What is Lead Generation Marketing?
With 91% of marketers claiming lead generation is the most important objective for their department, more and more emphasis is being placed on attracting prospects over other marketing responsibilities like brand awareness, brand journalism, and public relations.
Although lead generation has been the sole duty of sales, the shift to omnichannel buying experiences has opened the door for marketing to play a pivotal role in prospecting. So with a goal to help you generate more leads through marketing, we’ve put together this actionable guide you can share with your marketing team. Here, you will learn how to start lead generation marketing, the best strategies your team can employ, key components you should implement, and successful methods for converting leads into customers.
What is Lead Generation Marketing?
Lead generation marketing is a type of customer acquisition strategy with the purpose of turning prospects into qualified leads by providing relevant, valuable information throughout the buyer’s journey.
In order to do this, lead generation marketers often use advertising, search engine optimization (SEO), and content marketing to attract and engage prospects.
Although it isn’t commonly tossed around in meetings of the minds, the term lead generation marketing serves as an essential way for companies to distinguish the lead gen strategies used by marketing from those used by sales.
How Lead Generation Marketing Helps Grow Your Business
It can sometimes feel like you’re looking under every rock and pebble to find opportunities that will sustain your business’ revenue. The problem with this hunt and peck method is while it may help you survive, it will not help you thrive. Too much energy is being expended on manual activities that don’t contribute to explosive growth.
With lead generation marketing, the goal is to develop and optimize inbound campaigns that attract the right prospects to your company so more time can be spent on nurturing instead of searching for potential customers. In a way, it’s like putting your prospecting on autopilot. You’ll still have to check the gauges and tweak some of the processes, but it’s a more hands-off approach once the strategies are in place.
How to Get Started with Lead Generation Marketing for Your Business?
Because lead generation marketing focuses on attracting potential customers via content that resonates with their desired outcomes, you’ll want to brainstorm ideas to help prospects navigate through roadblocks and break negative beliefs. It’s all about creating a fantastic experience for your potential buyers that leads them on a transformative journey rather than pushing them down the path.
Let’s go over the building blocks you’ll need to start constructing a lead generation marketing strategy that will streamline the prospecting for your team and the journey for your buyers.
Determine Your Target Audience
The first step in planning an inbound campaign for your lead gen strategy is determining your target audience. Think of your target audience as the broad demographic information of your prospects. For your target audiences, you’ll want to collect these data points:
- Number of employees
Let’s put this into a real-life scenario. Say you’re selling tickets to a three-day conference in San Diego, CA, on how to incorporate AI into market strategies ethically. You’ll want a target audience of marketing directors and CMOs within a 200-mile radius in any industry working at companies with 50 employees or more and at least $5 million in revenue. Knowing that information will give you a clearer picture of your ideal prospects so you can piece together the puzzle of your buyer personas.
Build Your Buyer Personas
While audiences help you define who you are targeting, buyer personas help you understand what your customers need and want so you can create content that addresses specific problems and issues.
In other words, buyer personas become a focal point of empathy for your team that brings your ideal customers to life. It’s common practice to profile each buyer persona by creating a customer avatar complete with a picture, name, and other specifics like:
- Job title
- Background and demographics
- Challenges and roadblocks
- Objectives and goals
- Interests and online behavior
There are thousands of buyer personas templates available online, but you can also create your own using the outline above. Consider referring to your current customers as concrete examples as you build out your buyer personas. Buyer personas should be dynamic and updated to reflect changes you recognize during the buying process as you acquire new customers.
Select Your Social Media Channels
Next, you’ll want to select the right social media channels for your lead gen marketing strategy. This will depend heavily on your buyer personas. Think about how and where your ideal clients consume content. Target audience demographics like age can indicate the social media channels your potential customers scroll through daily. Gen X and Millennials gravitate toward Facebook and LinkedIn, while Gen Z migrated to Instagram and TikTok.
Another great way to choose your social media channels is by tracking your competitors’ activity. If you notice a company similar to yours has been running paid advertisements on Facebook for over six months, that’s a pretty good sign that the campaigns are working.
But that doesn’t mean you should totally rule out an experimental social channel. You may be able to find an untapped pool of prospects and enjoy your very own blue ocean for a short time. If you do attempt to market on a new platform, split your budget with the 80-20 rule in mind. Keep at least 80% of your ad spend and resources devoted to proven channels with the remaining invested in marketing exploration.
Set SMART Goals
Next, set goals for your lead gen marketing strategy. Tony Robbins said, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” And that’s why we recommend not just setting goals but setting SMART goals. SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. Follow these steps to set SMART goals for your team:
- Specific – Quantify and qualify your goals by specifying target numbers and describing the desired outcome.
- Measurable – Ensure that the goals you establish have a verifiable way of being accurately recorded.
- Achievable – It’s admirable to be ambitious, but goals shouldn’t be set so high that your team feels there’s no point in trying. Aim for challenging but attainable goals.
- Relevant – Consider each moving part that affects the outcome of your desired results. Are the goals you assigned directly connected to the people or teams responsible for meeting those goals?
- Timely – Segment goals into weeks, quarters, or months to make tracking, measuring, and comparing results easier.
Start a Content Calendar
Then comes the fun part: creating your content calendar. This will help you stay on track with your posts and avoid publishing too frequently or too rarely. You can use tools like Google Sheets or Excel to create your content calendar or invest in services like Hootsuite or Social Media Examiner. The content calendar should show you the “what,” “when,” and “where” for every post you make on your social media channels.
Research your competitors to see what type of posts they publish on their pages. Take reactions, shares, and comments into account as you gauge public appeal to competitors’ content. It’s tough to get noticed if you don’t have a following, but if you use the data of those that have blazed the trail before you, you’ll have a head start on gaining a foothold in your market.
Create Your Content
Finally, you’ll put everything into action by creating content. If you are starting out and don’t have an in-house team, outsourcing your lead generation marketing may be the best option for you. This will help you avoid becoming overwhelmed by the inbound marketing process. But if you don’t have the budget to outsource, programs such as Canva and the content management systems mentioned in the above section can alleviate some of the pressure that comes with executing your content calendar ideas.
What Are the Most Effective Lead Generation Marketing Strategies?
Lead generation strategies may not be as glamorous as other areas of digital marketing, but they’re important if you want to grow your business. Luckily, there’s no shortage of options, and adding your own creative spin will most certainly give you a competitive edge in your market. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective lead generation marketing strategies being implemented today by companies big and small.
Email marketing still reigns supreme as one of the top lead generation strategies. Though it’s one of the oldest forms of B2B marketing, it’s still a tremendous way to attract new customers. Email marketing can be used for lead generation in many ways, including building rapport with marketing and sales-qualified leads, sending high-converting offers to purchase-ready prospects, or providing updates to current clients.
You can follow a few tips to optimize your email campaigns so they’ll get more open rates and more clicks. First, make your email subject lines enticing so readers can’t resist opening your message. Second, optimize your marketing email content to include images and videos so you can drive more clicks and expand your audience. Third, form a strong call to action, so readers have clear next steps on how to claim your offer or get more details.
You can also create drip campaigns with sequences of emails to steadily increase your click-through rates. Just ensure you continuously offer value to avoid high unsubscriptions or low open rates.
Too many companies are missing out on the rich community-building features that Facebook has to offer. No longer are Facebook pages simply a place to post company updates and offers. By creating Facebook pages for your company and verticals, you can easily build a strong community of followers based on their niche.
You can also use Facebook ads to attract new customers and boost sales. Targeting options in Facebook Business Manager allows you to hone in on specific demographics such as interests, lifestyle, location, age, and gender. You can even re-target website visitors or lead lists cultivated over the years through Meta Pixel matched audiences. As your Facebook ads start to attract your ideal clients, audience lookalikes can be created to find new prospects that share the key traits of your current customers.
With up to 2x higher conversion rates, LinkedIn is one of the most effective lead generation marketing strategies for B2B companies. It’s a great way to connect with other professionals, build a network of potential customers, and expand your company’s reach.
Through LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator, your team can discover decision-makers within your target audience, engage with their posts, and message them directly in order to build rapport and offer solutions. And because four out of five LinkedIn members influence decisions at their company, you’ll find a wellspring of opportunities at your fingertips.
Like Facebook, LinkedIn offers advertising options with many of the same re-targeting features. Whether you decide to create ads on one or both of these social media channels, tailor the content to the platform’s purpose. Facebook ads should be more entertaining, while LinkedIn ads should lean into professional and educational topics.
Content Marketing and Blogging
One of the most effective ways to drive organic traffic and generate leads is to use SEO-friendly content and relevant blog posts. You can implement this lead generation strategy by hiring a content marketing specialist or writing the content on your own. Articles and blogs written with SEO in mind will help boost your site’s rankings and attract more visitors from search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. You can also put your SEO-friendly content to work on social media channels to attract followers.
A strong content marketing strategy develops synergy between common customer questions and ranking keyword searches to provide value through the different buyer’s journey stages. By tailoring articles and blogs to how the keywords match up with those stages, you can not create customized marketing campaigns that help prospects flow smoothly through your sales funnel.
A landing page is a site page dedicated to capturing leads or converting visitors into customers, often promoted in targeted ads and email marketing campaigns. Landing pages can be hosted on your website or on a third-party platform like Leadpages or Instapage. You can also use lead generation landing pages to build your authority on Google and attract social media followers.
A high-converting landing page design focuses on one action and eliminates all distractions. Combine that with an attention-grabbing headline and strong value proposition to boost your lead gen efforts significantly.
What Are the Key Components for a Successful Lead Generation Marketing Campaign?
Now that you understand how to get started and the basic strategies of lead generation marketing, there are some key components you’ll want to build into your process to make your campaigns a success. By paying special attention to the elements below, you’ll be able to develop a streamlined flow of leads while ensuring your sales and marketing teams are rowing in the right direction.
Just like a magnet attracts certain substances, a lead magnet attracts certain prospects to your sales funnel. The primary purpose of a lead magnet is to obtain emails and other prospect information for remarketing campaigns.
Your marketing and sales teams can create a variety of lead magnets like templates, ebooks, checklists, worksheets, or webinars. Lead magnets are great for building brand awareness but are usually not enough to convert into sales. We’ll cover how to successfully convert leads a little further down.
Lead scoring is a method of evaluating the likelihood of a lead converting into a paying customer. The scoring method is based on the lead’s online behavior and interactions with your brand that are tracked through a lead management system. The lead scoring method also takes into account the lead’s demographic information to signal buyer readiness based on pre-defined metrics. Through lead scoring, you will be able to maximize your team’s time and resources by escalating high intent prospects to sales. At the same time, marketing can continue to nurture those with lower scores in segmented drip campaigns to ensure no lead is left behind.
As data accumulates in your platform, you can create customized reports to get a clearer picture of the leads’ behavior and the performance of your scoring system. This will help you optimize your sales and marketing process so you can shorten your sales cycle while increasing conversions.
Lead nurturing refers to the relationship-building actions taken by sales to turn prospects into customers. Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate more sales-ready leads at lower cost and have more reps who make quota than companies that struggle with nurturing techniques.
Sales teams use a variety of channels to nurture leads into lasting relationships, including email, snail mail, phone calls, video chats, and in-person meetings. You can also use free resources like social media, blogs, and videos to help extend the reach of your lead nurturing process. As long as your prospects feel that they are getting the support and personalized attention they need to succeed, they are much more likely to buy from you in the future.
Closing the Sale: Tips for Successfully Converting Leads into Customers
When converting leads into customers, it can be difficult to tell which parts are working and which need some fine-tuning. A best-in-class lead generation machine should focus on creating a seamless customer experience, with clear calls to action to convert leads into customers effectively.
Use Email to Follow Up with Leads
Once a lead has entered your sales funnel, the next step is to follow up via email. Keep in mind that prospects are nine times more likely to become customers when your team follows up within 5 minutes. But that doesn’t mean you must follow up with every lead immediately. That’s where your lead scoring comes in. The type of content or lead magnet that brought the prospect to your sales funnel indicates the clear next step you should take towards nurturing the relationship. For example, any demo request should be priority one for your sales team, but a lead that signs up for an instant download would be better suited for a segmented drip campaign.
Your follow-up emails can be as simple or elaborate as you like, but they shouldn’t be boring or impersonal. You want to keep the lead on their toes and remind them why they signed up in the first place.
Use Facebook Retargeting Ads to Convert Leads into Customers
Six to eight touchpoints. That’s how many it takes to convert a lead into a customer. Facebook ads increase your touchpoint opportunities by re-targeting website visitors and email subscribers with engaging content that pulls them closer to the purchasing decision.
Once you’ve collected a good amount of data from these re-targeted campaigns, create Facebook ads specifically meant to sell. Re-targeting ads are especially helpful if you have a solution that is not visible to the customer. For example, if you sell services, re-targeting ads with customer testimonials can strengthen prospect opinions and add validity to your value proposition.
Use a Lead Nurturing Tool to Keep Prospects Engaged
As your funnel grows, it becomes impossible for your sales team to engage with every lead one-on-one.
It’s important to set up a lead management system with a scoring method that weeds out the marketing from the sales-qualified leads and passes on the high-intent prospects to a sales rep. Database enrichment and scraping tools can help fill the information gaps to develop more meaningful profiles for each prospect.
Once you have the information you need, you can use a lead nurturing tool to keep the potential clients engaged with your sales team. In most cases, a particular behavior will signal a sequence that guides your leads to the next step in the process. In this way, a lead nurturing tool will help your sales team convert leads into customers with the assistance of automation while preventing prospecting efforts from becoming stagnant.
Use Irresistible Offers to Generate More Leads
The more, the merrier. It’s as true for parties as it is for prospecting. An offer people can’t resist is like an open invitation: it not only attracts new leads but also gives hesitant leads the confidence needed to join in on the fun.
To create an irresistible offer without slashing into your profit margins, think about everything your clients need to succeed with your solution. What doubts are holding them back from making a purchasing decision? How can you alleviate those fears with content, templates, extra support, etc?
Next, consider the monetary value of these add-ons and translate that into your sales copy. So, for example, let’s say you are an entrepreneurial coach, and financial planning is one of the many hurdles for your clients. In your irresistible offer, you could mention that all your clients receive a free financial planning spreadsheet that you paid a certified accountant $600 to create. Customize each template to your client’s business, and you have an asset that raises the value of your offer without reducing your profit margins.
So many companies have little unmined gems similar to this financial planning example. Take a look at your company’s materials. You may be surprised by what you find.
Ready to Get Started?
So, where will you start: SEO content, Facebook re-targeting ads, LinkedIn networking? There’s no wrong way to go when it comes to lead generation marketing as long as you have done some research. You’ll need to take lead generation marketing one step at a time, as the strategies can become overwhelming if launched all at once. Build patience in the process as it can take six to nine months to gain traction through marketing-based lead generation tactics.
If you need immediate results, consider focusing on outbound lead generation strategies while you ramp up marketing to develop a well-round sales funnel.