Lead generation is a crucial business process of most companies, especially so in B2B businesses. It’s the actual true purpose of digital marketing – to generate customers that convert into prospects and bring money into your business.
Yet it’s one of the most misunderstood concepts, even by those who should be the most grappled by it. When I started working in digital marketing, I noticed that the majority of digital marketing companies didn’t have a value proposition that addressed any real-world business impact.
It only dawned on me later that by ignoring the concept of lead generation, agencies deliberately absolve themselves from accountability to their customers. Digital marketing clients on the other hand are sold on the idea that any digital marketing is better than nothing. You simply can’t afford to be online in 2020 right? The result is that many customers are not educated about a lead generation by the provider who should be at the forefront of this activity and end up paying for random acts of digital marketing every month.
Why should you care about lead generation as a small to medium business owner?
Approaching digital marketing from a lead generation perspective will save you money and grow your business. If you know how many sales you need each month, together with the average value of those sales, you can get a quote for digital marketing services that include the right channel, level of activity, and velocity. There will be a natural lag between the start of a digital marketing implementation to when you will achieve optimal results. In a matter of time, your agency should be able to scale or finetune your digital marketing to generate as many website visitors as you need to hit your revenue goals.
It directs the focus to what’s important
I worked in an agency that bragged to a tile company about how many first-place rankings they achieved for them in search results. However, the rankings were completely useless. The tile seller ranked for white, black, and every other imaginable color of tiles, while their prospects were looking for actual solutions like kitchen splashbacks, floor tiles, and feature walls. At the time I had a client in the same niche who had a much smaller digital marketing package, who soon overtook their bigger competitor in website visitors. This with less content and marketing activity.
It enables systems thinking approach that delivers consistent results
A strong lead generation awareness in digital marketing will also address a second issue beyond looking at metrics with different eyes. Most small to medium businesses lack the resources to manage their leads effectively. This includes the ability and systems to measure the cost of acquiring a lead, quickly and efficiently respond to customer queries, and to manage the lead lifetime to get maximum juice from their marketing spend. Leads that are generated through inbound marketing tactics, for instance, tend to require more immediate gratification than leads generated by email. If a prospect dials your number or hits your email you need to get on it. Thankfully, modern cloud-based CRMs makes this possible. They are simple enough to understand for anybody that manages the complexity of a business. Moreover, many systems also seamlessly integrate with marketing platforms such as Google Analytics, email, and even invoicing and proposals.
Without further ado, let’s introduce some important concepts in lead generation that will help you define your digital marketing needs with your agency partner.
To facilitate the success of your marketing initiatives, identifying your target market is an important piece of the puzzle. Target market identification is defined as the processes involved in product and service development and the marketing strategies created to address pressing customer needs and interests.
A successful brand understands its customers to ensure the messages delivered in every campaign produce valuable returns and tangible results. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to identify your target market:
Let’s take a closer look at targeted marketing strategies and the best ways you can achieve successful results.
B2B (business-to-business) lead generation is simply the process of determining the most compatible or suitable customer for your product or service, and then incorporating marketing methods to appeal to them to make a purchase. It involves selling to another business that is aligned with your marketing goals.
B2B lead generation consists of multiple strategies including content or social media marketing, PPC, or pay per click advertising, and strategically building an email list. Each of these techniques focuses on customer engagement and influence. The purpose is to persuade them to act and by acting, we mean making those desired sales.
B2C is defined as business-to-consumer and is the actual marketing process involved in acquiring the customer (or the lead), and then making the sale. Compared to B2B, it is the process of a business selling to an individual and not another business or the masses. Examples of B2C behaviors include customers signing up for a subscription service or purchasing clothes from a store.
The success of your B2C campaign is influenced by your overall brand awareness and whether customers who are familiar with your brand are willing to take the steps to make a purchase or convert it into a sale. By investing in the quality of your B2C campaign, this uncomplicated advertising method helps you focus on the value your business can provide the customer at an individual level.
An important part of any marketing approach is understanding the traits and behaviors of your customers. Segmentation is a great way to learn this. The process of segmentation is defined as the ability to divide your market into groups or subsets that share common characteristics. These characteristics can include overall demand for a product or service, and overall customer needs.
As an important part of your marketing strategy, segmentation helps you understand your audience. This means creating a campaign that speaks their language and facilitates lead conversions into sales.
Important segmentation criteria that will help you tailor your marketing strategies.
The simplest of them all, geographic segmentation is based on the actual geolocation of your potential customer. You can update your advertising methods according to environmental and seasonal conditions in the location of your customers.
Psychographic segmentation includes the customer’s lifestyle including their personalities and their belief systems. Targeted campaigns focus on the emotional aspects of appealing to their interests.
Demographics is the most popular segment and involves the age, gender, education, nationality, and background of customers. It allows you to quickly target a population.
A sales funnel focuses on the ways the customer moves from being a visitor on the website to a prospect, then a lead, and finally a deal or sale. Once the visitor clicks on your link and lands on your site, they are considered a prospect. Depending on their interest, the prospect can subscribe to a newsletter or email list. The prospect starts at the top of the funnel and your goal is to get them to the bottom. By offering promotions and interesting deals or information, you can get them to return to your website and place them in the middle of the funnel. Along with your ongoing advertising efforts, nurturing the customer to the top of the funnel facilitates the desired conversion.
The most common sales funnels have four stages, your’s might have more:
The stages together indicate the mindset and the behaviors of the customer; however, for the marketer, each stage signifies an area of marketing specialization to send the right message at the right time.
Understanding how sales funnels work can help you target your lead generation strategies and improve your conversion rates.
Inbound marketing activities generally consist of content that is discoverable by prospective customers and guides them to take action to satisfy their needs. It includes the following marketing lead sources:
Experienced SEO practitioners are skilled in creating strategies based on web search data. SEO can also be applied proactively to gauge and keep track of demand for products and services. A SEO agency with a lead generation focus employs specialists with a strong commercial instinct that can spot and exploit opportunities, rather than work aimlessly from checklists. Except for a few technical areas, SEO is more laborious than it’s complicated, that’s why practitioners should be able to explain in simple terms what they do and why they do it. The real value in SEO lies in the ability to identify target markets, spot opportunities, optimise web properties to effectively respond to it and refining the website experience to increase website visitors and lead capture.
The Omni-present nature of social media gives advertisers the ability to engage prospective leads at every stage of the consumer-decision making process, from beginning to end. Businesses that are successful with generating leads on social media either perform paid advertising or are very proactive in their participation. It’s either money or time, with no compromises. Millions of small businesses conduct their businesses mostly and in many cases, exclusively on social media. As microbusinesses scale and business operations require more time, their social media activity that is performed by the owner in most cases, usually dies down. It takes time to learn how to run social media campaigns that produce results, consider hiring an experienced social media specialist.
To have a business listing in the top search results is an incredible sales opportunity. There are two ways to get there – either perform SEO and wait for the results or pay search engines for the top spot. Pay Per Click advertising on Google offers advertisers some of the most advanced targeting at a much lower budget than other mediums. That’s because ads are only served when users actually search for topics that are relevant to keyword phrases that you choose. In addition, there are dozens of ways to refine the targeting to your most profitable audiences, including the time of day, place, interests, and demographics.
There are two distinct ways that content marketing can support lead generation. Creating interesting, informative, funny, or useful content that relates to your niche has a number of benefits. It makes your business relatable to potential buyers, can create demand for your product, and showcase your expertise in your product niche or service field. A more direct way is by offering content such as e-books, checklists, spreadsheets, workbooks, newsletters, and tutorials in exchange for a user’s email address.
While inbound marketing is about targeted content encouraging customers to find your content, outbound marketing focuses on creating a brand message and then using multiple platforms or strategies to send this message to an audience. While not a targeted form of advertising, it is an efficient way to build brand awareness and reach the masses.
Cold calling is one of the most difficult sales techniques to master. Contacting someone you’ve likely never met before and convincing them to buy your product or service based on a whim is no easy task, but it can be one of the most effective ways to reach new leads. On the other hand, with the diversity of sales channels available today, you might want to skip this emotionally demanding lead generation technique.
Cold email marketing is a method that involves sending an email to a prospect that has no prior relationship with you. Cold email is a double-edged sword, it can help you to build relationships but you can also get a revolution as a spammer. Cold emails are still one of the most effective ways to generate sales leads. A good sales email addresses the recipient by name is customized and makes a specific request. Avoid using false headers, deceptive subject lines and allow recipients to opt-out of subsequent emails and honor their requests promptly.
Internet display advertising is the content a viewer sees when browsing news websites, social media, apps, and display websites. Displays ads on the internet are all about capturing the attention of your audience. You can use a variety of marketing formats including videos, flash, high-quality images, and audio to draw attention to your products and services. Display advertising is about creating powerful brand awareness with the potential to generate leads quickly.
Radio and TV ad campaigns can reach a vast audience and help you get your name recognized faster than any other marketing strategy.
Your marketing channels and campaigns may generate hundreds of leads, but only a small potential will eventually become customers. Lead scoring or lead qualification is the process of evaluating leads to determine to what degree a lead fits your ideal buyer persona and the potential they have of becoming a customer. Better qualified leads can be generated on websites by creating targeted content, including the price of services and goods in content and asking questions in website forms.
Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) – Your website visitors or ad content consumers can be broadly classified into two categories, those who are doing research for other purposes than buying from you, and marketing qualified leads that may be interested in buying from you. To qualify leads into these categories, you need a process to filter them, such as a contact form, website interactive elements, a content offer or offers for free consultations and assessments. Marketing Qualified Leads can be advertised with more targeted methods, such as display, search and social media retargeting.
Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) – A lead becomes sales qualified when they’ve shown enough interest to initiate a sales conversation or a discovery call.
Product Qualified Lead (PQL) – When you offer a target audience a free trial, a product sample, or a free model and they are left with a positive experience and a keen interest, they are deemed a Product Qualified Lead (PQL). PQLs offer a fast and interactive way to convert leads into customers as they get to experience your product or service and become familiar with your brand. The conversion of these customers is based on the product offering.
By identifying errors or corruptions, applying corrections, deleting entries, and implementing processes to prevent errors from occurring, you can make sure that your lead database stays correct, consistent, and usable.
Lead nurturing is a process of building a relationship with your lead by delivering personalized marketing messages, special offers, and steps to encourage or “nurture” them towards converting and making a sale. It is a purposeful marketing strategy in which you encourage your leads to interact with your content. Examples of lead nurturing include email marketing and social media posts to direct sales calls, which creates customer loyalty and growth.
Generating enough leads constantly fuels your business growth, but the constant search for clients can be draining. Luckily there are more tools and resources than ever before to discover and connect with potential customers. Rise Africa specialise in defining search engine marketing strategies, tactics, and offers that get the attention of potential leads. Contact us for a free proposal to create marketing campaigns that generate sales leads for your business.