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Lead Generation: A Guide to Generate Business Leads Online

Lead Generation: A Process of Attracting and Converting Business

Posted on: Jun 17, 2019 9 min read

The phrase "Lead generation" or "Lead" is not too much of a strange word. It's quite enlightening that some marketers believe that lead generation is quite easy. But what can we say for others who may not find it so easy?

Marketers are well acquainted with this activity (it's what they do anyway). It's a simple project that entails employing great efforts to get results in your lead generation. However, it is not new that most lead generation projects fail.

A good number of marketers can provide reasons for this as a few factors like funding, staff network and others can be disheartening and cause failure in lead generation. But it is essential to wonder – do these factors prevent you from getting positive results in your lead generation efforts? Although we agree it is not such an easy task, what happened to your direct input as a marketer towards ensuring the success of your efforts.

It's quite easy to blame lead generation project failures on other factors with no probable attachments to your efforts or self. But have you ever taken out time to examine some of the fundamental factors you implement? Ask yourself some relevant questions and confirm if you are on track with the current trend in marketing.

Sadly, most marketers are stuck with old fashioned and ineffective strategies. This among others are some of the most important reasons why lead generation projects fail.

Most lead generation projects fail for the following reasons;

  • Wrong strategy
  • Inadequate content
  • Inappropriate landing page
  • Inefficient follow through

These problems will be treated in due time; however, let's take a more concise look on lead generation.

BRIEF HISTORY OF LEAD GENERATION

Although it might sound surprising, lead generation is not new. It dates back to the pre-civilisation era, in the time of the cavemen. From simple gestures of the recommendation of best materials to use for cave drawings or other ancient cavemen activities, to 21st-century internet and smart technology including smartphones, computers and various other tools aiding in lead generation.

Lead generation has evolved years after years, and generations after generations to become what we know today. Various organisations and companies have used different methods to generate leads over the years. These techniques took different forms over the years. From billboards in the 1800s to commercials in the 1900s down to the popular door-to-door methods. Call centres were used in the 1950s and '60s and finally to the ascension of the 21st-century internet.

The important thing, however, is the fact that lead generation has evolved from simple to complex procedures with a degree of sophistication.

WHAT IS A LEAD?

A lead is someone who has some form of interest in your company's product or service in any way and has expressed such interest. In other words, a potential client or customer to your business or firm.

WHAT IS LEAD GENERATION?

Lead generation is the process of converting a stranger into a lead – and this is where the marketer comes in. A marketer is one who carries out the lead generation process. He or she is expected to put in their best efforts to convert a stranger prospect to a lead.

This is usually ensured by making them interested in your product/service. How do you do this? You do this by convincing them that the product/service can provide relief or solve their problem. Almost everyone is out for a solution to their problem either through your product or service.

It doesn't end in acquiring a lead; you continue by converting your leads into customers. This is called the "lead nurturing" process. Success is guaranteed here when you show your leads to the true value of your product/service.
 
There are 4 phases of effective lead generation process. These phases are;

  • Phase 1 -  The content strategy phase
  • Phase 2 -  The visual phase
  • Phase 3 -  The Promotional phase
  • Phase 4 -  The Nurturing phase

We will discuss these phases in detail as we go on.

PHASE 1: THE CONTENT STRATEGY PHASE

This is the first and probably most important phase in lead generation. This is because a good and efficient strategy sets you on the right path and probably ensures your success. If you recall, we mentioned some common mistakes that cause the failure of most lead generation projects, and at the top of the list is wrong strategy.

A perfect strategy needs to be developed to ensure success. It helps you perfectly plan every step and enables you to decide where to place importance and where not to.

Now a few questions will help you to develop an effective strategy for lead generation. These questions include;

  • Who is your preferred or ideal audience?
  • How do you hope to attract and convert the audience?
  • What is your lead magnet?

Once you can provide answers to these questions, you will be able to lay down a perfect strategy.

PHASE TWO: THE VISUAL PHASE

As mentioned earlier, lead generation involves door-to-door marketing and pretty much physical interaction between marketers and prospects. These days, with the advance in technology, lead generation doesn't necessarily have to involve physical interaction between marketers and prospects anymore.

One of the worst mistakes a marketer can make is not keeping up with the trend. Employing past methods that don't involve technology could be disastrous. It is much easier these days, with social media platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube and the rest of them at our disposal. Gone are the days of content marketing. Visual content in the modern world guarantees more significant success.

Prospects are lured by what they see especially, and it is important to use this to your advantage. If you are confused on some visuals you could use to generate leads, you might want to try the following

  • Guides and e-books
  • Presentation
  • Infographics
  • Videos (most effective)
  • Webinars

According to experts, visual content in lead generation has proven most efficient with the videos being the most effective.

PHASE 3: THE PROMOTIONAL PHASE

Let's say you have prepared the perfect strategy, completed with compelling and wonderful visuals. The next thing would be to attract people to your content, and this doesn't include just anyone, it means attracting the right people. When you do find them, how do you keep them?

The first thing to do would be to create a landing page. A landing page is a site designed specifically for the sole purpose of advertising or marketing. This is where your visitors lands, once they click on your address.

This should generally improve the rate of your conversion because the visitors are meant to be convinced by what they see. Creating traffic for the landing page is just as important as creating the landing page itself. For the perfect landing page, you should ask yourself these basic questions;

  • How do I know if my page is good enough
  • How does a perfect landing page look
  • What kind of tragic do I need for my landing page

Conquering these questions prepares you for the final phase.

PHASE 4: THE NURTURING PHASE

At this point, you are only halfway successful.  It means you have successfully converted prospects into leads – the job should not end here. From this point, you are concerned with converting that lead into a customer.

This is called the nurturing phase. From here, you develop a relationship with your leads or potential customers at various stages of their journey with your products/services. You are meant to educate them on the benefits your products will provide for them and their business. This cannot be done forcefully, but by gentle persuasion in form of dispensing the right information through attention to their needs.

To do this, you must

  • Educate them
  • Add as much value as you can
  • Gain their trust

Make them know how your products can provide solutions to their problems, with the consideration of their own different choices. Once they understand your offer, there will be an established business engagement that will benefit both parties.

 


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