Lead generation is the set of marketing activities aimed at generating contacts that can turn into potential customers. In an era where we are bombarded with a myriad of information, it is important to be able to capture the attention of our target, but it is even more important to attract those who are interested in our services/products.
As every digital marketer claims, running lead generation campaigns is the key to the success of every medium and large company, both for those dealing with B2B and B2C.
Watch this short but informative video to get a practical perspective, then continue with our detailed exploration below to fully understand how to effectively engage and convert your target audience.
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Delve deeper into the topic of lead generation with this insightful video in which I share practical strategies and real-world examples that complement our discussion. This video will enrich your understanding of key concepts such as lead magnets, lead nurturing, and digital channels crucial to lead generation, such as Google Ads and social media platforms.
Throughout the article:
- we will introduce concepts such as “lead magnet“, and “Lead nurturing” and see how these relate to inbound marketing logic;
- we will discover the lead generation funnel and, for each step, we will see the digital marketing actions that allow the collection of the fundamental personal data of potential customers;
- we will understand why the acquisition of online leads is such an important strategy for the company;
- we will talk about email marketing, landing pages, and content marketing, emphasizing the key role of the clear use of calls to action;
- we will mention some advertising tools such as Facebook ads, Instagram ads;
- we will focus on best practices for a successful personal data acquisition campaign;
- we will introduce lead generation automation, now indispensable.
What is lead generation?
The meaning of Lead generation is the collection of users predisposed to become potential customers due to their interest in the products/services offered.
By completing an online form ( opt-in ) the person becomes part of the contact lists constituting a “lead”. The latter is as precious as they are richer in personal details such as name, surname, email, telephone number, preferences, etc.
Lead generation, in its most complete definition embraces those initiatives aimed at gathering users attracted and sensitive to the services offered. They spontaneously release their data to receive valuable content that they consciously want to learn more about.
What is a lead?
Lead is an individual or company that has an interest in our product and who shares their data to receive more information.
A dutiful specification to note refers to the quality of the contact obtained. The higher the quality of the contract, the easier it will be for the Sales Manager and his team to transform Leads into Prospects (Individual prone to conversion) and, finally, into potential customers.
Which ones to consider as the most interesting leads? “The ones that take action after the initial request,” says the lead sales management department. In other words, the most convinced people, will more easily proceed to the purchase and contribute with less friction to improving the performance of the small and medium-sized enterprises.
How to do lead generation
Before embarking on a lead capture marketing strategy, the company must:
- establish your reference target and be found on the net (website or specific pages such as squeeze pages).
- position yourself in search engines through SEO, SEM, content marketing, and disciplines such as email marketing and social media marketing.
Once these requirements are met, the company will be ready to generate successful leads through lead management techniques. Well, how to do it? We start by introducing the concepts of:
- lead magnets;
- lead nurturing;
- inbound marketing.
The lead magnet is a free incentive that the user downloads from your website in exchange for filling out a form where he enters some personal data.
These are mostly in-depth content, training, and problem-solving that bring quality content to the specific target. This is why the preventive study of the buyer personas is essential, to interpret and satisfy the exact needs.
Let’s see some examples of lead magnets:
- tutorials or videos;
- e-books or PDF guides;
- infographics, statistics, or info products;
- training courses;
- discounts or coupons;
- case studies;
- reports or research;
Once the leads are obtained, the company will have to deal with their management through the lead nurturing process.
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Lead nurturing refers to the marketing techniques adopted by the company to establish relationships with potential customers. Relationships, which have the ultimate goal of inducing the potential customer to convert.
How to do lead nurturing? Through a personalized one-to-one dialogue. You, the company, will be able to communicate online with the interlocutor; you will gain his trust until you transform him first into a buyer and then into a loyal customer.
The consolidation of this relationship is aimed at creating a shared value between the user and the brand, transmitting reliability, and representing the best solution to the problems and needs of the person in the face of competition. This path leads to a strengthening of the company’s credibility and lays the foundations for reducing anxiety and speeding up the purchase decision. It is not wrong to argue that the player invests “in the education” of the customer.
It is possible to nurture leads with email marketing, one of the most direct and customizable tools, with Whatsapp or other social networks such as LinkedIn or Facebook.
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Inbound marketing in lead generation
Inbound marketing is the marketing strategy aimed at producing and publishing content on digital channels aimed at attracting potential customers.
Inbound marketing and lead nurturing work closely together. While the former is the strategy used by the company, the latter is how communication with the prospect is maintained until the transformation of the latter into a final customer.
The inbound methodology is a useful strategy for entrepreneurs to increase sales. How? With targeted actions on contacts deriving from lead generation. Thanks to user profiling and segmentation, it is possible to optimize the sales process by better understanding the interests of the buyer personas.
To best operate the inbound tactic and manage large flows of information and data, it is customary to rely on marketing automation programs.
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Lead generation funnels
The lead generation funnel is the funnel process containing all the phases that the user must go through to transform from prospect to lead and finally to the customer.
During this “journey” between the phases of the marketing funnel, the number of people is reduced. This is the natural consequence of wanting to talk to individuals who are truly interested and willing to convert.
How to create a marketing funnel?
The prerequisite is the knowledge of the target, of the audience we are addressing with the consequent targeted content generation activity, i.e. the production of valuable content.
The 4 phases that summarize the Funnel, or funnel model, are:
- Attract: The first stage of the inbound marketing funnel is the initial step to moving a visitor to the website. It happens with blog articles that answer the questions of the potential customer, is optimized at an SEO level, and then distributed on social channels.
- Convert: The conversion stage is when visitors click on a CTA, landing page, or contact form and enter their personal information in exchange for access to a free resource (lead magnet).
- Closing: Closing is the push to buy the product/service and to make the leads become customers. Not all leads are naturally predisposed to immediately buy a product or sign up for a service. Lead nurturing plays a decidedly important role here, aimed at “nourishing” relationships and increasing customer trust.
- Delight: Lastly, there is the foresight not to abandon customers after the purchase, but to work so that they become loyal, develop empathy, and continue to remember your brand and your reliability, possibly even taking on the role of ambassador in their relational networks.
Strategies and B2B and B2c tools to Acquire Leads
How do you do lead generation effectively? What strategies, channels, and tools to use to generate leads?
After introducing the concept of the lead generation funnel, let’s get into the specifics of the tools that are part of the first 2 phases of the lead generation process: attracting strangers and converting visitors into leads.
Here are some examples of online marketing channels and tools to get new quality leads at a B2B or B2C level.
- Opt-ins posted on the blog to download free resources;
- Company website optimized through Search Engine Optimization (SEO);
- Paid advertising on Google Ads and Facebook Ads, Performance marketing;
- social media;
- Landing pages with a clear call to action to click;
- Contact form to request specific information;
- Registration form or pop-up (example: to receive the weekly newsletter);
- Registration for download coupons or participation in contests:
- Software to create sales funnels.
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Attract customers with Content Marketing
Content marketing generally concerns the creation and distribution of quality content aimed at stimulating interest, interaction, and sharing. In this regard, we also talk about lead generation content. The website is the “business card” of companies on the web and the place where potential customers are interested in the product/service that the company wants to promote.
If aesthetically cared for and designed to offer a good user experience, as well as being optimized for conversion, the website is an effective tool for generating leads. Especially if it contains a thematic blog, closely linked to the area and the products/services offered, it is a valid tool for generating qualified leads.
Potential customers land on the company blog thanks to a targeted SEO activity thanks to which the articles are well positioned in the SERP (search engine results pages) for some specific keywords. Through an SEO (search engine optimization) strategy, a page is therefore ensured the right visibility and a constant flow of visits. The latter can turn into leads if appropriately addressed with precise written CTAs following persuasive copywriting.
Well yes, in the era of social networks, the generation of contacts also takes place on online advertising platforms. Let’s see how.
- Lead generation on Facebook
Facebook Lead Ads is a type of campaign to be set up on Facebook if the objective is to make the lead acquisition. Being able to collect user data directly within the platform is an advantage. Prospects can make use of the pre-compiled forms (name and email) and benefit from the speed of loading the page.
Of course, the amount of personal information to be requested from the visitor should be limited, limiting the compilation to a few entries in the contact form. In the settings of the Facebook Lead Generation campaigns, to better profile the user, you can also enter a personalized question.
The lists of leads generated by Facebook campaigns can be downloaded in the module library, at the heart of the platform. You can also automate tracking by linking sponsorship-generated contact lists to software like Mailchimp.
Find out now how to generate contacts on Facebook directly on the official platform.
- Lead generation on Instagram
On Instagram, there is a lot of margin to get natural leads but how to do it? One of the B2C lead generation strategies to use on Instagram is the so-called Instagram contest. According to this creative way of acquiring leads, the company asks its followers to fill out a form, reply with a comment to the post, or tag as many friends as possible in exchange for a prize. This strategy is finalized in the rapid increase of followers.
There are also other methods to generate leads on Instagram such as Instagram lead ads, adding a button with a clear CTA in the profile, and optimizing the bio by adding the link to the company contact form.
Access the Facebook platform now and find out how to create an advertisement to acquire new leads on Instagram.
- Twitter and LinkedIn b2b lead generation
LinkedIn and Twitter also can collect targeted leads. Given the nature of social media, LinkedIn and Twitter can be considered b2b channels.
The first step for a lead generation marketing campaign on LinkedIn and Twitter is to check if your company’s existing customers (individual people profile or brand profile) use these platforms. If so, it will be your duty to connect to the found profiles. The same can also be done for potential customers.
Once you get noticed, it’s important to choose your communication strategy and consistently post valuable content for your audience. Update yourself and discover the most advanced Social Media techniques with the course that will give you a cutting-edge Social strategy.
Also in the case of Twitter and LinkedIn, it is possible to launch sponsored lead-generation campaigns. Find out more about Twitter Ads and LinkedIn Ads on the official platforms.
Landing page to collect leads
A landing page is a web page specially designed to attract visitors ‘ interest and collect prospect contact information. The use of opt-in forms, targeted offers, and calls to action make it a valuable tool for collecting leads.
It is therefore important to ensure that the landing page has an attractive design, clear CTAs, simple registration forms, and valuable content for users. It can also help to have feedback from existing customers, limited-time offers, coupons, and other incentives for future customers.
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Lead generation campaigns: best practices
After seeing some examples of tools to use in your business to get new potential customers, it’s time to introduce the “must” to follow when designing a lead generation management campaign. In particular, there are 5 important phases to consider, based on: the objective, target, and channels used.
Define the campaign goal
It will seem obvious, but the objectives vary according to the results to be achieved. You can start by defining the number of expected leads or revenue per lead. To better define the goal, here is a list of questions useful in this process:
- Who is the target we are referring to and how do you intend to reach it?
- What action do you want prospects to take?
- What will you offer users? With which CTAs?
- How and when will you do follow-ups to skim, nurture and convert leads obtained?
- Based on which KPIs will you prepare the reports?
- What is the result that will determine the success of the campaign?
Evaluation and selection of the target
In lead generation campaigns, you can start either from a previous list of contacts (yours or not) or from a completely new target. In both cases, it is necessary to know the potential buyers perfectly, but above all, it is necessary to have the answer to this question: what are the problems to which the company offers solutions through its services/products?
Choice of medium
This is where you enter the merits of the channels and tools to best implement your lead generation strategy. For example, to generate online leads you could opt for a direct e-mail marketing (DEM) campaign, or the organization of a free webinar.
Landing Page: offer and Call to Action
In setting up your campaign, you will also need to create one or more landing pages. On the one hand, they must summarize the key points of your offer, on the other, contain clear, unambiguous, and persuasive calls to action, to obtain leads at the lowest possible conversion cost.
A very important step to close the campaign is the follow-up. In this phase, leads obtained online are contacted, they are assigned a score ( lead scoring ), and more resources are allocated to contacts who have a higher estimated conversion value than the others. Furthermore, it will be necessary to decide whether this conversation will take place via automation, DEM, or with direct contact from the Digital Sales department.
Lead Generation and Marketing Automation
Given the complexity of the actions to be carried out, technological solutions can be adopted that can automate some processes and make our work easier. Here are some of the specific lead marketing activities that can be achieved with suitable software or tool:
- lead acquisition from the web;
- import of the same from internal company resources;
- generation of email leads;
- list management from first contact to conversion;
- lead qualification;
- creation of reports and dashboards for data analysis.
A good lead-scoring platform must be able to score leads based on their interactions with the content. These marketing automation tools are enabled to automate scoring and can be integrated with Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
These tools should be chosen considering the size of the lists you have, the complexity of the business, and also the importance of email marketing in your digital strategy. Some examples?
Among the Inbound Marketing software through which it is possible to attract visitors, convert them into leads, and turn them into customers, HubSpot (with Hubspot Mktg and Hubspot CRM) is suitable for companies of various sizes. One of its most appreciated features is the ability to carry out integrated management of various activities. The tools available are intuitive and easy to use.
It is a flexible and integrable system, suitable both for small SMEs and for larger companies. It is characterized above all by its ease of management, even if it has fewer features than other competitors.
Want to improve your lead generation business but don’t know where to start?
I direct Digital Coach®, the professional training school, leader in training all professionals who work in the Digital Marketing & Sales field.
As a trainer, I have trained over 35,000 business professionals from over 300 large multinational companies and over 5,000 Italian SMEs.
I devised the “Digital Strategy Framework®” method, thanks to which since 2014 I have been helping companies to define and improve over time a digital strategy that maximizes the generation of turnover and online sales.