What is lead generation?

Lead generation describes the marketing process that is implemented in order to capture and convert interested customers.

What Is Lead Generation?

Lead generation describes the marketing process that is implemented in order to capture and convert interested customers. Today, lead generation is often associated with digital channels. With an emphasis on technology within today’s society also comes a plethora of information that is presented and available online. These new occurrences warrant new strategies that will give rise to lead generation.

What Is a Lead?

In order to build a lead generation strategy, you must first know what a lead is. Simply put, a lead is an individual — or organization — that expresses interest or intent in what you are offering/selling. This interest is expressed by sharing information such as:

  • Phone numbers;
  • Email addresses,
  • Social media handle.

Inbound vs. Outbound

Differentiating inbound lead generation from outbound lead generation is important. Although there are negative stigmas attached to outbound lead generation, both techniques can generate leads successfully. The two terms can be defined as follows:

  • Inbound lead generation: the creation of content and marketing campaigns in order to bring in traffic and convert that traffic into leads; 
  • Outbound lead generation: sending messages to target audiences regardless of expressed interest/intent via mass emails, cold calls, etc.

The two terms have two general similarities that include:

  1. Lead generation objectives;
  2. In-depth understanding of respective target audiences.

Ultimately the differences between the two lead generation techniques are different through factors including:

  • Cost: outbound lead generation typically costs more because of the delivery mechanisms associated;
  • Outreach: for the most part, inbound lead generation lets the customer determine all activity while outbound lead generation determines all activity;
  • Timeframe: in most cases, inbound lead generation operates on a longer timeline than outbound lead generation.

How To Qualify Leads

Not all leads are going to fall in line with what a business is after. To ensure that the leads have a high probability of becoming customers, there are certain characteristics that they must possess such as:

  • Knowing your buyer profile: understanding your range of customers helps create accurate approaches to leads;
    • Who they are, what they want, who is involved (company/group vs. individual) etc.
  • Differentiating interest from intent: by learning the disparities between the two you understand genuine opportunity from generic interest;
  • Ask the “right” questions: by asking specific questions, you can weed out disqualified leads simply and effectively;
    • How much are you looking to spend, what are you wanting the product/service for, etc. 

Lead Generation Process

There are specific steps that occur throughout the process in order to generate leads. The steps go as follows:

  1. Discovery: a consumer discovers an organization through a marketing channel. For example, this can be seen through parts of your organization such as your webpage, blog, webinar, etc.;
  2. Consideration: The consumer progresses through the marketing channel and reaches a call-to-action (CTA). To elaborate, this is some sort of message that persuades consumers to take some form of action. This can be an image, a hyperlink, a direct message saying “click here for more info”, etc.;
  3. Conversion: With digital marketing, this happens when the consumer advances to the organization’s landing page. The landing page typically requires some sort of informational input in order to create an offer for the consumer. The landing page may then takes that lead and market it to a provider that fits the consumer best.
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Why Is Lead Generation Important?

The days of traditional media outlets have come and gone with all the available information via technology. As such, various online generation platforms have taken over since the shift away from traditional media outlets. That is not to say that traditional media outlets are unimportant or unnecessary, but a combination of both is crucial. The buying process has changed, and marketing organizations need to find new ways to reach specific niches. If you are excluding a facet to generate leads that competitors are utilizing, you are being left behind and not performing to your full potential.

How To Improve Lead Generation

There are steps to put into place in order to build a good foundation for generating leads from individuals that come across a webpage. While simply implementing these facets will help, continually monitoring and updating them accordingly is essential to overall lead generation success. 

Search Engine Optimization In Lead Generation

If a company is not using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) within the organization, they are missing out on a great opportunity to organically create traffic that helps them rank well for hyper-relevant terms that can advance to potential leads. SEO facilitates lead generation by increasing a site’s ranking for keywords specific to a business based. SEO companies also offer link building services to improve rankings through authority. When an organization has its SEO in order — and they are continuing to monitor it — they will generally appear higher in the search engine results page (SERP). When you appear higher in the SERP, a consumer sees your organization sooner.

Email Marketing In Lead Generation

Email marketing is considered one of the most effective ways to generate leads. Email marketing refers to the method of creating leads by sending commercial messages to a person — or group of people. By utilizing email marketing, organizations can increase overall brand awareness, reduce marketing costs, create personalized content, and grow an email list that progresses into qualifying leads as well as converting them.

Content Marketing In Lead Generation

Once an organization has a basis of customers, they can use content marketing services in order to keep current customers informed. This strategy includes a focus on creating valuable, relevant, consistent, and authoritative content to not only cater to an organization’s audience and attract new demographics, but also to divert qualified traffic to more narrowly-targeted content as well as converting pages. While any attempt at quality content is a step in the right direction, the way that you present the topic needs to spark interest through relevancy. Some good ways to create the best content are:

  1. Blog Posts: Aside from keeping your audience updated with company news, etc. blog posts can help establish authority by educating individuals on an organization’s product/service. When done efficiently, blog posts act as a one-stop-shop that spans beyond just offering a product/service;
  2. E-Book: E-Books are great upfront resources for educating potential customers, showing authority, and building a sales funnel by asking for contact information in exchange for content;
  3. Webinars: Webinars are good techniques to help generate leads by explaining critical factors/facets of a product/service. Having an individual who is well-versed in the organization is key to presenting the information effectively, and it is a good idea to ask your audience for ideas to create the most relevant topics;
  4. Case Studies: Case studies bring in leads by narrating real-life success stories of a product/service, but can also be used to explain how any issues that a customer has had have been overcome;
  5. Social Media: The use of social media to promote your content is crucial. Social media marketers help usher an organization into specific areas where they will be seen by potential leads;
  6. Newsletters: Keeping your audience updated with what is going on in the company keeps things personal and allows your current audience to stay active while inviting the potential customer to learn more. Newsletters also help build organizations’ sales funnel.