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The Best Approach to Lead Generation for Online Businesses

Post-it with "Get More Leads" written on it.

The Best Approach to Lead Generation for Online Businesses

The Best Approach to Lead Generation for Online Businesses

What Is Lead Generation?

Any potential customer who shows interest in a company’s offering is considered a lead.

In business, generating leads is attracting potential customers and maintaining them until they become paying clients. Many still mistakenly believe that lead generation requires massive email campaigns and overbearing salesmen. But today, these techniques are no longer successful.

Leads usually hear from a company or organization after initiating contact (by entering personal information for an offer, trial, or subscription etc.) instead of being called by someone who bought their number out of the blue.

Take, for example, a web-based poll regarding auto maintenance. The automaker behind the poll will follow up with an email offering assistance with maintaining your vehicle within the next day or two. You have to agree that this method is far less invasive than if they had contacted you out of the blue without knowing whether or not you care about auto maintenance. This is what it means to be a lead.

Customers are adept at tuning out methods and messages that aren’t relevant to their unique situation, problems, and prospects.

From a commercial perspective, the information obtained from your survey replies allows the car company to tailor their first conversation with you to your specific needs, rather than wasting time contacting prospects who aren’t really considering their services.

In today’s competitive B2B and B2C online marketplaces, customers are constantly bombarded with messages from a variety of sources. The competition for consumers’ attention is fierce, and businesses must work hard to stand out.

These days, lead generation is likely to include many different teams inside an organization. In most cases, marketing will be the first department involved in the lead generation process, followed by sales or business development.

Leads are a crucial aspect of the customer lifecycle, which includes everyone from the first website visitor to the final paying client. It’s important to remember that not all potential customers are created equal while generating leads (nor are they qualified the same). Each lead kind corresponds to a certain qualification criterion and lifecycle stage.

Attracting quality leads like a magnet

How Important are the Quality of Leads?

Conflict between marketing and sales teams’ KPIs and objectives is a common stumbling block when trying to develop a lead generating strategy.

In order to maximize return on investment, it is standard practice for businesses to assign a ‘cost per lead’ (CPL) goal to their marketing department.

Conversely, sales teams are typically tasked with achieving quotas depending on the percentage of leads they are able to close. Having a large number of low-quality leads sent through from marketing won’t assist the sales team meet its goals. It’s more probable that they’d like to get fewer, higher-quality leads.

Therefore, it is essential to work together across departments from the very beginning to identify what you want to accomplish from lead generation strategies and to also look at what is going to be acceptable ratios of marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads.

The Online Lead Generation Pipeline Explained

Nowadays, lead generation is mostly done online and this involves its own strategy. The digital sales pipeline is an essential part of every successful lead generating effort.

Top of the funnel marketing (TOFU) is useful for reaching people who aren’t already in your pipeline and who are most likely to fall into one of the following ‘cold’ categories:

Unaware: People who don’t know your brand but might in the future.

Aware: They are prospective buyers who are familiar with your company and its products, and who may have visited your website or social media sites.

Friendly: This group includes prospective buyers who are familiar with your company and may have visited your website or social media pages more than once. They fit the profile of your ideal customer and may be interested in what you have to offer, but they haven’t reached out to you yet.

When a consumer progresses beyond the ‘friendly’ stage and offers contact information or consents to be contacted, they move from the top of the funnel (TOFU) to the middle of the funnel (MOFU), and we must start thinking about lead qualifying.

Different Types of Digital or Online Lead Generation Marketing

Content

Users may be directed to a certain page with the help of content. Typically, the goal of your content creation is to give out free, helpful material to site users. Calls to action (CTAs) may be placed in the hero, at the bottom of a post, in the side panel, or wherever else you see fit in your content. A hero message is the statement that appears at the top of a web page—often the homepage, usually in a large font—that communicates something about the organization. In order to increase the likelihood that a visitor would click through to your landing page, you need to ensure that they are thoroughly satisfied with the material they have just consumed. A good content-marketing and SEO agency can help you with the finer details of how the content on your site is performing.

Email

Communicating with customers who are already familiar with your company and its offerings is a breeze when you use email. Since they signed up for your list in the first place, asking them to do anything is fairly simple. Use compelling copy and an eye-catching design on your CTAs to help your email stand out from the crowd.

Publicity and Retargeting

Ads exist solely to prompt a response from the target audience. If not, then it’s a waste of money. You can increase your conversion rate by making sure the information presented on your landing page and in your offer is consistent with what was advertised and that the call to action is obvious.

Blog

Incorporating promotional content into your blog posts is a great idea because you can modify the post to better serve your purpose. So, if your offer is a video tutorial on how to set up Google Search Console, you may create a blog article on how to choose your marketing metrics… making your CTA incredibly relevant and simple to click.

Social Media

From the swipe up option on Instagram stories to Facebook profile links to bitly URLs on Twitter, social media sites make it simple to direct your followers to take action. Include a call to action in the caption of your social media postings to further market your products and services.

Product Trials

Offering free demos of your product or service may remove many objections from potential customers. A customer’s experience with your product is the perfect time to give up extra incentives, like discounts or freebies, to boost sales. It’s also a good idea to market the free versions so that you can attract new clients.

Referral Marketing

Referral marketing, often known as word-of-mouth marketing, is an effective method of generating leads. Put another way, it broadens the audience for your brand, which in turn raises the prospect of producing more leads.

You need to direct people to your landing page regardless of the source you utilize to generate leads. Once you have a conversion-focused landing page, everything else will take care of itself.

Lead Generation Process: How to Launch A Campaign

Step 1: Determine Your Objectives

Before developing lead generating methods, define their goals. How can lead generation assist business objectives?

Do you want new customers? If so, make sure top-of-funnel activity is high and marketing and sales communicate well. Want to raise yearly recurring income from current clients with a new product? Customer service and sales must collaborate more. When all company divisions work together, lead creation is most successful.

It’s also crucial to describe how you’ll assess success, ROI, and departmental performance.

Step 2: Consider Proposition and Audience

Once you know what you want to accomplish, you can work together as a company to develop a shared understanding of your value proposition and what makes your goods and services stand out from the competition.

Additionally, you should know who you’re writing for and, if at all feasible, create a few distinct personas for that audience. You can base your persona analysis on Location, Age, Challenges, Goals, Values, and Typical media they consume.

Before settling on your marketing platforms and messages, it’s crucial to obtain a firm grasp on who your usual ideal customer is.

Step 3: Plan your marketing channels and messaging (TOFU, MOFU, BOFU)

Almost all digital marketing mediums may help generate leads. Whether they’re good for you and how they work depends on your lead generation goals.

Lead-generation (lead gen) channels include:

Email

Email is a key lead-generation tool. Email may create relationships along the funnel. It may convert fresh leads into new customers and inform current clients of new items or upgrades to boost their lifetime value.

Search Engines

Search engine marketing (SEM) for lead creation benefits from customers’ intent. They’re looking for a product like yours or a solution you can provide. Organic listings and paid search are two SEM strategies. You may acquire more visitors if you rank highly organically for your target audience’s searches. This takes time and money. Paid search lets you bid to appear whenever a user searches a phrase. Paid search is quick but expensive.

Social Media

Facebook’s lead advertisements enable you gather information from ad viewers. This can reach a large audience. LinkedIn’s Lead Gen Forms provide a comparable B2B-focused option. Social media lead generation isn’t always paid. Organic audience interactions may also generate leads.

Content Marketing

Creating thought leadership material that shows you understand your customer’s concerns and demands is a great lead generating approach. This information might be posted on your company’s blog and shared on social media.

Step 4: Create Lead Capture Forms

A lead capture form is a common way to collect information from an uninformed audience after you’ve successfully engaged with them and brought them to your website.

If too much emphasis is placed on marketing cost-per-lead (CPL), it might be tempting to only request an email address and an opt-in box, on the theory that the shorter and simpler to complete a form is, the greater your expected conversion rate.

Although shorter forms may assist with your cost-per-lead (CPL), they may not be conducive to generating high-quality marketing-qualified leads.

You may improve the quality of the leads sent to sales by asking qualifying questions on your lead capture form. These questions might investigate factors such as the company’s industry, size, yearly revenue, etc., to ensure that the leads are a good fit for your firm.

Step 5: Collaborate Between Departments

It is crucial to identify up front how each department functions as a component of your lead generation engine as soon as possible.

If each department is operating independently inside its own silo, it is quite unlikely that your company will have an effective lead-generation engine across the board.

Step 6: Measure and Optimize

It would be absurd to think that your lead generation funnel is “done,” even if you are successfully meeting all of your company’s key performance indicators (KPIs). There are always going to be chances for little changes that may contribute to the overall improvement of several metrics.

It is essential to make a consistent commitment to a continuous testing strategy for your lead generation, and you should consider using a marketing automation solution to assist you in doing so.

The categories that you check might change from month to month, however they could include the following:

  • Calls to action
  • Images and visuals
  • Landing pages
  • Lead capture forms
  • Email approaches
  • Pricing/offers

Lead Quality Types

The types of leads that you get may benefit one department more so than another in the lead generation engine of the business. There are three main types of lead according to which department they work for the most.

What Are Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)?

Leads that have been determined to be interested in your goods and services by the marketing team are referred to as marketing qualified leads (MQLs for short).

These leads have satisfied particular criteria, such as expressing their interest in your product on social networking sites or entering their contact information on a landing page on your website that captures email addresses.

But even if a buyer offers their email address, it does not guarantee that they will be a worthwhile lead. In order for a lead to be considered “marketing qualified,” it must first be evaluated based on a set of scoring criteria, which might be determined by the responses given to specific questions on the lead capture form or by information on the lead’s browsing or engagement history.

What Are Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)?

Sales qualified leads are leads that have been sent over from the marketing team and have had interactions with the sales team, after which the sales team has designated them as ‘sales-ready’.

Companies often regard SQLs to be more serious leads than MQLs, and as a result, they give SQLs a greater priority in their operations.

It is often vital to measure the ratio of MQLs to SQLs in order to assist in determining the quality of leads that are being generated as a result of marketing activity.

What Are Product Qualified Leads (PQLs)?

Product qualified leads are leads that are typically considered to have progressed beyond the sales qualified stage and have actually managed to gain experience of using a product firsthand by means of either feature limited access or a fixed term free trial. This means that product qualified leads are often considered to be more valuable than sales qualified leads.

Users have the potential to become PQLs in the SaaS (Software as a Service) industry even if they are not SQLs since it is easy to sign up for a free trial before speaking to a salesman. This opens up this door of opportunity for users.

Because each company is unique, the choices on the optimal pipeline architecture and metrics of measurement need to be made by the individual companies themselves.

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