Online lead generation is the process of building consumer interest in your products and services on the internet. Before making a purchase, customers go online to research products and services, compare competitor offerings and learn more about their interests. Learning how to capture that online traffic and convert it into actionable leads is essential to grow your business.
In this guide, I will discuss what lead generation is, why it’s important, and how you can start generating leads online for your business today.
What Is Lead Generation?
A “lead” is a person or business that has expressed interest in your goods or services. “Lead generation” is the process of actively attracting leads with the intention of turning them into paying customers.
There are two main types of lead generation: inbound and outbound.
Inbound Lead Generation
“Inbound lead generation,” also known as “inbound marketing,” is a method of attracting customers to your brand.
An inbound lead is a potential customer who is interested enough in your marketing to take action. Indications of desire could come from:
- Filling out your website’s enquiry form
- Downloading an e-book
- Demo request following webinar
- Filling out a survey
Outbound Lead Generation
The process of engaging with a target audience whether or not they have shown interest is known as “outbound lead generation.” The following are all instances of this:
- Cold calls
- Cold emails
- Mass emails
- Social media advertising
- Direct advertising
One way to generate leads is via a “outbound marketing” plan.
What Marketing Approach Should You Take? Inbound or Outbound?
Each strategy—from inbound marketing to outbound lead generation—has its advantages and disadvantages. Schedule meetings with prospective clients whenever it’s most convenient for you thanks to outbound marketing. If you choose an inbound strategy, you’ll offer prospective clients a voice in determining when and how they engage with your company.
Although outbound lead production tends to provide better results in the near term, inbound lead generation is more effective over the long haul. Advertising and cold calling are costly, thus these initiatives have bigger budgets. The cost per lead for inbound marketing initiatives is lower than that of outbound ones, and they continue to decrease over time as their effectiveness grows. It’s less expensive and safer to implement initially.
Selecting a strategy that works for your company is ultimately up to you. Start with outbound strategies for faster results if you have the resources, and maintain expanding your inbound assets at the same time. The use of outbound methods may be reduced if inbound lead generation has gained traction.
Types of Leads
Different sorts of leads come from various places. You’ll find four of the most common below:
- Marketing qualified leads: These are potential customers who have already engaged with your marketing team. However, they still need further nurturing before they are ready to be sold.
- Sales qualified leads: These are people who could be interested in purchasing your goods or services. Customers might have shown interest in your business by submitting an enquiry, completing a form to learn more about your offerings, or contacting your sales help desk. Those leads tend to be the easiest to close.
- Product qualified leads: Product qualifying leads are consumers who have tested your product and shown an interest in upgrading to a premium version. They’re probably folks who tried out your free or trial product and liked it so much they want to pay for the next level.
- Service qualified leads: These individuals are interested in purchasing your goods or services. Let’s pretend, for a moment, that your company sells five different products. Your client mentions two of your other products to the sales representative as they are helping them with their current issue.
The 4 Easy Steps to Generating Leads Online
Here’s how things usually go down in the course of generating leads online and collecting inbound leads:
- A potential customer learns about your company via your advertising efforts (social media, blog, website, webinar, or whatever.)
- They check out what you have to say on the internet and then click on your call to action (CTA).
- This CTA links to a landing page on your site.
- Offer them something of value in return for their contact information on the landing page. E-books, case studies, research, white papers, cheat sheets, newsletter subscriptions, and so on.
Due to the high number of touchpoints required to convert a lead into a client, the acquisition of contact details is an essential initial step. You must invest time and effort into developing your connection with them. Lead nurturing is the process of interacting with potential customers and providing them with the resources and information they need to make a purchase decision.
Customer relationship management (CRM) programs are where you should save all of your leads for simple follow-up and nurturing. There is a wide variety of CRM platforms accessible nowadays. Get familiar with a few of the top options, and then choose the one that works best for you.
5 ways small business lead generation helps
There are several ways in which inbound lead generation supports SMBs. Here are 5:
- Increase brand presence and awareness. You may increase brand recognition and sales by engaging in online lead generation initiatives. Customers are more likely to provide you their contact information in return for an offer and make a purchase if they have already developed a positive impression of your company.
- Generate business opportunities. Lead generation efforts not only provide you with a list of qualified prospects, but also pave the way for future collaboration and partnership opportunities.
- Lead quality improvement. Facilitating inbound lead creation activities, as opposed to purchasing leads, often yields better quality leads. Naturally, a greater quality of leads results in more revenue and a larger client base.
- Cut down on lead generating through cold calling. As was previously said, outbound lead generating initiatives are more costly. As your inbound lead generation strategies gain traction, you may scale down your outbound marketing and lower your cost per lead.
- Targeting the right customers. If you want to target different demographic groups, you may create lead generation campaigns that are tailored to each group.
8 time-tested methods for online lead generation
Here are eight quick methods for generating web leads.
Search Engine Optimization
Online searches are made by your prospects whenever they need information or they’re looking for a solution. You can make sure people discover you online by optimizing your website, blog, social media accounts, aggregator platforms, etc. Since they are individuals looking for answers to their problems, if your material is beneficial to them, they are more likely to purchase a complementing item or service from you.
A excellent technique to direct quality leads to your landing page is through content marketing. You must produce informative and helpful content and promote it where the target audience visits in order to achieve this. Even though the information is free, you may put calls to action anywhere on the page to request contact details in return for additional useful materials like an e-book, reports, or white papers.
They are far more likely to sign up for your offer if your material addresses their specific need. You should anticipate it to take at least six to nine months for the organic traffic (market qualified leads) to turn into purchases since content marketing is a long-term game (sales qualified leads).
Consider launching a blog if you don’t feel ready to begin content marketing on other networks. Create blog entries based on the keywords that your potential customers are using to find you, and you’ll get free organic traffic from various search engines. To create leads from organic visitors, don’t forget to include calls to action in your blog content.
Regular blogging may move your material to the top of the search engine results page (SERP) and highlighted snippets, resulting in high-quality organic traffic.
Use of social media
Social media platforms are excellent for growing a following by distributing helpful material and encouraging users to behave appropriately. In your bio, caption, or posts, you may advertise your products and even put a call to action. Use free social media management tools to promote content on several platforms at once.
Webinars A wonderful technique to establish a more personal connection and create leads is via informative webinars that address the problems of your target clients. In order to get information about your connected product or service, prospects who find your webinar informative should be willing to provide their contact information at the conclusion of the webinar.
Reports on Industry Research
Publishing industry research papers is an excellent approach to build your reputation and provide background knowledge. You may order unique research studies, collaborate with online research groups, or compile the most recent studies from a variety of reliable sources. Offer a free copy of the report in return for contact information to generate leads.
E-books or White Papers
Online lead generation is effective when you provide white papers and e-books that address issues or educate your target audience. People are already searching for problems that your product or service can address when they trade their contact information for these resources. These are thus very qualified leads.
Weekly or monthly mailings are effective at keeping your leads interested. So that folks on your mailing list know what to anticipate from you and when, set expectations for the newsletter. Through the email, you may distribute new product releases, marketing offers, surveys, and more.
To sum up
Your company’s primary focus should be generating online leads since consumers’ purchasing habits have changed. Start generating leads online by using the strategies we have covered in this post. Examine each of them, and then choose the one that most closely matches your company’s requirements.