A strong sales pipeline that consistently generates leads is the foundational building block of business growth. Lead generation marketing is designed to kindle awareness of your brand and acquire contacts for you to nurture through a strategic sales funnel into paying clients.
The core components of a lead acquisition strategy are:
- Top-of-funnel content
- Gated content or offers to capture contact information
- Email nurturing sequences
- Advertising and retargeting
Check out these ideas to kickstart your growth marketing funnel.
Share Your Industry Expertise through Quality Content
There is no replacement for high-quality expert content in a digital marketing strategy. While some companies may feel hesitant to give away industry knowledge, being generous with your experience builds interest and trust with potential clients before they are even in the market for your product or service. Publishing high-quality content that reflects your expertise is an organic way to gain leads, differentiate from competitors, and get on your future clients’ shortlist.
Map out your ideal customer’s research and purchasing journey, then develop content for every stage of the process.
Developing the perfect content to generate interest in your brand will take time and testing, but here are a few specific ideas to help get you started:
Product guides are a content type uniquely geared toward readers who are in the research stage of the buying process. They can take several different forms, including in-depth product reviews, product comparisons, and product recommendation roundups.
A product review provides information that is far more specific than a services page or product description. This content piece builds trust with your potential buyer and persuades them that your product is the right fit for exactly what they need. Product guides need to be written from an expert point of view, demonstrating your authority on the subject matter and offering an original perspective.
A product comparison is a type of product guide that contrasts multiple options, differentiating your company from a competitor or directing your reader to the right choice among your products. When writing a product comparison, establish clear evaluation criteria, choosing the factors that matter most to your audience and comparing the product options fairly. Infographics are particularly helpful in this endeavor, giving readers a visual side-by-side comparison that is easy to skim and easy to remember.
How to Get the Best Results from Content SEO
Nearly half of all product searches begin on Google. This means that content search engine optimization (SEO) is a vital method for capturing your audience’s attention by showing up in search results for relevant queries. Content that’s been strategically optimized for search engines draws new traffic to your website by giving searchers helpful information that is also relevant to your company.
Content SEO is a long-term strategy for lead generation, as it requires consistency and high-value content to prove to search engines that your content is worth ranking – especially if your business has not published content in the past. It also requires a data-backed keyword strategy that targets the right topics and addresses them thoroughly. Businesses will likely find it most profitable to enlist the help of an SEO expert. SEO professionals implement long-term plans and also take care of technical tasks to improve website health behind the scenes.
Video is a form of content that consumers increasingly use in their research and purchasing decisions. Videos can capture interest in search results, social media, or email marketing. Or, start conversations around your brand as your website users and social media followers engage with your industry insights. Share industry tips or announcements in short clips, or record a longer video educating your potential leads on a relevant topic.
As your website traffic and social media followers grow, it’s essential to provide opportunities for visitors to join an email list. Newsletters are one simple but effective way to capture leads who find value in your content.
Brainstorm industry news, tips, or announcements your potential customers care about – and begin developing content that informs and helps them on a regular basis.If you’re not sure where to start, survey your current clients to gain a better understanding of their interests, questions, and pain points relevant to the solution you provide in your industry. Customer insights can also provide direction on content that will convince website visitors to opt-in to a newsletter – whether or not they’re ready to purchase from you yet.
Be sure to periodically promote your newsletter online through your social media accounts and encourage readers to share content they find helpful with their network.
Use Lead Magnets to Build Your Customer List
Each piece of content your company develops – landing pages, emails, videos – should all align with a strategic sales funnel that moves your leads from general interest in your company toward a purchase decision. Lead magnets are the lifeblood of lead generation strategies, because they help bridge an important gap in this process – the gap between brand awareness and lead acquisition.
Successful lead magnets transition website visitors to qualified leads by trading helpful resources in return for helpful contact information. Here are three high-converting types of lead magnets to get you started:
Webinars & Video Courses
Webinars (online seminars) are an increasingly popular B2B lead generation tool. Webinars give potential clients high-value information in an accessible, online format that doesn’t require travel or a significant time commitment. Live seminars are particularly effective at attracting an engaged audience, and marketers can test a variety of seminar formats to see what best fits the subject matter and the interests of their viewers.
Webinar formats to choose from include: a speaker presenting from a slide deck, an expert interview, a product demonstration, or a panel discussion featuring industry leaders.
eBooks or Whitepapers
Downloadable content – such as a free eBook or a whitepaper – helps build your contact list by giving leads an immediate resource in exchange for basic information such as their email and job title. These long-form content types are ideal for B2B professionals to thoroughly develop niche topics that would be difficult to address in a blog post or even a seminar.
With website and form templates, sign-up fields for an eBook or whitepaper can easily be embedded into key landing pages.
Free Trials or Samples
Consider offering deals that let your audience test your product or service in return for the contact information you need to run follow-up sequences for higher value sales. Product-led businesses can gain leads through free sample sign-ups, while SaaS and service-led businesses can offer free trials or demos in exchange for key contact information and other important details about their leads.
Free offerings are effective lead magnets due to the monetary incentive, as well as a sense of urgency for limited-time deals. Experiment with the timing and placement of this lead magnet to find what gives you the highest lead conversion rates. You might embed a sign-up form on your pricing page, or try incorporating a pop-up during product demos. Once you have your leads’ contact information, consider how you can improve their experience with the free offering through helpful lead nurturing sequences before asking them to buy.
Read our guide on How to Create Lead Magnets for more details and ideas
Run Targeted Ads Optimized for Lead Capture
Ads can be extremely helpful for businesses who need new leads quickly and have the budget to pay for them. PPC (pay-per-click) ads like Google Ads or LinkedIn Ads are particularly popular for getting your company noticed in search results and on relevant websites like YouTube or social media platforms. To keep your customer acquisition costs reasonable, your ad campaign will need to be both highly targeted and optimized for lead generation.
Effective lead generation ads need to be tailored to a specific audience so they accomplish more than general brand awareness. For each ad campaign, narrow your audience to the people most likely to benefit from the specific offer based on what you know about your current client base, and use A/B testing to adapt your ad copy based on what drives the best results. Retargeting tools even let you strategically place ads in front of people who have already interacted with your brand online.
It’s tempting to want your ad to appear to as many people as possible, but be careful to not advertise too generally. A broad approach to advertising quickly drives up costs – wasting budget on low-quality leads and watering down your message by trying to appeal to too many people at once.
Landing Page Optimization
To optimize your ad for lead capture, you will need to funnel your target audience toward a landing page with a clear purpose and CTA (call to action) that moves them forward in your sales funnel. A general ad that directs users toward a homepage or broad services page can turn into an expensive campaign that doesn’t translate into leads or new customers.
One of the most important principles to keep in mind when optimizing a landing page is to give your users exactly what they expect from your ad copy so your website visitors don’t feel misled or tricked into engaging with your ad. If ads are geared toward a particular service your company offers, customize a landing page that goes in-depth on that specific service instead of directing users toward a homepage or a purchase page.
Your landing page also needs to feature a clear next step you want your user to accomplish – and one that corresponds to their stage in the buying process. An ad landing page geared toward lead generation shouldn’t expect the user to be ready to buy just yet. Build trust on your landing page by featuring social proof such as testimonials or case studies, and funnel your user toward a lead magnet that will keep them interacting with your brand.
Don’t Bank Everything on Paid Ads
Ads are an appealing lead generation tool because they give companies a level of control over lead generation – investing a designated amount of money to receive a predictable number of potential clients. However, you will need to pair your ads with a quality website and diversified marketing tactics to avoid becoming overly reliant on an asset that you do not own. Advertising platforms are owned by third parties that can come and go in popularity and the marketplace of advertising means your ad success will always be influenced by competitors and their ad budgets.
Partner with Influencers to Gain Traction on Social Media
Influencer marketing refers to paying an individual with a significant social following to promote your product or service. This strategy could involve a collaboration, guest posting, sponsored content, or other methods that associate your brand with the influencer’s lifestyle. This lead gen tactic helps businesses reach the extensive networks built by influencers as well as specific audiences that they may have been struggling to resonate with before.
As with all advertising methods, marketers need to establish a clear goal for their influencer marketing campaign: Should people use a limited-time discount code? Sign up for a helpful resource? Order a free sample? The more specific your goal, the better you can track your lead generation campaign’s success. And you’ll build a list of high-quality leads instead of driving general brand awareness.
Be selective with your choice of influencer to make sure your company sends the right message to the right people. Because influencer marketing is a very personal form of promotion – it aligns your brand with another individual’s reputation and lifestyle – businesses will need to be careful to choose an influencer with compatible values. Unlike a true word-of-mouth campaign that runs on referrals, influencer marketing is a paid promotion, but it should still be as authentic as possible. Viewers want to know that there is a real alignment of values and interests between the brand and the influencer.
Promote Your Brand Through a Network of Affiliates
Labor costs make up a significant portion of any business’s budget, and small businesses in particular may not find it feasible to hire a sales department to do full-time cold calling and outreach. Affiliate marketing solves this problem by essentially providing companies with a commission-based sales team only compensated for the leads they successfully bring in for your brand. With the right affiliate management software, small businesses or startups can easily hire, manage, and pay brand affiliates – without needing to hire full-time sales personnel.
Test Lead Generation Tactics with Kartra’s All in One Software
Unlike conventional marketing tactics that rely heavily on assumptions about your industry and your audience, growth marketing is built on data. The most successful lead generation strategies for your business will be discovered through testing and adaptation. This can be a painstaking and expensive process if marketers have to coordinate numerous third-party vendors or software programs to make changes to their lead generation process.
All in one marketing software simplifies lead generation by integrating website pages, email automation, lead management, and other marketing tools into the same platform. Marketers or business owners stand to benefit greatly from quickly and affordably testing lead generation tactics to find what works best.