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What the heck is Lead Generation in the marketing world?

The use of lead generation isn’t a new thing. Businesses have been using it for years now. But it wasn’t like that in the ’90s. Between then and now, the internet has developed exponentially and has changed the business landscape forever.

The key benefit of digital commerce is that you can reach a wide array of prospects across the world at relatively shorter spans of time while spending much less.

Business promotions done with newspaper advertisements, TV, or sharing flyers are long gone. Today, marketers can launch brilliant digital campaigns with nothing but a mobile and internet connection.

The new age has brought about a specific approach to marketing businesses online. An in-depth understanding of this new approach lays the foundation for successful campaigns.

Marketers must prioritize lead generation in order to attract customers and accompany them throughout their buyer’s journey, from the point of awareness up until the customer makes a purchase.

Lead generation is one of the most important functions of digital marketing. Because without new prospects, any business would dry up and cease to exist.

So let’s learn what lead generation actually is? Before we get into what lead generation is and why you need it, let’s start with defining a lead.

Let’s dig in!

What is a Lead?

A lead is usually someone who has shown interest in your company’s product or service in some way, shape, or form.

Leads typically hear from a business or organization after opening communication instead of getting a random cold call from someone who purchased their contact information.

Let’s say you complete a survey for a brand that you’re passionate about. An hour later, you receive an email from the brand that created the survey to give you a promotional voucher for shops in your area.

This process would be far less intrusive than if they’d just called you out of the blue with no knowledge of whether you even care about their brand, right? This is what it’s like to be a lead.

From the brand’s viewpoint, the information you provide in exchange for your promotional voucher is collected and helps to inform more personalised and meaningful marketing communications with you as the potential customer moving forward.

This helps the brand to limit wastage so they’re not spending much time on prospects that aren’t interested in your services.

What is Lead Generation in Digital Marketing?

In digital marketing, lead generation is the process of identifying, attracting, and transforming online users into prospects for a business.

Some ways to generate leads are through job applications, blog posts, coupons, live events, and online content. These lead generators are just a few examples of lead generation strategies you can use to attract potential customers and guide them towards your offers.

Why Do You Need Lead Generation?

The reason businesses need leads is because they allow you to refine and establish an understanding about who your potential customers are, what their needs and interests are when they’re most receptive to hearing from you, and how best to reach out to them.

Lead Generation creates opportunities for businesses to attract qualified prospects with an established interest in their products/services.

This allows marketers to effectively engage with people looking for more information on specific topics or have expressed explicit interest in buying a product/service like yours at some point in the future.

The Two Main Areas Of Focus For Lead Generation

B2B Lead Generation

B2B lead generation is an integral part of the sales process. It’s also known as business-to-business lead generation, which is defined as activities that bring in new leads into your sales funnel that are potential buyers of your products or services.

B2B lead generation helps improve lead quality and quantity by helping you identify who’s looking to change suppliers, buy additional products, subscribe to a trial and more.

B2C Lead Generation

B2C lead generation is the process of marketing to consumers. Businesses need large volumes of high-quality leads across various channels that fit certain criteria or provide specific details.

The more leads you get, the faster you can act on them; this allows marketers to constantly move prospects through their sales funnel at a faster rate.

Businesses can achieve this through lead generation, which is often done via inbound marketing and then nurtured via automated lead nurturing and engagement tools.

How the Lead Generation Process Works

Perhaps the simplest way to think about the lead generation process is to compare it to the stages of the marketing funnel. That funnel has 3 main phases:

  • First, a visitor discovers your business through one of your marketing channels, such as your website, blog, or social media page.
  • That visitor then clicks on your call-to-action (CTA) — an image, button, or message that encourages website visitors to take some sort of action.
  • That CTA takes your visitor to a landing page, which is a web page that is designed to capture lead information in exchange for an offer.

The lead generation process can encompass all three stages of the marketing funnel. Its ultimate purpose is to guide the consumer through the buyer’s journey until a purchase is made.

Lead Nurturing

Lead generation is only half the battle. Once you’ve gained a lead, you need to nurture it over a period of time before it makes the final transition to customer. This may require a balancing act: on the one hand, you don’t want to come on too strong and scare off your new lead, but on the other hand, you don’t want to lose top of mind awareness either.

When it comes to lead nurturing techniques, personalized email marketing definitely stands out. Email marketing techniques work because:

  • The prospect has willingly opted in to receive messages.
  • The contents of each message is customized according to the prospect’s current stage in the funnel.

The Different Types of Leads

Not all leads are equal. There are different types of leads that manifest themselves differently throughout your business, so it’s best to have a strategy for each type.

Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)

Marketing qualified leads are contacts who’ve engaged with your marketing team’s efforts but aren’t ready to receive a sales call. An example of an MQL is a contact who fills out a landing page form for an offer.

Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)

Sales qualified leads are contacts who’ve taken actions that expressly indicate their interest in becoming a paying customer. An example of an SQL is a contact who fills out a form to ask a question about your product or service.

Product Qualified Lead (PQL)

Product qualified leads are contacts who’ve used your product and taken actions that indicate interest in becoming a paying customer. An example of a PQL is a customer who uses your free version but engages or asks about features that are only available upon payment.

Service Qualified Lead

Service qualified leads are contacts or customers who’ve indicated to your service team that they’re interested in becoming a paying customer. An example of a service qualified lead is a customer who tells their customer service representative that they’d like to upgrade their product subscription.

Types of Lead Generation Marketing

To get traffic and generate leads, you can use various channels to promote your landing page. Lead generation marketing is the front-end of this process.

There are a lot of channels you can use to get visitors to become leads. Let’s go into depth on these and talk about a few of them.

Content

Including CTAs in your content is a great way to lead users toward your landing page. Typically, you create content that provides visitors with useful free information and include CTAs throughout the article.

Maximize your audience’s delight with your content to improve their likelihood of clicking on your CTA and moving onto the next part of your landing page.

Email Marketing

You can use email campaigns to contact your known contacts and offer them something of interest.

Sending email campaigns is a good way to contact people who already know you and are interested in what you have to offer.

You’ll want to use calls-to-action that hook your audience, so consider using compelling copy and eye-catching designs on your CTA buttons.

Paid Ads / Remarketing

The sole purpose of an ad is to get a desired action from the viewers. The landing page and offer on the site must match what is advertised in the video, and it’s important that users know exactly what needs to be done.

Marketers often spend a ton of money on an ad and then forget to account for what happens next. Ad copy is only useful if people actually take the desired action.

Social Media Marketing

Social media platforms offer a variety of options for marketers looking to guide customers to take action.

You have the choice between promoting your products through social shares and including a call-to-action in your posts, as well as by creating links that can be clicked on.

These are just some of the features available. Social media platforms make it easy to guide followers to take action, which is why you should promote your offerings on social posts.

Product Trials

You can break down a lot of barriers to a sale by offering trials of your product or service. Once a prospect is using your product, you can entice them with additional offers or resources to encourage them to buy.

Referral Marketing

Referral, or word-of-mouth, marketing is useful for lead generation in a different way. That is, it gets your brand in front of more people, which, in turn, increases your chances of generating more leads.

Organic Lead Generation

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is one of the best methods for promotion because it is an organic strategy that provides long-term benefits.

The more content you post, the higher your ranking will be in search engine results.

B2B marketers should be looking for different Leads Sources in order to be successful. The top resource for capturing business leads is SEO, followed closely by email marketing and social media.

How Can You Get Started with Lead Generation for Your Business?

I don’t want you to miss out on anything, so here’s a quick checklist highlighting several ways you can get started today:

  • Basic local SEO.
  • Claim your free Google My Business directory listing and optimise it.
  • Publish content frequently on your website/blog.
  • Guest post on relevant websites to your industry.
  • Get active on social media.
  • Run paid search ads.
  • Run social media ads.
  • Run native advertising.
  • Build a referral network.

Much has changed in the world of marketing over time.

Customers that come to a company’s website with access to a wealth of information on the internet know more than they did before. Customers are more educated than they were in the past.

Now that you can find information about a company with the click of a button, customers are smarter and have plenty of competition for their money.

Conclusion

There you have it folks. By now you should know more about how to generate leads for your business.

When you consider that more than half of your marketing budget should go towards lead generation, the most effective strategy is to have a good plan and make sure there are excellent returns.

Rather than using lead generation as a one-time tactic, approach it as part of your core business to create more customer-friendly experiences from the beginning.

The basics we’ve gone over in this blog post are just the beginning. Keep creating great offers, CTAs, landing pages, and forms — and promote them in multi-channel environments.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment. I’m always here for you.

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