When it comes to your digital marketing strategy, lead generation is one of the lesser known but incredibly influential elements that rarely gets the attention it deserves! In the old days, lead generation was produced by rows of cubicles and countless phones staffed by constantly dialing fingers – otherwise known as cold calling. Modern lead generation has markedly shifted from these antiquated strategies and added incredible leverage to the impact it can have on your business.
Lead generation marketing can help produce exponentially more new leads from your ideal target audience at a fraction of the hassle of traditional methods. Read on to learn more about lead generation marketing and how it can benefit your business, regardless of size or industry!
What is Lead Generation Marketing?
- Why is Lead Generation Important?
- How is Lead Generation Marketing Done?
Aspects of a Lead Generation Marketing Campaign
- Updated Website Content and Blogging
- Email Marketing
- Landing Pages and Calls-to-Action
- Paid Ads and Retargeting
- Why Shouldn't You Just Buy Leads?
Problems that Lead Generation Can Solve for Marketers
- Volume and Pace of Incoming Leads
- Finding Quality Leads
- Proving ROI
- Sales Pipeline and Funnel Preparation
Challenges of Lead Generation Marketing
- Knowing Your Target Audience
- Automated Lead Generation vs. Manual
- Accurately Measuring Your Success
- Marketing and Sales Alignment
Trending Lead Generation Strategies in 2023
- Website and Content Optimization
- Automation and Real-Time Responding
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Modern lead generation represents a pivot from the past's more “traditional” sales techniques like spammy mass email blasts and pushy, intrusive salespeople. Instead, the strategies used for modern lead generation provide a much more effective way to collect qualified leads and prospects that are much more likely to become potential customers.
Through the structured and targeted use of consistent brand messaging via social media and email, dedicated and purposeful customer outreach, and a new focus on educating the customer instead of just selling them, both B2C and B2B marketers can achieve more high-quality leads and a higher conversion rate.
Inbound lead generation has always been an essential component of any sales-oriented company. Having a solid, proven, and reliable lead generation process helps sales teams spend more time selling instead of prospecting and gives marketing teams the opportunity to drive the business forward using their unique strengths. Ultimately, modern lead generation results in a steady flow of work for every department, more direct conversions, and a more focused and unified sales funnel, which provides a better experience for the customer and encourages repeated business.
How is Lead Generation Done?
There are two primary forms of lead generation: inbound and outbound. Simply put, inbound leads search out and find you, while your business searches out and finds outbound leads. Inbound lead generation is typically “initiated” by the potential customer through interaction with one of your businesses’ Calls-To-Action, which could be a web-based information request form, email newsletter signup, or other system. Inbound lead generation is distinct from outbound because it’s up to the potential customer to search out and request more information about your products or services.
On the other hand, outbound lead generation strategies work on generating leads through a slightly more traditional approach. Direct outreach, email marketing, and PPC advertising are all forms of outbound lead generation. There are countless effective methods for both inbound and outbound generation – which ones are right for you depend on your business and target audience.
For many of your customers, the lead generation process represents the beginning of your sales funnel. As such, it’s critical to provide a wide net of high-quality sources for potential clients to engage with. These primary aspects of your marketing campaign can also function in tandem with other digital marketing systems, like SEO or content marketing, as interworking pieces of one cohesive digital strategy. While it might be tempting to skip over these aspects and buy leads directly from aggregate agencies, outsourcing lead generation is rarely an effective strategy and can often do more harm than good.
A vital aspect of any digital content marketing campaign is hosting quality website content and developing a thorough blogging strategy. Updating your website to host high-quality, well-researched, authoritative, and valuable content (including blog posts and articles) helps your page rank higher in search results and build your brand awareness simultaneously. As we mentioned earlier, modern lead generation has shifted focus from simply selling products to educating customers. Potential shoppers are looking for a service or product with demonstrated value and trustworthiness, and the businesses that take the time to educate their clients on their offerings will stand out above the competition.
When done properly, modern email marketing can produce far better results than the common mass email blasts that usually end up in junk folders. Email campaigns are an effective cornerstone of a successful lead generation strategy because they can cover both inbound and outbound leads. Inbound email marketing can be delivered through an opt-in newsletter or in conjunction with a giveaway offering. In this scenario, potential leads willingly provide their contact information in return for more information or potential bonuses or savings. Email campaigns can also have an outbound focus through mass mail and cold mail, but if you go this route, it’s critical to draft messages that are as personal as possible, contribute to your brand’s image, and are sent with particular attention to timing and delivery.
Well-crafted and professionally designed landing pages combined with high-quality Calls-To-Action are two lead gen elements that work hand-in-hand. Think of your landing page as a digital ‘elevator pitch.’ When a potential customer clicks on a link you’ve created for an advertising campaign, the website they’re directed to will leave an impression and could influence their decisions one way or another, all within a short timeframe. Similarly, any CTAs you include on your landing page or elsewhere should be motivating and alluring, with clearly defined steps and reassurances.
PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising and other similar forms of paid messaging play a key role in your marketing strategy by generating outbound leads and spreading brand awareness simultaneously. These ads can be hosted on Google results pages, social media sites, blogs, and countless other online spaces. If executed correctly with a reputable ad agency, paid advertising can help passively spread your company’s image and directly reach out to your target audience.
Retargeting (focused ads on customers that have already visited your page or purchased something from your store) focuses on building a reliably recurring customer base and should be part of every content marketing strategy.
Building organic leads through inbound and outbound lead generation strategies can take time while your marketing system gets off the ground. Initially, slow results can make it tempting to purchase lead information from aggregate sources. The primary reason to avoid purchasing contact information and ‘cold’ selling potential customers is that it’s all too similar to real, physical cold calling – something that turns the majority of the population off before you even get a chance to make your pitch.
Remember that one of the primary goals of modern lead generation strategies is to develop a trusting relationship between your business and your clients. This kind of cold messaging makes that process difficult, if not impossible, right from the start. If that’s not enough of a reason, if enough of your unsolicited emails get tagged as ‘spam’ by their recipients, your business could be ‘blacklisted’ by the email service. It’s incredibly difficult to get off this list once you’ve been tagged and being associated with it can harm other online aspects of your webpage and eCommerce systems. All in all, it’s best to focus on producing organic and sustainable lead generation from the start rather than run with these risks.
Marketing has never been an easy business, and it often comes with more than its fair share of headaches and pain points. When you consider all the hard work and stress that goes into running a successful marketing team, it only makes sense to identify where some of those pain points can be addressed to make the process easier for everyone involved. Modern lead generation can streamline many of the traditionally trickier aspects of content marketing while providing an organic pipeline of qualified leads that stand a much higher chance of being worth the time.
A business's marketing and sales ecosystem heavily relies on maintaining a steady amount of incoming leads throughout the year, and organic lead generation is designed to do just that. Instead of tasking a sales team to start cold calling or scraping together lists of potential clients, they can spend more time doing what they do best with a consistent flow of new leads all year long. This leads to more conversions, more growth, and improved morale all around!
While a higher volume of new leads is rarely a bad thing, there’s another issue that can crop up if your marketing strategy isn’t as targeted or focused as it should be - an imbalanced ratio of incoming leads to conversions. Organic lead generation inherently produces more qualified leads than purchasing or mass marketing alternatives. Because organic lead generation is much more effective at directly reaching target audiences, the quality leads these strategies generate are much more likely to become potential customers.
The primary factor that determines whether your potential leads are qualified or unqualified is how good of a fit your solution or product is for their needs. An “unqualified lead” is simply a potential contact that may have needs outside of the range or scope of your services and was sent in the direction of your sales funnel in error. Qualified leads, on the other hand, are an ideal match for the solutions you provide and typically consist of your target audience. Organic lead generation focuses on targeting and retaining qualified leads to drive conversion rates and generate growth.
The key to measuring ROI for any marketing strategy lies in setting standards regarding what metrics will be tracked and what success looks like. Once those standards are defined, lead generation can easily prove how much of a return on investment your overall strategy generates by tracking and comparing the amounts of outbound and inbound leads and their subsequent conversion rates month-over-month. An effective lead generation strategy will create clear and traceable improvements in these metrics while providing a solid set of numbers you can use to prove your overall marketing ROI.
Charting out your organization’s sales pipeline and the ideal buyer’s journey from beginning to end can quickly become complicated and overly intricate, leading to a confusing and potentially ineffective process. It’s critical to identify the key components of your sales funnel so your organization’s sales team receives primarily qualified leads. Lead generation helps eliminate these pain points by providing focused and targeted potential customers to the top of the pipeline, eliminating wasted time and backtracking while creating a smooth and streamlined process from first contact to final sale.
Modern lead generation provides countless benefits for your business across all aspects of marketing and sales, but, like any system, it comes with its own challenges. These challenges can be overcome with the right amount of pre-planning and introspection and are primarily associated with goal and target setting. Despite the initial hurdles these challenges may present, they stop far short of outweighing the benefits the lead generation process can provide.
As we discussed earlier, a key benefit of lead generation marketing is its ability to generate qualified leads aligned with your target audience. This is only helpful, however, if your business has a true understanding of its target audience and has done the research to fill in the gaps. This research is no different from any other kind of target-based market research, but it’s critical to have accurate data on your target audience to ensure you’re meeting them where they are and providing a solution for their specific needs.
As the saying goes, “time is money,” and that fact has never held more true than when it comes to automated lead generation. An automated lead generation process uses software to produce more leads faster and more accurately. Manual lead generation is precisely what it sounds like – sales calls, individual emails, and other tasks that make up any other non-automated sales system. Which option your business settles on will depend on size, budget, and various other factors. Contact us today for more information on automated lead generation!
Setting and tracking success metrics in a lead generation campaign can be tricky because so many factors are at play. It can be challenging to point to any one element of a marketing strategy and definitively state that it has substantially contributed to overall conversion rates. However, through careful data management and metric tracking, it is possible to chart a lead generation campaign's influence on an overall digital marketing strategy.
Marketing and Sales Alignment
Finally, a successful lead generation strategy requires a cohesive and well-defined relationship between your organization's sales and marketing teams. Marketing has to work hand-in-hand with sales to determine ideal audiences, conversion goals, and other trackable metrics, then both teams have to be open to a pivot or adjustment in strategy to course correct along the way. Ultimately, both teams benefit from the successful implementation of an effective lead generation strategy, so working together should come naturally!
Just as the nature of content marketing continues to grow and evolve alongside the technological revolution, so do the trending strategies for lead generation.
As innovation and market growth spur more efficient and effective ways to generate qualified leads, these solutions become trends and change industry standards. As of 2023, a few proven lead generation strategies have risen to the top of the pile due to the undisputable results they can deliver.
A cornerstone of any marketing strategy is high-quality website design and content optimization, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that those concepts also play a key role in lead generation marketing. Search engines prioritize and display websites based on thousands of factors that include how much valuable content they provide, how many other websites link back to the one in question, and how trustworthy and authoritative the information on the website is. This combined with the fact that less than 10% of searchers move past the first page of a Google search means that most of your potential new customers will be found high in the rankings with reliably high-quality content. Provide your website visitors with the best experience and bring in more qualified leads by focusing on upgrading your website and hosting SEO-based content.
Slow response times to inquiries and follow-ups is one of the most significant contributors to overall conversion rates and lead generation. More and more businesses are catching onto this and implementing automated systems that reply to customers or trigger a real-time response, like an in-window chat system that puts the customer in direct contact with a customer service representative. These systems have been shown to play a critical role in solidifying leads and reinforcing a positive brand impression.
Generating high-quality leads at a consistent and stable pace is the goal, and our industry-leading lead generation tools are the way to get there! Whether you’re aiming to double your B2B lead generation or are interested in learning more about how lead generation marketing can positively impact your business, contact Acadia LMS today for more information. The content marketing industry is always changing, so we offer our top-notch services to help keep you on top of the latest strategies to bring your business success!
To learn more about lead generation marketing and how it could benefit your business, contact the professionals at Acadia LMS for more information today.