Lead generation is a broad term used to describe the process of attracting and converting website visitors into leads. A lead is a person who expresses an interest in your company's product or service and typically provides contact information so that you can follow up. Lead generation is typically done through a combination of various marketing channels such as content marketing, inbound marketing, outbound marketing, social media, email marketing and search engine optimization (SEO).
Generating leads is an essential part of growing your business. Each lead you generate is a potential customer that could eventually become a paying customer, returning customer or a loyal advocate for your brand. That's why lead generation is one of the most important digital marketing strategies, and something you should consider integrating into your overall digital marketing strategy.
The goal of lead generation is to turn website visitors into leads. You can do that by strategically creating content and using digital marketing tactics. In order to set yourself up for success, you'll need to understand the steps and best practices associated with each stage of the lead generation process.
The Lead Generation Process
The lead generation process is often broken down into four distinct stages: capture, nurture, qualify and convert.
As previously mentioned, the lead generation process begins with capturing prospects' contact information. This happens when people visit your website and fill out a form or when they download ebooks, brochures, case studies or other forms of content from your website.
Capture efforts should be centered around topics that appeal to your target customer and should be presented in a format that is easy to digest. Examples of types of content that are used for online lead generation include: downloadable white papers, infographics, ebooks, tutorials, and webinars.
The second step of the lead generation process is to nurture the lead. This can be done through an automated email program that sends a set of emails to a lead that further educates them on your products and services, builds a relationship with the lead, and acts as a pre-qualification before they are passed on to your sales team.
Your email nurture sequence should be tailored to the customer's lifecycle stage and the particular customer profile. For example, if you're targeting new leads, you might start off with a series of emails educating them on your products and services. If you're targeting existing leads, you might jump straight into product offers and discounts.
The third step of the lead generation process is to qualify the lead. This involves assessing the relevance of the prospect and determining if the lead should be passed along to the sales team or not.
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Qualification criteria is determined by the value each customer brings to your business. If a customer doesn't meet the established criteria, the sales team wouldn't be interested in speaking with them. That's why it's important to analyze who your customer is and what they’re looking for before passing them on to the sales team.
The fourth and final step is to convert the lead into a customer. This requires effectively communicating the value of your products and services to the potential customer. It's important to take your time when speaking to prospective customers and to tailor your message to their needs.
By engaging with prospective customers in an informative and friendly manner, you can effectively convert them into paying customers.
Best Practices for Lead Generation
Lead generation requires engaging prospects with highly relevant content at the right stage of their customer lifecycle. Here are some best practices for successful lead generation:
• Tailor content to each customer’s interests, needs, and revenue stage
• Utilize customer feedback to create content that is valuable and engaging
• Personalize messages based on customer data
• Optimize the user experience to make your website more attractive
• Use retargeting to bring website visitors back
• Target prospects based on their behavior
• Utilize automation for email nurturing
• Measure the success of lead generation activities
Lead generation is a critical part of digital marketing that involves creating relevant content, using optimization and automation, and measuring the results. By understanding the lead generation process, setting up email nurturing campaigns, and following the basic best practices, you can effectively generate leads and turn them into paying customers.