Lead generation is a perpetual process of leads search, addressing, nurturing, and converting. If a company takes control over the leads’ flow, its operations become more predictable and, as a result, – more scalable and cost-effective. Proceed through this guide to know workable lead gen techniques and tools.
How Does Lead Generation Work?
Every company decides on an approach to lead gen depending on its type, niche, strategic goals, and resources. Businesses that work on the B2B and sell, for example, petroleum testing equipment, will differ much in how they search for clients from companies that provide corporate legal services, agree. Not to mention B2C companies, like online resellers or FMCG producers.
Nevertheless, lead generation has something in common for all. It bases on 3 major pillars:
- target audience profiles
Before writing an engaging email, you should understand who your prospects are. Lead profiling implies processing personal data of potential clients, such as demographics, interests, etc, and aggregating this into a “portrait” of an ideal customer. The latter is usually called Buyer persona (regarding B2C) or key account (regarding B2B) profile.
“Profiling is necessary to choose targeting and qualifications techniques during lead gen”, source
- communication channels
Lead profiles suggest what marketing channels to use to get conversions. For example, if a company sells gadgets and targets Gen Z, it may contract influencers who will promote the brand or establish a strong social media presence on its own. Lead gen is performed via multiple channels, including ad networks, website landing pages, SEO optimized content, etc.
- contact databases
There’s no point in collecting data about leads if you can’t further use it for commercial purposes. In the case of small businesses, Excel tables may be enough to store leads information. But as soon as a company turns into a mid-sized company, it can no longer operate without CRM software and automation tools.
Lead generation also implies alignment efforts from Marketing and Sales. Marketers are in charge of building awareness and attracting clients, while salespeople work towards leading them through a pipeline up to the purchase. After, both teams are in charge of lead retention.
Which techniques are best for newly launched products?
Lead generation strategies depend on the company’s maturity. If new products are launched by popular brands, e.g. Coca-Cola or Apple companies, they fall under the “umbrella” of the mother brand’s good reputation. As a result, marketers can use the same promotional techniques to get the very first flow of leads.
The case with start-ups or new products from no-name brands is more complicated. They don’t have reputational leverage and should establish awareness from scratch. Below we listed a few techniques that might come in handy:
- create a UI/UX optimized and meaningful website
- put lead magnets and opportunities for opt-in on landing pages
- outsource SEO and PPC services or hire in-house teams – to get initial traffic
- create profiles on review platforms, like Product Hunt
- reach out to prospects via social media.
You can also attain offline and online events, e.g. conferences or webinars if your company works in a sub-niche market.
How to gauge the quality of the leads?
Attracting a lead is good, but acquiring a qualified lead into your funnel is even better. Different customers have different potential for your company. Some are eager to convert quickly, while to persuade others you may need to spend several months. The lead qualification allows the distribution of promotional resources in a way that will maximize ROI.
The qualification is based on a lead “quality” criteria:
- revenue potential – the amount of revenue a single lead will bring while remaining a client
- deal closing potential – the estimated easiness of closing the deal with the prospect.
High-quality leads are prospects who will turn into paying customers with minimal acquisition efforts from a seller side. Moreover, these clients will have a higher average CLV and retention ratio.
The blue dream of every marketer is to work with qualified high-quality leads only. Of course, you can’t completely exclude low-qualified prospects from the lead gen funnel, however, you can decrease their number through:
- target more specific long-tail keywords
- adding qualifying word into paid ads titles and descriptions
- set up lead gen campaigns using extended segmentation criteria
- target lookalike audiences (in case you use Facebook forms).
“You can use Facebook to promote subscriptions and ask for contact information from leads”, source
How to convert leads and refine your lead generation strategies over time?
The best way to sell is to offer to lead something valuable and at the right moment. If an email that promotes restaurant meal delivery services strikes clients’ eyes on Friday evening rather than on Monday morning, chances to get conversions are much higher, agree. Of course, this is only fair for “warmed-up” leads.
Remember, it is a rare occasion if you get conversion instantly. So, to nurture prospects, try the following tips:
- communicate the value – how exactly will your goods or services meet leads needs
- provide incentives – offer something for free or limit time for a promotion
- follow-up – send newsletters and show ads to customers who “got lost”
- ensure good customer support – add a chatbot, an FAQ section, or online consultancy.
To grow your business and keep marketing strategy up-to-date, you should review the action plan and timely adjust it. For example, if you see an apparent lack of progress regarding organic website traffic, it may be that your initial SEO strategy was not quite right and needs improvement.
Best Tools For Lead Generation
The value of the global digital marketing software market is around $57 billion. This is one of the fastest developing niches – it demonstrates a 17% average annual growth, with software companies developing apps for advertising set-ups, sales automation, and advanced marketing capabilities.
Distinct lead generation stages may involve different sets of tools. Below we’ve required 4 the most versatile that one can utilize for multiple purposes – from building awareness to sending out follow-ups.
image source: a snapshot from Snov.io
Snov.io is an email automation tool with extended features, such as email validation and search, drip campaigns builder, and an opportunity to integrate with other apps via API.
You can use this software to create contact databases from scratch, perform cold outreach, set up a complex trigger-based email campaign, or schedule a newsletters sequence.
A big advantage of using Snov.io is security. You can scrape emails from around 20,000 domains and instantly verify them – to reduce the risk of running into spam traps. The tools will also clean up your list from non-existing, catch-all, and other doubtful emails, so you won’t waste promotional resources to reach out to fruitless contacts.
image source: a snapshot from Expandi.io
This is another helpful tool to conduct automated lead gen. Expandi is a cloud-based system, which means – you can launch the campaign, then turn off the computer, and the program will continue working as pre-setted.
Ones who are extra cautious can settle quantity limits – up to 100 invitations and 100 messages per day. As your account is becoming more mature, daily limits increase automatically. Hence, one can get in touch with even more prospects.
- dynamic personalization through variables – for name and surname, and other contents
- a “smart Inbox” – to track replies from a single “control point”, even if you have several accounts on LinkedIn.
image source: a snapshot from LinkedIn Sales Navigator
With Sales Navigator, you can search for prospects on LinkedIn. The tool performs a lead search upon extended parameters that include your network data and preferences. You can use it to scrape names, emails, and other information that is not protected by users’ privacy settings.
When all findings are in place, you can automatically forward these to your CRM. If you managed to collect a lot of data, a grouping option would help you. Use tags and enhance them with descriptive notes, so even in case you assign a new colleague for account management, the customers’ data won’t be lost.
image source: a snapshot from Crunchbase.com
The tool is good for B2B lead generation. It allows searching for clients using advanced filters, including description keywords, headquarters locations, number of employees, year founded, and the event a company participated in.
If you navigate to an organization profile, you’ll see extended information:
- whether it has a public IPO
- stock ticker symbol
- corporate website
- recent news, including the latest fundings raised
- list of employees profiles, and so on.
Viral Marketing and Promotional Contest
People trust other people more than companies’ slogans, let alone ads promises. That is why word-of-mouth is desirable for all companies in terms of acquiring more qualified leads.
There are 2 ways to get referrals:
- encourage clients to recommends your brand
- or create viral content that will be covered across the Web.
Viral messages can be anything – from short funny videos, GIFs, or memes, to shocking content and even fake news. The latter, however, is not recommended to use if you care about brand reputation.
Viral marketing isn’t aimed to bring instant sales. Instead, it seeks to increase brand recognition and fill in the TOFU level of a lead gen funnel. Unlike promotional contests, which are usually limited in time and encourage users to complete certain steps as soon as possible – to get a reward.
If you plan a contest, think of how to make prospects aware of it. You can:
- collaborate with bloggers
- submit the contest to a giveaway website, like Contestchest.com or Giveawaymonkey.com
- launch Facebook Ads
- inform existing subscribers via a newsletter and ask for a referral
- write and promote blog posts.
Lead generation is required for all businesses, regardless of their size or niche. It’s just a matter of what strategy and tactics to choose – to get the pipeline full with qualified clients. Good software can ease lead generation much and allow you to automate their nurturing. However, the key to success lies in audience segmentation, choosing the right communication channels, and sharing valuable and personalized content.