Potentially, one of the most important parts of a sales campaign is the ability to generate leads. But what is a lead? A lead is someone who has indicated interest in your service or product. For example, if you were to take a survey online about a range of beauty products you might later receive an email from the company that hosted that survey on their website. This method of contact would be far less intrusive than if they had contacted you not knowing whether you even used that range of beauty products. From a business perspective, the information collected from a survey is more valuable in personalizing an opening communication to meet the needs of a potential customer.
Lead generation is the process of attracting strangers and prospects into those leads to naturally entice people into the company and eventually warm them to providing personal information to be contacted by the company again.
Attracting people enough for them to make the first move is the most organic way of creating interest in your business. It’s about the potential customer initiating a relationship with you rather than you initiating the relationship with them. Through the encouragement of this approach, it will become easier and more natural for the customer to want to buy from you at some point in the future and generate retention of sales.
In the larger Inbound Marketing Methodology (diagram below) lead generation falls into the second stage:
This occurs after you’ve attracted an audience and are ready to actually convert those visitors into leads for your sales team. Generating leads is a fundamental point in an individual’s journey to becoming a delighted customer of your business.
A sale lead is generated by collecting personal information. That information could be collected as a result of completing an application, a shopper sharing details in exchange for a voucher, filling in a form online for an educational webinar or eBook, or some other data capturing strategy.
But what is it that qualifies these three main examples?
Application: Someone filling an application is willing to share a lot of personal information because they want to be considered for something involved with your company. The completed application shows their true interest in the company, thus qualifying the person as a lead.
Voucher: Unlike the application, you probably won’t know much about someone who has stumbled across a voucher online. However, if they find the voucher valuable enough to provide their name and email, it’s enough information for a business to know that a person is interested in the company.
Content: Content like an eBook or webinar won’t be enough to prove an individual’s interest. Therefore, in order to truly understand the nature of the person’s interest, you’ll probably need to collect more information. You’ll need enough info for a sales representative to understand whether the person is interested in your product or services.
These three main examples highlight how lead generation differs from company to company. The definitive aim is to collect enough information to gauge if someone has a true, valid interest in your product service. But, knowing how much information is enough will vary from business to business.
With the ability to understand how lead generation fits into the Inbound Marketing Methodology, let’s review the actual components of the lead generating process.
1) The Visitor: A visitor discovers your business through one of your marketing channels, whether that’s your website, blog, or social media page.
2) Call-to-Action (CTA): A call-to-action or CTA is an image, button or message that calls website visitors to take some sort of action. This action will then navigate to a…
3) Landing Page: A landing page is a web page a visitor lands on for a distinct purpose. While a landing page can be used for various reasons, one of the most frequently used ways is to capture through…
4) Forms: Forms are typically hosted on landing pages, although they can technically be embedded anywhere on your site. This consists of a series of fields collecting information in exchange of an…
5) Offer: An offer is the content or something of value that’s being “offered” on the landing page
Overall, lead generation involves building trust in your prospects. This doesn’t have to include sitting at a booth in a trade show for hours and hours. Instead, using basic lead generation strategy effectively can increase your chances of sale potential. In the B2B world, telemarketing is a very solid means of developing leads. Professional calling campaigns use critical data to generate leads and capture market research that helps identify new opportunities that generate profits. But equally, in the B2C world, there are natural and organic ways to achieve your potential customer's trust and inevitable increase your success and growth.