The old days of cold calling days are over. In the past, generating new leads for your business was often painstaking and fruitless. On top of that, nobody wants to annoy their potential customers. But with the rise of the digital age, lead generation has become more targeted and automated (and much less painful).
What is lead generation in digital marketing? In this article, we will answer that question and discover some of the best digital marketing strategies for generating leads.
What is a Lead?
But first, what exactly is a lead? A lead is someone who has shown interest in your company through email, phone calls, or social media channels. The lead wants to know more about your business offerings or have talked about buying a product/service like yours. These leads can potentially be converted into a customer over time. You should aim to create websites that generate tons of leads like Buy Moving Leads if you want to have a successful business.
What is lead generation?
Drumming up valuable leads for the business is imperative to its success. When you generate leads, you are creating opportunities for your business to make more money.
The process of finding and engaging with leads to potentially convert them to paying customers in the future is known as lead generation. To succeed in lead generation marketing, you must find out who your customers are, what they need, when they are open to hearing from you, and the best way to reach out to them.
But before you come up with your lead marketing strategy, you will first need to determine which market you are looking to appeal to.
There are two types of markets for lead generation.
- Business to business (B2B): B2B sales occur when companies sell their products/services to other businesses. These sales are typically long-term; therefore, finding quality leads is important over quantity. To find good quality B2B leads, find the businesses that are open to new suppliers.
- Business to consumer (B2C): B2C sales occur when companies sell directly to the consumer. Since sales typically are a one-time thing, businesses need large volumes of leads. The more leads you get, the faster you can move them through the sales funnel, allowing more profit.
Types of leads
Regardless of what market you generate leads for, there are several kinds of leads. Leads may be at any possible stage in the buying process. Knowing what kind of lead they are can enable you to devise conversion strategies for each possible scenario:
Marketing qualified lead (MQL)
These leads have shown interest in your company, but they’re not ready to make a sale or be contacted by a salesperson. They’ve interacted with your marketing efforts in some way. Commonly, MQLs are people who have visited your landing page.
Sales qualified lead (SQL)
Those leads who have shown interest in becoming your paying customer are SQLs. They have completed actions that have led them farther down the sales funnel. An SQL example is someone who has asked a question about your company offering. Make sure SQLs are in contact with your sales team for a follow-up.
Product qualified lead (PQL)
Someone who has interacted with your product/service in some way is a PQL. Their interaction has caused them to consider buying the product/service. A common example of a PQL is someone who has gotten a trial subscription or a free version that they can upgrade.
Service qualified lead
The most high-quality leads are those ready to go through with the purchase: service-qualified leads. They are either contacts or former customers who have shown they want to be paying customers.
Lead Generation Strategies
Lead generation campaigns are necessary for both B2B and B2C marketing. Check out these strategies that can help with lead gen on various marketing channels.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Both B2C and B2B marketers should employ SEO tactics. SEO strategy allows your website to be more visible to search engines and thus, the searchers. There are proven methods and rules to follow to get your website ranking high on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
To attract leads at the bottom of the sales funnel, you will need to optimize your product/service pages. And for those leads in the middle of the funnel, focus on optimizing your blog, articles, and other informational content.
Lead generation companies, such as Clean Energy Experts for solar leads, are a crucial aspect of marketing for small businesses. These services provide a targeted approach to attracting, identifying, and nurturing potential customers and converting more sales.
Having a properly-optimized site helps you outrank your competition. This means that searchers are more likely to click on your link rather than your online competitors. After all, the first three listings on search engine results pages (SERPs) get 75% of all clicks!
Paying for digital advertising on SERPs, websites, social media, and other platforms is one of the best ways to generate leads. Not only that, but you will learn a lot about your target audience from your ad metrics.
Paid online ads are effective in increasing brand awareness, especially for your target audience. Your paid ad will likely be seen by more MQLs and SQLs.
You can now create hyper-targeted ads to SQLs who have expressed interest in your business. Perhaps they have made a search that indicated an interest in your company, product, or service. This information is gathered and then used to present your ads directly to them. These are called retargeting ads.
Typically paid advertising includes pay-per-click (PPC) ads. These are cost-effective since you will only have to pay for the ad when someone clicks on it. But some ads allow you to pay based on views or conversions.
You can also pay for lead ads. These ads allow you to collect information from leads directly from your ad. The lead will simply click the ad and their name and email will be pre-populated. Then they can hit submit, and you’ve got a new contact for your lead list. Simple enough!
For those leads in the middle of the funnel, it is important to create valuable content and experiences tailored to their needs. They are in an information-gathering process and their decision to buy is still up in the air. This is where a dedicated content strategy comes in handy.
Focus on the customer, what they need, and what you can provide them with. To be successful with inbound marketing, make sure to:
- Attract: Whether it be with social media or content marketing, get the audience’s attention with high-quality content and posts that helps them solve a need. Ads, video, and blogging are other great ways to attract leads.
- Engage: Use email marketing, marketing automation, and lead management to engage with your potential customers. They will steadily grow their trust in your brand over time.
- Delight: Even after you’ve converted your leads, continue to delight by showing your leads help and support. Provide resources, offer community support, and keep in touch!
Automated lead nurturing
We’re all human. We all tend to make mistakes when it comes to consistently keeping up with and tracking new leads. That is why automating processes will be the most efficient way you can handle those inquiring about your business offering.
Lead nurturing is the process we marketers use to develop and maintain customer relationships. This is typically done through email marketing messages sent by software, and are triggered by customer behaviors or preset schedules. Marketing automation ensures that leads are not forgotten and content is not wasted.
Lead nurturing software has the ability to segment your leads, which makes it easier to send relevant email campaigns to each market segment. These segments may be divided into things like:
- Demographics: age, location, gender, country, religion, etc.
- Events: Pre-planned emails are sent to someone who performs a particular action. It can include the behavior of your leads on your website or app.
- Buyer’s stage: The buyer will be either in one of three stages of the buyer’s journey: Awareness, Consideration, or Decision stages. You are able to segment the leads based on what stage of the buying process they are in. Then you can send them the email marketing campaign directed at that particular segment.
It is also important to nurture leads on your landing pages. This is where website visitors come to your landing page for an entry point into your website. You’ll want to create an inviting page with a strong call to action (CTA) that will capture their attention, enticing them to stay and learn more.
They can then fill out the lead capture form with their contact information. Consider offering lead magnets such as white papers, trial subscriptions, samples, e-newsletters, or free consultations to gain their contact information.
For the automated messaging of your subscribers, make sure the metrics are tracked, and that the messages are delivered intelligently and with a sleek professional design. Over time, you will be pleasantly surprised by your growing conversion rate.
Social media marketing
As we’ve mentioned, you can create paid ads on social media platforms. However, social media offers tons of other opportunities to generate leads.
You not only are attracting potential customers with your posts, but you are also being transparent about what your brand can offer. The audience has an excellent idea of who you are, and you can capitalize on this by nurturing them into more qualified leads over time.
With social media marketing, you want to create pieces of content that will effectively communicate who your brand is, and also helping the audience fulfill a need that they come to you for. Post informational or entertaining content to help drive traffic to your website.
Engage with your users as much as possible. Reach out in the comments, like, and ask questions. You are building a customer relationship. Even if the comments are negative, you can represent your brand positively with an empathetic, thoughtful response. This shows your brand is more than just a brand; it is based on genuine human interaction and direct relationships with its customers.
Engagement Tools for Lead Generation
The best way to get started in automated marketing is to find reliable engagement tools for the lead generation process. However, you must choose the tools that help fulfill your digital marketing strategy. Research the tools before you pick out your new software.
There are tons of tools out there that specialize in different marketing goals. Here are some helpful tools for your marketing team to play around with. We’ve added some of our favorite tool recommendations.
- Sales lead generation tools: These tools focus on making the sale but also nurturing leads and existing customers. Try Salesforce.
- Communication tools: Talking to your customers is essential for lead generation. Keeping an open dialogue with quality tools can help you maintain customer relationships. Live chat tools like Drift can help you with direct communication.
- Advertising tools: Use paid ads to drive traffic to your website. You can also direct customer traffic with ads from social media. Google Ads is a must when it comes to advertising.
- On-page lead generation: These leads come from opt-in forms and campaigns on your website. Try OptinMonster to drive website leads.
- Email marketing: Maintain your customer relationships by keeping your audience up to date with the brand, new product offerings, and continue helping them solve the problems they come to you for. This keeps them engaged with your brand. Try Constant Contact.
- Email address finders: Don’t have an email list yet? There are tools like Voila Norbert that will find email addresses and contact details for you.
- Prospecting and outreach: Tools like Lead Forensics collect contact information of people who have anonymously visited your site. You can also reach out to possible leads with D&B Hoovers.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools: These tools help you connect and track your leads through the sales funnel and buyer process. HubSpot is probably the top CRM in the world.
Generate and Nurture Leads with Digital Strategies
Digital marketing has changed the game when it comes to lead generation. Whether your leads are MQLs, SQLs, or already have their credit card ready in hand, there are many strategies to choose from to lead them down the sales funnel.
Generate and nurture leads with SEO, paid ads, inbound marketing, automated messaging, and social media. After you get to know your target audience and what metrics work best, weave your strategies together into successful digital marketing campaigns.