What Is Lead Generation – Complete Process, Strategies & Tools
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They say every drop makes up an ocean. Well, every qualified lead makes up a business and we’d love to be swimming in the pool of leads. But how do these leads magically appear in the first place? Through a little trick called – lead generation. But, what is lead generation? It’s the first and most important of generating a customer and we’re here to tell you all about it.
Brace yourself for interesting lead generation strategies, statistics, best practices, case studies, and more coming your way!
What Is Lead Generation?
Lead generation is the process of attracting leads (potential customers) into a contact management or marketing software system. This is done with the hope of nurturing leads throughout the buying process to help convince them about your offerings and then convert them into paying customers.
Lead information could consist of a name, email address, phone number, etc. However, a good marketer should always try to offer a user something of value in exchange for this information.
But in this era of cut-throat competition, do you think a regular lead generation process is enough? Naah! Hence, today we’re going to talk about something even more important – qualified lead generation through inbound marketing.
Long gone are the days of random cold calling. Customers today are more informed and mindful of what information they want to consume. You cannot reach out to a 16-year-old girl with offers on investment and banking. Hence, businesses today need to invest in the process of qualified lead generation through efficient data collection. And, we’re here to help you with it all.
Statistics on Lead Generation
- 53% of marketers allocate at least half of their budget allocated to lead generation.
- 85% of B2B marketers say lead generation is their most important content marketing goal.
- Interactive content generates 2x more lead conversions than passive content does.
- 93% of B2B companies say content marketing generates more leads than traditional marketing strategies.
- 42% of organizations believe that email is one of their most effective lead generating strategies.
- 68% of companies are still struggling with B2B lead generation.
- 68% of companies use strategic landing pages to acquire qualified leads.
- Outbound leads cost 39% more than inbound leads.
- The average cost of a B2B lead is highest for the healthcare industry, followed by finance. The cost of a lead for marketing is low at $32.
- B2B companies with mature lead generation processes enjoy 133% more revenue compared to average companies.
- Companies using lead generation tactics have sales reps that spend 73% of their time selling while sales reps at companies without lead generation only spend 57% of their time on sales.
What Does the Lead Generation Process Look Like?
The lead generation process isn’t a one-step solution to all your problems. It has a start, middle, and end. You don’t only need to generate leads but also use them well. Good thing – we’ll cover all of it for you.
1. Identifying a buyer persona:
Before you attempt to collect leads, you need to know who you’re trying to target. Deciding on the right buyer for your product is the first step. Otherwise, it’s just like shooting blanks in the dark. Your buyer persona can be defined by demographics, requirements, budget, etc. You can use tools like Hubspot’s ‘Make My Persona’ interactive quiz in order to create the right buyer persona for your product/service.
2. Developing a lead generation medium:
Once you have identified the right audience, you need to choose your lead magnet. Strategies ranging from content to social to interactive marketing (which we will talk about in detail later) can help you do that. You need to focus on adding value to your audience through these media and getting their information in return.
3. Developing a lead generation database:
It is a common misconception that the lead generation process ends with generating leads. Well, that’s where the most important part comes. Unless you handle those leads well, it’s all futile. You need to develop a database for your leads where you can study them, filter them, and segment them. And, an automated system is the best way to go about it if you want to nurture your leads well.
Below you can see how the Outgrow platform allows for a database where you can access and analyze the leads that you’ve collected. You can also have a look at all the possible CRM integrations for your data in this tab.
4. Qualifying and scoring leads:
All leads cannot be treated the same. Even after having defined your buyer persona, you need to qualify and score your leads. You may need to prioritize some leads over others. This way, you will be able to target them through different channels and with different content depending on their preference, usage, interest, etc. So, before you transfer your leads to the next step, it’s always better to qualify them using your prescribed parameters.
Thinking about how to score your leads? Here’s a quick example:
Usually, lead scoring is measured between 1 and 100. Say if a ‘Lead X’ fills out the “Free Trial” form on your landing page (20 points), engages on your social media page (10), and opens and reads your newsletter (15), their final score would be 45. On the other hand, if ‘Lead Y’ clicks on your blog (5), visits your homepage (5), and follows your Facebook page (5), their final score would be 15.
You can also use interactive content like calculators, quizzes, assessments, etc. to gather lead information. This will help you in scoring and qualifying your leads better. Furthermore, it enables you to gauge the level of interest, responsiveness, and engagement a particular lead shows in your product/service. You can then focus more on the leads that have a higher probability of converting into paying customers.
5. Creating lead-ready channels:
Your leads need to be collected through optimized channels and used in your marketing campaigns in order to get the best out of them. These channels could be social media (ads and various lead magnets), emails, landing pages, webinars, etc. Create such channels that you can connect with different CRM tools in order to export your leads and handle them better.
6. Invest in an analytics engine:
Tracking your conversions can be a headache if you don’t have an analytics engine that tracks it all for you. A lot of leads do not end up converting but it is important to understand where you lose your maximum leads to recognize the leakage points in your cycle.
For example, if you notice that your prospects drop out majorly at the lead form step, then you might consider simplifying the form, reducing the number of fields, or making the form more interactive and appealing.
You can work to improve your strategy based on this feedback in order to nurture those dicey prospects and increase your conversion rates even further.
Now that you’ve been equipped with the process of lead generation and conversion, we’ll tell you how to master it. (We don’t do bare minimum at Outgrow here!)
Best Practices for Generating Qualified Leads
Before we take you to the honeypot – our lead generating strategies, there’s a lot more you can take care of to ensure that you gain and convert maximum leads. These practices are focused on offering your users a better experience which accelerates and motivates the lead generating process.
1. Conduct A/B tests
A/B testing is the method of comparing two variants of the same web page, app, etc. in order to determine which one performs better. It is essentially an experiment where one variant is shown to one set of customers, and the other to the next set. This allows you to offer your users the experience they want. The more optimized your landing page is, the more likely they are to engage with your content and become a lead.
2. Define buyer persona
As we’ve said earlier, defining a buyer persona is the first step to a good lead generation process. You can use parameters such as age, gender, nationality, company size, willingness to spend, etc. in order to choose the characteristics of your ideal customer. This helps save a lot of trouble for your sales team. Having a buyer persona helps you avoid customers with nil chances of converting and saves a lot of time and effort.
3. Focus on lead qualification
Another trick to saving effort for your sales team is right here! Even after defining a buyer persona, it’s better to qualify your leads in order to focus on more high-priority leads. You can concentrate your efforts on leads that have a higher chance of converting into paying customers.
4. Align your sales and marketing
Your sales and marketing teams cannot work in silos. They need to work together in order to offer your leads the best experience there is. Having an aligned sales and marketing team ensures that the right content reaches the right user at the right time. It also avoids duplicity of effort and content to ensure that your leads have better chances of converting.
5. Improve user experience
For your users to give out their lead information, you need to make sure that they are comfortable with your interface. You should use attractive and engaging visuals on your website. There should be enough white space and your website mustn’t seem too cluttered.
For example, suppose you’re a health services organization. You can embed a patient satisfaction survey on your website to gather leads and engage your audience.
6. Build a road map for your users
You need to be clear about what you want your leads to do. Your website should have clear navigation and instructions for your audience (Your audience ain’t a maze runner, don’t make it one). From the moment they come onto your website, till they reach your lead magnet and give their information, they should have a seamless experience. Guide them with clear and bold CTA buttons throughout the journey.
7. Provide personalized content
Last, but definitely not least – personalize your content. If you’re a marketer in 2021 and you’re still only using generic, static content, you need to step up your game. One-size-fits-all content doesn’t work anymore as your users are different from each other. Personalized content adds value and helps your users in ways generic content can’t. It keeps them engaged and accelerates conversions.
It’s now time to show all the best practices to you in action! Let’s dive right into the top lead generation strategies and show you some amazing examples we’ve got on the plate.
Top Lead Generation Strategies to Try Out
Wait no longer. Jump ahead quickly to see how you can use the best marketing strategies for efficient lead generation.
1. Content Marketing
Content marketing is an essential part of any good marketing strategy. But the question is, how do you use it to gain qualified leads? Your content gains hundreds and thousands of users every day. They read about you, learn from you, and get to know about your brand. But what if you could channel that traffic to come across other kinds of content?
Content marketing is much more than non-gated blogs. There are e-books, courses, infographics, checklists – the list is endless. There is a wide variety of gated content that you can exchange in order for lead information.
Your content must be SEO optimized and attractive in order to get you leads. It should be relevant enough to incite a user to give out their lead information. It should be educational and value-adding and can include blog posts, infographics, and topic clusters. Here are a few examples of e-books, checklists, and courses from Outgrow to show you how you can best leverage your content marketing for lead generation.
2. Interactive Content
We generally don’t say this for anything, but there isn’t a lot that interactive content cannot do. That is exactly how good it is. Interactive content refers to any kind of quiz, calculator, assessment, survey, etc. that requires two-way participation from the customer. It requires a user to actively engage with it in order to get the results promised like the “Which FRIENDS Character Are You” quiz. Now, who wouldn’t want to participate in this?
Interactive content can be easily used in emails, social media, landing pages, display ads, etc. in order to generate qualified leads. It aims to add value to a user by offering personalized information.
It can be used in any industry and any size of a business. In fact, it can be used for any user, no matter which stage of the buyer’s journey they are at.
Also Read: Best Interactive Lead Generation Techniques
Suppose if you’re an automobile dealer and you want to generate qualified leads, you can create a quiz like “What Kind of Car Should You Buy”. It is a great way of helping your customers better understand their requirements and preference when it comes to buying an automobile.
Moreover, the leads that you generate through this quiz will definitely be more qualified than the leads you gain through other channels. You know that these are people who are acquainted with the idea of purchasing a car and want to make more informed decisions.
In fact, interactive content gives you a bonus benefit! Along with lead information, you will also be able to know more about their preferences and choices. This data will help you immensely in nurturing your leads and retargeting them with personalized offers to boost conversions.
Health and Lifestyle Industry
Now let’s assume that you are the owner of a health and fitness company that provides people with diet and exercise regimes and personal training. You get a lot of visitors to your website but you are not able to gather any leads from them. Well, one Calories Calculator and all your problems have been solved. People love getting personalized solutions and are more likely to give away lead information in exchange.
This calculator, on the basis of the age, gender, height, etc. of a user gives them customized answers to how many calories they should consume in a day. This interactive content not only helps you generate but also segment qualified leads and target them with better content.
So isn’t that a win-win?
3. Social Media Marketing
Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn – we spend hours and hours of our day on these, right? Well, you and other businesses like yours can definitely leverage that to gain more leads from social media! It is a great way of increasing your reach and interacting with your audience in a more direct manner. To take your social media presence to the next level, consider using best QR code generator. By incorporating a personalized QR code into your posts and profiles, you can easily share your existing gated content far and wide, attracting a larger audience and gathering more leads.
You can share your existing gated content far and wide to gather more audience on it. You can run contests, giveaways, and promotions to incentivize your audience to give out lead information. These have a high shareability and help you expand your audience base. The only downside to using contests and giveaways can be that they don’t always give you the most qualified leads. But considering how time and cost-effective they are, we’d say it’s a risk we’d be willing to take.
Social media platforms also offer ‘Lead Generation Ads’ that help you directly collect leads through ads on them. These make the process simple by offering a pop-up lead gen form, without directing a user to a third-party landing page.
You can also use the concept of live videos and stories on social media to promote your gated content. This could be registration for an event, or a special e-book, or a special template!
4. Podcasts and Webinars
Podcasts and webinars are a great way to build a community for your brand. It is a space for like-minded people to get together and learn from each other. And at the same time, they are also great generators of leads. These leads are extremely valuable and qualified because you know that these people are genuinely interested in what you want to talk about.
You should create attractive and SEO-optimized landing pages for your podcasts and webinars and share them through social media, on your website, through newsletters, and much more. You may not get the same number of attendees as your responses but you sure do generate a good number of leads.
5. Email Marketing
Stats say that the overall average open rate for email marketing is 22.86%. And it would just be silly not to make the best use of that, right? The best way to make use of email marketing would be through a value-packed newsletter – including reports, PDFs, checklists, interactive content, all of it! Talk about your new blog posts, your offers, your discounts, give your audience the best! Encourage people to sign up for your newsletter by offering them the content of value.
And isn’t that the beauty of inbound marketing after all?
6. Offer Coupons and Discounts
Well, who doesn’t love free gifts? Coupon and promo codes are a great incentive for users to give out their lead information to businesses. Here is an example by Joker & Witch, an accessories company. Every time you open their website, you come across a side pop-up with a ‘Spin The Wheel’ game that grants you a coupon code prize. To receive that code, you need to give your email address so that you can buy your favorite watch at the best price, you can also run a scan to win contests with a bulk QR code generator.
This not only generates qualified leads but also incentivizes people to make a purchase. Smart right?
7. Free Trials
Just like coupon codes, free trials are also a great way to lure qualified leads. Free trials and freemium products attract qualified, interested prospects who aren’t just ready to buy. Once free trial users are done signing up, you can convert them into paying customers later by offering paid features and delivering drip email campaigns that promote the benefits of upgraded accounts.
Here is an example of how we generate qualified leads by offering free trials. Do take note of the clear and bold “START FREE TRIAL” CTA button and the “No Credit Card Required” benefit highlighted to reduce barriers and boost signups (and lead generation).
8. Online Ads
There are various kinds of ads that are perfect ways of generating leads; namely, PPC ads, display ads, remarketing, native and social media ads.
PPC or pay-per-click advertising is a great way to get noticed. They are highly focused on the keywords you select, which is why the leads you generate through them are qualified. It’s useful to focus more on the leads that are obtained through your PPC ad having branded keywords, as it proves that they searched for your business by name. When you create PPC ads, be sure to use short and crisp language to stand out in the crowd.
Display ads make the use of attractive visuals like images and GIFs to target their audience. You can use these ads with lead generation forms or even direct your users to optimized landing pages for increased lead generation.
Remarketing ads are a great way to get your dropped visitors back in the loop. And native ads, while completely non-disruptive, are a great way to extend the reach of your content marketing efforts. Have a look at this Facebook ad here.
9. Video Marketing
Can we ever ignore this? 77% of people watch online videos every week, and 55% view online videos every day. Videos attract attention like nothing else and they are a great way of capturing qualified leads. You can gate your videos in order to capture email addresses. You can also include lead generation forms at the end of the videos in order to allow them to download the video or other forms of content. Moreover, you should make sure to add a call to action at the end of your video to direct your audience to more lead generating forms of content.
Videos are engaging and capture the attention of the user. Hence, people are more likely to finish watching a video than they are to finish reading a blog. Well, given how fun videos can be, can we blame them?
Outgrow Lead Generation Case Study
Now that we’ve talked so much about how you can generate leads, let’s show you a case study of a company that actually practiced what we preached!
Inventrom, a cloud platform, is one of our favorite clients. They needed a tool that would not only help them generate leads but also qualify them. Inventrom used the assessment content type, with the Chicago layout for its experience – the ‘IoT & ML Training Scholarship’ test. And then, simply embedded that on their website.
Results – This assessment helped Inventrom gain a whopping number of 61000+ leads and 98000+ visits. Moreover, the conversion rate for the experience is over 62%.
Want to see more such amazing case studies? Click here!
Lead Generation Tools That You Should Definitely Try Out!
Lead generation can be done in a lot of ways. And in today’s world, it is even easier than it seems. That’s because today there are a million tools that help you automate parts of your lead generation process. Some of these tools are –
- Outgrow – for interactive content creation
- Constant Contact – for integrating forms on your website
- MailChimp – for integrating your email marketing strategy
- Hubspot – for automating your lead generation
- Sumo – for enhancing your email list
What Makes Outgrow a Good Lead Generation Software?
Well, it is definitely a mammoth task that we have undertaken. But we shall try to give you a glimpse of what makes Outgrow a wonderful lead generation software.
Outgrow is a platform that allows you to create various types of interactive content like quizzes, calculators, surveys, etc. without coding. It gives you a wide collection of premade templates and layouts that makes your job 10x easier. You can choose from any of these and customize them to your needs and liking. It lets you choose fonts, images, gifs, backgrounds, colors, and much more. Our users say that it has a very easy-to-use interface. Hundreds of embeds and integrations are just one of the many reasons Outgrow is such a technically powerful tool.
You can choose where you want to add your lead generation form, which fields you want to include, etc. Outgrow also offers complicated features like logic jumps in your calculators, quizzes, etc.
You can allow for social media sharing and subscription too via your interactive content, thus increasing traffic to your platforms.
There are a thousand other reasons why you should use Outgrow but for today we’ll just leave it here.
We hope that by now you feel that lead generation isn’t as tough as you thought it would be. There are some great strategies out there to help you out, interactive content being our favorite (blame us for being biased). Do you have more tips and tricks on what is lead generation and how to do it? Well, you know where to find us! Try Outgrow’s free trial today to generate some of those qualified leads for your platform!
Antara Agarwal is a full time marketing consultant at Outgrow. She can be found packing her bags for her next trip, often to the mountains. And in one of those bags you will always find a half finished book she’s been struggling with for months.