Lead generation is a battle against difficult odds. It is time-intensive and requires a strategic effort. But in a world where time is at a premium, can you afford to invest a lot of time in learning more about lead generation techniques, when your competitors have already mastered the art?
Short answer – No.
Solution: Go through this cheat sheet to get a measure of confidence in lead generation by knowing what it’s all about and the “short cuts” you can take to master it.
Lead Generation: What is it?
Lead generation is a marketing activity that seeks to generate customer interest in a product or service and ignite the sales funnel.
Traditionally, lead generation involved the use of print advertising, OOH (Out of Home) advertising, telemarketing, customer referrals and events to drive product/service visibility. But it has evolved over the years to include digital channels like social media platforms and other online techniques to develop and qualify potential leads.
Now that you know what is lead generation, let’s get started:
With 87% of shoppers, first going online to search for products, the internet, is the most fertile ground for lead generation. So, in order to save time, let’s take quick look at the lead gen tactics that are seen to be most effective:
According to Neil Patel the following are the activities that are proving to be most effective:
Email marketing has never gone out of fashion.
According to Campaign Monitor’s findings the email open rates improved from 20.39% in 2019 to 25.2% in 2020, and we still have a major portion of 2020 to go. Email has always done wonders for businesses and it continues to do well. And, it is one of the easier lead generation methods.
To ensure your emails are opened, they should be responsive, because a large percentage of emails are opened on mobile.
Also make sure that your emails are not generic, but segmented and personalized.
Don’t send the same email to people of different age groups or even income groups. Personalize your emails on the basis of the target segment.
Your email’s open-rates are also dependent on its subject line. If the recipients like the subject line, they are going to open the email no matter what.
But opening an email is not enough. It’s important to monitor your email’s CTR (Click Through Rate), meaning not just opening the email, but clicking on at least one link in your email.
Cheat Sheet item # 1: Get an email strategy going, pronto!!
Have you started writing blogs for your company yet? No? Big miss!
Content marketing is another low hanging fruit you can pluck from the garden of lead generation, and blog writing is the life and blood of content marketing.
Here, you are making use of high-quality content, to improve brand reputation, build brand authority, increase brand trust, drive customer engagement and achieve sustainable customer loyalty. Yes, you can do all this with regular blogs that are published on your website blog or high-authority, third party websites.
Third-party blogs pointing to your website help create a potent inbound link juice that can deliver amazing SEO returns. What’s more, regularly publishing highly-researched, relevant content pieces, improves brand recall amongst your target audience and establishes your brand as a trusted name in your niche. Also, make sure that, whenever possible, your blogs posts have links that point to your landing pages and/or website pages.
Cheat Sheet Item #2: Formulate a content strategy, build a content plan and start creating exceptional content pieces.
Bolster your lead generation efforts by making good use of social media. But, using the right platform is the key.
No surprises there. Facebook still remains the first amongst equals, followed by YouTube. Now, you might think, your social media strategy must make good use of Facebook. It’s a no brainer. But the decision is not so simple.
If you want exclusivity, you might need to focus on some other platform. E.g. more than a third of Snapchat users are not found on Instagram or Facebook. Or, if you think, Instagram is best suited for your social media strategy, because you are selling high-end stationery (and beautiful images will get the point across), take a look at these figures:
You will see that the largest age category is between 18-24 years of age. Think very carefully, is that your target age group?
At the onset, creating and implementing a social media strategy looks quite simple, and it is. But things can go wrong if you give undue attention to a platform that might not deliver the returns you are looking for.
Apart from choosing the right platform, another key element that you must keep in mind is the content you are sharing. This is where the content pieces you wrote, as a part of your blogging strategy will be a big help. It works both ways. You have something meaningful to share and your content pieces also get the visibility they deserve.
And again, you must make sure that your social media posts, more often than not, point people to your landing pages and/or website pages.
Cheat Sheet item #3: A presence on social media helps your brand engage at a personal level with your target audience and generate leads. Don’t miss out.
Your emails, social media posts and blogs should point to landing pages or website pages that have been expressly created to become a part of your lead generation campaign. These pages can offer more information about a product (on your website) or provide specific seasonal or festive offers (landing pages); but there is no restriction on the message you want to highlight on your pages.
Be smart, and say what the customers want to hear.
So, get these pages absolutely bang on. Your lead generation will be of zero value, if you aren’t able to collect leads, and landing pages are your #1 lead collectors. For this to happen, your pages must have a CTA (Call-to-Action) like ‘get a quote’, ‘information needed’ ‘form request’ etc.
An effective landing page is one that converts visitors into leads and leads into customers: The qualities of the page include but are not limited to:
Has a clutter-free, clean design
Offers meaningful customer-centric information
Illustrates the trustworthiness of the brand/product/service
Is responsive, that is, mobile-friendly
Has a short form ensuring visitors are able to fill in information quickly
Has a video – video increases landing page conversions by 86%
Now let’s move on to your website – the single most important element of demand generation strategy. In most cases, your website will be the final destination of all your lead generation efforts. Your customers, both existing and potential, will sooner or later, land up on your website, which makes it a ‘sales hub’. So, get your website right. Make sure it is visually appealing and gets its point across succinctly. Don’t compromise function for form. It should load quickly, have simple navigation and an intuitive UI/UX. Job done.
Cheat Sheet item #4: Good landing pages and a good website are the foundation of effective lead generation.
On-page and Off-page SEO are critical to your lead generation efforts. Optimizing your website pages with the right keywords (both longtail and short tail, but especially longtail) is absolutely critical to get targeted traffic to your website. Optimizing images, ensuring keyword-rich URLs, title tag optimization, external linking, and internal linking are just some of the on-page SEO items that you need to tick.
We have talked about building a strong link juice earlier, that is the heart of off-page SEO.
But the world is moving away from keyboard-based searches to voice-based searches. Voice commerce was worth a mammoth $2 Billion in 2018 , which means it is making its presence felt. So, your SEO strategy should keep voice search queries in mind as well.
If you want to rank better for voice search you must:
Optimize for longer and more conversational keywords
Make sure your content is in a conversational language, thus ensuring Google can identify the conversational keywords you have used
Focus on local listings, that help you rank for ‘near me’ type of questions that are common in voice search. E.g. ‘best digital marketing companies near me’.
Focus on question keywords and also make sure you have an FAQ section on your website
Ensure your website is mobile-friendly, and also loads quickly
But the most important aspect of appearing in voice search results is optimizing your content in a way such that it appears in Google’s featured snippets. This is because almost 40% of voice search results are from featured snippets.
If you want your content to make an appearance on featured snippets, here’s what you need to do:
Make sure you write content that answers questions - informational articles that answer a specific question will work their magic, always
Your keywords must include question terms e.g. those starting with ‘how to’ ‘what to’ ‘what is’ and more along the same lines.
And it’s all about the content. If it’s answering a specific, frequently asked question that your target audience is asking, there is every chance that your content will appear in SERPs as a snippet.
Cheat Sheet #item 5: White-hat SEO is difficult and takes time, but don’t compromise, and make sure your SEO strategy is in step with the latest developments in the domain.
And before we end, here are a few more terms that you need to be aware of, from the lead generation perspective:
B2B: Business 2 Business, that is a business that sells to another business.
B2C: Business 2 Consumer, that is a business that sells directly to a consumer.
MQL: A marketing qualified lead – a lead you know has a better chance of converting into a paying customer because of the marketing activities he/she has engaged with.
SQL: Sales qualified lead – a lead that your sales team believes should be followed with a sales call.
BOFU (Bottom of the Funnel) – Leads that are nearing the final stage of the sales funnel and are more than likely to become customers.
Now let’s be honest here – Reading this article won’t take much time and mastering the information in it, will happen quickly. But you need to put this information into practice. This will take time because lead generation doesn’t happen in a hurry. It takes its time (you can hurry it up, once you get the hang of things), and initially, it is a bit of a trial and error. Some things will work and something things won’t. Your objective will be to achieve more of the former than the latter.