Lead generation is the process of grabbing the attention of your target audience, engaging them, and encouraging them to convert. Those people are your leads, while the actions they take are conversions.
Now, there are different types of conversions, based on the type of your business and your niche, such as signing up for your email newsletter list, applying for a webinar, starting a free trial, or downloading your lead magnet.
The main purpose of lead generation is to collect your prospective customers’ contact information so you can nurture relationships with them and boost sales.
To get the most out of your lead generation efforts, you need to strategize them. In this comprehensive guide, I will show you how.
- 1 Build a Sales Funnel
- 2 Track the Effectiveness of your Sales Funnel
- 3 Create Buyer Personas
- 4 Rely on Content Marketing
- 5 Combine different content formats
- 6 Use content as lead magnets
- 7 Use Email Marketing
- 8 Leverage Social Networks as Powerful Lead Generators
- 9 Generate Leads through SEO
- 10 Optimize Landing Pages to Capture Leads
Build a Sales Funnel
Observe a sales funnel as a customer’s journey towards brand awareness towards converting. It exists whether you are familiar with it or not. However, when you are aware of your sales funnel, you can optimize it to boost customer relationships and sales.
This is important for a simple reason – your customers will go through several stages – awareness, evaluation, and action. At each stage, your target audiences have diverse needs and expectations.
For example, customers in the awareness phase face a problem and are still not sure how you can help them. They want to learn more about your brand. Those in the evaluation phase compare different brand solutions to find the right ones. Finally, the bottom of the sales funnel is narrower. It contains the most qualified leads that are ready to buy from you.
Track the Effectiveness of your Sales Funnel
Next, start measuring the effectiveness of your lead generation practices at each phase of your sales funnel.
- Top of funnel
You want to learn how many users are seeing your offers, how many of them click on your link, what your bounce rates are, how many people spread the word about your offers and, above all, what users click on your links.
If your top-of-funnel performance results are poor, this may mean that you are targeting the wrong people, that you are not getting noticed by enough people, that your offers are irrelevant to your audiences, or even that your website experiences are poor.
- Mid funnel
Use Google Analytics or similar tools to learn how many customers are converting into leads. If the percentage of conversions is low, this may mean that your landing pages are not optimized properly.
- Bottom of Funnel
This is where you want to know how many leads convert into paying customers. This directly informs you about the quality of your leads. If you have generated irrelevant leads, they will not result in sales. At this stage, there are two common mistakes businesses make – not nurturing leads properly or targeting people who are not their preferred customers.
Create Buyer Personas
Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your perfect customers. They will guide your digital marketing strategy, especially lead generation. Knowing who your target audiences are, you will know how to adapt your lead gen strategy to them. Now, there are two types of data to collect – demographic (customers’ age, location, gender, marital status) and psychographics (their hobbies, interests, fears). Based on this data, you can segment your audiences according to their preferences and needs and deliver personalized user experiences that convert.
Next, you also need to define your perfect leads. Who are they and what action should they take? Is it downloading a PDF file, purchasing from you, or registering to your newsletter list? This is a vital step that helps you separate the wheat from the chaff and focus on qualified leads only.
Rely on Content Marketing
Content marketing is the backbone of your lead gen strategy. It helps you engage your audiences, position yourself as an authoritative source of information, and website visitors into leads and sales easier. When using content marketing, it is important to understand who your audiences are, what stage of a sales funnel they are at, and what kind of content resonates with them. Based on these data, you will need to create content that increases brand awareness, creates interest in your products, and motivates customers to buy from you.
The types of content that resonate with your audiences vary, based on their position in your sales funnel.
- The awareness stage: Position your brand as a go-to solution to your potential customers’ problems and educate them. This is where blog posts, podcasts, videos, whitepapers, industry ebooks, infographics, and webinars shine.
- The interest phase: In this phase, you will need to provide reasonable solutions to the common problems your customers face and gain a competitive edge. This is where you could create training videos, solution videos, assessments, presentations, and solution pages.
- The evaluation stage: Your goal is to prove the value, credibility, and relevance of your products. This is where you should focus on data sheets, free trials, case studies, product webinars, comparisons, customer reviews and testimonials, and evaluation tools.
- The decision stage: This is where you should prove how your product can help customers achieve the desired goals. The type of content that can help you here is custom sales enablement, discounts, free trials, product demos, and so forth.
Combine different content formats
Remember that digital marketing is a highly visual and interactive landscape. To succeed, you should combine text, visuals, and videos to tell an engaging story and build an emotional connection with your target audience. That is exactly what big brands like Ryderwear understand. If you look at the infographic on a balanced diet created by Infostarters for them, you will notice how they managed to pack a bunch of instructions and explanations into engaging and easy-to-understand illustrated content.
Use content as lead magnets
Any of the abovementioned types of content can serve as a powerful lead magnet – a free piece of content a customer can download in exchange for their email address. You could also consider creating gated content (case studies, infographics, articles, etc.), where you display only a few paragraphs of your article. To read the rest, a visitor needs to sign up.
Use Email Marketing
With the ROI of 4400%, email marketing remains one of the most popular digital marketing practices. It gives you the opportunity to maximize brand awareness and nurture leads to increase sales and brand loyalty. Now, there are a few simple steps to take when optimizing your lead generation campaigns.
- Choose the right email service provider, such as AWeber or ConstantContact. Pick the one that is easy to use and yet, that meets your budget demands. It should also integrate easily with your plugins. The features to look for are automated emails, email list segmentation, analytics, design options, tracking customer interactions, and so forth.
- Design attractive and user-friendly signup forms.
- Humanize your emails. Create them using natural language, avoid industry jargon, and use your recipients’ names.
- Segment your email lists by users’ interests, geolocation, purchases, etc. to provide more relevant and targeted content.
- Write catchy and informative subject lines that will help you stand out in the mass of similar emails and inspire customers to open your email.
- Utilize split testing to see what types of emails and content work for your target audience the best.
- Track the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns. Some of the metrics you should track are your open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates.
Leverage Social Networks as Powerful Lead Generators
Most of your customers are on social networks. And, to attract them to your website and convert them, you need to be there, as well. So, how to use social networks strategically to maximize leads?
- Use the right hashtags to increase your visibility on social networks.
- Participate in social media conversations. Use social listening tools to track relevant search phrases.
- Share user-generated content to build trust with audiences and inspire conversions.
- Build an online community, where you would share valuable tips and promote your content organically.
- Go live to establish a sense of urgency.
- Host social media giveaways and social media contests to capture leads.
- Create interactive content, such as quizzes, to collect customer data.
Generate Leads through SEO
Most of your website traffic comes from search engines. Statistics say that search engines drive 300% more website traffic than social networks. Therefore, to generate leads, you will first need to optimize your website for search engines. However, if you believe that spamming your content with a bunch of high-volume keywords is enough, you are wrong. SEO is a long-term investment in your search engine performance, as well as user satisfaction. Here are a few tactics to start from:
- Identify the right keywords
When optimizing your content for search engines, you want to rank as high as possible. However, keep in mind that keywords also determine which audiences you will attract to your website. To attract the right customers that have the potential to convert, you need to understand their search intent, or the reason why they’re performing searches. This is where tools like Google Suggest or Answer the Public can help.
You should also observe which keywords are already driving traffic to you and this can be easily tracked on Google Analytics.
- Audit your content.
For starters, find any technical SEO errors on your website, such as broken links. This is where website crawlers like Screaming Frog can help. As for mobile-friendliness, you could use Google’s free Mobile-Friendly test, while its Page Speed Insights Tool is perfect for analyzing your webpage speed.
Another aspect of your content audit is identifying your top-performing pages. Go to Google Analytics > > Site Content > Landing Pages and learn what pages attract the highest traffic. You can even narrow the results by setting a goal, such as signing up for an email list or completed purchases in the Conversions section.
- Link building
Building links on reputable sites in your industry is a great opportunity to get your site noticed and drive relevant traffic that can easily convert into leads and, ultimately, sales. Apart from guest blogging, there are many alternative link building tactics that may work for you, including collaborations with industry influencers, broken link building, link reclamation, etc.
Optimize Landing Pages to Capture Leads
The above mentioned strategies focus on attracting people to visit your site. The next tactic helps you engage and convert visitors once they land on your website. To do so, you will first need to optimize the following elements of your landing pages:
- A headline is the first thing a visitor will see once they land on your page. Its goal is to inform and engage users by offering solutions to their problems, promising amazing results, or asking questions.
- Subheadings explain what headlines say. They need to offer a clear value proposition.
- Landing page copy – no matter if you focus on shorter or longer landing page copies, you need to emphasize the value your offers deliver to your target audience. Make sure they are direct, informative, consistent, and helpful, focusing on the results your visitors can achieve.
- UX design – choose colors and layouts that are pleasant to the eye. Make sure your landing pages are responsive and easy to navigate.
- Opt-in forms ask users to provide their contact details. That is why they need to be spotless. For starters, ask customers only those data you really need, such as their email address or name. The design of opt-in forms should align with the design of your landing page.
- A call-to-action button inspires a visitor to take action, such as downloading your ebook or sharing your content on social. A good CTA is persuasive. It evokes FOMO, uses action words, fosters anticipation and, above all, states the benefits of converting.
When creating a lead gen strategy, keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to implement. These are just some of the numerous tactics you may implement to generate leads. However, they may serve as your solid starting point. To maximize your lead generation results, you need to audit the effectiveness of your campaigns regularly, see what tactics work for you, and focus on them to reap their full potential
Hope this helps!