Developing a successful lead generation strategy.
The marketing and sales landscape has changed dramatically over the last few years. We’ve moved from the world of outbound marketing and sales where it was all about going out to the market and showcasing our product or service to a largely cold market, in the hope for the odd person to be in the right place at the right time to become a buyer of what you had to offer.
Now, with the wealth of research and information at the buyer’s fingertips, it is about earning your prospective buyer’s attention and then pulling them further down a conversion funnel with a multitude of potential touch points.
In short, we’ve all gone inbound.
Lead generation strategies therefore have to be revamped across the board to meet the needs of a more enlightened customer.
The strategy now can be distilled into two distinct steps:
- Create compelling and useful content to draw in potential customers
- Use that content to convert visitors into leads
Simple right? Well, not exactly.
Using the tools of the trade is critical to ensuring your strategy will work – these tools can be used to generate traffic and can include your blog, SEO, PPC, social platforms or an email subscription list.
You need to establish yourself as a go-to thought leader in the industry. You need to fill in the gaps in your prospects knowledge to help them identify their need, look at the options and then choose you as the solution to their problems
Just a little stat to show how important content is for lead generation: companies that adopt a content marketing strategy generate up to 67% more leads per month than those that don’t.
So now let’s look at the four L’s of lead generation to understand how to set a successful strategy in place.
1. Lead capture.
Lead capture is all about giving your prospects a reason to return to your site, to transact, to give up a bit of information about themselves in exchange for some of the value you can provide them. In order to write this piece, I went on a bunch of sites and gave up my first name, last name, company name and email address in order to see reports that had been created, white papers that had been published or research that had been undertaken.
Call to action buttons and lead capture forms are obviously important to this but they have become increasingly synonymous with “we are now going to spam you forever until you become a customer”. So we need to find more inventive ways to gain this sort of data.
According to marketing guru Nicholas Kusmich, the two golden rules for obtaining visitor information are:
- We must give before we ask
- Every stage of the marketing process must be valuable in itself
Let’s focus on the fist of these. Users have become so weary of the “Sign up here” button. They have installed pop-blockers, spam folders and generally distrust most of what might be pushed to their inbox. We therefore need to focus on giving before we ask. This includes the use of lead magnets. Leading onto our next L…
2. Lead magnets.
It’s a fact of marketing that there will always be a disparity between the number of visitors who come to your site and read a piece of content to the number of visitors who fill in a data capture form and become interested leads. Marketing must close this gap.
And the answer? Lead magnets,
Examples of these include:
- White papers
- Free webinar series
- Free trial
- A content series
These free resources lure your prospects to give over personal information freely in exchange for something that is value to them
3. Landing page conversions.
Landing pages are a crucial part of your marketing arsenal to convert visitors into warm leads. They can be tailored to ensure that your visitors land on a targeted (and potentially personalised) piece of content. They aren’t your company’s website as such and normally serve as a tool for a discrete marketing campaign.
Landing pages can both capture leads and warm up potential customers. There are generally two types of landing pages:
- Lead generation landing pages – these are used to capture user/company information in exchange for something (as mentioned in lead magnets above)
- Click through landing pages – used to attract the visitor to specific products or services that you offer. This has more of an educational angle and seeks to provide further information so that the visitor proceeds further down the sales funnel.
Landing pages serve to narrow focus. They provide the prospect with targeted information without the distraction of everything else you offer. They generally have just one call to action.
It’s vitally important that landing pages deliver on the promise of the ad or social media post that brought the visitor to them. If your ad says, get 50% off by clicking here, ensure that you have a mechanism in place to deliver on that.
4. Lead scoring.
Lead scoring is an element of marketing automation software that helps you prioritise your marketing or sales efforts based on the engagement of the visitor with your marketing over a period of time.
It can help you figure out what the user’s level of engagement and intent is and where they are in their buying journey with you.
The software does this by assigning points for meaningful points of interaction with the prospect and aggregating them to surface the most engaged. Typical points of engagement that can be used for scoring purposes are as follows:
- Watch a service overview video: Add 5 points
- Download an eBook: Add 5 points
- Fill out a data capture form: Add 10 points
- Company size less than 10 – deduct 5 points
- Unsubscribe for a list – deduct 7 points etc.
Lead scoring provides you with real time feedback on how responsive your prospects are to your marketing efforts. It can also give early indication of buyer intent before a prospect has officially made contact with you. The possibilities for budget management and effort allocation / resourcing are obvious.
Lead scoring can be done manually, but it makes a lot more sense to invest in a marketing automated product like HubSpot to do the heavy lifting for you.
Lead generation is the lifeblood of every business’s marketing and sales strategies. Think of how many sites you have visited in your past that you will never visit again. Those companies failed to make meaningful engagement with you and gave you little / no reason to ever visit them again in the future, Your visit might have cost them PPC spend, SEO expertise in drawing your attention to their site, time spent on a carefully crafts email campaign, and yet your potential custom is lost.
It’s unrealistic to think that you’ll be able to turn all of your visitors into customers, but with your content in place, effective landing pages designed and lead scoring to optimise your generation rates, you’ll be better set to capitalise on all the effort of attracting attention in the first instance.