10 Key Lead Generation Strategies for Your In-House Team
A typical business needs a steady influx of leads in order to stay profitable and enjoy growth. The formula is pretty simple: a lot of leads = no trouble; no leads = a lot of trouble. The big question for most companies is: "How do we keep those leads coming?"
Enter lead generation strategies. These are key to bringing in more leads, and ultimately converting some of those leads into paying customers. In this article, we'll talk about why you need to use lead generation strategies as part of your sales and marketing plan, and discuss some of the more effective ones that you can implement for your in-house team.
But first, let's cover some basics:
What is a lead?
A lead can be anyone who shows an interest in your company or product. It's really that simple! They may demonstrate that interest by entering their contact information into a "lead-capture form," signing up for a free offer, or even visiting your website multiple times. In most cases, leads initiate communication with a business, and then receive follow-up messages from the business' sales team as a result.
Leads can be divided into 4 categories:
- Marketing qualified lead (MQL). This is a person who's engaged with your marketing content (perhaps by signing up for your free weekly newsletter), but isn't quite ready to receive a call from your sales team.
- Sales qualified lead (SQL). An SQL is someone whose actions indicate that they are interested in doing business with your company. For instance, if someone asks a live chat agent several questions about a specific product, then this indicates that the prospect is seriously considering whether to purchase that product.
- Product qualified lead (PQL). This is a special type of lead, and usually applies to companies that offer free trial versions of their product with the option to upgrade at a future time. When someone uses the free version of a product but asks about features that are only available with the paid version, they would be classified as a PQL.
- Service qualified lead. The only lead type without an acronym! (SQL was already taken.) This refers to a person who tells your customer service team that they would like to purchase a product, or upgrade their subscription. At that point, your service rep can simply hand them off to the appropriate department (with a brief introduction, of course).
What is lead generation, and why do you need it?
Now that we've defined what a lead is, the next logical question becomes: "What is lead generation, then?" Again, the answer is pretty simple: Lead generation is the process of filling your sales pipeline with leads. Any tactic or technique that induces a prospect to make contact with your brand could be considered a part of lead generation.
You need to leverage lead generation strategies in order to attract more prospects and close more sales. Think of it like this: If you own a restaurant, whom would it be easier to convince to buy food from your business? Someone who's just eaten? Or someone who's hungry?
In the same way, it's much easier to make headway with consumers who are "hungry" for a solution to their particular problem or need compared to those who are satisfied with their current situation. Effective lead generation strategies can help you to identify your "hungry" prospects and focus on moving them through the sales funnel.
Effective lead generation strategies you should consider
Now, let's get down to some specifics around lead generation strategies. Which ones should you use? Which ones work the best? While there's no one right answer for each business, here are 10 popular avenues that you may want to explore:
1. Pay per click (PPC) lead generation (aka Google Ads)
PPC is a special type of paid advertising. As the name suggests, you pay for each click you get from an ad on a search engine results page (SERP). Google Ads is perhaps the foremost example of PPC lead generation, since Google Search fields over 3.5 billion queries each day. In order to make the most of your PPC campaign, you'll need to carefully select which keywords/keyword themes to target, and be willing to allocate a significant percentage of your budget toward your bids for those keywords.
2. Facebook lead generation
As the most widely-used social media network in the world, Facebook is certainly "prime real estate" in terms of digital marketing platforms. Facebook Ads (and specifically Facebook Lead Ads) makes it simple and convenient for users to submit their contact information to your company. In addition, you're always able to keep a CTA button at the top of your Facebook profile, which can redirect prospects to your website if they'd like to learn more.
3. Twitter lead generation
Twitter's Lead Gen Cards feature allows you to capture leads directly within a tweet, and makes it extremely easy for interested users to submit their info.
4. LinkedIn lead generation
LinkedIn's Lead Gen Forms auto-populate with information from a user's profile when they click on a CTA button. Similar to the other social media sites, this is a simple and convenient way for businesses to capture leads (and consumers to submit their information). Keep in mind that LinkedIn typically caters to a professional, B2B-type crowd, whereas other social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) are often more suitable for generating B2C leads.
5. B2B lead generation
This strategy can encompass a broad range of tactics (e.g., marketing on LinkedIn, as noted above). However, one of the most effective ways to generate B2B leads is via referrals. You can always ask satisfied customers for referrals; and word of mouth marketing from your loyal brand advocates, while difficult to quantify, can prove to be an invaluable resource.
Content creation strategies
"Content is king" in the world of digital marketing, and it's hard to top a content marketing classic like the blog. Your blog posts can feed into your organic and paid advertising strategies through the use of carefully selected keywords, and provide helpful, valuable content for prospects at the same time. Of course, you can also embed lead-capture forms within your blog posts as well.
7. Video marketing
This may require more of an investment than blogging — but the rewards could definitely outweigh the risks. Consumers just eat up video content, and nowadays all the major social media sites are optimized for video sharing. You can use video marketing to demonstrate your products, provide helpful tutorials for product users, enhance your brand image, and engage prospects through compelling stories (among many other objectives).
8. Reputation management (managing reviews)
Online reviews can be considered "user-generated content" — and they can help or hurt your business. One of the most important things to remember when it comes to managing your reviews on Google or any other site is the importance of a timely reply. Whether the review is positive or negative, a prompt response demonstrates your professionalism and attention to detail (and if the review is negative, your reply can go a long way towards defusing the situation, or at least mitigating the damage done to your reputation).
9. Community pages
Whether it's a Facebook group page or a dedicated website for your industry, community pages are an excellent source of leads and referrals. If possible, post content to these community pages on a regular basis (at least once a week, if not more frequently). Stay active on them by commenting on forum discussions, and establish yourself as a subject-matter expert by answering any questions that potential customers may ask.
10. Your website
Your website is your business' virtual "front door" for prospects and leads. As such, you must ensure that it maintains a crisp, professional appearance, is easy to navigate, and contains all of the key information that a prospect would need to know in order to make an informed purchase decision.
While there are plenty of "website-building" platforms out there, developing your own unique website may be the best way to generate leads moving forward. A unique, well-designed site will add to your credibility and contribute to increased brand awareness.
Of course, you'll need to ensure that the content on your website is up-to-date, accurate, and valuable for your target audience. You'll also want to make it easy for prospects to submit their information in a lead capture form. For example, think about putting your lead generation forms on those pages that receive the most traffic — such as your home page, and pillar pages on your blog.
If you take the time to develop effective lead generation strategies that align with the needs and interests of your audience, then your sales funnel will be full of high-value prospects. Ultimately, you'll be able to convert a high percentage of those leads into paying customers and brand advocates — and your business will grow exponentially as a result.
If you'd like to learn more about how your in-house team can implement these impactful lead generation strategies, reach out to our marketing experts at Leadium. We can help you take your lead generation efforts to the next level. Contact us today to learn more.
Effective lead generation strategies can help you to identify your 'hungry' prospects and focus on moving them through the sales funnel, ultimately converting a high percentage of those leads into paying customers and brand advocates — and your business will grow exponentially as a result.