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Successful businesses are ones that are constantly looking for new ways to draw in more customers and clients. They use market research and other strategies to expand their customer base and get more people interested in their products and services. These strategies to get more customers are often referred to as lead generation. By reading this guide, you can learn how to generate leads and grow your business.
What Is Lead Generation?
Lead generation is the process businesses use to gain more leads. A lead is a potential customer or client for a business. There are varying levels of leads, with qualified leads being the most important. Qualified leads are the people who show a strong interest in a business. These are people who have directly contacted your business, signed up for your newsletter, or otherwise indicated they want to learn more about your products and services. With more qualified leads, you can increase your profits and expand your business.
Image via Flickr by kuldeepk2k
How to Generate Leads
Here are the steps to successfully generate leads:
1. Determine Your Target Audience
One of the most important steps to generating leads is to determine who your target audience is. The marketing methods you use will vary based on who your targeting, so it’s important to do some market research to find out who is most likely to use your products and services. Consider the following when determining your target audience:
- Who they are
- Their income level
- Where they live
- What their interests are
- What their lifestyle looks like
- What their personality is like
Based on your research, you may find that you have more than one target audience. This is common, but you should remember that the marketing strategies you use for each group may vary.
2. Choose Promotional Methods
Now that you know who your potential leads are likely to be, it’s time to choose a method to reach them. Your promotional method should capture potential leads’ interests by showing them why they need your products and services. Choose a platform where your target audience is likely to be. By creating an effective marketing plan, your business can continue to get a steady stream of leads.
3. Gather Lead Information
Once you create a marketing plan, you need to also think of how your business is going to collect people’s contact information. Many marketing teams use landing pages to encourage people to fill in their contact information for a coupon or free downloadable. Another incentive companies use to gather contact information is to encourage people to sign up for the company newsletter. In this case, show people that your newsletter will bring value to their lives.
4. Build Relationships With Leads
Once you have your leads’ contact information, it’s important to nurture your relationships by reaching out to them via email. Your business can send them emails about new products or promotions to get them to make a purchase. Likewise, you can use your newsletter to teach them more about your company’s values.
5. Stay in Contact With Leads
If your business uses salespeople to connect with leads, it’s important for your team to regularly check in on each lead. Your salespeople should use sales strategies to help your leads learn more about your services and products. If a lead says they are not currently interested, it may be a good idea for your salespeople to follow up with them in the future. Have your team learn more about each lead’s wants and needs to see if your company has a solution for them.
Lead Generation Methods
When using lead generation methods, it’s important to always include a form where people can fill out their contact information. This way your team can stay connected to them and continue to send them targeted marketing.
Here are marketing strategies your business can use to generate more leads:
Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter are the main social media platforms companies use to reach more people. When choosing which platform to focus your energy on, refer to your marketing research to see which one is used the most by your target audience. Social media is a great way to showcase your products, services, and company values. On each platform, you can share new product launches, fun posts about your company culture, any initiatives your company is starting, and other content that captures your audience’s attention and helps build your company’s reputation.
Many companies use social media to engage with their audience. For example, if a customer comments a question or concern, your social media team should reply with a polite and helpful solution. This shows people that the company values its customers and helps establish a human connection.
Blogging is a great way to establish your company as a thought leader within your industry. Informative blogs show people that your business has expert advice and makes you look more credible. When writing blogs, do research to ensure you are sharing correct information and only link to reputable sources. By writing your blogs with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind, your company’s website can rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs) and be seen by more people. More website traffic can lead to more people learning about your company, which can result in more leads.
Along with writing for your own blog, collaborate with other content creators to write guest blogs. When writing a guest blog, focus on what your company specializes in. Write useful content that people will be interested in rather than a lengthy sales pitch. Include tips and resources throughout the blog. Also, include visuals such as infographics, pictures, and videos to draw more interest in your blog post. Then, at the end of the blog post, you can provide a link to your business’s website.
Likewise, reach out to content creators to write a guest post on your blog. This is a great way to get a wider audience since they are likely to share the blog posts with their followers or customers. Whether you write on your own blog or a guest post, always share a link to each blog post on your business’s social media accounts. This way more people will see the blog post and visit your company’s website.
A landing page is a webpage that visitors are directed to when clicking on something such as a marketing email, marketing promotion, or any other kind of online advertisement. Typically, landing pages have a form for visitors to fill out their contact information. Most users will need an incentive to provide this information. For example, your company could offer a free eBook download. Create downloadables with useful information that people will be inclined to want to read. Think about what questions your support team answers the most, and address some of those questions in your eBooks.
Create email marketing campaigns to draw more people into your business. Attract more leads by using creative copy in your subject lines and body of your email. Things such as promotions and discounts can help you persuade more people to make their first purchase. For example, when a customer first visits your website, create a pop-up form for them to provide their email address for a special discount.
Here are a few common types of email marketing your business can use:
- Survey: Learn what people think of your company by sending them surveys. Ask them questions about their opinion of your business, if they have experience with your business, and if they would plan on coming back.
- Newsletter: This is a great way to show people that you are a thought leader in your industry. Include informational content in each newsletter and a call-to-action to influence them to try one of your products or services.
- One-off email: This is a one-time email that you send to leads to promote an upcoming event, promotion, sale, or any other short-term offerings.
- Auto-responder email: Keep your leads in your marketing funnel with a series of auto-responder emails. When a lead performs a certain action, your automated email system can send them a specific follow-up email. For example, if someone browses your website without purchasing something, you could send them a coupon to persuade them to make a purchase.
- Drip campaign: This is a series of emails that you automatically send to a lead over a set period of time. For example, when a lead visits your website and fills in their email address for a discount, your automated email system can send them more promotional emails throughout your set dates.
Giveaways or Contests
A giveaway or a contest is a great short-term way to gain more leads for your business. Offer one of your products or services for free to a lucky winner. One way to get more leads with a contest is to have people sign up with their email address. Then, you can enter this information into your marketing and sales funnel. Another way to get more contact information is to have contest participants enter by referring friends directly or having them tag a friend on one of your business’s posts.
Some companies also require participants to like or follow the company’s social media page or share the company’s content. Before creating a giveaway or contest, make sure you have the rules for entry written out to avoid any confusion.
Send your team members to different networking events to connect with other people in your industry. If you are a B2B business, networking can be an especially helpful way to teach other businesses about your offerings. When going to a networking event, always bring some company brochures and business cards to hand out.
After the event, consider connecting with your new contacts on LinkedIn to continue to build your business relationship. If they expressed an interest in one of your products or services, send them a follow-up email to share more information about your company. Even if the event doesn’t lead to a direct sale, these new connections can help build a positive reputation for your business, which can help you generate leads later on.
Live Chat Feature
Many businesses are adding a live chat feature to their websites. This is a chatbot that can help answer common questions about the company. If a visitor has more in-depth questions, the chatbot can connect them with a live support specialist. This is a great way to show people that your company values customer service and to create connections with more potential customers. Before the visitor is connected to a chatbot, have them fill out their email address. Then, you can automatically send them a copy of the conversation and other promotional emails.
Digital marketing is becoming more common for most businesses, but direct mail can still be a useful way to generate more leads. Direct mail is when you send promotional materials such as postcards, coupons, brochures, pamphlets, and letters through the mail. You can target people based on their geographical location or whether they live in a home or an apartment. Direct mail marketing is not one of the easiest types of marketing to track. The only way to track responses is to hope the potential lead reaches out after seeing your mailer.
By using some of these strategies, your team can continue to generate leads and grow your business. The key to lead generation is consistency in order to nurture leads and get more customers. Show people that your company appreciates their business and values them as a customer.