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Lead generation: the complete guide to growing your business

What is lead generation?

Lead generation is the process of creating interest in a product or service with the aim of turning this interest into a sale. In online marketing, this usually involves collecting contact information from a visitor (called a "lead") via a web form.

Lead generation is an essential part of the sales funnel for many B2B (business to business) companies, as their products can cost thousands of dollars and web visitors are less likely to buy their product or service directly from the website. Gathering new leads enables companies to educate and nurture potential customers through email marketing, before contacting qualified leads directly via sales reps.

Lead generation is also important for e-commerce and other businesses, as email marketing remains one of the most effective channels for online marketing, and gathering a potential customer's contact information enables the company to market to them later, even if they don't make a purchase immediately.

How does lead generation work?

There are two main components to the lead generation process:

  1. Drive traffic to your site
  2. Convince them to share their contact information with you.

The first step in the process is to find an effective way of attracting leads to your website. Depending on your company's objectives and budget constraints, there are many ways to attract leads to your site.

Here are some of the main methods used by companies to generate traffic:

  1. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) - SEM is a form of online advertising that involves paying search engines (such as Google or Bing) to display ads in their search results. As search is the main way people browse the web, it can be a great source of traffic.
  2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - Search engine optimization is similar to SEM, in that it involves getting traffic from search engines, but rather than paying for ads, SEO involves optimizing your website for search engine algorithms so that it appears higher in organic search results.
  3. Social Networks - Social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn have become some of the most popular sites on the web, and are beginning to compete with search as major sources of traffic. You can generate traffic from social networks by publishing content on social media platforms or by paying for ads that run on the networks.
  4. Display Ads - This type of advertising takes a variety of forms, such as video, image, audio or text. These ads can be purchased on relevant websites to drive traffic to your own site, usually via Pay-Per-Click (PPC) models.
  5. Offline Events - Online marketing can often start offline. Events such as industry conferences and meetups can be great ways to network with potential new customers, inform them about your brand and drive them to your website. These can be events you attend as a guest, events you sponsor or events you organize yourself.

Once visitors start arriving on your site, the next step is to convert them into leads via an online form. This can be achieved using many different lead generation tactics, but involves arousing users' interest in your product or service and getting them to submit their contact details, often with the help of an incentive (known as a lead magnet).

Common marketing strategies used by companies for lead generation:

  • Content - Providing high-quality content in exchange for contact information is a common practice in lead generation. This content can be anything from a white paper, case study or infographic to an exclusive ebook or video. The idea is to entice potential customers in your target audience with content that's relevant to your business, and entice them to provide their contact information before they can access the content.
  • Webinars - A webinar is a live video session that your visitors can view and participate in. Webinars typically last between half an hour and an hour, and provide information and educational material on a specific topic. Because webinars are interactive and require a large investment of time, they can be a great way not only to create a lead, but also to educate and convert.
  • Landing pages - The best lead generation tool of all is your product. If you have a compelling product that solves a major pain point, visitors will want to provide their contact information even without incentives. Presenting your product in the most compelling way is often achieved through landing pages or sales pages, which help educate and convert potential customers. Landing page optimization is the key to ensuring that you get the most out of these pages.

Once a lead is created, if the customer is in the target market, the lead becomes a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) and the digital marketing team will start nurturing the lead via marketing campaigns. This nurturing process usually involves marketing automation campaigns aimed at specific email lists to follow up with content that helps educate and persuade prospects to mature into sales leads.

After a lead has been nurtured, a prospect may be convinced to make an inbound purchase on the website or by contacting a sales rep, thus turning him or her into a sales-qualified lead. In corporate sales, it's often the sales team that contacts the prospect to close the deal.

How to improve your lead generation

In addition to increasing traffic to your site, there are many ways to optimize your website to generate more leads.

Since content is often a key incentive for generating leads, experiment with different pieces of content, call-to-action pitches and lead magnets to determine which type of content performs best. This usually involves identifying your key buyer personas and creating content that would be compelling and useful for generating quality leads.

Beyond incentives, a key part of the conversion tunnel that can be optimized is the lead form. While it's beneficial from a sales point of view to collect as much information as possible about a prospect, the more fields there are in the form, the more form submissions decrease. Experiment with different form lengths to see what's optimal in terms of lead capture and lead information.

There are many other aspects of a site that can be optimized too, from having a clear call to action to making the site distraction-free and easy to navigate so that users can easily access the content you want them to see. Exploring data in an analytics platform can be useful for visualizing how potential leads navigate your site.

A concrete example of Lead Generation

At Votre Site Pro, we've set up a "lead magnet" which is used for lead generation.
A lead magnet is content created specifically to solve a target customer's problem.

Ours is called "The complete guide to Facebook advertising".
You can find it here: https: //votresitepro.be/guide-publicite-facebook

We created ads on Meta with a budget of a few dozen euros per day and redirect the traffic to this sales page created with Leadpages.

This allows us to establish a relationship of trust from the outset, by providing a valuable document to our potential customers (leads).

This 26-page guide contains all the information you need to create Meta campaigns using the Ad Manager.

Once someone downloads this guide, they automatically receive a series of automated emails(email marketing) containing more tips and educational content.

A sales representative also calls each lead to understand the motivation behind the download and, why not, set up a "discovery call".

How to use A/B testing to improve lead generation

While there are many elements of your site that can be improved, you don't want to simply implement them all at once and hope for the best. That's where A/B testing comes in.

A/B testing allows you to test different changes to your site with segments of your traffic to determine whether or not they have a positive impact on your conversion rate, and what that impact will be. Testing allows you to make data-driven decisions about changes to your site, rather than simply following your intuition.

Whether you're making changes to your lead forms or testing different lead magnets, A/B testing software makes it easy to present different versions of your site to your visitors, so you can determine which version performs best.

A/B testing can help you fine-tune every aspect of your lead generation strategy, from your site design to the copy and offers you present. By systematically adjusting and testing different approaches, you can significantly increase the number of visitors who convert into qualified leads, optimizing your sales funnel and boosting your return on investment.

Ultimately, lead generation is a dynamic process that requires constant attention and adaptation to market trends, consumer behavior and new technologies.

Therefore, by staying ahead of these developments and continually optimizing your approach, you can not only generate more leads, but also improve the quality of those leads, leading to sustained growth for your business.

Remember, the key to successful lead generation is to deeply understand your potential customers: their needs, challenges and preferences. By aligning your content, marketing and sales strategies with these insights, you can create more targeted and effective lead generation campaigns that will truly resonate with your audience and lead to higher conversions.

Conclusion

Good luck in your lead generation efforts, and remember: with the right strategy and tools, every visitor to your site represents a growth opportunity for your business.