Lead generation marketing

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If you are preoccupied with starting a lead generation (or shortly “lead gen”) marketing campaign, you probably are interested not only in mechanics and setup but also what is the right strategy you should apply.

This article is a quick guide on how to approach and tune your lead generation campaign, how to get quality leads, set a landing page, and reach your goals through automation.

The definition of lead generation marketing

Lead generation is a marketing process that aims to raise consumers’ interest high enough for them to inquire about a product or service provided by an entity (company, private person, NGO etcetera). They are mostly used in building consumer databases for short or medium-term sales.

What is a “lead” per se?

A lead is a person who already identified its need (read more about the AIDA model here), looks for answers or solutions to it on the internet, and ends up finding you as the best one.

At the same time, she/he should be a relevant customer that follows the description of a buyer persona that you target strategically with your brand.

Does it cost to generate leads?

Yes, eCommerce or marketing leads consume time, financial and human resources. In order to obtain a qualified lead, you need to put in place both an efficient lead generation strategy and subsequent tactics suited for the digital environments where ads or (call to action messages) CTAs are placed.

A common mistake for a rookie in lead generation marketing is to put all the eggs in one basket: target a large number of potential leads with the same message or offer (usually in social media or email marketing), without prioritizing preferences or other behavioral criteria that can cluster that audience.

Factors that influence lead generation campaigns

Lead generation success depends on many factors. In my projects I have encountered most often the following:

  • the local market’s development;
  • how active the competitors are;
  • the sophistication of consumer demand;
  • legislation and regulations (see GDPR);
  • e-commerce’s importance in the overall sales plan;
  • the marketing department structure;
  • the team’s experience.

Important: some of the factors above can be addressed internally but others are pure threats to your lead generation strategies as they reside outside your company.

My advice here is that you should take the latter into account as a constant in the overall lead generation equation as they affect marketing and sales but also all types of quality leads.

lead generation

Types of leads used in lead generation marketing

There are four main categories of leads in use today that are popular not only in paid search but also in social media, email marketing, content marketing, and free trial campaigns.

All four categories of leads are relevant for both B2B and B2C marketing in successful lead generation.

  1. Qualified Marketing Lead (MQL) – Contacts who have completed a form on the website but have not reached the stage where they can receive a phone call from the sales team.
  2. Product Qualified Lead (PQL) – People who have used the product or service before and are ready to pay for a new one. We can meet them where there are product or service tests, a trial, a demo and they can go for an upgrade.
  3. Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) – Potential customers who have followed actions towards the lead generation marketing campaign, asked questions, visited the website several times, and are ready to buy. This is a very important lead for sales teams and B2B marketers as they shorten the conversion funnel.
  4. Service Qualified Lead (SvQL)- Customers that come to you with a request to upgrade, to learn more of the company’s offer.

Lead generation strategies and GDPR

These leads are also of several types, but we will focus on the qualitative and quantitative online leads. Before 2018 in the European Union there were popular the purchased leads, but now it is not the case, since GDPR data protection is in force.

In the E.U. it is necessary now for every person to give their consent legally, by checking a box that they have read your Privacy Policy, which guarantees to them, to your company and the authorities that collected personal data will be processed and stored securely.

Although a bit complicated, GDPR is highly beneficial for all parties, because before its existence competitors could sell databases to each other, passing along personal data without the owner’s consent.

Additional info: You can read more about GDP are on the European Union’s official website dedicated to this law GDPR.eu

How do you capture a lead?

First of all, you need to design an effective sales funnel that maximizes the conversion rate of your prospects. Practically you need to guide the prospects through this funnel, like small kids in a hedge maze.

Although it sounds a little strange at first, you need to make sure that you direct prospects from social communication channels (Clubhouse, LinkedIn page, Facebook page, Instagram profile, Twitter channel, etc.) to your landing page.

The arguments of the landing page in lead generation marketing

The role of the landing page in lead generation is to show your prospect, in a nutshell, the convincing arguments so that she/he will share her/his personal data voluntarily with your company.

It’s easier said than done because except for simple products like confectionery, brands have a lot of arguments to present. So these arguments should not be only concise but also trustworthy and creative in your lead gen campaign.

The best way to build your arguments in order to generate leads is through social media listening, customer inquiry, and similar types of market research that focus on finding those conversational “soft spots” of your customers.

When does the conversion of a lead occur?

It happens when the visitor interacts with your contact points, sends you a message, fills out a form, or calls you. When this happens, you have the chance to perform lead scoring but also to present your product or service in a more efficient way to generate sales.

The Sales Funnel in online lead generation can take the following form:

  • Clickable Ad
  • Lead gen Landing Page
  • Content
  • CTA or Offer
  • Registration Form
  • Legal consent
  • Confirmation Button
  • Follow-up
  • eCRM communication
  • Direct call

What are the most popular lead generation activities?

Online lead gen professionals usually focus on the following online activities (not necessarily in descending order):

  • Paid ads
  • Online events
  • Social Media marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Blog posts

Take into account the external factors mentioned before, as lead generation marketing strategies are chosen according to industry, country, products or services.

Types of potential customers in lead generation

Beyond capturing some email addresses or phone numbers through landing pages, it is important that you acquire additional data that guarantees that you are addressing the right person.

Lead generation software and marketing automation

If you want to start a lead gen campaign but also integrate automation in your marketing processes, then you need to acquire a license for specific eCRM automation software. The most popular solutions are the following:

  • HubSpot – which aggregates data from over 103.000 companies to provide marketing benchmarks. The price for the Marketing Hub tool starts at €41/month.
  • Salesforce – The global leading SME and Corporate CRM solution;
  • Mailchimp – The most popular freemium emailing platform used by 11 million active customers and which reaches over 4 billion customers.

How does automation improve a lead generation strategy?

Marketing automation is a multi-channel marketing tool. As consumer targeting can take place on the web, social media, email, text with this type of advanced online marketing software you can follow easier and in detail how those campaigns perform and how they impact your revenue and effectiveness.

In any lead generation marketing campaign automation will simplify not only channel management (so you can be more attentive to the way each channel performs where you place ads, emails, a free trial) but also the omnichannel campaign assessment.

How do nurtured leads impact lead generation effectiveness?

Nurtured leads are very important in B2B marketing. A report created by DemandGen lead gen company stated that “Nurtured leads to produce an average of 20% increase in sales opportunities versus leads that do not receive this treatment.”

What is a nurtured lead?

A nurtured lead receives above the average attention from the marketing team, completing a primary lead record with high-quality information that aims to delight the customer journey to grow a fan base.

For example, after an automated campaign on Facebook, you can use Instagram to display ads that will point towards your Landing Page.

This will enable your lead gen campaign to grow the customer database with more insightful preferences that you can use to send later more relevant recommendations on new products and offers.

What are the best practices in lead generation campaign automation?

Both you as the leading marketer and the sales team will need to be aligned on how automation tools generate quality leads. When set properly, automation should generate more qualified leads for each target audience and maximize the call to action and lead capture goals.

1. Segment the database. Always analyze your consumer data and try to create clusters that you can address with more relevance.

2. Don’t be a source of stress for the leads. Lead generation has no value of the following contact actions with your prospects are annoying

3. Build a live analytics dashboard as you grow your campaigns. Besides statistics also take notes on what works and what doesn’t. Include CRM analytics in your executive analytics dashboard and change your lead gen strategy accordingly.

4. Define the purpose of marketing. Design your content strategy and reach every stage of your consumers.

5. Test on the go. It has been shown that the most successful marketing automation companies in the world are gradually launching. For this, you should test your tactics on the go (read my previous article about A/B testing) and optimize the next block of programs to be successful.

New lead generation statistics (2021 global studies)

Benchmarking your performance against relevant competitors in your market and regional markets is always a piece of valuable strategic information for yearly marketing planning.

Let’s see a list of statistics from top lead gen trustful sources:

2021 Salesforce study

  • over 60% of customer interactions happen online (up from 42% in 2019);
  • 67% of people are preferring to work only remotely in the future;
  • Artificial Intelligence used in digital transformation increased almost double fold;
  • 31% of marketers use SMS & push notifications;
  • 61% of people believe they cannot control anymore their personal data.

2021 Hubspot State of Marketing

  • In 2020 40% of companies missed their sales targets;
  • 91% of users expect interactive content, but only 17% of companies are able to produce it;
  • The global number of email users is expected to get to 4.48 billion by 2024.
  • YouTube gathers 35% of global consumers of video content;