Lead Generation Best Practices

As you implement the lead gen strategies we’ve covered in the first four chapters of this guide, your influx of leads will begin to grow. In dealing with all these new potential customers, sometimes you forget who they truly are at the heart of it all: people.

You want to get the most conversions possible (who doesn’t?) while treating your would-be customers as well as possible. This may seem like a careful balancing act, but it doesn’t have to be. After all, this is why best practices exist. They’re like the stepping stones you can follow to meet your goals. These practices have worked for other marketers in the past, and now they can turn your conversions around, too.

Not all best practices remain relevant indefinitely. That’s why we’ve done our research to bring you only the most recent and thus relevant best practices to apply to your business. These are areas you may have missed in your lead gen plan. By plugging these gaps now, you won’t lose any conversion opportunities.


Lead Generation Strategies


Use Content Recommendations as Part of Your Retargeting Process

In Chapter 4, we mentioned how it’s important to use automation if you’re retargeting old or otherwise unresponsive leads. This is because your time is valuable. There are only so many hours in the day, and you want to spend the precious time you do have focusing on potentially profitable leads.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever retarget. If you want to go back and try to catch some of the leads you missed the first time, you can try implementing content recommendations. You see these all the time on news sites and other websites that are primarily article-based. Here’s an example of what we mean:

Speech every mom should here

How many times have articles like these caught your eye and got you curious enough to click? If you can present engaging, relevant content to these old leads, it’s possible you can hook them in once more. Once they reenter your content funnel, you can begin further nurturing and engaging with them to renew the conversion process all over again.


Phone Calls Are Still Acceptable, to a Degree

It may seem like there’s no room in a salesperson’s routine for a cold call or even a warm one. (Remember, warm calling is when you have made prior contact with the lead, typically via email. Then you call them. We mentioned it earlier in this guide). That couldn’t be further from the truth.

The Internet has made generating and qualifying leads easier than ever. The average salesperson no longer has to deal with the inevitable rejection of cold call after cold call. That doesn’t mean cold calls have disappeared or will disappear entirely. There are some people who still do prefer to be reached via phone instead of email.

Others are fine with warm calling. A sales rep may send a welcome email and then explain the product or service a bit in subsequent emails, if that. From there, the exchange would move to a phone call.

Phone calls are useful in several ways. First, they ensure that you have a somewhat qualified lead. If a lead is willing to schedule a phone call, after all, then that means they’re at least a little interested in your company.

It’s also easier to grab the lead’s attention and engagement on the phone. Sure, they could be multitasking, but it’s better than sending emails at this phase. Emails are very one-sided. You could have a treasure trove of useful information to share about your products, services, pricing, and more in your email. If the lead never opens it, though, then does it matter what you wrote?

It’s different on the phone. It’s not one-sided since you’ll be having a conversation. Sure, you may dominate that conversation and the lead may have limited responses, but they will respond.

You can also move the lead through the sales funnel faster. With email marketing, you’d send a welcome email, then an introductory email with an offer, then maybe a follow-up, then perhaps a bigger offer. Finally, you’d start to guide the lead to your pricing page and then try to get them to buy. All those same tasks can be achieved with a single phone call, maybe two at most.


Take Data Privacy into Account

In 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR came into play. It affects the privacy and data protection of those in the European Union as well as companies across the world that do business within the EU. We wrote about it back in April, so read up if you missed that post.

Most companies today have strived to be in compliance. They’ve changed their cookies, privacy policies, and other data measures to meet GDPR regulations. You’ve probably received emails from companies you’re subscribed to giving you the opportunity to opt out.

As a marketer or salesperson, you are constantly receiving data and other personal information from leads who opt in to your emails. These include the full name of the lead, their email address, and possibly their phone number, company name, and job title. Eventually, you may receive their address or their company’s address as well.

You must respect the privacy of your lead above all else. Keeping this private information…well, private was a good rule of thumb before the GPDR. Now, to avoid fines, it’s practically essential.


Segment, Segment, Segment

Throughout this guide, we’ve told you virtually every way you can segment your leads as they enter your sales funnel. Here’s an overview in visual form.

Road to a need based segmentation

As you can see, you can organize your leads in four basic categories. The first category is convenience. You might segment leads based on the language they speak or where they live. This is convenient for them. After all, a lead wouldn’t want to receive an email in Spanish if they only speak English and vice-versa. They also probably wouldn’t be interested in a sale for your Chicago store if they’re based in New York.

You can also split leads by firmographics. A firmographic is a portmanteau of firm demographics. The term is also sometimes called emporographics. When you’re using firmographics for segmentation, you’re focusing more on demographic data that matters to your company. That means you might do your segmentation based on your company’s size or its services.

It gets more difficult to segment leads if you’re doing so by their behavior. That said, this is a categorization we strongly advise you to consider. You might break down leads based on if they’re sensitive to quality, delivery, or price. You can also segment your leads on their needs or pain points.


Score Your Leads

Lead scoring has come up again and again throughout this guide. It’s when you assign a points value system according to the behavior of your leads. These points can be positive or negative. Scoring your leads lets you determine who’s most qualified.

Qualified leads, as you remember from earlier in the guide, are readier to pull the trigger and make a purchase. They know more about your company, have reviewed your pricing, and are interested in interacting with you. The chances of them converting are higher than a standard lead.

If you have a low lead conversion rate, then we recommend you begin scoring leads immediately. Use strict criteria so only the most qualified prospects get through the funnel.


Use Email Marketing

We’ve spoken about email marketing in this chapter alone several times already. That’s because it’s a key component of the nurturing and engagement process. You must build your business relationship with your leads to convert them to loyal, buying customers. Email marketing helps you achieve this.

Today, many aspects of email marketing can be automated. For a busy marketer or businessperson like yourself, this is a relief. You can prewrite templates and headlines and then insert them into emails that go out to your various audience segments. Then your automation software will take care of the rest. You can also schedule when your emails go out based on a certain time or even a lead behavior.

For instance, if a lead opts into your email newsletter, you can automate that welcome email. If they take advantage of one of your offers, be it free or paid, you can automate a follow-up offer or an email with related products. When the lead finally does make that big purchase, you’d automate the confirmation email.

It is important that you are following up with the lead with real emails written by a real person, not solely automation software. The human element is always important in winning over leads, after all.


Have Your Own Webinar

Webinars are still as popular as ever. They’re a great way to secure more would-be customers or unveil a new product/service. You can use webinars to position yourself as an authority in your industry as well.

The educational component of webinars will give leads lots of pertinent information about your company and its products/services. Webinars are good for you, too. If you charge for the webinar, you could make money off that. Even if you don’t charge initially, you could re-air the webinar for a fee or sell the transcript on your website.

The sales you’ll make from converting leads and the registrations from your customers should offset the time, money, and effort that go into hosting your own webinar. Before you get started, here are some stats and pointers from Medium that are worth heeding:

  • It costs about $100 on average to host your own webinar. Prices can be higher, though, in some instances costing marketers or businesspeople in the ballpark of $3,000. Sometimes you have to spend money to make money, and webinars are one of those situations. Going the free route is tacky and could turn off your audience.
  • Whether you do it for free or charge money, make sure you plan to re-air your webinar at least once. A small portion of your audience, up to 28 percent, will miss the registration date to sign up. They still want to see the webinar, so make sure they can.
  • Don’t expect a huge audience. You’ll get lots of registrations, but only between 35 and 45 percent of those who signed up will be there to see your webinar the day it airs. That’s about 148 people per webinar.
  • To get people pumped up for the webinar, it’s recommended you reach out to your audience in the middle of the week via email. Mondays and Fridays had the worst open rates when it comes to emails pertaining to webinars.
  • It’s also best to have your webinar midweek. Tuesday is the most popular day, but Wednesday or Thursday are okay, too.
  • When it comes to time, between 10 and 11 a.m. are the best hours to host your live webinar. Noon to 1 p.m. are also good. Most people are on lunch then and can take the time to watch your webinar.
  • You need to start promoting your webinar early. A small portion of your audience (17 percent) will sign up early, at least two weeks ahead of the webinar. Most (29 percent) will not. They might not register any sooner than webinar day. Remember also that a further chunk of your audience, 28 percent, will sign up to see the webinar after it already happened.
  • Medium says that almost everyone who watches a webinar (92 percent) will expect a Q&A session. Failing to do one could backfire bigtime.
  • It’s also important your webinar is no shorter than 30 minutes. In a survey from Medium, 41 percent of respondents expected the webinar to be that long. Even more people, 44 percent, prefer a 45-minute webinar. Only five percent want a shorter webinar that’s 20 minutes, and 10 percent like their webinars to be an hour.
have you own webinar

Use Social Proof When Possible

We discussed social proof plenty in Chapter 4 of this guide, but it’s a best practice you should always follow. Real, authentic reviews are crucial. Pictures, job titles, and full names prove to your audience that these are real people who gave testimonials, not bots or paid endorsements.

Here are some other ways to implement social proof into your lead gen campaign:

  • Create a popular products or posts list
  • Tell people how many customers have bought your products/services
  • Let your customers rate your products
  • Display your customer or subscriber counts
  • Showcase your platform integrations (as applicable)
  • Proudly display your badges and certifications
  • Post your trust seals
  • Share any positive and significant media mentions
  • Write case studies (or request to have these written about your products/services)
  • Get a celebrity endorsement
  • Provide page view stats or other pertinent data in real time

Use Reports and Analytics to Your Advantage

Finally, when implementing the best practices and other tips and advice we’ve shared throughout this guide, you need to know what works and what doesn’t. Not every best practice is applicable for all companies. Can a small business get a celebrity endorsement as social proof versus a Fortune 500? It’s not likely.

While sometimes you will throw a bunch of things at a wall and see what sticks, analytics will tell you what’s really sticking and what’s slid off. As you convert more leads and grow your customer base even further, you might then tweak your lead gen techniques or introduce brand new ones.

The data doesn’t lie. Studying metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and lead velocity rate will tell you what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. Lead velocity rate, by the way, is a monthly growth of qualified leads. As we mentioned earlier, qualified leads are more likely to convert by their very nature. Having a metric that tracks just them is quite valuable.


Conclusion

Throughout these five chapters, we’ve delved into the definition of a lead and compared them to prospects and qualified leads. We’ve told you how to improve your lead gen, including how to get more qualified leads in your funnel. Finally, we’ve concluded with best practices for your lead generation strategy.

If your company has limping conversion rates, we recommend you apply the advice from this guide. You should see more leads, especially qualified ones. Good luck!

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