Build Your Bottom Line with Lead Generation Funnels

It’s a crying shame how one-dimensional digital marketing has become.

In an effort to put a brand in the public eye, digital marketers often focus more on generating awareness than actually converting customers.

It’s a problem I’ve seen firsthand, and a trap too many companies and marketers fall into: trying to increase traffic without capturing any relevant information for further follow-up.

What kind of ROI do these short-sighted marketers get on their shallow awareness campaigns? Yeesh, don’t get me started. These initiatives may increase your bottom line incrementally (maybe), but you won’t experience economies of scale. You’ll end up investing a good chunk of your resources towards minimal increases in revenue.

What needs to happen is marketers need to take a more objective look at overall lead flow towards conversion — the essence of that delightful marketing discipline called lead generation.

A half-decent marketer should already know what lead generation is, and most likely employs some form of lead generation. But knowing isn’t the same as doing — real lead generation is a strategy, not a metric, buzzword or afterthought.

But like I already said, lead gen strategy is not at the forefront of marketers’ minds — it is repeatedly upstaged by flashy campaigns that burn up budget.

This needs to change. Instead of taking a backseat, lead generation strategy ought to be driving.

The Conversion and Lead Generation Funnel

A conversion funnel is a generic model applied to any digital journey in which a user first becomes aware of an offering, engages with that offering, and then takes some sort of action (a conversion). There’s often nurturing that goes on in between as well, just to keep customers engaged.

A lead generation funnel is specifically a conversion funnel where a conversion is counted when a prospect provides contact information. After a prospect becomes a lead, they enter into the overall purchase funnel (sorry, lots of funnels here) to then be targeted by nurturing campaigns or sales representatives.

How a Lead Generation Funnel Works

Building a lead generation funnel is a pretty straightforward process. We’ll look at it from the customer’s point of view first. Here are the steps a customer goes through to become a lead:

  1. A customer becomes aware of your brand through one of many channels, such as organic search, social media, paid search, or display advertising.
  2. This customer navigates to a landing page where they are offered valuable insights or services in exchange for their contact information.
  3. Intrigued by your free offer, the customer engages with your landing page, filling out a form and providing you with their contact information.
  4. The customer’s information is stored in a customer relationship management system or other database, to then be nurtured via email, retargeting campaign or in-person interaction.
  5. When the time is right, your brand reaches out to the customer with the appropriate offering and converts for a sale.

Pretty straightforward, right? Like we were talking before, most marketers get hung up on the first step of the funnel, trying to get more traffic to their site without optimizing the other steps in the process. But all this does is make the top of the funnel wide, and the bottom extremely narrow, which isn’t good. You’ll be spending a ton of money pushing people into the funnel, with very little revenue-generating activity on the bottom.

So as a company, what are the digital assets you need to have a lead generation funnel?

  1. Awareness campaigns that lead back to a landing page
  2. A landing page with a form to capture prospect contact information
  3. A lead magnet (a free or exclusive offering like an eBook, a guide, a quote, or complimentary evaluation)
  4. A thank-you confirmation page where the new lead receives your offer
  5. A CRM or other platform to store lead information

Real Estate Lead Generation Funnel

Let me step you through an example.

Say you’re an independent real estate agent wanting to expand your customer base in your local town of Springfield, USA. In your neck of the woods the housing economy is booming, and there’s never been a better time to purchase a home.

You want to take advantage of this economic opportunity, but you’re not sure where to start. You don’t even have a website.

What to do? You know the answer: create a lead generation funnel.

A basic lead generation funnel for real estate might include the following:

  1. A social media campaign targeted to the local Springfield community, offering a free guide for buying a home.
  2. A landing page where all interested parties are redirected to download the content
  3. Your lead magnet: “A Comprehensive Guide to Buying Your First Home”

Prospects fill out the form and, voilà! You have new, highly relevant leads who you know are at least somewhat interested in purchasing a home.

The Benefits of Lead Generation Funnels

A lead generation strategy offers serious advantages compared to black-box, spray-and-pray marketing techniques. Here are some of the benefits:

  1. Easy attribution: Lead generation funnels allow you to see exactly which campaign brought in a customer and which offer converted them.
  2. Highly targeted: Because you’re offering a lead magnet that very closely relates to what you sell, leads generated will match well with your product or services
  3. Relatively low cost and high return on investment

Employing lead generation funnels isn’t just a good idea or a best practice — it’s a no-brainer.

Even a basic lead generation funnel can give you significant return on investment, when done right. In upcoming posts I will be going into more detail about the different elements of lead generation strategy, breaking down best practices and innovative methodologies for increasing conversion rates and refining your strategy. I’ll keep you posted.