10. Lead Generation

Lead generation represents the consumers interested in the product or service of a business. The term is used in marketing to signify the group of consumers that can be converted into customers. While the term lead generation usually refers to online advertising, it can be applied to the process of gathering contacts from non-paid sources, which include organic results and referrals.

The main goal of lead generation is to acquire a list of contacts that are most likely to result in desired outcome, which usually represent sale, as sale is set to be a conversion.

What is a lead?

Lead is a contact that can be used to achieve a conversion. Lead is a contact email of a person that is interested and in need of products or services, you provide. Unlike regular contacts and email subscribers, leads are email contacts of the users who are most likely to become your customer. Therefore, a lead is a contact from your target group, the person you want to reach through internet marketing in order to establish a relationship and eventually convert into your customer. As a result, the best way to increase conversions is by generating leads.

Leads can be gathered in the purpose of building a list for various purposes, such as newsletter list, sale leads, etc. The goal of obtaining leads is specific for your company and the goals you have planned to achieve through internet marketing.

Generating leads

Various activities conducted as a part of internet marketing may result in generating leads such as the following:

  • Direct traffic
  • Search engine ads
  • Social media activity
  • Increasing traffic on your blog
  • Email marketing
  • Offering a gift in exchange for an email
  • Generating contacts through social bookmarking websites

Additionally, leads can be generated through telemarketing, or by organizing an offline event for your target group. Based on the studies, which were focused on how marketers generate leads, most marketers claim that they generate leads through email marketing, as well as through direct traffic.

Lead generation process

The process of generating leads involves gathering the most relevant emails from your contact list, in order to establish communication with the leads. You basically need to determine which contacts are the most valuable ones, as those are worth the time you need to invest into building a relationship.

Generating leads is an important task for online marketers, and the following activities can help you in that process:

Host a survey

Hosting a survey is a great way to generate leads, as the users who are interested in your business will choose to take part. Based on the data acquired from the survey, you will be able to determine if the contact is your lead, your potential client. The survey results will also help you approach the client in a personalized way, which is much more effective type of communication than reaching out to random people, who may not even know how you are.

internet-marketing-survey.png

Refine your approach

Instead of reaching out with a promotional message, use a refined approach where you would try to attract people to be interested in your business. Your goal is to naturally get them interested in your company, your products or services, and how they can benefit from you.

Interaction based on this approach is much more valuable, as you already have a potential website visitor who is actually interested in becoming your client. All you need to do now is build a relationship by communicating with the client.

Share a coupon

One of the best approaches in the process of attracting leads is to share a coupon. This guarantees that you attract the people who are interested in becoming your customers, and thus the contact acquired through a coupon is considered to be a lead. You should require an email address in exchange for a coupon, and you will use this email to reach out to the potential customer and try to establish loyal business to customer relationship.

Content

Content is thought to be valuable and educational information you offer to the website visitors. The form of content may be different from company to company, as you might want to use blog articles, e-books, infographics, videos, etc. However, the goal is the same. You want to build trust and interest. You want to persuade people to become your customers using non-intrusive way of promoting your product and services.

Unlike with sharing coupons, where you know that a contact is a lead, obtaining contacts through content is not as specific. Your content may attract people who are not directly interested in your product and services, which is why those contact cannot be considered leads.

In order to overcome this problem, you might want to ask for more information when giving access to the content. For example, if you allow users to subscribe to your blog, you could ask them about their interest.

HubSpot blog, a blog about inbound marketing, focuses on two major topics on its blog, marketing and sales, so when subscribing, you are given an option to choose the topic of you interest. This will help the company to send personalized and relevant emails to the subscribers, based on the topic they have chosen.

hubspot.pngHubSpot blog shows another great example of how to find out more about your email contacts in order to be able to determine whether those are leads.

If you create content that is available only through claiming the offer by providing an email address, you should add additional fields into the form, in order to find out more about the person claiming the offer. The content in this case may include e-books, templates, access to webinars, etc.

The questions in the form should be adapted to your company needs, and they should be about something you need to learn about the visitors in order to qualify them as potential customers. Here are some of the things you could ask in the form.

For individual users:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Age
  • Interests

For companies:

  • Website
  • Phone number
  • Name of the company
  • The number of employees
  • The type of business

For example, the following forms requires first and last name, email, phone number, website URL, company name and other information about the company. All of the fields are marked mandatory, which means that the potential client will have to provide the information in order to get access to the e-book.

internet-marketing-book-lead_001.png

Using the information from this form, the company is then able to determine if the contact is really somebody who would be interested in using their software in business.

Summary

Here is why generating leads is so important in internet marketing. If you generate quality leads, your job as an online marketer will be more successful. You will increase sales, and thus increase the revenue of your company. Here are two main reasons why lead generation is important part of marketing:

  • Spend less time on selling – Quality leads reduce the time you would invest into converting website visitors into customers. Sales productivity results in higher revenue.
  • Improve the results of your email marketing – If you are communicating with the people who are interested in your product or services (i.e. leads), you are more likely to establish successful communication, which will not only result in sales increase, but it will also help you promote your brand through recommendations.