So far in this lead generation guide, we’ve discussed what a lead is, how to differentiate between them and prospects, and how to filter in more qualified prospects through your sales funnel. Having qualified prospects is just one of many facets necessary to master lead generation.
As a note, we do want to say that mastering lead generation, if you can even call it that, is never a one-and-done process. Every year, sometimes even more often than that, marketing and sales teams will have to sit down and reassess what’s working for them.
Failing to do so can cause a company to give up on otherwise successful lead gen measures too soon. According to marketing and sales data platform RingLead, data inaccuracies can trip up some companies. Inaccuracies are common and will occur across 25 to 30 percent of a company’s data. If you don’t accommodate for these inaccuracies and continue forging ahead with the same old lead gen program from last year, it’s no wonder you won’t have as much success this year.
The first step then to mastering lead generation is recognizing that it’s an ever-changing and ever-evolving process.
What are the rest of the steps to become a lead gen master? We’re glad you asked. In this chapter, we’ll share some of the best tactics, techniques, and measures for bringing in leads that are ready to convert.
You can think of your leads like produce being unloaded from a truck that’s destined for a grocery store. At first, everything on the truck is lumped together as produce. Your leads are the same. At the start of the funnel, they too are lumped together.
Then, once you take the time to go through the produce, you can divide what you have into vegetables and fruits. You can do the same with your leads. By taking some time to go through the information they’ve provided you when opting in, you can make a basic assessment of each lead. You might divide them by broad categories. Instead of fruits and vegetables, it’d be gender or location.
Fruits and vegetables can be categorized even further. With fruits, you might have strawberries, cherries, or apples. With vegetables, maybe it’s potatoes, carrots, or broccoli. This classification system ensures you don’t lump in an apple with a tomato. After all, if someone wants to buy tomatoes, they don’t want to see an apple.
A lead is simply a potential customer. This is somebody who has stumbled upon your company. This can be by pure luck, but most often it’s because of your targeted marketing efforts.
Your leads can also be further segmented as well. One of the ways you can do that is by creating buyer personas. Some marketers call these customer avatars, but it’s the same concept. You’re taking what you know about the lead, such as their occupation or pain points, and using these to segment the lead even further.
Just like someone who wants tomatoes doesn’t want to see an apple, a freelancer doesn’t want content or emails pertaining to owning a business. It doesn’t relate or appeal to them.
By segmenting your leads, you can ensure you don’t turn them away so early in the game by sending them unrelated content. You can also tailor your messages so it seems and feels like you’re writing to that specific lead. That could increase the chances of them converting to a customer.
We talked about lead scoring several times in this guide already, so we’ll keep this section short. Once you’ve segmented your leads and began sending them targeted content, they’re going to behave in certain ways. Some leads will gladly open and read your emails. They’ll also engage with the content you send them. Others might read the emails but not do anything further. Others still won’t even bother.
Then there’s the behavior the leads exhibit while on your website, social media pages, pricing page, and landing pages. Do they click around and stay for a while or immediately leave the site? Do they make a purchase or just put something in their cart and then never check out?
Depending on what your leads do, you’d assign each one a score. For all the positive behavior they engage in, their score goes up. You’d likely tier the points so that buying a product rewards more points than opening an email, for instance.
For all the negative behavior a lead does, their score would go down. This is a simple but effective means of organizing your leads. The leads with the most points would be considered your most engaged and thus your most qualified. Those with the lowest score are the least engaged. You’d then have a decision to make about these leads. Are they worth re-engaging with or should you let them go? You can use data or marketing tools to predict their next steps and go from there.
As of 2012, most B2B marketers (79 percent) had yet to create their own lead scoring methods, says HubSpot. Today, you can’t afford not to.
Pay-per-click or PPC marketing is a means of paid advertising. You pay to put your ads up across the Internet and then bring in new leads that way. It’s especially effective if you target said ads to search engine result pages or SERPs. These include hugely popular sites like Google. According to the most recent data for 2018, every day, Google gets more than 3.5 billion search queries. In a year, it’s 1.2 trillion queries. That breaks down to 40,000 queries per second.
That affords you a ton of opportunities to reach new people. If you can get your ads on Google, then you can guarantee that somebody, probably a lot of somebodies, are going to see your ad.
You’re all about getting those qualified leads, right? If a lead is interested enough to click your advertisement, then they’re at least semi-qualified. They’re certainly more qualified than a lead that stumbles upon your company.
Social media can be a marketer’s best friend. The social tools that have evolved for companies is extraordinary. Perhaps you use LinkedIn, the professional network, to create Lead Gen Forms. Your lead would only have to click on your call to action button and then you get all their profile data. This happens automatically, which simplifies your life bigtime.
If you use Twitter, it too has its own lead gen methods. For instance, there’s Twitter Lead Gen Cards. The cards gather a lead’s data, such as their username on Twitter, their email address, and their full name. When a user agrees to submit this data, you get all the Lead Gen Card info so you can start engaging and nurturing.
Then there’s Facebook, which is the most popular social media network out there. You probably already know about Facebook Ads, which let you advertise on the platform with posts that mimic the appearance of a user’s wall.
There’s also Facebook Ad Leads, which are a suitable alternative if you’re not too fond of Facebook’s new advertising algorithms (and not all businesses today are). Facebook Ad Leads are purchasable ads that show your most valuable offers right on Facebook. There’s no need for a lead to click a landing page or even leave Facebook. That convenience could increase the lead’s chances of converting.
Using Facebook Ad Leads doesn’t mean you should stop making landing pages. These are one of your most important conversion tools. We’d again like to point you in the direction of our Ultimate Landing Page Guide, which is a very comprehensive resource on all things landing pages.
We also discussed landing pages in Chapter 3 of this guide, so we’ll keep this short and sweet. Here are a few pointers on improving your landing page:
We just talked about everything that should be on your landing page…except your product or service. If you’ve read our landing page guide, then we’re sure you know you need to create a separate landing page for each product or service you sell.
Next, take the data you have on your leads via your segmenting and lead scoring. Decide which product would appeal to that lead segment and then send them targeted offers that seem tailor-made just for them.
Your offer should of course include a call to action or CTA. This may be a text link, image, or button, but whatever it is, it too must be tailored. Don’t include generic copy like “read more” or “click here.” That won’t convert. Unique, action-based language is better.
Above all else, your offer must be high-value. If a lead doesn’t want what you’re selling because it’s useless or cheap, then it doesn’t matter how much segmenting and targeting you do. You won’t convert them.
Lead generation is no easy feat. That’s something any marketer or sales team member could agree with. Fortunately for all of us, there are plenty of tools and software out there that make it easier to convert leads to buying customers.
You’d ideally want an automation tool that could:
If you are investing in lead gen software, then you have to make sure said software includes analytics and reporting capabilities. This is the only way to track the short-term and long-term success of your lead gen campaigns.
How many leads converted to customers? This is one metric you want to track, but it’s not the most important one. After all, not every lead will convert, and other data can help you figure out why. Is it that you segmented leads into the wrong bucket? Did you not engage with them often enough or even too often?
Perhaps your landing pages weren’t product or service-specific enough. When the lead arrived on your landing page, they got overwhelmed and left. Maybe you had too much navigation or distracting sharing buttons. Your landing page may have been lacking video, concise yet sharp copy, or a catchy headline.
Mistakes will happen at the beginning. Even seasoned marketers and salespeople sometimes fail to knock it out of the park. If your conversion rate is underperforming, it’s time to track your analytics. Read through your reports. Look at the data and see what you could be doing wrong.
Sometimes it’s not always something that you’re doing. Some leads are just less qualified than others. You can always try a re-engagement campaign with older leads if you’d prefer, but we recommend automating this job. Otherwise, you could waste too much valuable time and effort you should spend focusing on your current leads.
If you find that the leads that make their way to your sales funnel aren’t qualified enough, then you might want to start lead scoring sooner. You can also change the qualifications that determine a prospect versus a lead with stricter lead scoring.
As we mentioned at the beginning of this guide, mastering lead gen is not a one-and-done process. You’re always going to have to stay on top of your lead gen tactics and be willing to evolve with the times.
There’s no one secret to mastering lead generation, but the tactics we outlined make for a solid backbone of your lead gen plan.
Having a qualified lead will always make the conversion process much simpler. By segmenting and scoring your leads early in the game, you can quickly differentiate between leads that are qualified and those that are not.
A strong landing page will also help you continue leads on their journey to becoming customers. Social media lead gen is another great option to have in your arsenal. You should have active accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms with lead gen tools and support.
Automation can also make your life easier as you work to capture more leads and convert them. Whatever tool best suits your fancy for your company’s lead gen, do make sure you can track your successes with reports and analytics. Otherwise, you’ll never truly be privy to the effectiveness of your campaigns.