5 Lead Generation Strategies (Ultimate Guide)

An effective lead generation system is an aspiration for every business owner. We'll teach you what lead generation strategies are there and how to make these work.

An effective lead generation system is an aspiration for every business owner. Stable customer inflow is what makes revenue predictable and manageable. We'll teach you what lead generation strategies are there and how to make these work.

What is a Lead?

The Lead is a company or person that expresses interest in what you sell. A definition is simple and complex simultaneously. Two key characteristics distinguish a lead from somebody ordinary:

  1. Identification
    Name, email, mobile number, connection via social media - there should be at least some data to follow up.
  1. Relevancy

The lead’s quality shall be substantial enough for a conversion to happen. Relevancy is a stumbling block between Marketing and Sales - ones who nurture leads and those responsible for closing deals. They are filtered based on specific criteria - into Marketing qualified leads (MQL) and Sales qualified leads (SQL):

  • MQLs are those acquired thanks to definite marketing actions, for example, lead gen campaigns or lead magnets.
  • SQLs are those ready to proceed with the sales team; their count is by far lower than MQLs.

What is Lead Generation and what’s its importance?

The lead generation process is an activity of acquiring and nurturing leads to gain conversions and revenue. This not only empowers selling, however - it brings strategically useful business insights: 

  • what needs and pains your clients face
  • how needs transforms over time
  • what communication channels are the most effective
  • what sales lead generators bring the most result
  • on what sales funnel's stages customers tend to be stuck.

It is also a source of data for profiling an Ideal Customer or Buyer Persona.

4 Reasons You Should Start Generating Leads

  1. Better targeting

A thorough lead gen strategy implies all efforts consolidated to find qualified prospects. The company obtains an audience that is more likely to come up with purchases, hence.

Lead generation is much about personalization - creating custom audiences or mailing groups, according to clients’ distinguishing factors. Customized content or advertising is developed so that none receives “default” or purposeless messages. 

  1. Building brand awareness

Abiding success of lead gen efforts makes sales & marketing efforts to be synchronized sooner or later. This, in turn, brings 2 perks: any external communications are consistent and more channels are used to outreach. The latter may sometimes be on the stack of promoting and selling. Think of the Sales Navigator from LinkedIn. On the one hand, it is a sales lead generator because it allows integration with CRM and centralization of billing for contracts. But at the same time, it is a powerful tool for building an overall brand image - thanks to the content sharing and engagement tracking tools.

  1. Enhanced conversion ratio

Lead scoring system and CRM integration with marketing automation tools are 2 essentials for increasing conversions. This opens wide reporting opportunities. Just make sure all are set up correctly  - use assisting software like Salesforce, NetSuite, or HubSpot, and the revenue will come soon.

  1. Saved costs

Lead generation strategy cost-saving effect occurs from analytics. The implementation requires exact metrics to be calculated and monitored. ROI, cost per acquisition, time to conversion, on-page users’ engagement, the average time to close deals - these are a few of them. If the data is collected and processed consciously, it can be used for correct cost distribution or launching austerity.

Main channels of lead generation

Lead generation, in a broad sense, includes both offline and online acquisition activities. Industry exhibitions or professional conferences shouldn’t be written off when it comes to B2B lead gen. However, the prevalence of digital instruments is hard to argue.

“Organizations’ marketing preferences for different channels”, Marketer Email Tracker 2019

Below are 3 most popular and effective channels of attracting leads through the Web:

  1. Email marketing

This is believed to bring the highest ROI, compared with other digital channels. Not a surprise that roughly 102.6 trillion emails are being sent annually. People tend to start the day by going through the “Inbox”, so mailing is a powerful tool for target audience outreach.

And that'd be fine if recipients didn’t get, on average, 20-30 mails daily. Or - if the database you use consisted of a valid email address only. Your message, hence, can easily get lost in the information highway. But if you do succeed - every 1 dollar spent will bring you $42 back. That's an impressive 4200% ROI value!

  1. Social media

SMM trio - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn - stands close behind emails in terms of efficiency. People spend 2.5 hours daily - on feed, videos, and chats. This fact makes networks cool for reaching out to existing customers, but what’s even more important - building your leads’ database from scratch. If you’re not sure whether to use socials or not, think of these arguments:

  • people tend to trust influencers or inner circle, and SMM brings opportunities to get referrals
  • if you don't have an account within any of the most popular social platforms, in the Gen Z eyes you, probably, don’t exist at all
  • if competitors from the niche actively use SMM, and you don’t, it’s a matter of time when they’ll grab your market share
  • social networks allow targeting super-specific audiences, thanks to hashtag search.
  1. Website optimization

Do not neglect organic search traffic. This will continue bringing leads when you pause all ads’ spendings. Of course, it takes time to rank for high-volume keywords. Nevertheless, start with what you can - a couple of SEO-optimized landing pages, helpful content, and few backlinks. If you are not familiar with SEO Optimized landing pages. You can hire an SEO expert. Here is a complete guide about Affordable SEO Services.

Phone calls, text SMS, messengers, and chatbots - these might also be the case when looking for proper outreach channels. Regardless of the exact ones you choose, be sure not to put all eggs in the same basket. Find the optimal combination and go ahead.

Lead generation strategies

Like any strategy, lead generation requires plans and people. You shall carry on a team, a budget, and a strategic roadmap of particular actions. To assist you, we’ve collected what’s considered a “gold standard” - best practices of lead gen activities.

Lead magnet strategy

Lead Magnet is a piece of value you offer in exchange for the client’s information.  The value can be either tangible or intangible:

  • tangible lead magnets - printable discount codes, vouchers, white papers
  • intangible lead magnets - free access, consultancy, professional advice, video training.
“Downloadable emails’ templates from Snov.io”

Although the strategy is quite straightforward, double-check whether lead magnets are:

  • specific - customers should clearly understand the bounty they'll get
  • one-big-thing - don’t promise a fortune, focus on something single yet valuable
  • realistic - there is nothing worse for reputation than misleading future clients
  • fast - don’t make the process of obtaining the "prize" too long-lasting
  • relations-oriented - show your awareness and inclusion into customer’s current needs.

Email outreach strategy

Email outreach includes 3 areas for consideration:

  1. Quality of the emails’ database

No matter what e-addresses you plan to use: if they didn’t pass through the double opt-in verification, you shouldn’t add them to the regular mailing list. Otherwise, it’s considered a fierce violation of GDPR rules.

Use an email validator to keep your database up-to-date, for example, ZeroBounce, eSputnik, Snovio, Sendpulse, or others. These allow getting rid of freemail and catch-all emails, as far as misspelled ones.

  1. Automation software

Buy a program that’ll schedule, send and optimize email campaigns for you. Mailing by hand is simply not economically profitable. Email marketing software allows developing trigger campaigns, personalizing newsletters, plan the sequence of messages over time, and - see analytics. 

  1. Content

Emails’ content should not be taken lightly. First, make sure to avoid spam trigger words. Then think of how to stand out from the crowd in your leads’ Inbox. You need to work out that catchy subject line, for after all 47% of recipients open emails on it alone.

Beyond the content value, make sure your message looks truthful, in general:

  • a subject line must correlate with the inner message
  • ad emails shall be market respectively
  • include the “Unsubscribe” option.

LinkedIn strategy

If you have an account on Business LinkedIn, try Lead Gen Forms. Their feature is pre-filling the form with the user's profile data so that it’s convenient for him or her to share information with you.

To start the campaign, you’ll need to add a call to action, for example, a “Signup” button -  to either sponsored content or message ads.

“Add call to actions to gather leads’ contact data in LinkedIn”, source

Access the collected user’s data and track the performance via built-in reporting tools. Or - integrate the Campaign Manager with your CRM or marketing automation tools.

Referral strategy

Referrals help to grow the audience of potential clients, the only trouble is to get them. You can establish referral lead gen strategy either in-house or via referral program software:

  • in-house approach: use emails and/or social media and encourage existing subscribers to promote your brand; add incentives: cash bonuses, promo codes, extra discounts, gifts - for bringing or sharing a post. 
  • automation: software, like Amplifinity, is good for putting referrals' on the scale due to powerful integrative facilities and other helpful tools: premade templates, branded URLs, and Single Sign-On.

Be precise in what you offer, do not make getting rewards too complicated, act in line with GDPR and social networks guidelines, like YouTube's contest policies - and followers aka clients won't be far behind.

PPC strategy

To set up a PPC campaign, you need to have the environment, tune tracking, and segment the audience. And the budget, of course.

Probably, the most popular PPC medium is Google Ads, however, Microsoft and Bing Ads are progressively developed in parallel.  Regardless of the tool you choose, the PPC campaign’s logic is pretty much the same:

  • choose keywords you want the ad to be shown for
  • set up bids’ limits
  • decide over audiences: define a location, gender, language, and interests
  • add UTM tracking codes to URLs
  • set up conversion tracking on your landing pages, if relevant.

You can also launch PPC campaigns on social networks, like Facebook or Instagram, or - do this in Apple Search Ads. Approach it smart - conduct A/B testing to see how different ad copies, images or offers work out.

What Is A Lead Generation Funnel?

A Lead Generation Funnel shows how exactly a customer progresses towards making a purchase. Single lead’s journey is divided into stages or steps - each characterized by an inherent attitude to what you offer. Recognizable V-shape is used for a reason: the number of leads going to the next funnel's level decreases as they get closer to the deal.

The Stages Of A Lead Generation Funnel

There are 2 parts of the lead gen funnel's layout, with regards to the involvement in the purchase:

  • Top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) - a customer is attracted and nurtured
  • Bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) - he or she does the purchase and becomes a company’s loyal client.

The number of exact stages within TOFU and BOFU varies, depending on the organization’s selling cycle. In most cases, the lead gen funnel consists of 4 coherent stages:

  1. Awareness

Top-of-the-funnel consists of all leads your marketing team outreached to through content, videos, advertising, SEO, PPC, or a combination of these. There’s neither commitment nor attempt to buy - customers just get to know the company or the brand.

  1. Consideration

At this point, an interest in what your company sells is formed. Leads consider advantages and disadvantages and compare with similar offers on the market. Ideally, this stage ends up with the customer’s desire to buy, otherwise, the lead drops off or comes to the pending stage.

  1. Conversion

Probably, the most important step of the funnel. Conversions are what bring revenue and profit. Product or service benefits, as well as the deal’s terms at this point, shall be clear to all participants.

  1. Retention

A desirable finale of the funnel - to get loyal customers and brand advocates. Client retention is extremely important: a tiny increase of this metric boosts profits by up to 95%.

Wrapping up 

Every company’s lead generation strategy is unique. There is no winning pattern to recommend to everyone. Explore your customers’ journeys, multiply that knowledge by strategic tools you can afford - and make a step forward towards building what’ll work the best for your business.

About The Author

Tamara Zhostka, еditor from Snov.io

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