Lead generation is based on expanding your database with contacts, specifically people or companies who are potentially interested in your products and services. In this case, a lead is defined as a person or company that has shown interest in a brand by leaving their data.
Lead generation is a key step in the process of inbound marketing, since it allows you to convert the traffic to your channels into valuable contacts, which you can then direct along the conversion funnel until they become customers.
The Lead Generation Process Step by Step
The lead generation process begins by attracting visitors to your brand's website. Generally, this traffic will be directed to a landing page, which will be used to generate new contacts. A very common strategy is to offer the user a valuable content, such as a free ebook, a product test, or a webinar, in exchange for their contact information.
This landing page should be optimized to encourage conversions. It usually includes a brief description of the benefits of the offered content, focusing on what it can bring to the user. After filling out a form with their data and submitting it, the user will be incorporated into the database, receive the content in question, and a thank you page will be shown.
Each user who has left their information will be entered into the brand's database and will become a lead. However, not all leads have the same value, and not all are immediately converted into customers. This is where lead scoring and lead nurturing strategies come into play.
Lead scoring is a marketing technique that involves assigning a score to each lead identifying which ones are most likely to become customers. This way, you can focus on those that have the best chance of converting.
Typically there are three types of leads:
- Cold Lead. This person has left their data, but is still far from the moment of conversion. He or she is in the TOFU (top of the funnel) phase.
- Marketing Qualified lead (MQL). This person has already shown interest in the brand on several occasions allowing you to obtain more information about them. The lead is therefore in the MOFU (middle of the funnel) phase.
- Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). This person has already gone through all the previous qualification phases and is ready to receive a phone call, a visit, or a demonstration from the sales team. This lead is in the BOFU phase (bottom of the funnel).
Lead nurturing is the process of preparing and accompany a lead along the life cycle, providing valuable content and custom actions depending on the stage they are in and their interests. Marketing automation can facilitate this whole process.
The Most Common Lead Generation Channels
Although it is possible to generate leads with offline tools, we are going to focus on the most common sources of lead generation in digital inbound marketing.
- Email marketing. E-mail is useful both for obtaining data from first time users and for maintaining contact with them through lead nurturing actions. Segmentation is essential for this method to be successful.
- SEM. Search engine ads (like Google Ads) are a very useful way of generating leads, since they allow you to orient your actions according to the terms searched for by users. You can create groups of related search terms and then use those to make ads and landing pages that match what users are looking for.
- Display campaigns. Although banners have the reputation of being intrusive, they can be a good way of capturing the attention of your target audience and encouraging them to leave their data (if they are used intelligently).
- Advertising on social networks. Some social media platforms, like Facebook, have ads specially designed to capture leads without the need for users to leave the social network. It is also possible to use social networks in an organic manner to generate quality traffic to your website.
- Content marketing. Branded content (like blog posts) are a good place to introduce lead generation campaigns. For example, you could create a report that the user can download for free in exchange for leaving you their data.
- Video marketing. Thanks to the possibility of embedding banners within a video, you can also incorporate lead generation into your audiovisual content.
How to Generate More Leads with Your Inbound Marketing Strategy
These general recommendations will help you multiply the results from your lead generation strategy.
- Produce quality content. Content has a double function in your lead generation strategy: it helps attract quality traffic to your website or blog, and it attracts users and convinces them to leave their data in exchange for ebooks, guides, reports and other useful downloadable content.
- Analyze your distribution strategy. It is not only necessary to produce quality content, but also to ensure that it reaches your target market. Think about how you can use tools such as SEO and SEM to increase quality traffic to your site.
- Optimize your data forms. User contact or sign up forms are often the way that a visitor becomes lead, so they are a critical point of contact. Make sure they are adapted to different devices, try to have as few fields as possible and test out different calls to action.
- Do not be afraid to experiment. Speaking of testing, do not hesitate to do A/B tests of different aspects of your lead generation campaigns. This could include anything from search engine ads, form design, landing pages, emails, etc. By doing this, you'll get a much better idea of what works best with your target audience.
- Track your results. In any marketing strategy, measuring result is essential. Devote the necessary time to establishing your key metrics or KPIs (things like total leads, qualified leads, etc.) and establish regular controls to see how they are evolving and how you can improve.
We hope that this information has helped you better understand how the lead generation process works and how you can use inbound marketing strategies to convert web traffic into customers.
If you want to launch your own lead generation campaign or optimize your company's inbound marketing processes, we at Cyberclick have a lot we can offer! We would be happy to collaborate with your team to help you with your marketing efforts.