Lead Generation is important in the business world because ultimately, it can result in sales and growth for your business. In brief, it is the process of attracting consumers and converting them into someone who has an interest in your company’s product or service.
In this guide we will be discussing everything you can possibly think of that relates to Lead Generation. Right from the start of the process (attracting leads), the middle (nurturing your pipeline) and to the very end (paying customers).
There are several different methods of lead generation and the strategies that you choose to use depend greatly on what products and/or services your business has to offer to Joe Public, or other businesses.
For example, if you have a visual product, you may favour working with social media marketing, influencers, and your website. Alternatively, if it’s a service you are offering, it could be a better option to choose informative marketing, such as newsletters, emails, and follow up calls.
The Ultimate Guide to Lead Generation: Index
Table of contents:
What is a Lead?
In a sales context, a lead refers to contact with a potential customer, also known as a “prospect”. Depending on the company, the definition of the term “lead” may vary. For some companies, a “lead” could be a contact already determined to be a prospective customer, whereas other companies consider a “lead” to be any sales contact. What remains the same across definitions is the intention that a lead is to become a future paying client.
Social Media Marketing
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Which all have millions of users in the UK. Your company can make the most of these by having a presence on the platform. You might not want to use all of them. The important thing is that you have time to do regular posts and that you’re happy to engage with customers through social media.
It can be very simple. For example, you can set up a business page on Facebook easily. Then, share this page across your other marketing. including your website, emails, or traditional adverts and it will drive traffic to your page. By offering updates on your company via Facebook, you are building up interest. When someone likes or shares your post, this, in turn, makes them a lead.
A webinar is basically a seminar on the web. It gives your company a chance to bring all your leads into one place and let them know about your new product or service. Webinars are a great way to showcase your knowledge and impart information to customers who are interested in your business.
Equally, taking the time to have a discussion and answer any questions can help to reassure customers that they are in good hands, which in turn can lead forwards to a sale.
Blogging is a great way to build a relationship with your potential customers. If you have useful information that you can share with others, a blog is an ideal way to do this. Blogs don’t have to be pages of writing, they can be succinct but informative. Ideally, you are imparting knowledge to others in an entertaining or simple way.
For example, a company providing a gas boiler service may provide a blog on which is the best boiler to choose in 2021. A potential customer thinking about this could then find the blog and read it to inform their decision. From this, that customer may then turn into a sale.
Website Landing Pages
Your website is vital for providing leads. Furthermore, it’s relatively easy to track the people who visit your website. Looking at website analytics can give you great insights and information about when people are looking, what they are looking at, and how long they are staying on that page for example.
Your landing page should include an easy call to action button that can then lead to more information about your business. For example, if you are offering products, a simple button with ‘Buy’ or ‘Shop’ can quickly take people to your online shop. Your website is the window into your business and the landing page needs to be attractive and easy to use.
Email marketing helps to increase awareness of your brand by getting your email message into the inboxes of potential new customers. The more consistent your communication is with your email subscribers, the more likely they will be to think of your business when they are looking for your products or service.
Influencers are people who have worked on growing a large following on their social media pages. They have built up a relationship with people through regular posts and this means they can also influence their purchases.
For example, by working with an influencer, you can ask them to feature your product in one of their posts. If it’s jewellery, you might offer them an item to wear in a post. Or, if you run a holiday park, you may offer a weekend stay and ask the influencer to review it.
A fast way to turn potential customers into leads is by offering a competition or giveaway. This could be through social media or a newsletter or even inside the company building. The competition should be linked to a call to action through which can turn people into leads.
For example, in return for a free food and drink hamper, consumers need to sign up for your newsletter. From there, you can get an idea of who has shown an interest in your company and then build on it.
What is Lead Generation?
In simple terms, lead generation is starting with strangers who have never seen or heard of your brand, and then through your marketing, you will peak their interest.
That could be through clicking a link, reading a blog, liking a post, or filling in a form. By making a response to your marketing, it shows they have an interest in your company, however big or small that interest is.
Now it is your job to nurture that interest. Can you provide them with further information? Is there a one-off deal you can offer? Could you follow it up with an email or message?
By reaching out and tailoring your message to them specifically, you can convert this interest into a sale. Finally, you can follow up that sale with a thank you email. Or ask them to write a review or provide a hashtag for your company.
Why Does Your Business Need Lead Generation?
You need a good lead generation strategy for your business. This is because it will help you to target your audience, grow your business and lead to sales. Lead Generation drives traffic to your website and from there you can convert leads into customers.
Google has made the whole process of connecting people to businesses much easier. It also allows you to target a customer base who is actively searching for your product or service via a search engine.
Through different methods of lead generation, you can encourage potential customers to engage with your business which in turn can lead to sales if nurtured properly. The more people who come across your business through any marketing method and show an interest, the more this leads to sales for your business.
Ways to Market Your Business
An important part of the ultimate guide to lead generation is ways to market your business. If you want to grow your business, having a marketing strategy in place is essential. However, today’s marketing landscape is constantly changing with new tactics and ways to market your business. Below we look at the different methods you can use to market your business and generate more leads.
Firstly, we’ll look at SEO or search engine optimisation. SEO is the process of improving your website to increase its visibility on the search engine. The better the SEO is for your website, the higher up your website will appear on the search engine.
For example, if someone searches ‘What is Lead Generation’, and you have worked on the SEO for your website with the relevant content, then you can appear on this search. If your SEO is not done correctly, you are less likely to appear in the search.
Another example, a potential customer could be searching for a ‘vegan Christmas hamper’. If you sell vegan hampers and the SEO on your website is correct, you are likely to feature in that search. Furthermore, it has the potential to drive the customer to your website, hopefully resulting in a sale.
Content needs to be engaging and add value to those reading in order to really capture them. An easy way to add content to your website is by writing a blog. Content marketing can also include interviews, articles, videos, images, and graphics.
Your content should be relatable, not random. Potential customers enjoy matching themselves to what you are talking about. For example, you could write a blog about ‘how to write a marketing strategy’.
For people starting out in business, or who don’t have any experience with it, your blog will help them to gain more knowledge. They may read your blog and then set up a marketing plan. Moreover, it will peak their interest in your business and they may follow or lookout for more of your blogs.
Another example is to post images or videos of behind the scenes work. Maybe your business sells books. By posting content about the latest books with honest reviews, you could be offering something of interest to other people.
Writing articles is another way to market your business. However, your writing needs to be high quality. Your articles should be educational and informative. At the same time, the main point is to gain interest in your business and lead on to a call to action. Before you write an article, think about what you are trying to accomplish.
Perhaps you could build up a series of articles for your website and publish one regularly. If a customer likes your article and finds it helpful, they may return for more. In order to read more, they may have to register for an account, subscribe to the newsletter, or follow you on social media.
Email marketing was one of the original ways of marketing for businesses. Click rate, engagement, and the number of emails people receive are all things to consider.
An email marketing strategy helps your business by building relationships and brand awareness. With emails, you can send out personalised content to your customers as and when you feel it is right. A regular and well-timed email will keep you at the forefront of customers’ minds, especially with how often people access their emails.
Another good reason to use it is that sending out emails will prompt your customers to visit your website again or make contact. These are potential leads as they are responding to your email. Additionally, if you have a new product or service to promote, this is a good way to entice customers to come back and have a look.
Paid Ads and PPC
PPC, or Pay Per Click, is an online advertising model in which advertisers pay each time a user clicks on one of their online ads. The most common is paid search ads.
A paid search ad appears when commercial searches occur on Google. For example, if you go onto Google and search for local heating engineers. If any of them have utilised paid searches, you will see them appear higher up on the google ranking.
Companies will then pay a fee for the advert if it is clicked on by a customer. Hence the term, pay per click.
When using PPC, think about what your business has to offer, what makes it special? Think about your target audience and potential customers. Finally, consider your budget, how much do you want to spend monthly on PPC? With a strategy in place, you can build up an effective PPC plan and stay within your budget.
Social media is one of the best methods to use to market your business. Firstly, you can optimise your profile. Your social media business profile is often the first impression that someone will get of your business, so you need to make it count.
Your profile can include contact details such as phone numbers and email addresses, these are vital as customers don’t want to search for them. You can also use your profile to promote your content and website.
Secondly, creating clickable and engaging content is the key to success. Your audience can engage with your business online and you could also reach people who are not connected to your business if they are interested in some of your content.
Thirdly, you could offer an incentive via your social media platforms. Perhaps you could offer a discount if a customer signs up for your newsletter for example.
Referral marketing is a tactic that makes use of recommendations and word of mouth to grow a business’s customer base through the networks of existing customers. Essentially, it’s a way to get your current customers to help spread the word about your brand.
It works through offering a reward or incentive to your customer to recommend a friend. Ultimately, the best referral plans are double-sided. So that there is a reward for your customer and their friend.
For example, we’re giving away a gift card for you and a friend if you recommend our business. Subscribe to our newsletter for more details. Or follow us on Facebook. From there, you will successfully gain another potential customer which if nurtured well, could lead to a sale.
How Can You Get the Most Out of Your Lead Generation?
One question we hear a lot from customers and people looking to improve their lead generation, is how can I get the most out of it? Below in the ultimate guide to lead generation, we are going to discuss the most popular forms of lead generation. And how you can utilise them to their full potential.
Inbound marketing is great for all types of businesses, but particularly for start-ups and smaller businesses. That’s because inbound marketing is about attracting prospects to your business rather than advertising to anyone. You don’t need a large budget for inbound marketing. If used properly, it can be one of the greatest marketing tools for bringing new customers to your business.
Inbound marketing differs from traditional marketing techniques such as paying for adverts or purchasing expensive email lists. Subsequently, it focuses solely on creating great quality content that pulls people towards your products or service.
For example, put the customer at the forefront of your mind. Think about what interests them. Then set up your content with this in mind. You are creating and sharing content that is relevant and interesting to your target audience.
Therefore, you are attracting people to your business who in turn, can become potential leads and sales. Ideally, with high-quality inbound marketing, you can keep customers coming back for more.
A key point here is to circulate interesting and informative content in the right place at the right time. Your marketing should be of value to a customer and not demand or interrupt their day.
Examples of Inbound Marketing
Examples of inbound marketing can include free guides or giveaways which are of interest to your audience. You could also offer inspirational tips, advice, or a blog about new products. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that inbound marketing also needs to be active. This means you need to engage with multiple platforms including social media.
In order to reach and connect with people, you should be responding to their questions, tweets, or comments. In brief, you are nurturing relationships with your customers and potential customers. By maintaining a presence online, you are making sure there is a steady flow of visitors to your website looking at your content.
To sum up, an inbound marketing strategy is all about providing content to your audience which is of value to them. Whether they are visitors, leads, or existing customers. Just because someone has already bought or paid for your services, it doesn’t mean you forget about them. By looking after existing customers, you can encourage them to return for more products in the future.
The Comparative: Outbound Marketing
Comparatively, outbound marketing refers to any kind of marketing where a company initiates the conversation. You are sending messages out to an audience. Generally speaking, it’s the opposite of inbound marketing, where the customers find you when they need you.
Outbound marketing includes trade shows, seminar series, emails to specific lists, cold calling, door to door sales, telemarketing, and advertising. The aim is to push your message out far and wide hoping that it will gain interest.
Arguably, these techniques can be less effective than inbound marketing. However, both methods are still used in marketing and generating leads. Notably, in modern times, we’re inundated with hundreds of marketing interruptions each day. And we’re finding more ways to block them out.
Furthermore, it can be a lot cheaper to write something interesting and informative about your product in an online blog. Rather than flying out to a trade show to demonstrate it. Additionally, putting together an outbound strategy can take a lot of time and effort. Sometimes this doesn’t result in many positive sales.
With inbound marketing, you create content or social media tactics that spread awareness of your brand. People learn about your business and may visit your blog or website, showing interest in your products. In turn, this can lead to a sale. Of course, you can achieve sales with outbound marketing as well.
Sales and Marketing alignment
To get the most out of lead generation, you ought to consider aligning sales and marketing for your business. With both teams working together, there is better collaboration, more transparency, and greater efficiency. The end goal is to convert leads and achieve sales to boost profits.
In many companies, there is a state of conflict that exists between marketing and sales. Particularly with who is responsible for lead generation. Perhaps your marketing team is currently doing all the lead generation and then sends those leads to the sales team.
In some companies, the responsibility of lead generation rests solely on marketing. Hence this allows the sales team to close the leads. However, in the modern digital era, there is a lot more to consider.
With this in mind, in order to align the teams, it’s important to agree on what a qualifying lead actually is. Traditionally, marketing leads tend to be inbound, focusing on areas including email campaigns, account-based marketing, and digital marketing. The team will optimise the website content driving more traffic to it.
Whereas sales leads tend to be more focused on outbound marketing. They reach out to people and customers similar to their current customer base.
However, your business could benefit from higher sales, simply by aligning the teams. With common objectives, outcomes, and goals when it comes to lead generation, your business may see bigger profits.
In view of this, marketing teams can launch campaigns to encourage customers to sign up for the products or services on offer. Then, the customer is nurtured through inbound marketing into a sales ready lead. The sales team can then close the sale.
There are pros and cons for whether sales should part of lead generation, or whether marketing should be solely responsible.
If lead generation was a sales only role, there would be a greater number of people with call center expertise. But it could mean a slower pace of sales and a lack of quality leads.
Alternatively, if lead generation was only a marketing responsibility, there would be a slower collaboration with turning those leads into final sales and boosting profits. By working together, the teams can collaborate on leads which can turn into faster sales. The communication is better and the workload is shared.
To sum up, it isn’t as straightforward as whether lead generation is sales or marketing. The success of each department depends on its leadership, and the leader’s ability to enable change in practices. They will need a collaborative mindset, as will their staff.
What is a Lead Generation Funnel?
A lead generation funnel is a process of how you identify who is at what stage of the buying journey.
With lead generation, there is a process. A lead funnel is a systematic approach to funnelling your target audience through distinct stages until they hopefully buy something from you.
For example, you attract a potential customer with your website, blog, social media post, or advert. This is your first engagement. Then, they may like the post or follow your blog, which moves them onto the next part of the journey. Ideally, the result is a sale and a full paying customer. This is where a lead generation funnel comes in.
Why Should You Create A Lead Generation Funnel?
Essentially, a lead generation funnel is a great way to assess where potential customers are within your business. Therefore you are focusing on what stage of the buying journey they are at. By understanding what stage they are at, your sales or marketing team will know where to focus their attention next.
There are many benefits to creating one. Firstly, it helps you to create awareness of your brand. Secondly, you can collect important information about the buyer. Generally speaking, it’s cheaper than most advertisements. Moreover, it usually benefits both the buyer and the seller. You are offering something in return for a sales lead.
The Stages of a Lead Generation Funnel
There are seven stages to a lead generation funnel. Below we discuss each stage in detail to help you understand the stages of a lead generation funnel.
1. Stage One
Stage 1 is awareness. The key point here is to work out how your brand will get noticed and how you create that awareness amongst your customers. The aim here is to bring customers into the first stage of your funnel.
This is solely dependent on how well you carry out your inbound marketing. Hence, you need to ensure that your SEO, paid advertising, and content marketing is very good.
In view of this, you also need to be aware of how your customers operate and what their personas are. Try not to get customers to give away their details, such as emails or contact numbers too soon, as this may scare them off at stage 1.
2. Stage Two
Stage 2 is about data. Once your customers are aware of your brand and who you are, they move to the next stage of the funnel. This is where data is vital for moving them onto the next steps. It’s up to you what official date you gain. However, most businesses opt for a contact number or email address.
Popular ways to do this include call to actions, sign up forms, or landing pages. Anything that entices your audience to give away details. Other options include giving away free information.
This information in exchange for contact details is all effective. For example, an informative and free blog or a how-to video series on YouTube may lead to people signing up for more. Next, when you have all this data, you need to load it onto a CRM or database.
3. Stage Three
Stage 3 is about the marketing qualified lead (MQL) and the sales qualified lead (SQL).
Basically, this means that once your brand has awareness and people know who you are, you can start to build up more leads. The data you have already gathered will help to determine which avenue they have come through, either sales or marketing.
Marketing qualified leads are a direct product of any social media, content, or paid advertising you do. Usually, these tend to be more qualified as they have expressed a direct interest in your business.
A sales qualified lead may have come through a landing page or sign up form. Being able to speak to customers on the phone is a great way to get them engaged in your brand and help to build your awareness further.
Once you have engaged with your potential customers via either platform, you need to decide where they lie with the lead generation process. Your qualified leads are the ones most likely to generate revenue for your business.
4. Stage Four
Stage 4 is about target and prospects. The next stage of the funnel is to decide where your potential customers rank on a lead generation scale. Not every person you contact will be a prospective new customer.
With this in mind, target the people who you want to make customers. These could be people who have downloaded content or expressed an interest after being engaged. They are higher up the scale than people who didn’t express much interest.
Potential targets here could also be people who are paying for services with your competitors who you would like to move across.
5. Stage Five
Stage 5 is about recycling. Not all potential customers are going to be ready to buy from you straight away. They may be looking for more information at the moment, but not ready to buy. However, they are still valuable and still need to be engaged.
Therefore, you can keep in contact through marketing in the form of social media or email marketing, or a sales call every few months to check in with them.
It’s worth bearing in mind here that this is where a strong database or CRM comes into its own. Being able to track conversations, emails and marketing allow you to be more selective over who you should be contacting.
6. Stage Six
Stage 6 is about the opportunity. Once you have followed all the points above, you will be in a position where customers give you the opportunity to work with them.
Therefore, at this stage, your sales technique will kick in. It’s your job now to fit customers to the right products and services and even use upsell opportunities. Make each customer feel valued.
7. Stage Seven
The final stage is stage 7 and is all about the customers. Finally, the leads you have engaged with and nurtured have become paying customers. From here, your work is not finished. Most importantly, you need to make sure that the service they receive is first class.
Retaining these customers and making sure they return in the future helps to build a stable revenue stream.
Creating a lead generation funnel is fairly simple if you know how to do it. Furthermore, it’s vital if you want potential leads to push through into guaranteed sales.
The Importance of Lead Generation
Lead Generation is not a new process but it could make a big difference to your business. In the first place, a lead is someone who has a potential interest in your business, products, or services and has the potential to become a paying customer.
Your job is to take that potential customer and engage with them. Then you turn a lead into a sale. Therefore, lead generation leads to building revenue for your business.
Obviously, at Lead Genera, we cannot express the importance of lead generation enough.
If you are in a situation where you need to generate more revenue for your business and you have no idea how you need to look at lead generation. There are many outlets that you can utilise and specific tactics you can use.
Lead generation includes content marketing, search engine optimisation, and social media marketing among other methods. There are several benefits to using lead generation which we’ll look at below in this article.
Cost Implications of Lead Generation
The next thing to discuss in the ultimate guide to lead generation is the cost implications. There are cost implications to lead generation, however, it can be cost-effective in the long run.
For example, building up a good strategy and investing in your lead generation can bring vast benefits to your company. Ultimately, turning those leads into sales and more revenue for your business.
While it’s a very good idea to work on your lead generation, starting without a plan is going to jeopardise your business. You need to start with a budget and stick to it, as advertising methods can vary greatly in price.
At the same time, lead generation doesn’t need to be costly to set up initially. There are some routes you can take to be very careful with your budget. All social media platforms such as Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, and Facebook are free for businesses to use.
Additionally, if you’re able to write quality content yourself, you can add this to your website. A regular blog can give value to your customers and save money along the way.
However, a targeted way to reach a wider audience is by promoting posts on social media or using google ads. Significantly, this will cost you money. Notably, social media advertisements account for many business budgets.
Yet social media is essential to lead generation. The high price of an advertisement on social media can drive up your costs, but it does bring in leads and creates brand awareness. Ultimately, it’s a good investment for your business.
With this in mind, don’t spend all your lead generation budget on one format.
Finding Alternative Platforms to Market Your Business
A key point here is that you need multiple routes and platforms to be successful in lead generation. Focus on methods that give value to your customers. Use what your competitors are doing and add your own twist. Alternatively, if you don’t have time to organise a strategy yourself, you may wish to consider outsourcing to a company like Lead Genera.
To sum up, in terms of costs, lead generation can be expensive, but it’s also cost-effective. This is because it generates qualified leads with customers who are interested in your business’ service or products. The qualified leads are more likely to sell than those leads that haven’t been qualified.
For example, by using higher quality lead generation like Google ads, you are more likely to find customers who want to buy your products. Rather than those potential customers who are not that bothered.
By putting money into generating leads, you can ensure that no money is wasted. You are contacting people who are genuinely interested in your product. Lead generation also provides a cost-effective solution to a business that is struggling to make sales. Additionally, it helps your business to stand out in the crowd.
4 Reasons why you Should Start Generating Leads
To finish up the ultimate guide to lead generation we talked about reasons why you should start generating leads. There are many reasons why you should, but we have chosen the top 4 reasons.
1. Helps a business to make sales and expand
A business with a good lead generation strategy will be able to build up sales by targeting the right customers who are going to buy. Therefore, expanding the business by building up revenue.
Most people’s experience online beings with a search engine. Your strategy should include search engine optimisation and building up a list of keywords. This will put your website higher up the list when people are searching online. When your website pops up into the search engine, a potential customer will hopefully click on the link. Then, you have a lead.
2. Raises awareness of your brand
By generating potential leads you can raise awareness of your brand and reach more people. Lead generation can drive traffic to your website where you can convert leads into customers. Thanks to search engines like google, the process of connecting people to businesses is much easier. After all, it allows you to target a customer base who is actively searching for your product.
Social media is also an excellent way to build your brand. For example, you can set up a Facebook page for free. Most users on Facebook aren’t looking to purchase, but you can build up the leads by offering interesting content or information.
Even having links to your website or other social media platforms on there can generate leads. If someone who visits your Facebook page clicks on the link to your website, they are a lead. Moreover, you can then nurture this lead and convert it into a sale.
3. Enables sales and marketing departments to build productive relationships
Part of your lead generation strategy could be aligning the sales and marketing team so that they work together to generate sales. In this case, by nurturing your leads, you can build effective relationships with potential customers. With an effective strategy, this will hopefully lead to more qualified leads. Ultimately, this leads to more customers and more sales for the sales team.
4. Lead generation is a modern and targeted method of marketing
The way we interact with each other has changed over time, as has the way we use technology. For this reason, keeping people engaged is getting harder. In general, people are less responsive to outbound methods such as cold calling. Lead generation over several platforms can make marketing easier and more effective.
Henceforth, you are wasting less time with people who are not going to buy your product.
In Summary: The Ultimate Guide to Lead Generation
We hope the ultimate guide to lead generation has helped you learn everything there is to know about lead generation. Lead Genera have discussed everything from learning what a lead is to the costs you might incur when marketing your business.
Lead generation is integral to your business and makes up an important part of the business’s sales. However, we understand it can be hard to achieve as well. Even if you have lots of experience, lead generation can be a challenge.
The ultimate guide to lead generation is the first step in generating leads for your business. There is always room to improve and expand your knowledge. Take a look at our Knowledge Hub where you will find different methods to generate leads and even how to implement a strategy into your business.