What is Lead Generation?
Lead generation is basically the process of finding and attracting people (leads) who are likely to become your customers. “Finding” people means gathering information about them like their name, business and email address. Once you are connected, you can start to form a business relationship with them. This can either be done organically or by paid ads / PPC.
Why is Lead Generation Important?
Acquire new customers
While it’s great to have repeat clients, you also need to generate interest among new people to make more sales. Lead generation not only increases the pool of potential clients but in turn increases the chance of a sale too.
Grow your business
Offering bite-sized information about how your services solve pain points for other business owners, moves them further through your sales funnel, and eventually some will become customers – the ultimate goal with lead generation.
Build credibility and value
Lead generation helps you get in front of prospects, by providing information which hints at the value that your company can provide. In turn they develop trust in your business and when they are ready to take the next step, you will be top of mind.
5 Ways to Generate Leads Online
1. Content Marketing
Create and publish content with a primary focus on educating, not selling. This content needs to grab their attention, so they stop scrolling and read your post or ad. This content can be produced in various formats such as blogs, videos, case studies, infographics or ebooks.
2. Social media
Depending on your business, certain social media platforms will be a great source for lead generation. You’ll need to research which platform will be beneficial for you, and whilst Facebook is great for B2C, and LinkedIn is primarily B2B – those B2B connections are probably also on Facebook or Instagram of an evening! Wherever you choose to be, make sure you are consistent in posting and align your messaging. By that I mean that your social media accounts and newsletter (if you send one) with links back to your company’s website or blogs, should mirror one another as far as look, feel and messaging goes.
With email, you get to initiate a one-to-one conversation with your recipient whilst also sharing a blog or perhaps inviting them to attend a webinar. Gathering leads, but doing nothing with them, is a pointless exercise. You need to stay connected with them. The more information you provide, the more you are helping resolve their pain points, and building your profile as an authoritative figure in that space.
Running webinars on relevant topics gives you a chance to showcase what you do or introduce yourself. This will not only build your following but will also boost your brand and ensure you remain front of mind, within your industry.
5. PPC (pay-per-click) ads
Clicking on a paid ad, will take the visitor to a landing page, which will provide the opportunity to collect your visitor’s information. PPC ads work because they contain keywords relevant to your audience, plus they appear on page one of Google. So, before you look into PPC, ensure you do your research to identify not only who your target audience is, but where they hang out. What are they searching for? What keywords are they using? Which platforms are they on? Which events do they attend? You need to then be in all those places to have any chance of being seen.
Track and Measure
Without tracking and measuring your lead generation, how do you know what is working and what isn’t? You could be throwing good money at the wrong thing. Understanding which campaigns are best performing will help improve your marketing activities and ensure you are really targeting the right audience, via the right platform.
I’ve listed below, some key areas to track:
1. Website visits
This is the number of visits to your website. A higher number of visits means more people are landing on your site. This traffic is acknowledged by Google (and other search engines) as an indication of your website’s authority. This in turn results in your website ranking higher for those keywords you are targeting. One way of getting more visitors to your website is by promoting it extensively on social media.
2. Lead source
In Google Analytics, lead source could come from a number of places, but below are the top ones:
- Direct: Someone types your URL directly into the address bar
- Organic: They find you from search results
- Social: They arrive on your website via your social posts
- Email: Someone follows a link to your website from an email
- Referral: They come to your website from a link they find in another website
- Paid search: Found in the ads section at the top of the search results page
3. CTR (Click-through rate)
CTR is an important lead generation term. It basically means the number of clicks on your call to action (CTA) button, versus the total number of visitors to your landing page. Let’s say 1000 people visit your landing page, and 720 people click on the CTA button; your CTR is 72%. The higher the CTR, the higher the value proposition on your page and the relevance of your content with your target audience.
4. ROI (Return on Investment)
ROI is probably the most important metric in lead generation. This is calculated based on taking the sales growth from your campaign, minus the marketing costs, and then dividing it by the marketing cost.
(Sales Growth – Marketing Cost) / Marketing Cost = ROI
So, if sales grew by £1,000, and the marketing cost was £100, then the simple ROI is 900%. Obviously, I’ve used round figures for an easy calculation, but you get what I mean. This calculation is generally used for paid ads.
Lead generation shouldn’t be viewed as a one-off task, it’s something which needs to be nurtured. Continue to revisit and fine tune your proposition, hone in on where else your target audience is, and capture their attention! Irrelevant of whether these leads are generated organically or through paid ads, have a plan to build up conversation and education them about your products and services.
Once they become a customer, the next challenge is retention!