In an increasingly competitive landscape of online businesses using the same channels for growth, lead generation and user acquisition have become more complex – especially if you’re unsure where to start. It’s a must-have strategy in 2022 to ensure you’re getting in front of the right target audience. So, in this guide, we’ll explore lead generation: what it is, various methods for generating leads, how to qualify a lead, and tips to get started.
What is lead generation, and what is considered a lead?
Lead generation is the process of identifying and cultivating potential customers, or leads, for your business using various tactics. A lead is, therefore, any person or company who has the potential to become a paying customer for your product or service.
Leads are at the top of every sales and marketing funnel – they have not yet been contacted or sold to and must be strategically identified, enticed, and nurtured. The lead generation process begins with awareness and interest, moves on to consideration, and then decision.
Popular Methods of Lead Generation
Top of Funnel Approach
The top of funnel is the very beginning of the lead generation process. This is where you generate awareness and interest in your product or service through various marketing channels. Once you have a lead’s attention, you can move them down the funnel with targeted content and offers. There are many methods of lead generation, but we’ll focus on the most common and effective ones.
For starters, there are two methods of top-of-funnel marketing: Inbound and Outbound.
Inbound marketing is a lead generation strategy that attracts strangers and turns them into leads through various channels, such as SEO, content marketing, social media, and lead magnets. Once a lead is generated, you can then use lead nurturing tactics to turn the stranger into a qualified lead.
Outbound marketing is a lead generation strategy that involves proactively reaching out to strangers through various channels, such as email marketing, cold-calling, and lead buying. The goal is to generate leads and then use lead nurturing tactics to turn the stranger into a qualified lead.
Here are some examples of inbound and outbound marketing strategies:
Content Marketing (Inbound Marketing)
Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — with the goal of driving profitable customer action.
Examples of content marketing tactics include:
- Ebooks and whitepapers
- Webinars and podcasts
By providing value and collecting contact information in exchange, businesses can generate leads they can nurture into customers.
Digital Advertising (Outbound Marketing)
One of the most popular lead generation tactics is digital advertising. By placing ads on websites, search engines, or social media platforms, you can target your ideal customer with laser precision and generate leads that are more likely to convert. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a great way to generate leads quickly, but it can be expensive if not managed correctly.
Using platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, or Google Ads, you can target users based on interests, demographics, and location, which makes you more likely to identify and get in front of the right audience.
Search Engine Optimization (Inbound Marketing)
Search engine optimization (SEO) has become increasingly important as the number of lead sources has grown. Optimizing your website content for the right keywords and search terms can attract leads actively searching for what you have to offer and improve your website’s visibility on search engines like Google.
SEO is a complex and ever-changing field, but there are some basics that every business should know:
- Keyword research: Identifying the right keywords and search terms that your target audience is using to find businesses like yours
- On-page optimization: Optimizing your website’s title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, and images to improve your website’s ranking in search results
- Off-page optimization: Creating high-quality backlinks to your website from other websites to improve your website’s authority
Using tools like SEMRush, you can quickly identify the best keywords and practices for your website to convert more leads.
Cold Email (Outbound)
Cold emailing is the process of sending emails to people who have not opted-in to receive them. It’s a lead generation tactic that can be effective if done correctly, but it can also come across as spammy and result in a high number of unsubscribes or leads that are uninterested in your product. Using tools like Mailshake, you can automate your cold emailing process and make it more efficient.
Social Media (Inbound)
Social media has become one of the most popular lead generation channels. Creating valuable content and engaging with your audience on social media can attract leads and build relationships that turn them into customers.
You can also learn a lot from your target audience. By listening to them and understanding their needs, you can create content that resonates with them and generates leads.
Influencer Marketing (Outbound)
Influencer marketing is a lead generation tactic that involves reaching out to influencers in your industry and asking them to promote your product or service. Influencers have a large following of engaged fans who trust their opinion, so if they endorse your product, it can lead to many sales.
To find influencers, you can search for relevant hashtags on social media or use a tool like BuzzSumo. Once you’ve found some potential influencers, reach out to them and see if they’re interested in promoting your product.
Middle of the Funnel Approach
Once the lead is captured through one of the lead generation channels, you need to start nurturing them and moving them down the funnel. Again, the goal is to turn them into a qualified lead that’s interested in your product or service.
To do this, you need to:
Build relationships: Get to know your leads and build trust with them through regular engagement. This can be done through email, social media, or even phone calls.
Provide value: Lead with valuable content that helps your lead solve their problem. This could be in the form of a blog post, an ebook, or even a simple how-to guide.
Stay top of mind: Keep your business top of mind by regularly sending helpful and relevant content. This could be a monthly newsletter, blog post, or even a social media post. Using tools like MailChimp or HubSpot, you can build your CRM of leads and nurture them using automated email marketing systems.
Following these steps can turn your leads into customers and grow your business.
Nurturing your leads with educational and informative content will help you turn them into customers by building trust and demonstrating your expertise.
Getting Started with Lead Generation
Now that you know what lead generation is and how it works, it’s time to get started:
Start with your existing customer base: Your current customers are a great place to start generating leads. By understanding what brought them to your business as a customer and using their pain points to create more content, you can attract more leads that are similar to them.
You can also ask them for referrals or introduce them to your lead generation campaign in exchange for “rewards” or discounts.
Create content that attracts your target audience: As we mentioned before, content is key to lead generation. Therefore, create content that will help your target audience solve their problems.
Test and measure: Try different lead generation channels and tactics to see what works best for your business. Then, track your results so you can continue to improve your lead generation campaigns.
Lead generation is a critical part of growing any business. By understanding how it works and using the right tactics, you can generate leads that will turn into customers and help your business grow.
Don’t have the time or capacity to run lead generation campaigns? Try Outsourcing.
At Intensify, we offer expert-led lead generation services using the platforms, tools, and techniques that we know work. Our team can take on the entire lead generation process for you, from research and targeting to content creation and distribution. We’ll even track your results so you can see the ROI of our lead generation campaigns.
If you’re interested in learning more about our lead generation services, contact us for a free consultation today.