How to generate leads: increase your company's sales
Digital marketing has plenty of resources to help increase your business revenue. You can implement several strategies on how to generate leads. That's an important step in the buyer's journey where you can identify potential customers and define what you need to do to help them in deciding to buy your product or service.
Make no mistake, conquering leads isn't about calling a potential customer or flooding their email boxes when they didn't even give you their contact information. You need to gain your prospects’ confidence first, show how you would be able to aid on their demand, and turn them into leads.
How can we define a lead?
A lead is someone that you identify as having a level of interest in your company’s products or services. You can identify a lead, for example, when someone sends a message on your Brand's Facebook page asking about how to purchase your products.
Another possibility is when you make a poll on Instagram stories questioning who is waiting for your ecommerce Black Friday discounts, the ones who answered "yes" are possible leads.
Your sales team could save their profiles and study a way to approach them. People who have subscribed to your newsletter, provided their contact information on your website to download an ebook or to get a discount are also leads.
On the buyer's journey, a lead is in the middle of the transition from visitor to customer. For example, you want to buy new headphones and search for "the best headphones in 2021" at Google, and you find a company's article reviewing several models. In that stage, you are still getting to know that store.
But, at the end of the article, there is a call to action to subscribe to the newsletter to get updates about the latest tech news. If you decide to subscribe, you become a lead.
By knowing what you are interested in, the company’s marketing and sales team can develop strategies to help you decide to buy the headphones at their store and offer other products as well.
The lead process
- Someone accesses one of your content, for example, a blog article or a social media post.
- The person indicates an interest in your content or product by delivering their contact information, for example, to download an ebook or sending you a message.
- Your marketing and sales teams receive the information.
- They identify in what stage of the buyer's journey the lead is in
- They will nurture the lead by providing valuable content.
- The sales team will follow up to spot when the person is ready to buy and get in contact with them
Different types of lead
It's important to understand that there are different types of lead, which can be categorized by their level of interest and what stage in the buyer's journey they are in. It's necessary to qualify the leads to know the best way to approach each one of them, personalizing the communication.
Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
The Marketing Qualified Lead is someone who engaged with content created by the marketing team. For example, they commented on a blog post, signed up for your newsletter, or downloaded an ebook, but the person isn't ready to move to the buying process.
You will have to nurture this lead with more content, educate them, instead of immediately sending an email or making a call offering a product or service. This type of lead still needs to be convinced and understand how purchasing from your company can benefit them.
Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
Sales Qualified Lead is the person who is ready to move to the step of buying your product or service. Their previous actions indicate that they have an interest in making a purchase, for example, the person sends you an email asking about the service cost or requires a free trial.
Product Qualified Lead (PQL)
Product Qualified Lead refers to people who used your product or a sample of it, for example, installed a free version of an app and indicate the desire to make an upgrade. Your sales team must be paying attention to be ready to offer the purchase and close the deal.
What is lead generation?
Lead generation includes all the actions that you are going to take to turn prospects into leads. You, along with your marketing team, are going to develop strategies to deliver attractive content that grabs the attention of your target audience, building their interest in your brand.
What is the importance of conquering leads to your business?
Different from someone who sees your ads on TV or receives a telemarketing call about your product or service, and may even feel bothered about it, leads already have an interest in your brand, which increases considerably the chances of making sales
Visitors to your website or social media pages usually have gotten there because they saw something from your company that caught their attention.
It can be a blog post, stories, an image, a video, or any other content, the point is you have an opportunity to start a conversation through that, turning them into leads, and, in the future, into loyal customers.
By generating leads, you are receiving valuable data. When users click on your call to action, they point to you what their interests are, and you can use that to understand your potential customers’ demands, providing solutions to them.
In this stage, you have already conquered a level of trust, and that makes a huge difference. Your sales team will have much less work to complete the sale, different from calling to offer a product to a person that you have no clue if it's interested in what you have to offer.
You won't be abruptly interrupting someone with an advertisement. A relationship is built along the process, which can also help to gain loyal customers.
9 best ways to generate leads
1. Offer high-quality content
One of the main ways to generate more leads is offering valuable content to them for free, but to access it they need to fulfill a form with their name, email, and (maybe) telephone number. This is a very common strategy, for example, when companies put ebooks available or give a free course.
To require the contact information, remember: the content you are going to give in return must be excellent and meet the prospects’ expectations.
If you promise killer content and deliver something that adds nothing of interest to your target audience, then you are just going to frustrate people and create a bad impression of your company.
The content provided must be thought to help the leads to move on in the buyer's journey. If they aren't ready to complete a purchase, instigate them to keep looking for more content made by your company, which will reinforce a trust relationship, adding credibility to your brand.
2. Create a blog
Having a blog is an incredible tool to provide interesting content to your possible leads. But, first of all, you need to know who your target audience is, which is the only way to define the subjects that are going to grab their attention.
It's necessary to know which are the main issues that speak directly to your prospects, helping to identify problems and offering solutions. At the end of each article, insert a call to action, for example, inviting the reader to leave a comment, to sign your newsletter, or to follow your profile on Instagram.
This way, you point out what is the next step for the person to become a lead. Analyze, though, if the CTA has to do with the article content and the buyer's stage the person is in.
3. Implement SEO techniques
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques are going to enable you to get further with your content and reach more possible leads by appearing on the top of Google's search page results for keywords related to your area.
Implementing SEO includes paying attention to the quality of your content and how well your website works. It's important to develop an intuitive interface, which loads fast, is easy to use, and is mobile-friendly. When writing articles for your blog, pay attention to the use of keywords, choose them strategically.
4. Invest in online ads
There are several types of online advertising, you can insert a banner promoting your company on different websites, for example. But a more effective way to target your possible leads is using Google Ads.
In this case, you are going to develop a pay-per-click campaign (PPC) where you will choose the keywords that you desire to focus on. A link to your page is going to appear on the paid space that is reserved at the top or on the button of the pages.
You can set the ad to appear according to the location of the person and the device that is used to search as well. Google Ads campaign allows you to target people who are already looking for something that has to do with your company.
The chances to call their attention is much higher. You certainly can generate more leads through that strategy, but the ad has to be very well planned. Other options are using social media ads, such as Facebook Ads and Twitter Ads, they also allow you to target a specific public.
5. Create a newsletter
When we talk about how to generate more leads, one of the most important ways is creating a newsletter because it's a way to deliver valuable content to your prospects in exchange for their contact information. Besides, with a newsletter, you have the opportunity to nurture the leads and create a relationship with them.
Signing the newsletter is an important indicator that the person wants to know more about what you have to offer, and that's a precious opportunity to educate the lead about your products or services, until the time that they will be ready to buy, and you can offer the product.
Once more, the content for the newsletter needs to be carefully constructed. People receive thousands of emails, so it's necessary to think of a subject that is going to make them want to open the email and then write a text that invites them to keep reading. Getting someone to sign the newsletter is just one step.
6. Be present on social media
Social media are powerful tools when it comes to how to generate leads because when someone follows you, watches your stories, comments on a post, or likes it, that already indicates a level of interest to your brand, even if it's a small one.
That's where the work of qualifying leads enters. Obviously, it doesn't mean that everyone who liked one of your posts on Instagram, for example, is a lead, but that's a beginning. It's necessary to analyze the level of interest and the actions made regarding your content to be able to identify the actual leads.
Studying your target audience, having a schedule, posting regularly, offering attractive content on your social media must be part of your marketing actions. Don't forget to encourage your followers to get in contact with you by sending messages via DM, email, or WhatsApp.
You can use the question box in stories, for example, to ask people, who want to know more about the latest releases of your company, to leave their email. LinkedIn is a very important social media to reach leads when we are talking about B2B audience, it should be included if you want to talk to other companies.
7. Offer trials
Have you ever noticed the amount of software that has a free trial period? That's a very useful way to attract leads who are in the decision process of buying your product but are still in doubt.
When they download the trial version, for example, the leads provide their contact information, which enables you to get in contact with them to offer the product and try to close a deal. Sometimes, it isn't even necessary to send any message, the experience with the product convinces the customer to buy.
Trials don’t only work for digital goods, you can offer a sample of the product or a demonstration of your service as well. Those are amazing opportunities to highlight the quality of what you are selling, and customers value the attention too.
8. Give coupons and discounts
Imagine the situation, you want to buy a new pair of sneakers, but you haven't decided anything yet. You are just browsing to discover your options, then, you access a site and a popup appears offering a 10% discount on the sneakers.
You just need to write down your email address and the coupon will be sent to you. Suddenly the possibility of buying becomes more appealing, doesn't it? Maybe you aren't going to use the coupon right away, but you sign up to save it for later.
If you implement this kind of strategy at your company, you will enjoy an opportunity of generating more leads. But, it's necessary to follow up on them, check if the person completes the purchase with the coupon, if not, what kind of content can you send to them to help in the decision?
Coupons and discounts are a good way to grab customers’ attention in physical stores and that isn't different with ecommerce, make good use of them. But, remember this strategy has to be aligned with the finance team, considering the return on investment and revenue goals for the period.
9. Develop irresistible CTAs
All of those actions regarding how to generate more leads will rely on creating calls to action that are appealing to your potential customers. It's essential to have a marketing plan, which has to start by researching and defining the profile of your target audience.
How are you going to know what draws their attention without understanding your customers’ behavior? Start by finding more general information such as geographical location, age range, and gender.
Then, go deeper, studying which are the social media that your audience prefers, what type of device they use most to access the internet, which are their preferences, and which demands they have that you can help with.
When you know that, you can build what is called a persona, in marketing. A persona is like a fictional character that contains the main characteristics of your target audience, and you are going to develop content thinking about the needs of this persona.
With this, it's going to be much easier to define the format of the calls to action you are going to create, from the colors and images to the text. It's the CTAs that convince someone to take the next step and become a lead.
Choose the best actions to generate leads and start implementing them
Now that you know how to generate leads, it's time to put what you have learned into practice. Does it mean that you need to implement all the strategies suggested? No, the first step is to evaluate which ones would be appealing to your potential customers.
Once again, knowing your audience comes as a crucial factor in how to generate leads. Also, you should study what your competitors are doing, and define ways to outstand your brand from them.
When you have defined what you are going to do, remember to prepare your sales and marketing team to know how to evaluate and use the information they are going to receive from the leads. It's going to be necessary to develop personalized actions to turn the leads into customers.
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