Introduction to Lead Generation
Lead Generation is the lifeblood of all businesses, without Leads, your business will have no customers and eventually fail.
All companies micro, small, B2B and B2C require some level of Lead Generation based on the length of their product or service sales cycle.
A local Electrician or Plumber may have a very short sales cycle as a potential client may require their services urgently.
They perform a quick search online and see their Ad, or find their website and click on the Call Button to contact them immediately. The entire cycle from Awareness to Research to Decision takes a few minutes.
However, not all Sales Cycles are this short and Companies that provide products or services with a longer Sales Cycle require a system of nurturing a potential client through the steps from Awareness to Research and eventually to the ultimate Decision.
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What is Lead Generation?
Lead Generation is the art of attracting a complete stranger to your online presence and then converting this stranger into a potential prospect by encouraging them to express some form of interest in your product or service.
It’s highly unlikely that a potential customer who visits your website, or online presence, for the first time will immediately do business with you, especially if the product or service you provide has a long sales cycle.
The length of the sales cycle is affected by the nature and value of the product or service, generally, the more expensive the product the longer the sales cycle, but the sales cycle will also vary from person to person.
How Lead Generation Works.
Lead Generation is a process that involves various steps to initially Attract Relevant Visitors to Squeeze Pages that offer the visitor something of sufficient value, referred to as Bait or Magnet, for which the visitor will provide their contact details in order to obtain. This offer is often Free such as a Whitepaper, eBook or Free Limited Access to software etc. You can read more about the steps involved in developing Effective Lead Generation in this article.
The unknown visitor has now become a known potential lead that can now be further nurtured and moved along the Sales Pipeline to eventually become a paying customer.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the steps of an effective Lead Generation Machine:
Firstly we need to put the necessary tools in place to Attract Targeted Prospects to our Offer. This can be achieved by
2: Paid Methods, Google Ads, and Social Media Ads such as Facebook or LinkedIn.
It is important to differentiate between traffic that we have control over and traffic we do not have control over, If we have control over the traffic such as Paid Ads and Owned Media (Owned Media is media we own, such as our Social Media Platforms – Facebook Posts, LinkedIn Posts etc.) we can decide where we want that traffic sent by providing a link to a desired landing page.
This is one of the big secrets of an Effective Lead Generation Machine.
Whenever possible the traffic should be sent to a specially designed Squeeze Page, or Landing Page and NOT directly to your standard website pages. I know this seems counter-intuitive, but it’s important. Traffic from Content Marketing and SEO are not directly under our control, Google will direct this traffic according to how best it interprets the searcher’s intent.
A Squeeze Page is a page that has been specifically designed to perform one purpose and one purpose only and that is to convert the visitor into a lead. There should be no other distractions on this page, just a Heading, a Description of the Offer and the Offer itself with a CTA (Call to Action). (The Offer is often also referred to as Bait or Magnet.)
The contents of the Squeeze Page must match the expectations of the visitor based on the content in the advert that brought them to this page, in other words, what you promise and what you offer must match. You might think this is common sense, but it’s amazing how many times we see this error.
The visitor to a Squeeze Page has no other option, but to either accept the offer and provide their contact details or not. Properly designed Squeeze Pages convert at a much higher rate than your website ever will, but we also need to design the website to convert visitors as much of the Organic Traffic that we do not have control over will be directed to relevant pages on the website.
This is where the Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) of your website comes into play.
Once an unknown visitor has provided their details in exchange for your Free Offer they are placed in the Pipeline for further nurturing through a carefully designed series of Landing Pages and Automated emails that provide the lead with further information they may require to move them along the buyer’s journey to become a paying customer.
It’s important to recognise where a visitor enters the Pipeline it could be during the initial Awareness stage of the Buyer’s Journey or during the Research or even at the Decision-making stage, you will know this by actions they have taken and what offers they may have downloaded or accessed.
In my case, if a site visitor downloaded an eBook named What is Digital Marketing then I would know they are at the early stages of awareness, but if they downloaded an eBook on the advantages of Paid versus Organic Digital Marketing I would know they are further along the Buyers Cycle as they are starting to compare more in-depth features. Once they start looking at articles on the Cost of Digital Marketing then I know they are ready to make a decision and should be followed up on immediately:
- Develop your Offers, Develop a series of Offers of sufficient value to use as Bait.
- Attraction, Attract relevant visitors to your Squeeze Page using Paid and Owned Media.
- Conversion, Develop effective Squeeze Pages to convert visitors into Leads.
- Pipeline & Email Automation. Develop a series of Pipeline Landing Pages and Automated emails to nurture your Lead through the Buyers Cycle.
- Conversion Rate Optimisation. Make sure your website is designed to convert site visitors into Leads to maximise SEO and Content Marketing returns.
- Optimisation A/B Testing. Keep testing simple and make ongoing improvements to each step in the Lead Generation Machine.
Who is Lead Generation For?
Lead Generation is for companies of all sizes, B2B and B2C, but more so for companies that sell products or services with longer sales cycles that require nurturing of leads through the buyer’s cycle.
A well-designed and optimised Lead Generation Strategy will attract visitors and convert these visitors into customers for years to come.
Features of a Professional Lead Generation Strategy.
The features of a professionally optimised Lead Generation Machine ensure that each and every step in the process is constantly tested and improved for maximum ROI:
- Highly targeted Ads that attract relevant visitors at maximum CTR (Click Through Rate) at the lowest possible CPC Cost Per Click.
- Choosing and Testing the correct platforms for your Ads.
- Budget Management, a well-developed plan that maximises budget ROI (Return on Investment)
- Ensures that what is promised and what is offered matches.
- Squeeze pages are converting at the highest possible rate.
- Offers are appropriate and convert at an optimal rate.
- Pipeline process and automated emails are optimised for maximum efficiency and are moving the Lead along the Buyer’s Journey.
- Knowing when a Lead has moved from each stage in the Buyers Cycle from a visitor to a lead to an MQL to a SQL to be followed up on by Sales.
Benefits of a Professional Lead Generation Strategy.
A well-designed professionally optimised Lead Generation Strategy offers numerous benefits to companies of all sizes.
- Once it is set up it saves you time in handling enquiries.
- Once set up and optimised it should generate a consistent supply of Sales Qualified Leads.
- Lead Generation provides a higher conversion rate than simply directing traffic to your website.
- Providing leads with good quality content along the buyer’s journey builds trust and creates the impression of being a thought leader in your industry.
- Increases Touch Points, lead generation increases the number of contact points with your customer, it is unlikely that a visitor will deal with you upon their first contact with your Brand, but this chance improves with each contact along the buyer’s journey.
Continue reading 10 steps to an Effective Lead Generation System
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