What is lead generation?
Lead generation is the process of capturing the attention of potential customers and clients who may not have known that a particular brand existed. It is the first step in the sales funnel process. Once a customer knows a brand exists, additional marketing strategies can be deployed to enhance their interest and ultimately get them to make a purchase.
Lead generation has been around as long as marketing has been around, but in today’s digital age, the vast majority of lead generation takes place online.
Why is it important?
Lead generation is important because it’s the primary way for customers and clients to discover brands that meet their needs. There are more companies than ever before, and an endless amount of information online has led to the creation of the self-directed buyer who no longer relies on television commercials and magazine advertisements to make purchasing decisions.
With so much information to comb through on a daily basis, buyers are getting good at blocking out the noise, which is why traditional forms of advertising don’t work like they used to. A lead generation strategy that is informed by the 21st century can increase the exposure of a brand without getting ignored, and without wasting time on strategies that don’t work, like cold calling.
Inbound lead generation
There are two different types of lead generation strategies. The first involves inbound marketing.
This strategy is all about helping potential customers find information about a company. This may include providing information as they’re doing their research before making a purchase, but increasingly it means reaching out to people before they are even looking to make a purchase. The goal is to transform awareness into a brand preference, so when that person is ready to make a purchase, they already know where they’re going to buy what they’re looking for.
Buyers are more educated and self-directed than ever before. A company’s job is to make sure they can easily be found through inbound marketing strategies when people are searching for information, products, or services on the internet.
A few inbound marketing strategies include:
- Content and SEO: This includes optimizing website content so it can easily be found when searching on Google. With a good SEO strategy and high-quality website content, information will be displayed on the first results page, increasing the chances of getting clicks.
- Blog Articles: Maintaining a blog is the best way for a company to position themselves as an expert in their particular field. SEO, informative content, and calls-to-action can increase interest and action among potential customers and clients.
- Social Media: Millions of people connect with each other and brands through many different social media channels. By having a presence on these websites, brands can gain followers that they can turn into buyers.
- Influencer Marketing: Influencers partner with brands to promote their products and services to their trusting followers, to provide them with valuable advice and recommendations.
Outbound lead generation
The second kind of lead generation involves outbound marketing. This form of marketing is all about reaching out to customers and clients instead of waiting for them to find a particular brand on their own.
Ask Clickworkers to search the Internet to find leads that match your target customer profiles.
With traditional marketing strategies, this often includes things like cold calling and magazine advertisements. Although these methods are still available, there are other outbound marketing options that are more effective in today’s world.
A few outbound marketing strategies include:
- Email Marketing: After someone joins an email list, messages can be sent directly to their inbox on a variety of topics.
- Display Ads: Online ads today can be highly targeted to certain internet behaviors or demographics. Retargeted ads can also be utilized to remind people about a product or service on ad space when they visit other websites.
- Content Syndication: Creating content for third-party sites enables internet users to find a company when they otherwise wouldn’t.
More traditional forms of outbound marketing strategies are also an option. Many brands continue to find success by hosting special events and sending direct mail.
Outbound lead generation strategies are often used in conjunction with inbound strategies. For example, email marketing only works if a person signs up for the email list first, and a person is most likely to sign up for that list thanks to the inbound marketing efforts of that company.