Generating leads, more specifically generating high quality leads, is a common problem in marketing for businesses with active sales organization. When it comes to lead generation, there are no shortcuts, but a lot of options.
What type of leads do you want to generate?
Before we look more deeply into the ways to generate leads, let’s think about what type of leads it is, that are wanted, or needed.
The easy answer is: the types that are easy to close a deal with, aka, the leads should be as hot as possible. The types of leads that you only need to ask to sign the paper, unfortunately only exist in fairy tales.
Not that it would be impossible to achieve it with hard, consistent work, but the main idea in the beginning is to define a line, when it makes more sense to call to inbound leads, instead of cold calling.
There might not be too much of a difference between a person that has randomly downloaded one guide a year ago, and a hand picked cold contact from just now. Sometimes the inbound lead can be even weaker, and especially less cost effective, than cold calling. Active selling and inbound of course don’t have to exclude each other, so in that way there is no need for confrontation.
On the other hand the job of lead generation can be just to validate, if a person belongs to the target audience, in other words, collecting a list of people you can send out emails and call to.
You can divide the leads roughly into different levels:
- I have already made my decision – An offer request, where they ask you to send the contracts
- I am comparing options – An offer request or a demo, where you would like to hear how this company is different than the competition.
- Looking for information – Downloads related to the topic and the like.
- Target audience – Downloads an online guide or takes other action, that shows they belong to the target audience.
Typically, the organizations with a lot of sales power, will call through the whole target group. The whole point of lead generating isn’t even about taking the customer towards the final sale, but looking for a reason to get in touch with a member of the target audience.
Usually in this type of situations, taking into consideration all the marketing costs, it ends up more cost-effective to cold-call, rather than use the cold inbound leads, that are still in the first stages of the purchasing process. The most cost-effective way you can only find out by trying.
After this the sweet spot is often found slowly, somewhere middle in the sales process. Many times the ideal situation would be to be the first one to offer before the customer has had a chance to compare different services. This, however always depends on the situation.
4 ways to generate leads
Now we can look more into the actual lead generating, and on the four ways how to generate leads.
1. Google ads -search advertising
Google Ads Advertising means advertising that is displayed when a person searches on Google with a particular search term. This is often a fairly effective way of generating leads, although this is usually at the stage, when a person is already comparing different service providers.
For example, if a person googles the words ”video production for companies”, they can be considered quite potential for a business that produces videos for other companies.
Arriving at the end of the purchasing process is challenging also because there is often very much competition. One click can cost you five euros, when at the beginning of the purchasing process that same click from the same person would have cost 0,20 euros. That doesn’t mean that it’s not worth paying that five euros, but it brings extra challenges with the cost effectiveness.
You can get fast results with Google Ads-advertising, depending on how many searches and what kind of competition the industry holds. Usually, the Google Ads-advertising is being used to acquire direct offer-requests, but sometimes guide downloads, for example download of buyer guide, is relatively close to purchase.
2. Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization is about trying to reach as high as possible on the organic search results, and getting free traffic to the site. Through this, you can get leads at different stages of the purchase path.
Typically, the largest volume of leads that come out of search engine optimization, will be the leads in the information retrieval phase, since information retrieval is often initiated from Google.
With search engine optimization, the results will mostly show in the long run, usually in years, rather than in a few weeks or months, depending on your starting situation of course. Sometimes search engine optimization can also offer quick winnings – meaning results in just a couple of months.
Search engine optimization is typically used to gets leads trough relevant guides on the topic. For example guide on videomarketing, when person is searching for videomarketing.
3. The paid advertising of social media: FB, IG, Twitter, LinkedIn
The channels mentioned above are perhaps the most commonly used social media channels for generating leads. LinkedIn provides the most accurate targeting, but the prices are relatively high.
With Facebook and Instagram you have to rely more on their algorithm, but the prices are considerably lower. Amongst the high quality leads there will always be some low quality leads, when getting leads from Facebook or Instagram. Twitter on the other hand has a specific use cases, which we wont be going into in this blog.
Typically, the leads that come out of social media are validated to belong into the target group of customers. These subjects are then nurtured into hot leads by using email marketing.
4. Cold email
Some think this is in the sales field and a part of the sales process. Some people think this is ethically wrong. However, in the B2B field, sending cold emails is quite common.
When sending cold emails, a reasonably broad list of business decision makers is obtained, or the list owner is asked to send a specific message to the list. And then you just hope for the relevant people to convert to leads the sales will contact.
Collecting the email addresses could make for another blog text on its own, because there are so many options on how to acquire them. You can do it even manually by going through websites. Of course, there are also automated solutions to this problem, but more of that later on.
Summary of lead generation
There are many different ways for lead generating. The most important part is to keep your intentions clear and starting to build the lead generating towards the correct direction, based on your goals.
Usually it is smart to focus on one thing instead of trying to do a bit of everything. A person who is mediocre at basketball, football, baseball and climbing – won’t earn much money. But, if you suck at everything mentioned earlier, and are amazingly talented at playing golf, you can earn a lot. The same principal goes for lead generating.
Learn how to generate leads with one, very effective way and aim to get everything out of it. Don’t run around trying to keep up with all the latest trends, and you will be more likely to get results.