What is the Best Way to Generate Leads?
Every business knows that there’s a constant struggle for new ways to generate sales. Anybody familiar with the business environment has heard that the company needs to generate leads. However, to the uninitiated, the words have little meaning. Join us as we take a closer look at what leads are, why they’re useful, and how to generate them.
Table of contents
- What Is a Business Lead?
- How Does it Work?
- How Have They Changed Over the Years?
- How Do You Generate Leads in the Internet-Driven Economy?
- Useful Tools for Lead Generation
What Is a Business Lead?
Many newcomers to companies get stuck with wondering what it means to generate leads. Business leads, aka sales leads, are simply people or companies with an interest in your product or service. Since every company has an incurable need for new customers, lead generation is an essential aspect of any marketing strategy. Let’s take a closer look at inbound lead generation.
How Does it Work?
Essentially, sales leads can be anyone with interest in your company. They may be a potential customer who calls in for information, or a like on your Facebook page.
You can generate a million leads for your business every day and still not grow your company. Why would that be? Lead generation doesn’t automatically generate sales. They’re called leads for a reason; each lead is only the tip of a thread that could potentially bring in a deal.
The key is to follow up each lead as efficiently as you can. You not only need to generate leads, but you need to convert the leads you generate into sales. We’ll take a closer look at some useful hints and tips for converting leads into sales later on.
How Have They Changed Over the Years?
Over the years, society has changed significantly, and businesses have had to go along with it. It’s been just a little over 60 years since the first telemarketing call in 1957. However, it feels like phones have been an integral part of business practices for the longest time.
It’s been almost 40 years since the launch of Boston Computer Exchange, the first e-commerce company. Yet, we behave as though we’ve never known anything different. Why?
Our businesses need to move with the times if they wish to thrive. Unfortunately, that means rooting up relatively new practices to replace them with newer ones. Or, if not replacing our practices, updating them to be current.
One hundred years ago generating a lead meant hearing from a customer about another potential customer. More often than not, businesses didn’t need to follow up o customers because the clients came to them.
Everybody knew that if your tyre was flat, you went to the garage. If you needed vegetables, you went to the greengrocer. Perhaps you’d have to choose between one or two similar stores, but it was a choice you made based on loyalty or experience.
Today, there’s a myriad of different businesses to choose from, and it isn’t nearly as simple. Calling someone up and trying to sell your product is less likely to generate sales and more likely to leave you with ringing ears.
That’s not to say that you can’t still make successful sales over the phone. However, most clients, and therefore businesses, are turning towards the internet.
By 2018, an estimated 2,800,000,000 people were shopping online. 2020 has seen online sales to the value of nearly four trillion dollars. Furthermore, 75% of people shop online at least once a month.
With statistics like these at our fingertips, we can’t ignore the fact that our target audience has probably moved online. Therefore, if we want to get more leads, we need to move online too.
Let’s take a closer look at how you can bring your sales team into the future and generate the leads that your business needs.
How Do You Generate Leads in the Internet-Driven Economy?
There are thousands of different platforms on the internet that have the potential for helping you to generate leads. However, of which of them should you take advantage? Should you use the ads service on Facebook or start a company blog?
Maybe LinkedIn has been the way to go all along, and you just missed it. Or, perhaps you should hire one of those make the best website help companies.
While internet sales are a relatively new establishment and many people are still trying to find their feet, it’s not that hard. From email marketing to social media, you can incorporate many different tools in the lead generation process.
We’re going to give you some pointers about things that you can do to ensure you generate leads, and generate sales, for your business.
1 – Decide Who Your Target Audience is
You’re likely to see the above statement in business articles of all kinds. If you’re generating leads, writing clickbait or following up on clients, your target matters.
Let’s say that you’re selling everlasting ink cartridges that you only need to refill after every 3,000,000,000 prints. You’ll likely be targeting businesses that print a lot.
That means accounting services, print shops, and tax offices. Or perhaps you’ve created a new type of small ink cartridge for commercial till slip machines. If so, your target shifts to grocery stores and other retail outlets.
As a matter of course, you wouldn’t take the same approach to try and reach an accounting firm and a grocery store. Therefore, your target significantly affects your plans for generating leads.
Perhaps your target is individuals rather than businesses. In that case, you’ll take an entirely different approach. You can reach firms with a more direct approach or by targeting key people. When individuals are your target, shift to broad-spectrum content targeting a specific audience.
For example, if you’re using Facebook ads to target animal lovers, you can set the ad to appear to people on pet groups. Or, perhaps you’re targeting artists? In that case, posting ads on Reddit’s artist groups is the right way of going about things.
2 – Create Targeted Content
One of the best lead generation strategies out there is to keep the focus on your target. Whether you’re creating a blog post or an email, make sure you keep your audience in mind.
Many things may have changed, but one thing always remains true in marketing and sales, the customer is the priority. You need to be careful not to scare away potential customers.
Let’s say two different branches of your company produces sticky rat traps and bio-friendly pet shampoo. You probably don’t want to post them on the same blog site. The type of people who use cruel sticky traps, and those who wish to preserve the planet? They’re two very different types of people.
If necessary, create two blogs. Have two separate product pages on Facebook. Whatever the cost, don’t break your sales funnel by creating a mixture of broad-spectrum ads. The result will almost always be the same: you’ll lose either of the two customer types or both.
3 – Be Wise About the Promotional Methods You Use
When you’re working out your promotion plan, you need to be intentional about choosing the platforms you use. In part, it’s an extension of knowing your target audience.
If you’re targeting accounting firms, will Facebook ads honestly give you the best results? Of course not. LinkedIn is a platform for professionals and is much more likely to get you in touch with the right people.
However, if you’re targeting a specific interest group, social media like Facebook and Reddit are ideal choices. It would help if you also considered the costs involved with the platforms that you decide to take on.
Some social media platforms allow you to post basic ads for free, but they’re usually only visible within your networks. The real value behind their ad campaigns lies in the premium and paid versions.
However, the more targeted your approach becomes, the more you have to pay. Therefore, ensure that you choose only the platforms that will give you the best value for the price.
4 – Make a Stand
One of the most successful ways to generate leads is to set your product apart from the competitors. Whether you use a blog post, Facebook ad or another medium, show potential users that you have high quality service.
Your quest to get more leads doesn’t mean that you need to discredit competitors, but it does mean that you need to credit yourself. If your SEO service has a greater success rate with optimizing landing pages, capitalize on that.
You need to hint at your edge over other companies in your field, while openly stating the things that make your company a high quality initiative.
5 – Keep the Lines of Communication Open
Most potential customers spend a lot of time trying to make sure that your service is the right one for them. Business to business sales leads has a particular reputation for dedicating time to research.
What are the best ways to ensure that you convert these leads into sales? Communication is vital, so here are a few tips.
- Ensure that your contact information is readily available on your landing pages, blog posts, etc.
- Offer a wide variety of different contact options. Aim for at least a phone number, email and live chat options.
- Machines aren’t always your friend. Bots and other types of marketing automation can provide answers efficiently. However, your new sales lead expects that from your competitors. Set yourself apart by giving the intimate human contact that your competitors lack.
- Short answers won’t help you keep new leads. Especially in B2B environments, most businesses have adopted a ‘less is more’ approach to answering queries. While this may make sense from a time perspective, no-one likes feeling like they’re getting brushed off. Instead of providing a link to the page that answers the query, answer questions and provide information directly. Short product or service walkthroughs are very helpful in this regard. If you can establish a well-trained sales team to connect with your leads, you’ll connect to one of the best practices in marketing.
- Have a sound follow-up system. While getting in touch with a potential lead is one-third of the problem solved, you can’t stop there. Ensure that you have a follow-up system in place to contact potential customers. Send an email offering them a personal meeting and telling them about products that might suit their needs.
Useful Tools for Lead Generation
So far, we’ve looked at how to generate leads from a technical aspect. Now, let’s take a look at some of the useful social media platforms and tools that you can use to generate quality leads.
It might not always be the best place for generating leads, but Facebook still has its uses. The useful thing about Facebook is that it allows you to take a very targeted approach to lead generation.
If you’re using Facebook ads, you can target a specific age group of people who have links to particular topics. This kind of specification gets you to your target market much faster than broad-spectrum ads.
The downside to Facebook marketplace or ads is that you pay more every time you advance your specifications somehow. Of course, this makes sense, since more specifications involve more complex algorithms. However, if you’re looking for an affordable targeted approach, it won’t always meet your needs.
However, Facebook ads are, fortunately, not your only possibility on this social media platform. You can also use the groups and pages to your advantage.
Of course, the Facebook algorithm favours paid ads, but you can still use outbound links. This platform also allows you to add a CTA button to your page to funnel traffic to your sites.
If the price isn’t a factor, then the answer to how to generate leads on Facebook is by using the Lead ads they offer.
LinkedIn is a great way for B2B lead generation. Since it’s a network for professionals, you’re more likely to get in touch with relevant people at other businesses. Unlike some other forms of social media, you can’t take a broad-spectrum approach to marketing on LinkedIn.
If you want to know how to generate leads on LinkedIn, there are some keys to follow.
- Be very specific about what you’re offering. LinkedIn is full of professionals who are looking for particular solutions. Make sure that you’re detailed about what you’re offering, so they know you’re a potential provider.
- Target people for your network from companies that have B2B potential. LinkedIn is the number one platform for B2B connections. Know your target market, and be intentional about adding people relevant to that market.
- Offer short calls and consultations. By offering fifteen-minute calls and consultations, potential business leads know you’re serious. It also puts you in touch with qualified leads and provides follow-up opportunities.
- Be willing to offer walkthroughs and detailed information. If a lead contacts you asking for more information, give them more rather than less. If you prove that you’re willing to put in the effort, you’ll generate many quality leads.
- If you use ads for lead generation, use them wisely. If you’re going to use LinkedIn ads, take a targeted approach. Offer your product as a potential solution to a problem your target audience faces. Presentation is everything when you’re looking for qualified leads.
One brilliant advantage with LinkedIn is a software called Lead Gen.
Whenever a potential client clicks on a CTA, Lead Gen auto-populates a form with the user’s profile data. This fantastic service makes it a lot easier to contact potential leads.
Instagram is the ideal place to target individuals and companies that create.
As with Facebook, Instagram offers a tool specifically for creating lead ads. You can use them very effectively if you make sure to develop them well and set the right targets.
If you’re familiar with the Facebook version, you’ll understand the Instagram version. Indeed, you manage both sets of adds from the Facebook ads manager. It’s one step forward in unified social media integration.
Here are a few tips to help you create the best Instagram lead ads.
- Use pre-filled sections. You’re more likely to meet all the specifications if you use the pre-made Instagram templates.
- Don’t be shy with calls to action and other action-based buttons. They’ll encourage clients to click and get you more potential leads.
- Optimize your bio link. The link space in your bio comes at a high premium, and you need to use it wisely. Ensure that the URL you incorporate leads the client to the thing you want them to do. Also, try to include your brand name into the URL, but keep the link short. Remember to use the ‘link in bio’ tag to encourage clicks.
If you can create high quality content that centres around what potential leads want to know, blogs can be brilliant. By having outbound links to your website and product pages, you can gain a lot of traffic.
However, for a blog to be an effective lead generation strategy, individuals need to take the time to read it. Consider writing articles about everyday problems in your target industry. Then, incorporate your products or services and mention the way they can help.
Of course, you also want to incorporate some general articles for the target market. Even if you’re trying to generate leads, you don’t want it to seem like you’re pushing your product too hard.
Let the leads know that your product is available; however, keep the focus on valid information. If you offer the help that the clients need, they’ll come to you.
Remember, it’s vital to get the name, email and details of leads. Therefore, it’s a good idea to consider a newsletter for your business. You’ll gather many email addresses that way, and get many opportunities to offer your services to the individuals who want them.
With the current developmental stage of the internet, having a website is nearly essential. Many customers are more likely to purchase services or products from a company with a website.
Having a company website that provides all the relevant information allows you to generate many leads. One lovely advantage of having a website is that it gives you somewhere to funnel your traffic.
Generating leads via social media is a viable strategy. However, having a website where potential customers can find relevant information helps.
However, if your website is well constructed, it can generate many leads in its own right. Let’s take a look at a few steps that you can take to get the most out of your domain.
- Optimize your landing pages to the max. You might be funnelling traffic from social media, or attracting viewers directly to the site. Either way, they expect to land on a beautiful landing page.
- Keep your SEO within optimum ranges. Google’s algorithm relies heavily on SEO to help rank websites, and you need to use the appropriate keywords. If SEO isn’t your strong suit, consider hiring a specialist to help keep your site in the top ranks. If you don’t want to pay someone, try a free tool. There are many excellent choices on the market.
- Please don’t make it seem like marketing is your only concern. Yes, you’re trying to generate leads. However, you don’t want your market to think that your only problem is making money. Build an image as a company that cares for their clients, and you’ll have better ratings.
- Don’t neglect lead generation strategies. Remember to incorporate many opportunities for your market to sign up for email marketing. Once you have an email address, you can follow up with the lead.
- Create quality content. Your website, as with your blog, should include a lot of high-quality content. Examine every page to ensure that it incorporates precious information.
With more than 75% of potential customers relying on review sites to point them in the wrong direction, you need good ratings. The majority of customers read not only the reviews themselves, but how the businesses respond.
According to a study done by Womply, businesses that claim free listings on at least four different review sites earn an average of 46% more revenue.
Therefore, you need to treat every customer like they’re your only customer. Give them your very best, and establish a follow-up system asking them to leave you a review.
The higher your ratings are, the more likely your pages are to feature on a search engine. Reviews account for approximately 15% of a business’ rank on Google.
Furthermore, you should establish the role of active communication on review sites. If a customer leaves a negative review, thank them for the feedback and see what you can do to remedy the situation.
Of course, you won’t always be able to do anything about a negative review. If it’s not within your power to help the customer, thank them for their feedback and apologize for the inconvenience. If nothing else, you’ll establish that you care about your clientele. Indeed, some customers are plaintive by nature and will never be satisfied.
However, according to studies, potential sales leads are more likely to try a company that responds actively to reviews. Keep your quality high, and stay in touch with leads to your business.
Marketing and lead generation don’t have to be as complicated as you may think. With the advent of social media, and the information available to you, you should be able to generate leads efficiently.
We hope that you take all our hints and tips to heart and that you incorporate them into your lead generation strategy. Remember that review sites and social media play a vital role in finding the leads that you need.
Also, don’t forget to connect with your customers. A business with a personal touch is far more likely to generate leads than one that’s entirely automated.
We wish you all the best in your search, and may it only lead to great things.