Leads are the lifeblood of every business. But businesses have to overcome a series of challenges to ultimately reap the rewards from these leads.
Depending on if they are individuals or organizations, the way you follow up with them can vary significantly. People can land on your website, come across your social media profile, or run into your business at a trade show.
If they like what they see from your business, they might share their basic information, contact details, or requirements, and expect you to follow up, opening sales opportunities for your business.
Leads don't just drop into your lap. You need to put in the work to attract potential buyers and capture the information of anyone interested in your business to convert them into sales opportunities. The process of attracting and capturing contact information is known as lead generation, which can be categorized into two methods:
1. Inbound marketing
It's unrealistic to expect something in return for nothing. This has held true throughout history. When you need something from someone else, you have to trade something of equal value to get it—this applies to your lead generation practices, too. When people come across your business, you shouldn't make the mistake of assuming that they'll automatically give up their data. You need to show them that there is some benefit for them in return for sharing their information.
Offer a free trial of your product or service
Discount on their first purchase
Invite them to an important webinar
Offer them an interesting e-book
In addition to building confidence in the leads, offerings such as a well-written e-book or an informative webinar help establish your authority and improve your brand awareness.
There are numerous ways you can generate the leads you need for your business. But all of these different avenues fall into two broad categories: inbound marketing and outbound marketing. A well-rounded lead generation strategy will likely involve a combination of both these methods to bring in new and relevant leads for your business (inbound or outbound marketing).
Inbound marketing is where you draw your customers into your business and earn their attention by providing something they're looking for—educational resources, helpful blogs, and more. You create awareness for your brand amongst your audience by delivering the right mix of informative and entertaining content. You need to identify where your audience spends their time, deliver content that draws them in, and start building a relationship with them. Let's explore a few inbound marketing techniques to generate leads.
Your inbound marketing efforts rely on the quality of content that you create. Focus on creating quality thought leadership content with substance as opposed to promotional materials. Provide useful information to your audience. At the end of the day, search engines equate high-quality content to a high-quality website, helping bring more visitors to your pages by boosting your SEO rankings.
The advancement of technology has allowed for greater accessibility of social media to the public. Buyers can engage with brands, influencers, and peers to research the products or services they are interested in. Establish your presence by regularly sharing written, audio, or video content you've developed across your various social media platforms. Consistently engage with your followers and participate in discussions to get your brand name out there and direct people back to your website to generate those leads.
Most businesses rely on their emails, websites, blogs, and social media to share their content and generate leads. Those are tried and true methods of inbound marketing, but it's important to not limit yourself when trying to get people interested in your business. Expand your roots and share your content to a wider audience through influencers, and guest posting on third-party publications and blogs.
While inbound marketing relies on generating leads organically by bringing in your audience to your landing pages and converting, outbound Marketing can be considered a little more disruptive. People are very conscious about what they pay attention to these days, and outbound marketing is about getting your content to your audience by "renting" their attention through PPC, social ads, and tradeshows.
Display ads are a powerful tool to bring awareness to your brand and catch the attention of your prospects. They can be used to target very specific subsets of your audience based on their demographics and behavior. By showing relevant messaging to your prospects, you can drive leads to your landing pages and educate them on the value your business can offer them.
Whether you're hosting your own event or attending a tradeshow, events can be a great way to demonstrate what your business is about, explain how your solutions can help prospects, and establish meaningful connections with them in person. Make the most of your time at these events by sharing well-written content and involving yourself in interactive discussions with the attendees. You'll increase the chances of converting booth visitors into strong leads.
Even as far back as 2007, your average buyer was exposed to over 5,000 ads in a day. This means that outbound techniques can end up leaving prospective buyers frustrated unless they're carefully targeted. The best move is a mix of both outbound and inbound techniques to get their attention and organically bring them to your content. Take into account your marketing budget and all the avenues available to you before mapping out your lead generation strategy.
You can optimize your lead generation by defining a lead generation funnel with distinct stages, each of which is designed to serve a specific purpose in guiding prospects through your sales process.
Depending on the scale and complexity of your business process, your lead generation funnels would need to be modified to meet your demand for quality leads. You must consistently experiment with advertising, content, nurturing campaigns, and sales efforts to find the best funnel for your business.
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