September 9, 2021 (Updated: October 17, 2023)
Lead generation is the process of finding new prospects and using tactics to turn them into sales opportunities. Lead generation differs from advertising in that it entails earning business through conversations and connections. Both advertising and lead generation start with content creation, but lead generation goes a step further by using techniques to turn visitors into paying clients or customers.
Lead generation strategies are the tactics you use to turn leads into sales. The actions you take, the content you create, and the channels you use all factor into your strategy. Your overall strategy helps people understand your product or service, what it can do for them, and how it can solve their problems.
There are different types of lead generation strategies you can use depending on the type of products or services you’re selling. They include:
B2B lead generation is about finding companies or businesses who would get value from using your product or service. Your company actively looks for these potential business customers and pursues them through different modes of contact.
B2C lead generation focuses primarily on targeting individual consumers. These strategies capture the interests of a target demographic and direct them to your company through content or advertising.
Online lead generation strategies can work for both B2B and B2C leads. They include things like blogs, websites, emails, and search engine optimization (SEO).
Like online strategies, you can use offline lead generation strategies with B2C and B2B clients. These interactions include things like direct mail, cold calling, and attending trade shows or conventions.
Not every lead generation strategy works for every business, which is why several options exist. Focus on what fits best with your company by considering your industry, company size, and products and services. Some lead generation strategies to explore include:
Email marketing strategies begin when you provide an offer in exchange for someone’s email address. After someone signs up or subscribes, you can target people with personalized content or advertisements. You can also choose to send emails to your full subscriber list in the form of a newsletter or general announcement. Sending email blasts strategically can encourage people to fulfill any calls to action you include in your message, such as purchasing a new product or taking advantage of a referral promotion.
Cold emails take place when you learn about a lead and contact them online even though you’ve never interacted before. If you plan to use cold emails, it’s helpful to first build a quality list of people worth contacting. You can conduct background research on each prospect to see if working with them or pursuing them is a good fit for your company.
Once you have this information, you can personalize your cold emails or be creative in how you share information to increase your chances of a reply. This can also lead to better open rates, more engagement, and potentially more conversions.
According to 2020 data from HubSpot, 89% of content marketers include blog posts in their overall content creation strategy. That’s because blogging regularly can help keep your web content current and build your brand visibility. This is especially helpful for B2C lead generation where you want customers to find and contact you. Blog writing can help you target Google keyword searches for better reach, and authentic content can get people to trust your brand and build your credibility in a subject area.
Blogging is just one type of content marketing that can attract B2C leads. Others include eBooks, white papers, webinars, and podcasts. Even custom infographics count as content marketing! Content creation and content marketing focus on creating and sharing valuable, interesting information and resources, then making them available to the public. Quality content can help your SEO and keyword searches while demonstrating your company’s knowledge in your industry.
Posting consistently on social media is another B2C lead generation strategy that can attract people to your products and services. For this strategy, make it a priority to share content that’s valuable to your customers. You can personalize your interactions as you get to know your online audience. One way to do this is to post discussion prompts that encourage engagement from readers, then respond thoughtfully to any comments.
While cold emails and social media help you network online, you can also network successfully offline to generate leads. Face-to-face conversations with potential customers can help build trust and establish your brand’s reputation. Attending events like conferences, trade shows, and other meetups can put you in contact with new leads. To further this strategy, you can also volunteer to present at these networking events. Following up with any connections you make can help build trust and increase your lead conversions.
Similar to cold emailing, you can engage in cold calls with potential leads you haven’t contacted before. Research the companies and potential representatives before you dial. This can help you decide if a potential client fits with your business plan. Research also helps you personalize the conversation to each client.
When completing a cold call, it’s often helpful to state your purpose for calling and the benefits of your product or service at the beginning of the conversation. You might consider using notes to help you begin each call in a way that keeps leads on the line.
When you brand something as exclusive or limited edition, it can sometimes make it more appealing to consumers. Offering incentives like free trials, limited-time memberships, sales, or free downloads works for both B2B and B2C strategies. If people feel a sense of urgency around your offer, they might be more likely to act on it.
This lead generation strategy entails sharing success stories from current or former customers to increase your credibility. For newer companies, you might share case studies of situations where people used products or services like yours to solve their problems. This helps build credibility and demonstrates that your company can provide valuable solutions.
Using calls to action (CTAs) in your digital lead strategies can increase conversions. For example, on your website or in your email marketing, you can make your intentions clear and guide people to what you want them to do next. Whether you want leads to follow a social media account or tell a friend about a product, express your goal in the body of your digital content. Then provide a link or form that allows the reader to easily complete the CTA.
Companies use landing pages to put the focus on one specific aspect of their online content. They’re different from full websites because they organize content in sections rather than multiple pages. You can link to landing pages from emails or social media. You can also have them appear automatically the first time someone tries to visit your website.
Whether you’re trying to get people to buy a product, sign up for an event, or download content, landing pages can provide just that information. This can help with lead generation because you can link to these pages from other sources and encourage potential customers to focus on the specific content you want them to see.
Creating an incentive-based referral system for your current customers can help you find new leads. One way to do this is to provide personalized codes for current clients or customers to distribute to friends, business partners, or colleagues. When someone uses their code, you can see who’s bringing you business and reward them for it. This strategy may work best for online sales and services.
Another lead generation strategy is to take your campaigns offline and use traditional mail. You can send offer brochures or discount flyers to homes or businesses. You can even personalize these mailers for regions or companies. This strategy can help you hit more of a niche audience. You can also use it as an alternative to cold calling and emailing. With mailers, you’re still making the first contact, but you’re encouraging people to inquire with you about products and services.
Use these suggestions to get the most out of your lead generation strategies:
Make sure you have a way to collect email addresses from your website, blog, or other channels. Aside from including CTAs in your content, make subscriber forms and buttons available throughout your site. You can offer a resource download, such as an eBook, in exchange for their information. As you compile email addresses, add them to your newsletter or email blast list to stay in contact. Be sure to include an email opt-out with each message as required by the Federal Trade Commission.
If you blog or use content marketing, it’s useful to link internally to your own content. Doing this makes it easier for people to navigate your site and find more information that’s associated with your brand. This also makes it easier for search engine bots to crawl your site and understanding your linking structures, which can increase your SEO and search rankings.
When making cold calls or sending cold emails, being creative in your connections can help capture your audience’s attention. Get specific with your figures. For example, ask to have a 12-minute call with them or use another nontraditional number.
When you’re writing content, try using strong verbs and phrases that hook the reader. Explore CopyPress’ free eBook on creating effective titles and headlines to learn about drawing more views to your written content.
You can build an industry community online by branding yourself as a subject matter expert. When you’re posting, commenting, and connecting with people as yourself rather than as a business page, you demonstrate that you’re a thought leader in your industry. Building communities can take time, so consider starting small on social media or on relevant internet forums.
If you’re trying to attract inbound leads, a functional and visually appealing website can help with this. Update your content and information regularly, and make sure your site loads quickly and is free of typos or broken links. Having a good programming and development team can help your website operate at top capacity.
Make sure all your content channels work on mobile. You may notice that your social media channels work on mobile because those developers design apps and sites that convert to different screen sizes automatically. Your company blogs and websites should do the same. You can test your content on different screen sizes before publishing to ensure it is accessible and readable. You can also hire a web developer or programmer to help you get these elements just right.
When searching for leads to cold call or email, look for ones your competitors might contact. You can do this by finding any leads that you couldn’t convert to customers. Figure out why you weren’t able to make the conversion and if they used a different company or service. You can then use that data to look for similar leads your competitors might contact and try to reach out to them first.
The more personal you can get with a lead, the more you can connect with people and learn what they really need. Try sending a handwritten letter or calling a prospect to talk instead of communicating over the internet. Taking a few extra steps can help your company appear different from other businesses, which may help sustain a potential consumer’s interest in your organization.
Having a live chat feature on your website or an all-day helpline may help you find more leads. These options allow people to contact you anytime. A study by Kissmetrics found that 44% of responders viewed a real-time chat feature as one of the most important elements of an e-commerce site. Additionally, 63% of responders said they were more likely to return to websites with chat features.
If you have sections on your site for subscribers or if you put your lead generating content behind password protection, let people log in with Google. This makes the sign-up or login process easier for potential leads, making them more likely to consent to share their information. Once they log in with Google, you can then access the information they’ve shared, such as a name or email address.
Don’t let up on your lead generation strategies after business starts improving. If you’re getting a lot of new leads, keep revisiting and revising your strategy as needed. Staying consistent helps keep your sales pipeline full. Not every lead turns into a conversion, so continuing to collect and pursue new leads helps ensure the growth of your company.
Lead generation is a vital part of business and can take trial and error to get the strategies just right. Consult with your marketing and sales teams to get their input on the best methods for your business. This can help you increase your conversions and build your brand reputation.
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