Lead generation is based on expanding a brand's database with the contacts of people or companies potentially interested in its products and services. We call each of these contacts a "lead", that is, a person or company that has shown interest in the what a brand offers and has demonstrated that interest by handing over their personal information (e.g. phone, email, etc.).
Lead generation is a key part of the inbound marketing process, as it allows traffic to our various channels to be converted into valuable contacts for the brand, which can then be directed though the conversion funnel until they become paying customers.
The lead generation process: step by step
The lead generation process begins by attracting visitors to your website. Generally, this traffic will be directed to a landing page, which is a page primed to get the contacts details of those who land on the page. A very common strategy is to offer the user valuable content, such as a free eBook, a product test or a webinar, in exchange for their contact information.
In turn, this landing page will be optimised to encourage conversions. It will generally include a brief description of the benefits of the content offered, focusing on what it can bring to the user and not on its technical characteristics. On this page, you can also find the form that the user must fill in with their personal information. After filling out the form and pressing the "submit" button, the user will be implemented into the business’ customer database, offered to download the content in question, and will be shown a thank you page.
Each person who leaves their information will become part of the brand’s database and will become a lead. Now, not all leads have the same value, and not all will immediately translate into a purchase. This is where lead scoring and lead nurturing strategies come into play.
Lead scoring is a marketing technique that consists of assigning a score to each lead to identify which are most likely to become customers. By doing this, we can ensure our focus is on those individuals that are most likely to convert.
Normally, we distinguish between three types of leads:
- Cold lead: This person has given their personal information, but it is still very far from converting; that is, in the TOFU or "top of the funnel" phase.
- Qualified lead for marketing (MQL): This person has already shown interest in the brand on several occasions. They are, therefore, in the MOFU phase or "middle of the funnel" phase.
- Qualified lead for sales (SQL): This person has already gone through all the previous qualification phases and is ready to receive a phone call, a visit or a demonstration from the sales team. They are in the BOFU or "bottom of the funnel" phase.
Lead nurturing is the process of preparing and accompanying leads throughout the life cycle, offering them a series of personalised content, actions and interactions depending on the phase they are in and their interests. Marketing automation can facilitate this entire process.
The most common lead generation channels
Although it is also possible to generate leads with offline tools, in Inbound Marketing we are mainly focusing on the most common sources of lead generation in digital marketing :
- Email marketing: An email may be suitable to both capture peoples’ interest for the first time and to maintain contact with them with lead nurturing actions.
- SEM: Search engine ads (such as Google Ads) are a very suitable channel for lead generation, as they allow us to guide our actions based on the terms searched by users. It is normal to create groups of related search terms, with ads and landing pages that match what users are looking for at a given time.
- Display campaigns: Although banners have a reputation for being intrusive, if they are used intelligently, they can be a good way to capture the attention of your target audience and encourage them to give you their personal information.
- Advertising on social networks: Some social ads platforms, such as Facebook, even have ads specially designed to capture leads without the need for users to leave the social network. It is also possible to use social networks in an organic way to generate quality traffic to your website.
- Content Marketing: Brand content (for example, blog articles) is a good tool in lead generation campaigns. For example, you could have blogs that encourage users to download a PDF relevant to your niche in return for their personal information
- Video advertising: thanks to the possibility of embedding adverts within a video, we can incorporate lead generation into our audiovisual content.
How to generate more leads with your inbound marketing
These general recommendations will help you multiply the results of your lead generation strategy:
I hope this information has helped you to better understand how the lead generation process works and how to use inbound marketing strategies to convert web traffic into customers. If you want to learn more or having trouble with generating your own leads, why not drop us a message and we’d be happy to help!
- Produces quality content: Content has a double function in the lead generation strategy. On the one hand, it serves to attract quality traffic to our website or blog, and on the other hand, it serves to capture the attention of different people and convince them to leave their personal information.
- Analyse your distribution strategy: It is not only necessary to produce quality content, but you must also ensure that it actually reaches users. What’s the point on having great content if nobody sees it? Think about how you can use SEO and SEM tools to multiply quality traffic.
- Optimise your forms: Forms are the means through which a visitor becomes a lead, so they are a critical point of contact. Make sure they are adapted to different devices, try to have as few fields as possible, and try different calls to action.
- Do not be afraid to experiment: don’t hesitate to do A/B tests of different aspects of your lead generation campaigns: search engine ads, form design, landing pages, etc. Only then can you know what works best with your target audience.
- Track the results: in any marketing strategy, measurement is essential. Take the time to establish what your key metrics or KPIs are (total leads, qualified leads, lead visitors ...) and establish regular controls to see how they are evolving and how you could improve.