Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting potential prospects into leads that are interested in what your company has to offer. It's warming up potential clients, getting them on the path to purchasing —and it's absolutely necessary function for any business to grow.
Lead generation includes both outbound and inbound tactics. However, salespeople don't have time to chase down leads and determine if they're unqualified or ready to buy. In today's digital age, it's vital that potential prospects find you online and that you effectively capture their information for a follow-up.
Become a Lead-Generating Machine
How is your company creating a lead-generating machine that feeds qualified prospects to your sales team? How effective are you at getting prospects to raise their hand and say, “I’m interested in your products or services, and I want to learn more."?
Do you have a solid inbound marketing strategy and a platform to:
- Disseminate information
- Spur discussion
- Offer insight
- Share opinions
- Build a database of qualified leads
Do you have an effective blog, and how often are you publishing? All of these questions play a role in the effectiveness of your inbound marketing and lead generation strategy.
A 9 Step Lead Generation Audit
1. Begin with the End in Mind
Do you have a well-thought-out plan? Is it in writing, and have you shared it with everyone who plays a role in your lead generation strategy? Does it clearly articulate the objectives and goals of your inbound marketing strategy? The best plans have both short-term and long-term objectives/goals defined.
2. Define Your Target Persona
Just like a traditional marketing strategy, have you clearly defined the target persona? It’s essential that you know exactly who you are trying to help “find” your company. Know what kind of information they’re looking for and how you can help them — then write about it.
3. Identify Keywords to Optimize
Keywords help your target persona find you on search engines while they’re specifically looking for help and insight in the areas your company serves. It’s your job to make certain that each blog post contains those keywords. They should be in the title, header, copy, and tags.
4. Create a Path for Prospects to Find You
Create a path for potential customers to “find you” by promoting your blog posts (not your blog) on relevant social media sites. That means promoting the messages or information within your blog. Do you regularly use sources like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. as a vehicle to drive visitors to your blog to get insight and information?
5. Create Valuable and Downloadable Information
This is also known as premium content. Unlike a blog post, the goal is to attract visitors to your website by offering them a type of relevant and valuable piece of content in exchange for their contact information. This is how you build your database of qualified leads.
6. Build Nurturing Campaigns to Develop a Relationship
This is the beginning of a two-way relationship. Make sure to only send leads information that they’ve expressed interest in, and respect their privacy. Never share their information!
7. Incorporate CTAs (Call to Action)
CTAs can be used on product pages, in digital ads, blog posts, email, social media, direct mail, throughout your website, and pretty much anywhere you can market your offer. CTAs are THE element that could make or break the visitor’s decision to act on your offer. It’s important to follow these tips when creating CTAs.
8. Stop and Analyze Data
You need to know that your current strategy is working. That means tracking which articles are getting the most attention (and which ones aren’t), what topics are drawing in the most readers or creating most discussion, etc. If you’re looking for a system to provide easy analysis, we recommend HubSpot. Their software can help you turn your lead generation system into a well-oiled machine.
9. Convert Leads to Customers
Have you created special offers or incentives to help convert prospects to customers? Are you handing-off your qualified prospects (those that are raising their hand asking for more information) to your talented sales reps, so they begin to work on converting them to customers?
Lead Generation for Your Business
Once you have completed this 9-step audit, you’ll have a better idea of where your company is regarding lead generation. By implementing the ideas expressed above, you will begin to see significant improvements in your lead generation efforts.
If it seems like it’s too much to do at one time, we recommend focusing on just one area and really put your effort behind it so that you can see improvement.
It’s no secret that attracting prospects, generating sales leads, and building a robust sales pipeline are essential in the success of any business. Many organizations continue to struggle to execute lead generation strategies that produce consistent results. The key to effective lead generation, particularly inbound marketing, is to use truly valuable content to educate your prospects on how the solution you sell solves their pain points.
Editor's Note: This blog was originally published in October 2017 and has since been updated.