A Beginner’s Guide to Lead Generation

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It is frustrating when you’re 100% involved in a serious text message conversation, waiting for a reply from the end and you suddenly get a message “Join the crash course for University admissions,” isn’t it?

Well, here’s a secret- it not only frustrating for you (the Customer), it is extremely wearisome for the sender as well (the Seller).
With the progress of time and technology, lead generation has emerged as a sufficiently substantial cure to counter this frustration flu.
The term Lead Generation might have confused you a bit, especially if you’re a new business. So before we explain how it can help you, you need to understand what a lead actually is.

What Is Lead?
Lead generation can be described as the instigation of one’s interest in what is your product. This means gaining attention in your product from someone who initially has no interest in it.

In simple terms, it is the basic marketing principle for every beginner who publicizes his business mindset and idea. Let’s look at the example below for better understanding:

At the age of 22, a guy is unable to grow a beard and considers it embarrassing, especially when all his friends can. You can expect this guy to Google for several informative blog posts titled “10 Ways to Grow Your Beard Fast” or “Best Products for Beard Growth”. He clicks on one of these blog posts, reads all the ways and at the end, gets an option to chat with the online representative on the website.

The representative responds to his specific issue at the moment, and is in a strong position to market the company’s product: beard cream. In a way, it can be called a direct sale via electronic medium. Lately, this has become an effective source of marketing and most of the online users purchase products through this chain of process. You have successfully generated a lead.

Direct Sales
This example opens up another branch related to lead generation i.e. Direct Sales.
As witnessed in the above mentioned example, Direct Sales is a strong and fruitful methodology for successful marketing. A beginner needs to read the psychology of the potential customer. Telephone conversations or live chat would make the customer feel highly important rather than text messages or emails. However, avoid pressurization and compulsion as it agitates the potential lead, and you won’t be able to sell.
The key here is to persuade your potential customer, not to force them into buying your product.

Network Marketing
This is another important component of Lead generation. Network marketing is basically a hierarchy of salespersons each required to market a product on their part. In return, each person receives a share from the sales made by their subordinate.

Although it is a little costly to set up, this method generates great results in the form of increased sales and customer base.

The Importance of Lead Generation
It is bizarre to see certain businesses flourishing in poor economies. Isn’t it?

The answer is simple. These businesses know the art to generating lead. Especially for a newly established business, it is extremely difficult to settle in the market without generating a lead. At the same time, majority of the businesses struggle with it.

Without leads, a sales team cannot be successful. Therefore, generating successful leads is just as important as refining your pitch or closing well. This is why, lead generation is extremely important for your business; it brings in sales revenue.

Lead Generation: The Methodologies
It is important to know and understand the value of a particular thing before doing anything. Since now you are aware of what a lead is and how important it is to your business, it is now time to take the first step to generate leads.

A sales person should know to generate the right lead. But how?

As discussed earlier, direct sales and network marketing are important components of lead generation. However, they have their drawbacks too. Networking can be a prolonged, time consuming and at times quite costly method of lead generation. On the other hand, in countries facing severe security issues, direct sales are ineffective. It’s because the customer has trust issues in making a one off confrontation with the selling party.

In a technologically dominant era, the sales person needs to hit the right the method. So, how exactly will you generate leads?

Social Media Forums
Social media in this era is invincible. It has become a rather inseparable part of our lives. The sales person needs to know that a lead would be fascinated by something readily available; something that they can buy with just a click instead of covering distances towards the shop location.

As an active and growing business, you must establish a strong social media presence and move onto the contemporary ways of selling, digitally. From a swipe up option on Instagram stories, to Facebook bio links, to URLs on Twitter, you now have an abundance of ways to generate leads online.

This may require additional research over the new lead’s contact information and a further time to contact. However, it is a lot quicker than direct sales or network marketing.

Free Trials
Offer free trials. Once a prospect is using your product, you certainly are in a strong position to convince them to purchase it. An extensive trial period of at least a month could easily convert the stranger to a long term customer and make lead generation for you as a seller.

Similar to the outdated newspaper advertisements companies used, online advertisements are futile provided the person doesn’t take an action. If this is the case, advertisements could be summed up as a mere waste of money.

Make sure that your landing page and offer match exactly what is promised in the advertisement. Invest in Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google Advertisements to ensure that the action you want users to take is absolutely clear.

This method entails no component of technology, yet is by far the most effective method of marketing. Not only does it generate leads, but also maintains the existing customers and brand loyalty.

A bad word-of-mouth could result in severe consequences for any business, no matter how good its devised marketing strategies may be.
Referral, or word-of-mouth, marketing is useful for lead generation in a different way. It basically promotes your brand in front of more people, which, in turn, increases your chances of getting more leads.

In the present times, affiliate marketing has emerged as a digitalized form of word-of-mouth marketing. Social media influences, blogs and vloggers have access to large audiences, and as a business, you can employ them to influence their audience to buy your products. Positive product reviews and giving a video tutorial (for example, a makeover if you’re selling cosmetics) can really boost your lead generation.

No matter which method you use to generate leads, you’ll want to guide users to end up at your landing page. As long as you’ve built a landing page that converts, the rest will be easy to handle.

The First Step
Now that we understand the methodologies of lead generation, we’ll look up to the transition of a visitor to the prospective customer.

Soon after visiting your land page, the visitor clicks on your call-to-action (CTA) — an image, button, message that encourages website visitors to take some sort of action.

The CTA takes your visitor to a web page designed to extract lead information in exchange for an offer.

An offer is a valuable thing being “offered” on the landing page, like a course or a template. It should be remembered that the offer should be worthy. It should possess certain value to the lead to share his personal information in exchange of the offer being made.

The form on your landing page comprises of several fields that collect information in exchange for the offer. Normally, forms are embedded on landing pages. Once a visitor fills out the form, the ball is in your court. This means you succeeded in generating a lead.

Here is how the procedure goes:

  • Visitor clicks a CTA
  • Ends on a landing page
  • Fills out a form to get an offer
  • Lead generation is successful

It isn’t as easy as it seems. Prior to being made, the offer should be thoroughly pondered over and researched as to what exactly has to be offered. The buyer will invest their time in looking into the offer, and would demand a lot from the seller in order to exchange their personal information.

Hence, an offer is a very important part in the entire procedure.

The Next Step
As covered earlier, a lead is a stranger who has shown signs of interest in your product or service. Now, we need to see the broader aspect of this part i.e. how a stranger will practically be turned into to a lead.
The process of the transition from a read to a lead is further explained with a scenario as below:

Example #1
Let’s talk about a freshly qualified, unemployed graduate looking for a job. The person is eager to the fill online application forms for jobs relevant to his field.

In this course, they are eager to share all their qualifications, skills and expertise, and why they are suitable for the position and the benefits the company would receive through their contribution.

That’s it. Congratulations. You’ve got a new lead. But, this applicant has qualified as a lead for the Human Resource and not for Sales and Marketing.

Example# 2
Let’s suppose a couple of friends or family members crave pizza late at night. They decide to place an online order.

One of them clicks the website, visits and homepage, goes for the delivery button and ends on another landing page. In the process of ordering the pizza, they will have to fill in their personal information such as name, phone number and address.

If the person orders regularly, it is your loyal customer, but, if your brand was recommended by someone or they found it through your online advertisement, you have qualified a new lead.

These two examples are a crystal explanation of “how to qualify a lead.”

Lead Scoring
Now that we’re almost through with understanding lead generation, what it really is, why it is important for your business and how you can generate it, let’s look at what describe the interest levels and intensity of your lead. That is lead score.

Lead scoring is a quantitative assessment of your leads. Assigning a number to your lead would enable you to determine whether they are “Indecisive” or “Ready and Set to go”. In other words, it is a range meter that well defines the interest levels of the lead.

A lead’s score is dependent on actions they’ve taken, information they’ve provided and the intensity of their involvement with your brand. For instance, you may score someone higher if they regularly interact with your business on social media or if their residential information reconciles your target.

The higher a lead’s score is, the closer they are to becoming a sales-qualified lead (SQL), which is only a step away from becoming a customer. So, the selection criterion for Lead Scores’ determination is another important decision as it plays a vital role in lead generation, and subsequently converting them to potential customers.

Although there is still a lot more to learn about lead generation, you have sufficiently familiarized with basics. As a growing business, this beginner’s guide should be the primary step to learn more about lead generation and marketing your business.

A brief overview of the lead generation process is:

  • Creating worthy offers
  • CTAs, landing pages, and forms
  • Promotion of these in multi-channel environments.
  • Remain in close contact with your sales team to ensure handing off high-quality leads on a regular basis.

Never quit experimentation and testing. The more you experiment with your inbound lead procedure, the safer you will be in terms of gaining a larger customer base, and increasing the sales revenue in the longer run.

Originally published on www.anthonyvallonejr.com