Lead generation is the process of gaining the interest of potential customers and turning them into real customers. The process helps to build trust with your future customer by educating them about your business offering along the way.
In today’s digital era, for a company to be successful and increase its sales, it’s essential to have a proper lead generation process in place.
The 6 stages of the lead generation process
Lead generation activities can range from collecting email IDs online to handing out free samples at street fairs. But this is the basic process from start to finish:
1. Finding the lead
The first basic but crucial stage is to find the right lead. This can be done by understanding who is or could be your right lead and by targeting the places they would be available in.
Next, you should figure out the reason why this lead would be interested in your solution by finding out about their wants and needs. And if you are new in business and have no idea about who your leads could be, then you can spy on your competitors to see the type of customers they’re pursuing (this is as simple as signing up for their mailing list).
When you know who your leads are and what they care about, you can attract them by offering the right content (e.g. social posts, videos, blogs, etc).
2. Attracting through effective content
To attract new leads, it is essential to share engaging and informative content online. Try to think like your lead and understand about what they want or are looking for, then offer it.
For example, a web developer might write blog posts about how to diagnose and fix simple website issues yourself, while a photographer could post the images from his latest photo shoot on social media.
The content can be created in any form:
- Blogs (including guest posts on others’ blogs)
- Photos and images
- Case studies
The only criteria is that the content you share fits your business and will be of interest to your leads.
Share it widely
Once the content is ready, the next step is to promote it through search engine optimisation (SEO) tactics to rank the content in Google. You can also push it out via email, Twitter, Facebook, SlideShare, LinkedIn and other places where your prospective customers are active.
It is necessary to make sure that the content is well delivered by ensuring you have provided all the valuable data and information about your product or services across all possible channels. This in turn will help you to generate more interested queries.
That might be the reason 70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing, as reported by HubSpot, 2020.
3. Capturing their contact information
Once you have caught the attention of leads with your amazing whitepaper or video, the next step is capturing their information so that you can turn them into a business lead.
Ask them to subscribe to your newsletter by saying something like “to view more, provide contact details.” Keep in mind that the less information you ask for, the more likely they will answer (all you really need is name and email ID). You can increase the response further by stating “We will never sell or share your information — ever.”
The people who land to your website through SEO, should be asked to fill a form on the home page or engaged through:
- Live chat
- Video call
In the age of instantaneous, real-time communication, people want their queries to be answered quickly.
One very effective way to fulfil their demands is by using live chats. As per a study by ApexChat, live chat can increase online leads by an average of 40%.
4. Nurturing the lead
Once you have the lead’s email ID, you can offer more engaging, useful content to convince them to consider your solution. One of the best (and least expensive) ways to nurture them at this stage is with automated or manually sent emails to engage them.
For instance, if someone reads your content and subscribes for your case study, you could send across a series of emails like:
- Welcome with a link to the case study
- Helpful tips related to your business
- News of product releases
- Sale vouchers
Every email you send should mention how your business can help them. Be sure to invite them to take an action — request a quote, reply for details, sign up for a webinar, etc.
5. Score based on action
At this stage, give each lead a score based on their different actions. For instance, give the highest scores to the leads that are:
- Interacting more with you
- Visiting your website
- Downloading your content
- Opening your emails
- Signing up for a free app trial
Lead scoring can help you to focus on the people who are most likely to become customers.
This stage not just tells you how ready the lead is to buy, but it can also inform you about the parts of your lead generation process that are not working properly.
For example, if the leads often lose interest after they subscribe to your email list, then something is wrong with your emails and you need to improve your email campaigns.
6. Turning them into customers
Most of the lead generation process is the job of your marketing team — right from finding the leads to capturing, nurturing and scoring them based on their interactions with your business.
The sales team should focus on moving the desire or need to action in the form of a conversion. They can do this by providing personal attention such as:
- Free trials
- In-person demos
- Sales calls
- On-site visits
The sales team’s responsibility should not end here. Once a customer has bought from the company, the sales team should make sure to enrich the customer’s experience to keep them as loyal buyers.
The lead generation process plays an important role in increasing a company’s customer base. However, it is vital to understand that as the digital marketplace keeps evolving, so will your customers’ expectations. Thus, you need to keep your eyes open to new apps, approaches and lead generation activities to keep a steady flow of new customers coming through your doors.