You’ve probably heard about generation X, Y, Z or Baby Boomers, but that’s not the type of generation we’re talking about. Although, it comes into play when you’re figuring out the best strategy for your business. For example, the way you market to Millennials is different from the way you would market to Baby Boomers.
So what is lead generation?
Lead generation is the process of attracting people who express an interest in your product or service and using lead generators (e.g., lead magnets, coupons, promotional offers, etc.) to turn them into clients.
Lead generation isn’t a new way of bringing in new business. It’s been around for a while. But, changing trends and changing behaviors and interests across generations means you have to keep your ear to the ground to make sure your lead generation strategy is on point and right for your business. Even if you have a strategy in place, it may not be as effective as it once was and needs to be reevaluated.
Easier said than done, right?
In a study conducted with service-based businesses to understand the top challenges around lead generation, 42 percent said finding a lead generation strategy that works was their top challenge and rated it as extremely or very challenging.
In this guide, we’ll share tactics and best practices for creating a lead generation strategy that will help turn visitors into sales leads and create an online lead capture machine that will make your business thrive.
Let’s get started!
The first thing you’ll want to do is go back to the basics and figure out the most important aspect of your business—your target audience. Who’s your ideal client? The more you know about them, the better you’ll be able to understand how they buy and develop a results-driven lead generation strategy that includes the right content for the right people.
Here are a few things you’ll want to learn about your ideal clients:
What are their traits?
Demographics: Typical characteristics of your target audience
Psychographics: Things that motivate them to take action
Dig a little deeper and find out:
But don’t stop there. These are just some of the things you’ll want to know about your ideal client before you do anything else. Feel free to use our free worksheet that will help you narrowly define your ideal client.
Now that you know what type of information you need, you’re probably wondering where or how you should go about getting this information. There are a few things you can do and resources you can tap into.
Take a close look at your product/service: Make a list of all the features your product or service offers. Next to each feature, list out all of the benefits of the feature. Then, list the type of people who have a need that your benefit satisfy. This will give you a good idea of the type of people who will benefit from your product or service.
Talk to current clients: Conduct in-person interviews or surveys. You can quickly set up a survey with a free online tool like SurveyMonkey. Ask your clients to take the survey or meet with you for a quick interview. Let them know you’re conducting interviews to get a better understanding of your client’s needs so you can provide the best possible experience.
Look at your competition: Find out what they’re doing to market their product or service (e.g., advertising, social media, etc.). Get a sense of their brand—pay attention to the way they talk to their clients on their website and in online ads. Your competition’s marketing techniques may or may not be working, but it gives you a good idea of what could work or not work for your business.
Once you’ve nailed down your ideal client, you’re ready to move on to the next step of building your lead generation strategy.
Now that you’ve figured out your target audience, you’re ready to create content that grabs their attention.
Using a lead magnet with irresistible content is one of the best, most cost-effective ways to capture sales leads online. Lead magnets attract visitors to your landing page and give them a reason to fill out the webform with their contact information.
Why should you focus your lead generation efforts on driving traffic to your landing page? Because landing pages are the most effective way to bring in new leads.
Here’s an example of how a lead magnet works:
Say you own an online clothing store, and your goal is to drive more traffic to your landing page. A 10 percent off coupon on their first purchase in exchange for their email address is an effective lead magnet you can use to capture email addresses from people who come to your landing page. After you’ve captured their email address, you can email them about things they’re interested in like the newest arrivals of the season or an upcoming sale they won’t want to miss.
Tip: When sending a promotional offer in an email, include a one-time promotional code to make sure the email address is active and valid.
See examples of effective lead magnets and get more tips in our complete guide about using lead magnets to collect and convert leads.
Choose the type of lead magnet that’s the most enticing to your target audience. Something that’ll help them solve a problem or gain a quick win is a good way to determine what works best for your business.
A few things to keep in mind:
Avoid lead capture methods that don’t offer a lot of value. For example, the traditional “subscribe to something” doesn’t provide enough value to the visitor. Keep your offer targeted, not open-ended, so the visitor knows exactly what they’re getting.
Remember bringing in a lot of website traffic won’t do much for your new sales numbers if you’re not capturing sales leads. Make sure your content includes a compelling offer that’ll make your visitors want to give you their contact information.
Your landing page is the place where you’ll make your first impression. Make sure it’s a good one by checking if:
Messaging is relevant to your audience and includes SEO keywords they’re searching for. Google’s free keyword tool Wordstream is excellent for searching top keywords relevant to your industry and location.
Contact information is correct and easy to find.
Images and links are relevant and working.
See if the opt-in form on your landing page is in a prominent location. We recommend near the top of the laptop or mobile screen, so visitors can easily see it and fill it out when they arrive on your landing page.
If your landing page is due for an update, or if you don’t have one yet, use an easy-to-use builder like Keap’s landing page builder—no developer skills needed.
Once you’ve determined what you’re offering, made sure your landing page is good to go and decided on the type of lead magnet(s) you want to create, it’s time to get creative and create content that converts visitors to sales leads.
Creating lead magnets will take some time for sure. And if writing and graphic design aren’t your thing, or you don’t have the time, you can hire an affordable freelance copywriter and graphic designer.
In the long run, the time and money you put into creating irresistible lead magnets for your content marketing strategy (a marketing strategy that uses quality content to build relationships with your audience and improve engagement) will pay off and play a significant role in the success of your lead generation strategy. In fact, compared to outbound marketing (traditional, paid advertising), inbound marketing (content marketing) costs 62 percent less, and generates three times as many leads.
And if it can’t get any better than that, the more you invest in content marketing, the more you’ll boost your search rankings online—where 88 percent of consumers are using online search to seek out information. So at the end of the day, the time and money you’ll invest will yield a greater return on an investment that’s not as big as one may think.
Once your lead magnet is complete, it’s time to share it with your target audience. But before you publish it anywhere, you’ll want to make sure you have a powerful web presence.
Your web presence is made up of your:
The moment you’ve been waiting for! Start with the landing page you’ll be using to collect visitor information and include a link to the landing page on your homepage in an easy-to-discover location. The top of the page is best, as long as it’s above the fold so the visitor can see it without having to scroll down.
Next, if you have a blog, write a post about a topic that’s related to your lead magnet. For example, if your lead magnet is an ebook, you can write a post that gives the reader a sample of the content, just enough to make them want more, and then ask for their email in exchange for the full ebook. You can also guest post on another blog and link back to your lead magnet. Guest posting is a good way to increase website traffic, and an effective way to earn backlinks.
Link to it on your bio: Use it to show your followers how your product or service can provide them with what they’ve been looking for all along, or how much easier their life will be with your product or service.
Highlight your lead magnet in a pinned tweet: Write an attention-grabbing tweet that highlights your lead magnet’s benefits and pin it to your profile. To keep your link short, use a link shortener tool like Bitly to create a simplified, trackable link.
Put your banner to work: Similar to the Twitter header, the Facebook banner is another place you can promote lead magnets.
Post on Facebook about your lead magnet: You’ve got something awesome to share with people who liked your page and encourage them to share it as well.
Promote your lead magnet in a Facebook Live video: Go live on Facebook to promote your lead magnet or give them a tidbit of valuable information from your lead magnet so they’ll want to click on the link in your post and get the rest of what you have to offer in exchange for their email address.
Find out more about how you can use Facebook Live to drive traffic to your landing page and generate leads.
Add a link to your lead magnet in your bio: Similar to Twitter, your Instagram bio is a handy little spot to add links.
Draw attention to your lead magnet with an Instagram Story: They’re quick and easy to make so have fun and get creative. Record a quick video or post a carousel of photos and tell people they can get the lead magnet from the link in your bio.
After you’ve linked your lead magnet in a few spots, it’s time to start focusing on following up with visitors who turn into leads.
Once a visitor gives you their email address and permission to send them an email, it’s time to follow up. The key is to respond quickly to show the visitor you care, and to avoid missing out on an opportunity to turn a newly converted visitor to a sales lead after all the hard work you’ve put in to get them.
As a small business owner, you’re busy going from one thing to the next, which makes it difficult to stay on top of new sales leads that come in. However, technology has come a long way to make life easier—from smartphones and online payments, to self-driving automobiles. So why not make your life easier by taking advantage of automated follow-up technology to help you convert quality leads into clients?
Here’s an example of an automated follow-up email series a visitor who just downloaded a lead magnet and checked off the box on the webform saying it’s OK to email them with additional offers and information would receive:
Email 1: Immediately confirm their request and deliver the lead magnet.
Email 2: On day two, another email is sent with a valuable message.
Email 3: On day 4, an email discussing the pain points your product or service can help them solve is sent.
Email 4: One week later, an email containing a special offer that ties back to the conversation in the prior message is sent.
Email 5: Two weeks later, an email is sent to follow up and send an extra-special offer.
A thoughtful follow-up strategy and a compelling offer will turn your lead-generating strategy into a lead capture machine.
After all the time and effort that goes into generating leads, the last thing you’ll want to do is make a mistake that could ruin your chances of turning a visitor into a lead.
Remember everything we said about creating “irresistible content”? The last thing you want to be is resistible. By that, we mean offers and content that aren’t enticing to your target audience. The most successful content is content that people can’t say no to.
Asking for too much information
Usually, the more webform fields you ask someone to fill out when capturing their information on your landing page, the less response you’ll get. Just like you, people are busy, and while they want your content, if you ask for too much, they’ll back out. Plus, with the increase in strict privacy and data security rules, people don’t feel comfortable sharing their information.
Hiding your webform
If a visitor has to click a link to see your web form, the likelihood that they’ll fill it out is reduced by up to 40 percent. Make sure your webform appears at the top of the screen, or above the fold, so visitors don’t have to scroll to find it and fill it out. That way they can quickly find it and fill it out.
Sending marketing emails without permission
Leaving the opt-in statement or checkbox off your webform can create a lot of problems. First of all, you’re not getting the visitor's permission to send them a follow-up email after they’ve given you their email address. And no, providing their email address does not automatically mean you have permission to email them. Then, if you send them marketing emails without their permission, your emails will most likely end up being marked as spam, or they’ll file a complaint against you. It’s just not worth it to leave this out of your webform.
With a results-driven lead generation strategy in hand, you’ll be more prepared to turn visitors into leads and grow your business, especially when you incorporate automated follow-up into your strategy.
Keap has helped many businesses turn their lead generation strategy into a lead generation machine.
Here are a couple examples of small businesses which use Keap to help them turn visitors into leads and do an amazing job of following up, nurturing with personalized emails, and successfully converting leads into happy customers.
Milkhouse Candles—Making the most out of their leads with follow-up
While Milkhouse Candles has grown into a successful local business, initially they faced problems following up with leads and left thousands of dollars on the table. Keap helped them communicate with leads to grow their business and craft an effective customer relationship management system, leaving no lead behind.
Tyler New Media grew 500% with Keap
The Tyler's began using Keap for email, customer service, and e-commerce capabilities. Keap has helped grow their business by 500% in just a couple of years.
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