The secrets behind efficient customer acquisition: what is lead generation?

What is lead generation

We all lived that moment when walking quietly on the street, and a person approached us with leaflets for events, discounts, or a new menu at a restaurant in a completely different neighborhood. What do you usually do with those leaflets?

Most likely, you throw them away. You read them hastily, but don’t pay too much attention to them. How would you behave if the person sharing the leaflets was not a stranger, but your best friend? You would probably stop, talk to him, ask him for more details about the offer or the product he shares.

Why? Because he’s your friend and you trust him.

Then why don’t all businesses do that? Why don’t I choose to befriend you first before making you an offer? Or at least make themselves known so that the consumer already knows who he is talking to.

We don’t have an answer, but we know that you should have the best lead generation strategy possible if you want to be successful in business. This article will explain what leads are, what is lead generation, the best ways to generate leads, types of leads, and how we classify a lead.

Developing a website: the first step in lead generation

Before we begin, we must emphasize an extremely important step! No matter how good your lead generation strategy is, it will fail miserably if it is not accompanied by an extremely well-designed website.

A good site must meet the following requirements:

  • Search Engine Optimization is an important aspect that will bring you good leads. People looking for your product or brand always bring results.
  • The user experience (UX) must be intuitive and simple for the lead generation process to be complete! There are hundreds of examples of businesses with an exciting offer, excellent products, but which are not taken into account by customers just because the website and their online presence are not carefully prepared.
  • Relevant and quality content on the site. It helps you make your site look professional and well-developed.
What is lead generation: developing a website

What is a lead?

If you’ve read the introduction, you probably already know what the concept of leads is all about. I thought, however, that I should shed light on this subject!

Basically, anyone who finds out about a product or service that catches their attention is considered a lead. But a lead is not (yet) a customer! A lead is any person who is transformed from a stranger to your business into a person who knows, buys from, is interested in, and promotes, in turn, your business.

This is what people who hand out leaflets on the street try to do – to turn you from a stranger into a potential lead. However, there are several types of leads, depending on certain criteria, which I will explain below.

So, to get out of the realm of a classic definition and get closer to reality, a lead is a person who has any kind of contact with your business.

Many people think that it is ideal to have a lot of leads. But this is not the best conception, and it is a more general strategy. There are businesses like coaching, which are very expensive, on which quality is more important than quantity.

If you operate in an obvious niche, you need precise leads that can become buyers as soon as possible, not tens of thousands of potential leads with a conversion rate of 1%.

This is where the big problem comes in. Many “marketers” choose to create their lead list artificially, often by buying it. It’s totally wrong! Those people do not represent your audience and if that did not convince you not to go further with the money invested, think that it is not ethical at all.

Also, with the GDPR agreements, what you are doing will most likely be illegal.

Thus, we advise you to build your list of leads completely legally, with the help of several methods, which I will discuss later in the article!

What is a lead?

What is lead generation?

Lead generation is the process by which you bring a stranger face to face with your business. Specifically, the process by which, with the help of innovative methods, people want to be part of what your business offers them.

The sales process is very dynamic, and marketing methods must keep up with it. Thus, widespread advertising is being replaced by methods to build and maintain a customer relationship. The best method is to target customers according to their behavior (consumer preferences and interests).

But the lead generation process is difficult nowadays, precisely because of the abundance of information, which makes the potential customer ignore more and more of the advertising messages with which he is bombarded. And when he needs a product or service, he prefers to study the market himself to find what he is interested in.

We are thus witnessing a transfer of power in the sales process. Before, the seller was the one who found his customers; today, the customer has the power and is the one who finds the supplier he needs.

So to get leads, you need a well-thought-out strategy to get you to the potential customer before he already decides against the purchase.

Warming up your leads

What does “warming up” your leads mean?

Well, imagine that in the story with the friend who shares leaflets, you are his lead. The moment you stop and ask him about his personal life and how he is doing, he instantly changes the subject to the product he is advertising. Wouldn’t you feel somewhat deceived?

This is also the case with businesses that, once a foreigner shows the slightest interest in their business, directly consider him a buyer and sell him something.

By generating leads, you “warm-up” your audience that comes from cooler channels, such as SEO, paid campaigns, or word-of-mouth.

With the help of lead generation, you realize if a potential customer no longer needs “warming up” because he knows your brand and wants to buy the product or service offered by you instantly.

The stages of the lead generation process

Lead generation is a marketing process that involves capturing potential customers’ interest in a product or service.

But … how do you generate these leads?

The following 4 steps are a simplified lead generation process:

  1. A stranger finds you through your own website, blog, SEO strategy, paid campaigns, or through your presence on social media.
  2. It clicks on the CTA (Call-to-action) that you have already provided.
  3. That call-to-action takes your customer to a landing page, built to give the customer a reward for becoming your lead. These can be e-books, white papers, educational articles, or even promotions for products on the site.
  4. After submitting the form, he will give you the email address where you will deliver the reward. His email is the way you will be able to stay in touch with the lead.
Board Post-its

What are the best lead generating methods?

A study by IDG shows that the most efficient methods of generating leads are: the company’s website, participation in fairs and conferences, and email marketing. On the other hand, the least results come from the use of direct mail and print advertising.

See below for a shortlist of methods used to generate leads:

  • Content: consists of building relevant and valuable content and using it to build an image of the company, services, or products to be promoted: guides, e-books, white papers, case studies, templates, online presentations, infographics, online courses. Any type of material that certifies that you are a professional!
  • Email marketing: it remains one of the best marketing strategies for lead generation. The use of marketing automation solutions allows companies to send targeted newsletters and emails to the leads they suit. See more in this article.
  • Paid ads: whether you choose Facebook, YouTube, or Google AdWords, paid ads to catch on well, and even bring results. Their problem is that you have to invest constantly, but if you optimize them well enough, you will not have problems with money.
  • Social Media: the organic way to bring leads is the most beneficial for everyone – both businesses and customers. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s too cumbersome and expensive to wait months in a row for a few leads.
  • Possibility to test the product
  • Reviews and articles

These would be the methods of finding and attracting leads with the best results. They can be used individually or integrated by combining them in several channels. We must not forget traditional offline methods, such as banners, radio-tv advertising, or leaflets. However, their disadvantage is that they do not allow personal addressing to certain types of customers (they do not allow targeting).

Only through testing can a company determine the most effective method of attracting the target audience and obtaining results.

Lead types and classifications

Leads, as I have already said, are classified according to the degree of interest in your business:

  • Marketing-Lead: The person has come into contact with your marketing campaign; he knows who you are, what you do, and the fact that you probably have the solution to his problem, but he still doesn’t want anything sold to him.
  • Sales-Lead: is the kind of customer who has already taken steps in the direction of buying the product, but is undecided. You may be very interested in the concept of remarketing, which will help you retarget that person with ads that remind them of your product or service.
  • Product or Service-Lead: is the last type of lead. Those who have already tried your product or service in other ways (free trial) and now would like to become customers for a longer time.

This ranking will help you in the communication process and ensure you acquire as many customers as possible.

Lead generation tools

What lead generation tools do we use?

Below I describe some important tools for lead generation:

Used in conjunction with the company’s website, landing pages are a way to interact with your leads. This way, you will have more control over data and statistics, and you will not bear the risk that your business will be banned, for one reason or another, from one of the social media platforms. Some marketers believe that a landing page should support any digital marketing campaign.

Live online consulting through a pop-up window in which an online consultant answers your questions.

A lead generation form is always a good way to communicate with site visitors and an excellent lead collection tool, whether it is a registration, order, feedback, or contact form. You will be able to create any form you need with the help of JotForm solutions.

The blog or vlog is the perfect place to present relevant, quality content (online presentations, infographics, reviews). This content will help you drive traffic from Google searches and create an expert image that you can trust.

Conclusions

When it comes to lead generation, there are various strategies. It almost always depends on your niche, target audience, product or service, and even on demographics.

With the information I provided above, you should have a head start in your “hunt” for new leads and potential customers. Just remember that it takes time, it might be expensive, and that most of the times, quality is better than quantity.