Lead generation. It’s the elusive catch-all, the mysterious secret sauce that everybody wants the recipe for. The problem? It doesn’t look the same for everyone, and generating leads takes trial and error to lock down. Not sure where to begin? This article will present five questions that will help you start a digital lead generation campaign to integrate into your overall marketing strategy. Grab a pen and paper and let’s get started!
Defining Lead Generation
What is lead generation? Lindsay Kolowich from the HubSpot blog defines it as follows:
“Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting strangers and prospects into someone who has indicated interest is you company's product or service.”
Simply put, lead generation helps expose you to not just more people, but to the right people - your target market.
So, what do you need to know in order to generate leads? Here are five prompts to get you started, which will be unpacked in further detail below.
What needs are you serving?
Who are you serving?
Where are you leading your prospects?
Why would your prospects opt-in?
What is your budget?
1. What needs are you serving?
When it comes to identifying the needs you serve, you are determining how prospective customers would discover you.
Think about what terms prospects are likely entering when using a search engine or other platform to fulfill their needs.
Take a beauty salon as an example. What might customers be searching for that would lead them to find your salon? Perhaps blowouts, manicures or facials.
Think extensively and jot down the needs you serve. Don’t be afraid to get more specific about unique products or services. Consider our beauty salon example- perhaps they allow walk-ins and offer discounts. Walk-ins and discount haircuts could also be added to your list.
2. Who are you serving?
More likely than not, the services you provide don’t appeal to everyone - they may even only appeal to a specific group of people. A few ways to narrow down what a qualified lead looks like is to identify who you are serving demographically, geographically and behaviourally.
Take a home renovation company based in Ottawa as an example.
In general, who is most likely using these services? Probably new homeowners, or homeowners who are selling their house.
Who are these groups demographically? These two groups could be young couples in their 20s-30s or older couples in their 50s-60s, respectively.
Who are these groups geographically? They are likely Ottawa residents, or perhaps in the surrounding area depending on how far your company can reach.
Who are these groups behaviourally? What are their interests? What’s going on in their lives? Perhaps they are young adults who enjoy flipping houses, are recently married or are even starting a family. Perhaps they are older adults who are moving into retirement, taking vacations or picking up new hobbies.
Think of these questions in the context of your business and jot down who you are serving demographically, geographically and behaviourally.
3. Where are you leading your prospects?
Consider your answers to questions 1 and 2. The services you provide and the people you are serving can help you determine which platforms to narrow in on while generating leads.
For instance, a financial consulting company may focus on generating leads on LinkedIn considering it provides industry knowledge to business professionals. It is better to focus on generating leads from one or two sources that strongly suit your brand and audience rather than trying to use all platforms available and doing them all poorly.
Whatever the source of generating leads, it is important that the end destination is a domain that is yours and not controlled by external forces (think pesky algorithms, competing content or even shut-downs). You want to lead prospects to your website, mailing list or brick-and-mortar store as this is where the conversions (sales) really happen and prospects become customers.
4. Why would your prospects opt-in?
While it is important to identify how to use platforms to reach prospects, it won’t necessarily engage them. Being a top search result on Google is fine and dandy, but it won’t be much help to you if prospects don’t go to your website and provide their contact info for you to continue to market to them.
This is why it’s important to present engaging content that also allows for an opportunity for prospects to opt-in. Consider a whitepaper, eBook, checklist, or video that visitors can only access by giving you their information. Now of course, since they’re “paying” for this with their email address, it needs to be high quality and worthwhile or they’ll feel cheated.
In general, your written and visual content should:
Be useful and take a new approach to an existing problem or industry challenge
Help your customers solve a problem even if it’s not directly related to buying your product
Provide immediate value. Think discounts or special offers if you’re a consumer company
Be consistent in voice and frequency of sharing
NOT be spammy (avoid excessive special characters, capitalization, and be sure to proofread)
End with a next step that moves them closer to buying
Remember, once you get their email address you want them to be receptive to your future emails, so this first piece of content needs to live up to their expectations.
5. What is your budget?
While it is possible to get started for free, at some point you’ll need to spend to reach more people. Most platforms, including Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, etc, make it very straightforward to target your paid ads by keywords (the needs served you identified in question 1) and audience (the “who” you identified demographically, geographically and behaviourally in question 2). Often the more specific these factors, the more effective the results.
Depending on who you’re trying to reach, your cost will vary, but all of these platforms are transparent and allow you to control how much you’re willing to spend. It will take some trial and error to strike a balance, but over time you’ll find what works and what doesn’t.
Let’s review what goes into a lead generation campaign:
What needs are you serving? Determine what search terms are associated with your brand.
Who are you serving? Determine your target market by demographics, location and interests.
Where are you leading your prospects? Determine where to capture your audience and where you want to lead them.
Why would your prospects opt-in? Share content that offers a clear incentive to opt-in to you email address and clear value to your prospects.
What is your budget? Prioritize the market, keywords and platforms for your campaign to determine what level of spending works for you.
So there you have it! This certainly is not the entirety of your marketing strategy, but identifying the needs you serve, who you serve, where to find them, how to engage them, and at what cost will help your lead generation launch. Lead generation can be a lengthy process from prospect to customer, but the result can make your business thrive!
Turn your digital marketing into leads! Contact us today to help you improve your marketing and see better results.