How to generate leads: A guide to building your lead generation strategy

by Woven Agency on Monday December 2, 2019 @ 09:39AM

Selling, it isn’t easy. Making strangers aware of, interested in, and sufficiently impressed by you to part with their money – again and again – is no mean feat.

As if this wasn’t tricky enough, you’re also competing against dozens of rival brands and innumerable other scroll-worthy stimuli for people’s attention.

To ensure success in sales, you need a lead generation strategy that cuts through the competition’s noise, attracts people to you and convinces them that you’re the brand to buy from.

What is lead generation?

Lead generation is the process of converting strangers into people who want to buy from you. So that, when your marketing and sales teams communicate with them, they’re not contacting someone ‘cold’, they’re reaching out to someone who has a vested interest in what you do.

Let’s say someone completes an estate agent’s online house estimation tool. This person would then think it more appropriate – and less intrusive – to receive an email from the estate agent asking if they want a free, more accurate valuation. The estate agent isn’t approaching a stranger, they’re approaching a ‘warm’ prospect.

Both parties win from this deal: the estate agent gets a warm lead whilst the homeowner gets a free valuation. 

Good lead generation marketing, then, is about achieving a win-win scenario.

So, how to go about turning strangers who haven’t even heard of you into customers who keep coming back to you?

It starts with your content marketing.

Successful lead generation creates a win-win scenario: one that benefits both the customer and the marketer.

Content marketing

The quality of your content is critical when it comes to your lead generation strategy. In revealing to your audience what you do and what you can offer them, your content is nothing less than your brand’s voice.  And how strongly it speaks will determine how strongly you attract leads.

Content marketing takes many forms: blogs, video, social media, website content, advertising, email marketing, ebooks, white papers and so on. 

But whatever the medium, the aim stays consistent: to attract audiences, convert them into interested prospects, seal the deal with a sale and encourage repeat custom.

As such, your lead-generating content will have different tasks depending on where in the buyer’s journey your lead is.

The Attract stage

If you’re looking to attract strangers to your brand, your content needs to introduce who you are, what you do and how you benefit people’s lives. It needs to grab attention, be bold, be entertaining. It needs to say something different from the competition.

This might be a brand video shared over social media, a beautiful Instagram feed, a website perfectly optimised for search engine results or a useful How To blog linked on another site that convinced them to check you out.

As such, your lead-generating content will have different tasks depending on where in the buyer’s journey your lead is.

The Convert stage

Your lead is no longer a stranger; they’ve seen your ad, scrolled your social feeds, visited your website or completed an online survey that signifies they’re interested in what you offer.

At this point, your content needs to pay off what piqued their interest in the first place and explain the benefits of doing business with you – as opposed to your competitors.

Content at this point will be heavily centred on your website: product videos, testimonials and landing pages can all be used to explain your brand and its benefits to your viewers. Beyond your website, branded webinars and email marketing are also great ways to convince and convert.

Don’t forget, in order to ask something of your visitors (their data) you have to give them something in return. So make sure your content is centred on a deep understanding of your audience so you can offer them exactly what they’re looking for.

The Close stage

Your lead is keen. They like what you do, how you look and what you’re saying. They’re beginning to trust you. Now’s the time to seal the deal. 

At the close stage, your content needs to reflect what got your lead to this point in the first place, which means it has to be laser-focused on your offering. 

Try not to distract your lead with extraneous detail or send them anywhere else on your site – they’re exactly where you want them to be.

Closer content includes landing page forms, calls to action, free trials, limited offers and calendar bookings (where they can populate your diary with a meeting).

Don’t forget, in order to ask something of your visitors (their data) you have to give them something in return. So make sure your content is centred on a deep understanding of your audience so you can offer them exactly what they’re looking for.

The Delight stage

So, you’ve turned a stranger into a customer – great work. But having done the hard part, your content now needs to keep them engaged and coming back for more. After all, it costs five times more to win a customer than it does to retain one.

Content that delights includes post-purchase thank you emails, after-sales surveys that show you’re interested in their thoughts, invites to exclusive events, and newsletters that offer exclusive promotional deals.

It’s easier and cheaper to sell to existing customers than win new ones. Making new friends is great, keeping old ones is better.

The four Ls of lead generation

Content is the bedrock of any lead generation strategy. If it doesn’t engage, inform and inspire, you’ll struggle to get leads through your digital door, let alone convince them to buy from you.

But get your content right and you’ll be in a prime position to win more customers through using the fabled four Ls of lead generation marketing.

1. Lead capture

This is where you capture the information you need from your visitors so that you can market at them in the future. This is usually the contact page on your website or a landing page that’s promoting a specific product you’re selling.

The golden rule for lead capture is ‘give before you ask’. Remember, content marketing is a quid pro quo exercise in which you’re seeking win-win scenarios: value for you, value for them.

As such, you can’t expect people to just surrender their personal information unless you offer them something of value first. 

Which leads us onto the second L of lead generation…

2. Lead magnets

One of the biggest problems converting strangers into customers is the gap that exists between people landing on your website and persuading them to give you their user information. Lead magnets exist to plug that gap – an incentivised offering of useful content in return for their email address, phone number, demographics and so on.

Essentially, you offer the quid and they’ll give you the quo.

Examples of lead magnets include:

·        Promotional discounts

·        Newsletter subscriptions

·        Infographics and checklists

·        Video tutorials

·        Ebooks and white papers

·        Webinars

·        Expert interviews

Successful lead magnets share common traits: they identify and solve problems; they’re specific rather than generic – think “How to increase your Twitter engagement” rather than “How to boost your social media presence”; and they’re usually easy to digest, which is why infographics and checklists score strongly.

3. Landing page conversion

Landing pages are extremely important in the conversion journey. Unlike your main website, which includes all manner of ‘distractions’ – brand values, blogs, contact us pages etc. – landing pages are used for selling specific products, services or marketing campaigns.

The aim of your landing page is simple: convince your reader to take up your offer. To do this, your landing page should employ the following tactics:

·        A punchy headline.  

This is what you offer. You need to sum up your proposition in a few attention-grabbing words:

“Say hello to heaven-sent SEO.”

·        An informative sub-headline.

This is a brief summary of what you offer your customers:

“Our SEO software will give you more visibility in search results, more web traffic and more sales.”

·        Well-placed, positive calls to action

You want to give your reader every opportunity to buy what you’re selling. So don’t just have one call to action at the foot of the page; weave them throughout the copy. 

Also, make sure your call to action leads with a positive verb. ‘Find out more’ is okay; ‘Smash your SEO goals’ is better.

·        Features and benefits

Explaining what you do is good, explaining the benefits you bring to your customers is better.

·        Social proof

To build confidence and trust with your reader, show them testimonials from satisfied customers and statistics about how you’ve improved their business.

Remember, too, to monitor your landing page’s conversion rate and make any amendments if it isn’t performing as you’d wish. This might mean changing the headline, switching the position of the calls to action or swapping out the imagery. You can support your analysis with A/B testing to show the effect your changes are having. When Quicksprout changed one of their CTAs from ‘Sell pricing and plans’ to ‘Show me my heatmap’, their conversion rate increased by 20%.

Landing pages must be focused on getting your readers to perform one specific action. Remember the mantra: one page, one message.

4. Lead scoring

Lead scoring is a shared marketing and sales tactic that applies scores to your leads so you know which to prioritise and those that aren’t worth your time.

You score leads by creating a list of variables against which you can assign them a score. Such variables will include:

·        Have they contacted you or are you reaching out to them?

·        Do they work in an industry you know?

·        Are they likely to have a sufficient marketing budget?

·        What’s the job title of the individual lead – are they a decision-maker or a stepping stone? Do they match up to your idea buyer persona?

·        Have they been on your website?

·        Have they downloaded an ebook or subscribed to your newsletter?

·        Are you confident you could do a great job for them?

Having worked out the variables you want to score leads against, you can start applying points to them – out of 10, out of 100, out of 7,245… it’s up to you. But however you score leads, make sure you’re consistent in doing so, so that you’re always comparing like with like.

Let’s say a company has emailed you about your services. The fact they’ve reached out to you is a good indicator of intent (8 points out of 10). They work in an industry you’re very familiar with (9 points). And they’ve downloaded your ebook (8 points). 

But the person is a marketing assistant rather than a marketing director (2 points). And having researched their business, you doubt they have the financial firepower to be a worthwhile client (1 point).

They score 28 out of 50. Not bad, not great.

From this, your sales team might decide to reach out to them but not as a priority. An email and a quick phone call, say, rather than the free 60-minute consultation you offer higher-scoring leads. And you might task one of your account executives to manage the lead rather than your account director.  

Lead scoring systems aren’t just about numbers. They help you work out your plan of attack, too. In the above example, your sales team know they have to get beyond the marketing assistant and to the decision-maker as quickly as possible. And they need to ascertain whether the company has a sufficient budget to be a worthwhile client.

If one or both of these hurdles can’t be overcome, they know not to spend any more valuable time and effort nurturing the lead.

Leading the way

From obtaining user information from website visitors to understanding which leads to chase and to ignore, your lead generation strategy is defined by the 4 Ls – lead capture, lead magnets, landing page conversion and lead scoring.

But it’s critical that your lead generation strategy is built on content that attracts and converts strangers into customers – and then works to keep them coming back to you.

Need help generating more leads for your business? Then get in touch today. Our lead generation strategy has a proven track record of success and will help you attract – and keep – your perfect customers.

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