In our introductory chapter of this guide, we delved into everything you need to know about leads. These are would-be customers that have not yet made the jump to buying your products or services.
They could be on the fence for a slew of reasons. Money is often on the top of the heap, as the lead wants to make sure they’re going to get a good value for what they spend. They also want to be sure your product/service is going to solve their specific problem(s).They could be on the fence for a slew of reasons. Money is often on the top of the heap, as the lead wants to make sure they’re going to get a good value for what they spend. They also want to be sure your product/service is going to solve their specific problem(s).
By identifying those problems, segmenting leads, and sending them targeted content to nurture them, you could convert leads into customers. Your job isn’t done yet, though.
Ideally, your company wants to have a steady influx of leads. This is because not every lead you get is going to work out, as we mentioned in Chapter 1. Try as you may, your conversion rate will never be 100 percent. No company’s is. That’s okay. If you’re pulling in new leads and converting most of them, you’re doing fine.
How do you find this steady influx of leads? It’s through a process known as lead generation.
The lead gen tactics that work for your company now may not always. That’s due to the changing landscape of marketing and technology. According to Neil Patel, today, email marketing is the top online lead gen tactic.
It wasn’t always this way. Before the Internet became so prevalent, marketers had to use other means of engaging with their audiences. In the next few years, something else entirely could change the way marketers convert leads into customers.
Why is lead generation so important to your company anyway?
That’s simple. Money.
You need to generate leads for sales. Your current customers are already buying your products/services, yes, but it’s not enough. You need new people who are also interested in buying. That’s what led gen gets you. In that regard, lead generation is very important.
There are several other reasons lead generation matters so much to marketers and business owners:
Remember how, in the section above, we mentioned how changes in technology have allowed marketing to evolve? Along with those changes, the buying process customers go through has become more sophisticated. No longer do leads hear of you from mass advertisements. We’ve even evolved from the humble email blast (although it does have its place in marketing, it has to be more targeted, too).Also, it’s much more uncommon for leads to go to your bricks and mortar store to learn more about you that way. Instead, the website has become the hub in which these leads will click around, read about your history, and—if you’re lucky—make a transaction.
Social media can go hand-in-hand with your website. On platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and the like, leads communicate with your page. There, they get a sense of your customer service. They even can read reviews and testimonials from other (hopefully) happy customers.
It wasn’t always so easy. In the past, there were far fewer opportunities to learn about a company. There’d be brochures and catalogues, magazine articles, billboards, and radio and print advertisements but little else.
Just take a look at this chart from Marketo to see what we mean.
The wealth of opportunities to learn about a company today also provides more chances for a lead to make a purchase and convert. In the decades past, if a lead wanted to buy something from a company, they had to do all the work. They’d either have to send in a mail-order form, call a phone number, or drive to a bricks and mortar store. Now, everything can be done online with a few clicks of a mouse or taps of a finger.
Having more abundant buying opportunities is good for you, the company. That said, competition is also steeper now than it’s ever been. Every form of lead gen marketing you can think of, from social media to email marketing or content marketing, your competition is already doing. That means you have to work that much harder not only to capture the attention of your lead but keep it until they convert. Even once they become a customer, you must continue to nurture the relationship to keep them interested and buying.
If you’ve yet to implement a lead gen strategy, then unsurprisingly, you may run into some hurdles. You’re far from alone. B2B marketing agency Bop Design surveyed businesses in the second quarter of 2018. In that survey, Bop asked these companies what their most significant lead gen challenges were. Here are the findings.
More than half of the respondents said they didn’t have enough time for lead generation. Sound familiar? It may if you’re running your own company. Another significant portion said they have either an undefined sales process or a poor sales process. Yet another decent chunk of respondents admitted to not having quality leads (more on these later in the guide).
Other reasons worth mentioning were keeping up with growing technology, ROI calculation difficulties, and a poor website design.
If any of these problems are also your own, you might do a fervent online search for whichever lead gen strategies you can find. Unfortunately, not all tactics will deliver the results your company needs.
You need to focus on the most effective lead generation strategies to see more leads, conversions, and a higher ROI. How? Here are some strategies you can employ today.
Bop Design also surveyed its respondents on how most of them obtained leads. Here’s how it broke down.
Surprisingly, referrals and word of mouth were the top answer with more than 70 percent. That’s not necessarily the norm, though. The second most popular option at a little over 60 percent was a company’s website.
Your website must be a well-oiled machine through and through. What do we mean by that? Here are some characteristics of a website that converts:
If you refer back to the chart from Bop Design, you’ll see that some marketers still use cold calling as a lead gen tactic. It’s a pretty significant number, too, almost 50 percent. We also talked about cold calling in Chapter 1.
Is cold calling dead then or is there still some merit to it? It’s the latter. That said, cold calling can’t be the only lead gen method you use. If you can, it’s better to warm call. This is when you send an initial email to a lead and then reach out via phone. In this scenario, the lead is already at least somewhat familiar with you and what you do. That might make them more receptive to picking up the phone and chatting with you about your products/services.
Marketing automation software can be your best friend when it comes to lead generation. Once you start getting leads opting into your email newsletters, you have to segment them. Automation takes that segmentation a step further with lead scoring.
Lead scoring will come up again in this guide for certain, so let’s get acquainted with it now. With lead scoring, you categorize your leads based on their willingness to make a purchase. These leads would be considered more qualified, which we discussed in the first chapter of this guide.
As a lead continues along the customer journey and does different things, their scoring might change. You can add or deduct points based on their behavior. If, for instance, they unsubscribe to your email list, you’d drop points. If they completed your opt-in form, downloaded an offer, clicked a link, or even made a purchase, you’d add points. The points might vary based on the importance of each of those activities.
Now that you followed the tips above to improve the design of your website, you have to make sure you have killer landing pages to match. Whether you use a template or you create your landing pages from scratch, these are a major conversion tool.
For each product or service you offer, you must have a separate landing page. A lead may be redirected to your landing page by clicking on an advertisement or a social media link. We wrote a great guide on landing pages several months back that’s worth checking out in-depth. In it, we go over landing page types, templates, and best practices.
One thing we do want to mention about your landing pages is that it’s important for them to have lead capture forms of some sort. Whether these are opt-in forms or call to action buttons, you’re trying to gather the lead’s contact information. This allows you to get the ball rolling, sending welcome emails and beginning the nurturing process that should lead to a conversion.
One way to push a lead towards making a purchase is by offering them a lead magnet. This offer should be made early, shortly after the lead lands on your site for the first time. After all, you never know if they’re coming back at this stage.
Lead magnets are like opt-in forms in a way. Instead of a lead just signing up to your newsletter when they give you their email address, though, they get something valuable out of the deal, too. What that something valuable is happens to be up to you. Maybe it’s a webinar transcript, a few chapters of an eBook, a compiled resource, an exclusive infographic, or a report. You can also share interview transcripts, bonus tips, white papers, free trials, and training videos.
As a business, you’re always chasing the bottom line. To boost your ROI, the most important thing is to generate new leads. This way, not only will you have the revenue from your current customers, but from a continuous stream of new ones as well.