the business and can be made to invest in it. They have shown interest in the company in some way. The true meaning of lead depends on the company.
For an NGO, a possible lead could be an investor or sponsor who wants to invest their money for the community’s welfare. For a profit-oriented business, leads could be another business client or an individual customer.
The common point is that all leads are a prospect who is expected to invest in the company through a sponsorship, partnership, or just through a successful purchase. Finding leads is essential for a business to grow further and tap into the opportunities present in the market.
What is lead generation?
Lead generation simply refers to the process through which strangers who had never heard of your business and were unaware of your offerings are successfully turned into a lead. Usually, leads are created through marketing and sales approaches that reach out to different individuals.
The marketing approach could be over social media, a blog, a post, or a click on the website. By responding to the marketing approach, an individual displays the first bit of interest in your company. It does not matter whether they are immensely interested or have responded after a fleeting thought. Each response is critical and should be followed up with further rounds of communication or marketing approaches.
Your next step would be to reach out to every one of these individuals who had responded and persuade them to make a purchase. The common ways of follow-ups are either through a phone call, message, or even an email. But today, there are many developed ways to reach out to them to customised or tailored messages.
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Why is lead generation important for your business?
Lead generation is a common strategy used by brands to grow their business, increase sales, and reach new customers. And every business needs a good lead generation strategy to target new audience groups and achieve sales goals.
Lead generation processes could have different goals for different companies. For instance, you could generate leads to drive traffic on your website, blog, or social media page and increase awareness among the people. It all also depends on the stage of the brand or the product.
For an already established brand launching a new product, the aim for a lead generation would be to increase sales. If it is new in the market, then the goal of lead generation will be to raise awareness and understanding about the brand and what it offers. On the other hand, a company that seeks to develop a new product would use lead generation to interact with the customers and try to understand their needs.
Ways to generate leads
Depending on the goals of a business and other mentioned variables, there are multiple ways to generate leads. Some of them have been enlisted and discussed below. Choose the lead generation strategy that is best suited for your business goals.
1. Social media marketing
Social media marketing is all in rage today. Be it Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, every social media platform has adapted itself to match the requirements of businesses. Apps today display ads and have different features for business pages. Social media platforms are an economic and efficient way to spread the word about your business and interact with your customers.
The process can be as simple as setting up a business account on the app and posting regular content about your business. The apps have paid features for the business pages that make it easier for them to emerge from the algorithm and reach out to more and more people.
Most apps have special dashboards designed for business owners to give them a detailed insight into how their page is doing and how the audience interacts. As the audience interacts with the page more, it is more likely that the posts will appear to other users. Thus the chances of generating leads increase.
Webinar refers to the virtual alternative of seminars. It is an event where a company representative discusses the products and services with possible leads. Webinars are a great way to showcase the features of your products and prove why they ate better than their alternatives.
Webinars work the best for software service-related companies who can show ad explain how their products work. It puts their doubts to rest and answers every question they have regarding the product.
Furthermore, the company representative and the attendees can interact in real-time. This makes the process quite transparent and hence trustworthy for the audiences. Many companies often give incentives and discounts to the attendees to promote them to attend the webinar.
Many well-established companies and brands have used blogging as a means to spread information about their products and showcase how versatile they are. Blogs are a great way to share information and discuss the different ways your product can be of use to the users. You can discuss the range of products you have, the differences between them and who should use what. It is a great way to build a bond with your potential customers.
Blogs are often followed with visuals, informatics, and videos where the products are discussed. It is again a great way to gain the trust of the readers. It might be difficult to gain the customers’ trust through written words, but unedited videos serve as proof.
4. Website landing pages
Nowadays, websites have become vital for a business. Probable customers often guess the worth of a brand through their website landing page. A professionally designed website that is visually appealing, informative, and easy to navigate does wonder for a brand.
In the world of online shopping, the website can be compared to the store or the displays that showcase the products. A well-designed and unique website denotes that the brand is professional, unique, and worth buying from.
Furthermore, websites are a one-time investment that can be easily managed and updated over time. Websites also measure metrics that provide genuine insights for your marketing approach. Many brands post ads of different apps and web pages that lead to the website landing page.
Website landing pages have a clear and easy call-to-action link that generates leads by collecting information from interested customers. By clicking on the buy or shop button on a website, you can also browse through their variety of product ranges, their price, and discount deals.
5. Email Marketing
Email marketing is often used along with other lead generation and marketing approaches. Many brands send periodic emails to their customers to stay relevant in their minds. The emails usually share information about new products and services, change in the existing services, discounts, deals, events, and upgrades.
Marketing your business to generate leads
The end goal of lead generation is to generate business opportunities and grow further. Having a marketing strategy in place ties all the lead generation strategies together in one place. This way, the whole process appears uniform and ties together. A customer who was approached by a brand once would now immediately recognise their marketing approaches readily. Some strategies are discussed for marketing your business successfully.
SEO refers to search engine optimisation and is a process of upgrading a website so that viewers can access it better. It is a technique to increase the visibility of a website and make it rank higher on SERPs. With better search engine optimisation, the web pages receive more traffic and increase awareness about the product.
SEO involves filling the web page with the type of content that the search engine and readers are looking for. It requires the content to be informative, visually appealing as well as engaging. There are several other techniques like keyword plugging and internal linking that are used to drive traffic.
It must be clear now that SEO necessitates that the website’s content is engaging and valuable for the readers. It needs to be informative and answer the questions that the users have about the product. At the same time, the content should have a character or set a tone that represents the brand.
The content should be relatable and not random. And most importantly, it should encourage the readers to associate with the brand and talk about it more. Do not just stick solely to the product; create a blog or guide about associated topics.
This would provide a holistic range of information to the reader. Furthermore, having informative and engaging content is a way to show the readers and potential customers that you are experienced and aware of the different details of the product.
3. Paid PPC ads
Now nothing in the world is truly free, and you do need to invest money in your website or online marketing campaign. The best and efficient way for this is pay-per-click ads. It is an online advertising technique where ads are displayed on web pages. Every time a reader clicks over the ad while browning through the web, they are directed to the brand website or the product.
A paid search ad can even be displayed on the Google search page, on different social media platforms, and even on apps. The most common form of payment form used is pay per click. In this system, the ad poster would have to pay the platform every time a user clicks on their ads and is diverted to the brand page.
When opting for PPC, companies need to consider their budget and depending on that, the frequency and number of ads displayed are decided.
What is a Lead Generation Funnel?
Much like you guessed from the name, a lead funnel is a systematic approach of leading or funnelling the target audience through different channels and stages to the final one, where they are ready to associate with your brand.
For example, you have launched a new product and a brand. Your first step would be to spread information about the product and make them aware of why they need it in their life. For this, you will make a website or social media page, engage with the audience, and launch ads. This counts as the first step towards engagement and lead generation, and there is a long journey to gain purchase from a loyal customer.
Benefits of the lead generation funnel
We have already discussed why your brand needs to generate leads. Now let’s discuss why this process of lead generation is essential.
- It helps you assess in what stage your potential customers are. This means that whether they are just aware of your brand and the product or are truly willing to be associated with it, or they are loyal customers who will come back.
- This process gives a systematic approach to lead generation, so you do the right thing at the right time. After all, marketing is all about finding your customers in the right frame of mind where they are ready to make a purchase.
- It benefits both the buyers and the brand as it offers an experience and a connection along with the product.
- The lead generation funnel ensures that you get the best results from the marketing technique you have chosen.
The stages of lead generation funnel
The system of lead generation involves several steps, and each of the steps has been discussed in detail here:
Stage 1: Awareness
The first stage is letting the world know about the existence of the brand. In this stage, you have to plan how to get your brand noticed and raise awareness among the customers. There is no fixed way to do this, and it all depends on what the brand owner chooses.
Inbound marketing for this stage could include SEO, paid advertising, emails, and webinars, etc. You also should consider the type of target audience you have and the marketing channels they are most likely to be exposed to. You could also collect the information from the customers and use it for designing more marketing plans.
Stage 2: Data collection
The second stage is focused on collecting data. For this, you would have to promote the people to respond more and more to the content you share. You could give introductory offers, discounts, free gifts, deals, and even loyal customers programs.
One could also include sign-up forms, surveys in exchange for deals, and landing pages to make customers give away relevant information. Analyse all information to find details and patterns from them.
Stage 3: Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) and the Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
Stage three is commenced when your brand and product have raised a significant level of awareness among the people. Now is the time to build more leads as people know what the brand is about.
A Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)is a person who has indicated an interest in the brand and its products. MQLs have usually interacted with the different marketing approaches or the brand’s social media page. They are far more approachable than other people, and sharing a more customised message via a phone call, email, or message is a great way to win such individuals over.
Stage 4: Targets and prospects
By this stage, you must have gained a significant number of followers or audience who are aware of your brand and have interacted with it in some ways. In this stage, you will need to take a moment and decide where each potential customer ranks on the lead generation scale.
It is not possible for each person to be a customer; however, despite that, they need to be valued and respected. In the case of young and budding brands, reputation matters more when it spreads through word of mouth.
Stage 5: Recycling
Now that you have ranked all your followers, you will be better aware of the real potential customers. But even among those selected ones, some will not be willing to buy from you right away. They might be convinced of the worth of your product and be standing on the brink of making a sale and yet not making it.
It is important to remember that such individuals need to be regularly engaged with as a possible deal or offer can easily tip them over to make a purchase. On the whole, just remember to keep in contact with followers and target customers through email marketing, calls, or messages every few months.
Stage 6: Opportunity
Finally, once you are done with every other stage, the customers will be ready to make a purchase and associate with your brand. Here your sale techniques will kick in. At this stage, your brand will be judged for factors like the accessibility of various features tools, availability of information about the product, ease of making a purchase, return and refund restrictions, etc.
You will have to win customers over by providing them with a pleasant purchase experience and ensuring that they are satisfied with their investment.
Stage 7: All about customers
This is the most giving stage where the leads and contacts you have generated have readily invested their money in the product. You have made successful sales and have the delivery packages line up.
But the process does not end up right here. It is not just about the product, but it is also about the follow-up service they get along with the product that helps build a stable revenue stream. Their complete experience with the product decides whether they will be back again for another purchase or not. You will have to think of a scheme to retain your customers and make them solely dependent on your brand.
We hope this article was able to answer all of your questions regarding lead generation. The lead generation process is integral to your business and despite the extra costs incurred, it would help the business grow over and gain new customers. Follow the mentioned steps and strategies to discover many leads through your chosen channels and marketing approaches.
Just remember to value every lead as they have the potential to change into a successful customer any time in the future. Once you have converted leads into customers successfully, your business will be on the run. So, stick to the lead generation funnel closely along with improvising and adding some unique traits to it that align well with your business.