Lead Generation is putting your offer in front of the people that have shown interest in your company’s products or services. Also known as Inbound Marketing, the concept is all the same. It is the system or process for turning a stranger into someone ready to buy your stuff.
But first, you need to know and understand what a lead is. Also, why you need to generate leads to survive, much less thrive in uncertain times. Additionally, why Inbound Marketing is so much easier and effective in comparison to other forms of marketing.
For example, those incredibly annoying telemarketers. They call at all times of the day and night, interrupting your meals, movies, and more. And worst of all, it’s almost always about something that you have no interest in.
So are you thinking there’s got to be a better way? You bet there is!
But first, defining what a lead is
A lead is someone that shows some interest in your company’s products or services. But that is when they contact you after signing up for your offer, subscription, or trial. Not buying or scraping their contact information and cold-calling them at random.
For example, say you sign up for a free guide to taking better care of your car. You submit your name and email address in exchange for the free guide. And within seconds, your free guide is in your email inbox. So then you become a “lead” because you showed interest in something – the free car care guide.
Also, an hour or day later you receive an email from the car-detailing shop that created the guide. And that email explains how that shop can help you to take better care of your car. This method is way less spammy and gets far better results than simply calling people out of the blue.
The four types of leads:
Marketing Qualified Lead – are folks who’ve engaged with your marketing, such as the example above with the free car-care guide. They have shown interest, but they are not ready to buy yet.
Sales Qualified Lead – are people that have taken some kind of action indicating their interest in purchasing from you. Using the free guide example again; it would be someone responding to the follow-up email. Like wanting more information about paint repair.
Product Qualified Lead – are contacts who use your products and indicate that they want more. An example of this would be someone that uses a free version of your stuff, like a sample kit. But for them to have more, they have to pay for the upgrade.
Service Qualified Lead – are the same as the above Product Qualified Leads, only they are using a service. An example would be a subscriber to your newsletter but who wants access to a premium webinar. They would need to pay for that content access.
What is Lead Generation?
Generating leads consists of processes and methods of getting the attention of your potential customers. Converting strangers into loyal followers and fans; suspects into prospects, and so on. So basically finding those people that will indicate an interest in your company, your brand, your products, and/or your services.
Some examples of lead generators include online content, such as the free car care guide mentioned above. Others include coupons, job applications, live events, blogs, videos, demonstrations, and even testimonials or reviews. But these are just a few examples of lead generation strategies.
So think of lead generation as finding different and unique ways of attracting people to your business. It’s a natural organic method of warming them up to your business to the point that they want to hear from you. But you have to provide enough value to get them on the path to making a purchase.
Why you need Lead Generation
When someone shows an interest in your business, they are initiating the relationship. So the transition from a stranger to a paying customer is much smoother. Because it is a more natural process and it is a lot less intrusive.
Lead generation is the second step of the customer journey with inbound marketing. It only happens after you’ve attracted them and they visit your website, blog, landing page, or social media. This creates Sales Qualified Leads.
Understanding the process
You attract the attention of a stranger through one of your marketing channels like a video, online advertising, social media, your blog, a website, etc. and they become a visitor.
The visitor then clicks through a Call-To-Action (CTA) such as an image, banner, button, or a text link that entices them to take some kind of action.
Then the CTA takes your visitor to a landing page, which is specifically designed to capture your lead’s contact information – in exchange for your offer.
Finally, once they are on your landing page, the visitor decides if they want to give you their name, email address, and phone number to receive your offer.
Please Note: An offer is something of value that you present on your landing page. An offer can be just about anything like a webinar, a white paper, an email template, etc. But it must have enough value in the eyes of your visitor for them to accept it in exchange for their contact information.
In summary, a stranger sees one of your posts on your blog or social media and it sparks their interest. So they visit your content, becoming a Visitor. Then they click on your CTA that takes them to your Landing Page at which point they decide if they want to fill out a form in exchange for your Offer. Presto, you have a new lead!
Lead Generation Marketing
When you have all of these pieces and you put them together, you can drive traffic to whatever you want. But there are also a lot of ways to drive that traffic to your landing pages, etc. For example, a blog, social media pages, and email to name just a few.
So it can take some time and effort to develop multiple channels that drive traffic to your landing pages and offers. However, the idea is to have at least one, to begin with, you can always add more as time goes. Also, the main idea is to have a rock-solid offer to start and the rest will be fairly easy to accomplish.
5 ways to generate more leads
Advertising – The whole reason for an ad is to grab attention and make people want to take action. However, your ad must match the message of your landing page and your offer exactly. Plus, it has to be crystal-clear what you want them to do, if you want to convert someone into a lead.
Blogging – Business blogging is an incredibly powerful tool for driving traffic and promoting your offer. Because you can custom-tailor the article to your offer. For example, if your offer is a guide to saving money on your heating and cooling bill, craft a post about energy-efficient water heaters. Then make your CTA enticingly relevant and low-resistance to click.
Content – Similar to blogging, content encompasses videos, infographics, guides, ebooks, white papers, and more. You can use content to drive traffic as well as offer extra incentives for visitors to become leads. The more compelling and valuable the content, the more likely they are to click your CTA and visit your landing page.
Email – If you already have their email address, they have already expressed interest in your business before. They already know your brand as well as your products and/or services. But email can be a cluttered mess, so be sure to write attention-grabbing copy and an eye-popping CTA design to snag your reader’s attention. Learn more about Email Marketing.
Social Media – Your social media pages are another great way to start on the right foot. Plus, there is a multitude of ways to employ social media pages to drive more traffic to your offer. But the most important ingredient is to make strong offers with just as strong CTAs. Learn more about Social Media Marketing.
Why you DON’T want to buy leads
Everyone wants to fill their sales funnels with leads and they want to do it as fast as possible. So before you give in to the temptation, think about this; buying leads is just as disruptive as telemarketers are.
They ended up on a list somewhere and that information was then sold to you. But they don’t know you or anything about your business. So they probably won’t be too happy about you contacting them out of the blue either.
Remember the last time you were interrupted by a cold call about consolidating your student loans, but you don’t have any? Cold-calling or cold-emailing someone about your car-detailing shop, when they don’t own a car, is just as annoying and slimy in their eyes. It’s a waste of their time and your money.
Want to learn more about Lead Generation?
If you would like to learn more about generating more leads for your business, check out the full article about our new software and service, ROI Ninjas!
Charles is the owner of C. E. Snyder Marketing LLC. His background includes 30+ years in the fire service. Since 1999, he has also become a published author and a public speaker from 2004 on. He is widely respected as the “go-to” guy for Digital Marketing, websites, and SEO, recently being recognized with the 2020 Best of Lancaster in Digital Marketing Award.
Charles is also known as “The Marketing Ninja” and is a serial entrepreneur. His favorite quote is “Make Stuff Happen!” Also, his personal interests include spending time with Ann, his fiancee, playing the occasional video game, and growing mutant eyebrow hairs since getting on the wrong side of 50 years old.