What is lead generation

Let’s start at the beginning. Lead generation describes the marketing process of stimulating and capturing interest in your product or service for the purpose of developing a sales pipeline.

The process of lead generation involves a mix of channels designed to draw in your prospects.  You can then take them through a journey that engages them and will convince them to make a purchase from you.

Why is lead generation important?

The buying process and process of attracting clients and customers continues to change. Marketers and your business need to find new ways to reach those dream clients, and get heard by them through all that noise.  Instead of finding customers through mass advertising you need to focus on a mix of activities that ensure your business is found.

According to Hubspot, inbound leads cost 61 percent less than outbound leads. That means attracting leads to you rather than spending money on expensive PPC, SEM and online advertising.

Companies can use more cost-effective methods to fill that all-important sales funnel. Here are a few ideas to help you boost your lead generation activities

1. Email marketing and email automation

Email remains one of the most highly used activities in business so it follows that email marketing is a key to lead generation success.

Email marketing automation is targeted emails that are automatically triggered and sent to a lead or customer when they take a specific action. An estimated 51 % of businesses are using email marketing automation,so this is something to consider.

For example, if a lead downloads a White Paper from your website, they’re automatically placed into your buyer’s funnel.  They are then sent either follow-up content to further engage them, or additional information about products and services you provide. Companies consistently say they get better results from using email automation in their business, both in terms of quality and quantity of leads, which are directly contributing to higher sales numbers.

2. Blogs that answer your target audience’s questions

Blogs should be an important part of your lead generation tactics.  They are a key component of the content you are generating to support your lead generation activities. Create blogs that answer key issues for your target audience, address the challenges and pain points you know are important to them. Don’t write blogs because its of interest to you, it needs to resonate with your target audience.

Look at what are the hot topics in forums and on social media channels that relate to your target audience.  What do prospects ask you in sales meetings or on emails: this is where you should spend your time creating blog posts, and you’ll draw in more leads.

Write guest blog posts too…

Guest blogging, when done right can prove to be very effective, providing you’re being seen on credible websites.  A guest blog post on a website with high search rankings and a healthy level of visitors can really pay dividends in raising awareness about you, and thus your products and services.

Make sure to promote your guest blog via your own social media channels.

3. Update and Optimize your website for mobiles

Is your website current? A website that does not have current content and shows no recent activity will turn off prospects and google too. But more importantly, make sure its optimised for mobile use.

We are in the age of digital dependency where 64% of people say the internet is part of their everyday life.  With 78% of people in the UK using smartphones for both work and social, you need to make sure your website is enabled for use on mobiles.

People will respond to your brand more positively if they have a great mobile experience. They will remember you for the wrong reasons, if it’s a poor experience.

Ensure your website is mobile responsive.  Make sure it automatically adjusts to mobile settings, your text is large enough to read and your buttons are big enough to use on a mobile device.  Make sure the navigation is simple and that the site doesn’t take too long to load. Don’t get caught up with complex visual and scrolling that just don’t work on a mobile. Test it for yourself.

4. Get active on LinkedIn

If you’re going to spend time on any social media platform, use LinkedIn: its ideal for B2B. With 467 million members worldwide it’s a professional platform that is strong in distributing content.

To get the most out of LinkedIn, make sure your business profile is current. Write an engaging summary of what your company does, keywords that make your page easily searchable, using words your prospective customers would use.  Add and encourage reviews and testimonials from past customers, include awards, news and achievements.

Check out more ideas on improving your LinkedIn profile.

Start conversations and add comments and responses to content shared by others.  Link back to content you have on your website when its relevant.

5. Add live chat/chatbots to your website

A visitor to your website has a question he needs answered immediately. Maybe he doesn’t have time to search through your FAQ page, download an e-book or simply wants an easy and immediate response. A Live chat option solves the problem of immediacy for your visitor: before leaving your site, the question pops up: “Do you need help with anything?” If it’s during your regular business hours, someone is there to help. Make sure they are helpful, articulate and knowledgeable about your business.  If he’s working late at the office and no one is there, a chatbot can answer questions for him.

Live chat and chatbots continue to grow in popularity with many customers preferring this approach rather than making a call, sending an email or filling in a form. They are in control of what they want and when they want it.

Gartner predicts that by 2021, more than half of enterprises will spend more each year on chatbot creation and bots than on traditional mobile app development. Its easy to see why, it saves time and money.

6. Write a white paper

White Papers are a persuasive, authoritative, in-depth form of content on a specific topic that presents a problem and provides a solution. A White Paper is a great way to educate and help your audience about a particular issue, or explain and promote a particular methodology. They’re advanced problem-solving guides. They are longer than blogs and written in a more formal style.  They must be relevant to the issues or challenges of your prospects and clients. It’s a great way to establish your authority and credentials.

A White Paper needs to deliver value for the reader, as in exchange you want to capture information about them such as email, name and phone number. If you want to target and engage your audience, then a white paper that covers an industry topic extensively is perfect.

Bring in original or secondary research, expert sources and infographics. Use a formal tone and create a compelling title.  Match the design of it to that of your brand and organize it with a table of contents and subheadings. When it’s ready to be published, create a PDF version, make that PDF mobile responsive and gate it behind a form that leads need to fill out with the critical information that is important to you.

7. Referrals and testimonials

Referrals are a key lead generation tool.  Its personal and makes a big impact and will open doors faster.  Happy clients and satisfied clients are generally happy to make a referral.  Peer to peer referrals can be very powerful.  Be specific about what you are looking for, but don’t ask too often.

In general, when talking with your satisfied clients, ask them if they could refer you to people, they think would be interested in your products and services. This is also a great opportunity to ask if they would be happy to provide a testimonial, often these can be easier to achieve. Testimonials look great on your website, pitches and other collateral and speak to your client satisfaction and the service you deliver.

If you’d like help with improving your lead generation performance, get in touch hello@intelligentmarketing.uk.com