"You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take."-- Wayne Gretsky, hockey legend
Like Gretsky said, you miss all the shots you don’t take. Likewise, you will miss all the potential customers you don’t find and engage. Lead generation is purposeful connection with potential customers. When you engage people based on interest and capture their contact information, you have the opportunity to build a relationship journey that moves the casual visitor to become a buying customer.Let’s begin by defining a lead then we’ll talk about the best way to find them.
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step."Paraphrased and attributed to Lao Tsu and John F. Kennedy
Finding a lead is often the beginning of your customer experience journey. A lead is someone who has an interest in your product and gives you his or her contact information to continue the relationship. This is the first step in moving toward that customer relationship which continues with managing or nurturing the lead that will ultimately become your customer. Generating and building a relationship with a lead puts you miles ahead of beginning with a ‘cold call’ because you’re starting the journey with someone who already expressed interest in your product. So, it all begins with lead generation.
Lead generation is the process of producing leads. Simply put, this process is like a machine that converts strangers to potential buyers. Lead generation is a key step in the process of inbound marketing. The process begins when a stranger is introduced to your business through one of your marketing channels like your website, social media or blog. Your new visitor responds to a call-to-action (CTA) and becomes a lead.
"We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little better."-- Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon
Now that you have a lead, you can begin nurturing or building a relationship with that person to provide valuable, audience-specific content that is likely to move your lead toward becoming a customer and ultimately a champion for your business and product. This process is creating your customer experience journey. As your customers move from stranger to lead, customer and ultimately champion, you’re building credibility, trust and momentum toward a platinum customer experience.
Lead generation can occur through a variety of channels or activities. Most marketers agree that internet marketing is the most popular and productive means of generating leads. Leads can also come from personal referrals, events, advertising and telephone calls.Here are some current statistics to consider when planning your lead generation strategy• The three most common lead generation strategies are email marketing (78%), event marketing (73%) and content marketing (67%) (Demand Metric Research)• 68% of B2B marketers use strategic landing pages for lead generation (Marketo)
"It’s not business to consumer, it’s not business to business, it’s people to people."Brian Solis, Altimeter Group
Here are some tips to make the most of lead generation:
With a variety of creative ways to capture leads you have many options and excellent resources to develop a strong lead generation strategy. Keep the people you serve at the center of your planning. When you have your future customer in mind, you will create an engaging journey that draws new visitors to your business and takes good care of them so they become customers and promoters!