Developing a lead generation strategy

You’ve attracted your target audience, and visitors are hitting your website nonstop, but you have yet to convert them from “visitors” to “leads.” You’ve learned what a lead is, and now you’re ready to develop a plan to draw those leads in – you need a lead generation strategy. Your advertising dollars are just going down the drain if visitors hit your site once and never come back. You can seal that hole with a comprehensive, four-pronged lead generation strategy.
The main focus of lead generation is finding unique ways to attract people to your business. You want to give them enough information and content that they develop an interest in your company, and are interested in learning more from you. Lead generation is a way of developing that organic interest in your company that will eventually propel them down the path to becoming a customer, or conversion.
Developing a lead generation strategy

Prong One: Email marketing

Email marketing is the first step in a lead generation strategy because these are people who have already shown an organic (not paid) interest in your company’s product. By showing this interest on their own, the lead is initiating the sales process. It will be more natural for them to continue down the sales funnel.
To begin, you’ll capture the visitor’s information, usually with some kind of form hosted on a landing page. The form’s function is to provide a series of fields that gathers the necessary information to qualify that the visitor is a worthwhile lead to pursue. The form can be something very simple, or more complex. When a visitor signs up on a form, it’s in exchange for an offer, or something of value on the landing page.
The thing of value that the visitor signed up for can be easily delivered via email content. Within the email for your marketing campaign, make sure you include a call to action, or CTA. A CTA is a message, button, link or image that gives the recipient a reason to take some kind of action. For example, if you’re looking to sell vacuums, and someone signed up for your blogs on best ways to clean your home, and the email pertains to tips for effective cleaning, include a button where they can go and shop and buy your vacuums.
One way to track the success of marketing campaigns is to develop a landing page for each campaign. A landing page is a page on your site that a visitor comes to for a specific reason. A landing page can be a product page, or your home page, or a sign-up page. If you have different landing pages for each advertising campaign, then you can track which campaigns are effective and which are not. From there, you can focus your time and advertising dollars on the landing pages and advertising campaigns that are most beneficial to you. Use the lead generation landing pages to capture information from visitors in exchange for valuable content. Create dedicated landing pages for each CTA – that way, you can send your visitor to a page that features what they are looking for, and it helps build brand reliability.

Prong Two: Content marketing

Email marketing ties in directly with content marketing, in that you should be determining and developing the content type and format that is most likely to be valued by your users. A 2017 report by Ascend2 and Research Partners detailed how content downloads generated leads and produced the largest lead to customer conversion rate, at about 57 percent.
Research reports are most commonly thought of as the most effective form of content marketing, according to Clutch. Original data should include specific metrics that detail how the content was gathered, developed, and why it matters to the consumer. Another effective content marketing strategy is to create infographics, giving clickable, shareable, fun pieces of data (perhaps from the research report) that engage the visitor and teaches them something new. Blogs are also very effective content marketing tools, as they can give the reader an insight into your business and company culture.
Developing a lead generation strategy
Blogs are also very valuable in that they can begin to establish your business as a thought leader in your industry. You can write blogs and utilize them as a way to explore topics that relate to your industry. For example, if you are a plumbing service, a blog post on the most effective ways to prevent clogged drains would be compelling and engaging to your audience. Detail how they can prevent the clogged drain, steps to take if it’s already clogged, and at the end include an offer or CTA that encourages them to call a professional (aka you).
Prong Three: Social media marketing
When you are setting up and optimizing your social media, it’s important to understand the differences and uses between the platforms. First, you should determine the proper platform for your business type and sector, and then carry the tone of voice and style you’ve developed through to your social platforms.
Facebook: Facebook is the largest platform on the market right now, and perhaps the most utilized for community engagement, with 1.55 billion active monthly users. Facebook has built-in advertising management tools, easy to learn and use metrics, and the ability to easily reach large amounts of potential leads quickly. To begin, you have to link your business Facebook page to your personal account, but the benefit is that you can invite your complete network to like and engage with your page – potentially creating a trusted source of leads. If you’re willing to spend a little bit of money (with an emphasis on little – as few as $5 can go a long way), you can promote your page via Facebook Ads, and garner new audience members and customers.
Twitter: Twitter has about 330 million monthly active users, which makes it one of the best tools for reaching out and creating short, fast conversations with the Twitter community. They usually prefer smart, witty banter and messages, so keep it under 140 characters – even if you can write more, most people won’t read it! You can also run native advertising on Twitter, which will show up within the Twitter news feed. You’ll need to spend a little more than Facebook on Twitter to reach a large audience, but the return on investment will be based on what you’re asking the audience to do – follow you, click on a link, etc.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn boasts 467 million users, many of whom are highly qualified in their industries. The goal for LinkedIn is to create a professional network, focusing on B2C (business to consumer) and B2B (business to business) sales and connections. LinkedIn is a great place to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry, as well as engage people who are searching for new jobs and/or searching for people to hire, and connecting with others in your target industry. If you want to promote a post, you’ll dish out quite a bit more money than Facebook – around the $25 to $50 range – but the benefits can greatly impact the success of your post.
YouTube/Google+/Snapchat: YouTube can be a good place for tutorials and engaging reviews. Snapchat is a newer player, and a blossoming audience focused on brand awareness is being targeted on the app. Various other platforms have pros and cons, but the important thing to remember is to engage with your potential customers on the platform they’re most comfortable with.
No matter which platform you decide to engage on (one or all of them), the important thing to remember is that you should be creating content that eventually leads to a sale. Include good graphics with all your posts, and a call to action. Link that specific CTA and offer to a specific landing page that you created while developing your email marketing campaign.

Prong Four: Search marketing

Once you have developed successful email marketing, content marketing, and social marketing campaigns, it’s time to develop and launch a search marketing campaign. Search engine marketing is a way to gain website traffic and visibility on search engines. While unpaid efforts (like blogging) can increase your organic search results (where you show up in the results hierarchy – i.e., on page 1 or 2), the most effective way to reach your intended audience quickly is through paid search.
There are two parts that make up search marketing: search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). SEO is usually free and is a way to garner website traffic through unpaid or free listings (like linking your Facebook page to your website, or creating blogs that have the same keywords as your website). SEM is a paid service, in which you are buying visibility through paid search listings in return for more website traffic.
Before you begin, make sure to optimize your content marketing, and ensure that the top keywords on your website design, meta tags, within blogs, etc. are all in alignment with your end sales goal. If you have already developed a good content marketing campaign, you should already be seeing the effects of your SEO.
With SEM or PPC (pay-per-click), you can instantly appear on page one of search results (depending on your budget). This allows you to get out and in front of the people who are already searching for your product or service. PPC can attract leads that are ready to purchase, and so can assist with qualifying them from “potentials” to “hot leads.” While running a PPC campaign, it’s important to develop a threshold for your campaign’s performance (“I want to receive three clicks per day, at least”); craft a message to your leads that controls the message and encourages conversions; and grow your database of leads in order to market to them with other methods (like through email marketing!).
Once you have written clear, effective copy for your PPC campaign, make sure that the link goes to a specific landing page that has a clear, engaging message with little-to-no distractions. Encourage the visitor to “get an online quote,” “sign up for our newsletter!” or some other CTA. Constantly test your ad copy and offers, and try a variety of keywords and phrases that relate to your business. Once you’ve established a baseline of what works and what doesn’t, constantly improve what works by utilizing data to develop more content that is leading to a conversion.

Tips for Success

Developing a lead generation strategy
Combine and experiment with all of these marketing tactics until you find the blend that works for your business.
Use a formal lead generation system to store and organize your leads.
Use analytics, like Google Analytics, to understand who is visiting your website, which pages they visit, and what actions they take before filling out a lead conversion form.
Utilize your data to develop better content that addresses the needs of the visitor.
Create custom landing pages that tie to each coupon or call to action.
Always include a CTA, no matter what type of content marketing you are employing.
Chad is Director of Communications at JotForm. He’s also a frequent contributor to various tech and business publications, and an absolute wizard with a Vitamix. He holds a master’s degree in communication and resides with his girlfriend and cats in Oakland, California. You can reach Chad through his contact form.

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