Lead generation is one of those terms that B2B marketers throw around a lot — and rightfully so. In fact, 61 percent of marketers rank generating traffic and leads as their biggest challenge — and we’d even go as far as to argue that it’s one of the most important challenges to overcome. Your brand needs customers.
Don’t worry, this isn’t your typical clickbait article with surface-level lead-generation tips. We’re leaving the BS advice behind...here are the real tools and tactics that you need in your toolbox to master the craft and make an impact on your lead generation.
What’s a Lead?
It’s you. It’s me. It’s anyone who has expressed interest or interacted with your brand and has a chance of becoming a paying customer. It’s easy to garner interest or attention for your brand, the hard part is targeting the right type of consumer that will end up becoming a customer. We call this a qualified lead.
Types of Qualified Leads
When creating a lead generation strategy, it's first important to know the types of leads you’re dealing with as a marketer. We’ve listed the different types of qualified leads that have proven potential to become customers below.
Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
A marketing qualified lead is a contact who has engaged or opted into your brand’s marketing efforts but isn’t quite ready to purchase yet. The online shopping example above falls under an MQL.
Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
These are your contacts who have taken specific steps that show that they are interested in becoming a customer. They are ready to speak with the sales team or interact with a form or chat box asking questions about the product or service.
Product Qualified Lead (PQL)
Product-qualified leads have used your product and expressed that they are interested in becoming a long-term or paying customer. An example of this would be a customer who has signed up for a free trial and is ready to upgrade to a premium or paid service or extend services past the trial.
Service Qualified Lead
Service qualified leads are those contacts who have expressed their interest in a product or service to your service team. They may have asked about an upgrade during service or asked to be directed to the sales team to help them make a purchase decision.
What Is Lead Generation?
Picture this. You’re online shopping and a pop-up prompts you to put in your email to get 15 percent off an upcoming purchase. You’re not ready to buy, but you’d be crazy to deny the discount, so naturally, you opt in. You’ll just unsubscribe later, right?
Months later, you’re still receiving emails with the latest offers and deals from that company and you’ve found yourself tempted a time or two — maybe you’ve even put something in your shopping cart. If you’ve experienced this situation, you’re a lead and have been a successful part of the brand’s lead generation strategy.
To summarize, lead generation is the process of earning interest in your business and funneling them down the marketing funnel to make a purchase. Lead generation typically begins after a potential customer or user has shown initial interest in your product or submitted personal information.
Generating leads is a crucial step to garnering consumer interest and making them repeat customers or even promoters.
9 Must-Know Lead Generation Strategies
If a lead generation strategy is executed correctly, your brand could see several benefits like improved lead quality, brand visibility, increased clientele, more customer reviews and testimonials, and a boost in revenue.
Below are our top tips and tricks for generating qualified leads that will turn into customers.
1. Leverage Email Marketing
Email marketing, or specifically lead nurturing emails, are designed to help drive leads further down the buyer's funnel. These emails can provide new offers and promotions, educate leads on new products, or even call out an abandoned cart and help a lead complete a transaction.
2. Share User Generated Content
Mixing in regular content formats with user-generated content (UGC), or content that is created by a user rather than a business, is a great way to attract new leads.
Why? Audiences trust customer reviews 12 times more than marketing coming directly from a brand.
User-generated content can help your brand reach new audiences and allow for unique content types and genuine perspectives from your consumers. UGC can come in the form of product reviews, audio, images or graphics, social media, videos, or articles. Once these assets are created, you can share them on your social media channels or company website (with the user's permission, of course).
3. Engage Visitors With Live Chat
Live chat has become a leading contact method in the digital age. In fact, 42 percent of customers prefer chatbots as a way to contact customer service when they have a question about a product or service. Having a live chat feature on your site can help to quickly answer a lead’s questions and help educate them on your products or service.
4. Offer Tools
Providing a unique or valuable tool like an interactive quiz, calculator, or free template on your website can help bring new, relevant audiences to your site. For example, a user who searches for a tool relevant to your brand and comes across your website may just be a qualified lead if they find your free tool useful. This could lead to them purchasing a product or learning more about your services.
5. Build Strategic Landing Pages
A landing page is oftentimes the first impression a user has of your product or service. Unlike regular web pages, a landing page has the specific goal of generating leads and getting a user closer to a purchase. A successful landing page will have clear CTAs to engage users to learn more, shares important information in a simple and digestible way, and entices users to move further down the marketing funnel.
6. CTA Optimization
A CTA helps direct a user to take a specific action and can be very effective in turning a user into a lead. The action is usually directly beneficial for the business or website and can help a user make the next step toward a purchase decision. Best practices for lead generation include:
- Simple and actionable CTA copy
- Branded design
- Shares a clear next step for the user
- Stands out from other copy or content on the page
- Is toward the top of the page to capture more interest
7. Take Social Media Seriously
Social media is a great way to increase brand visibility and leads. Just like creating regular blog content, creating regular social media content can help engage consumers and educate them about your products.
Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow you to target very specific audiences with their paid ad solutions, which can help you attract your target demographic or audience that’s most likely to convert into a lead or customer.
If you’re looking to attract more B2B leads through social media, LinkedIn is arguably the best platform for this. C-suite level executives are all typically on LinkedIn, which are important people to get in front of for new business.
8. Offer Free Trials
Free trials are another great way to attract new leads. If a contact has any skepticism about committing to a purchase, a free trial can help elevate any concerns and make them loyal to the product or brand. A free trial is also a great method for gaining contact information that can later be leveraged for promotions or email marketing.
9. Test Results
Just because a strategy has worked for one brand doesn’t mean it will work for another. That’s why it’s important to always test your strategies and be able to make quick changes or pivot when necessary.
Monitor which lead generation strategies are attracting not only the most leads but the most qualified leads that have the highest likelihood of becoming customers or even promoters.
If you’re looking for a lead generation strategy tailored specifically to your brand and its goals, you’ve come to the right place. Our lead generation specialists can help craft a strategy designed to deliver results. Learn more below to find out how we can give your brand a boost.