That is the way you qualify and retain potential clients

No company, whether in B2B or B2C, can survive without leads as they can help increase sales, generate revenue and ensure stable business growth.

So let’s start by defining the term “lead”. Then we’ll discuss how to generate leads online, why lead generation is necessary, why it is important to have leads, how to identify lead types, and why it is more efficient to have inbound leads than simply buy them.

What are leads?

A lead is someone who has some form of interest in a particular company’s products or services. Typically, businesses and organizations get their leads’ contact details after someone fills out a subscription form on their channel – often in exchange for something like a free trial or discount. However, there is another way for companies to contact leads.

For example, let’s say you’re doing a survey about the care of your car. A few days later you received an email from a car company. This email explains how a specific company can help you take care of your vehicle. That’s a lot less intrusive than just being dragged out of the dark without even knowing if you were interested in car maintenance at all, isn’t it? In this case, you are a lead.

The business information gathered from the surveys helps markets contact people who are actually interested in their services and products. That means the company doesn’t waste time and resources contacting people who are not at all interested in automotive services.

Leads have to go from visitors to customers. Leads are not created equal, nor are they qualified in the same way. Different leads require different marketing strategies. The most important lead types are described in more detail below.

MQL – Marketing Qualified Lead

MQLs are contacts who have committed but are not ready to take sales calls from a marketing team. MQL can be a contact who fills out an offer on the landing page of your website. Usually this means the lead is ready to receive your marketing collateral – nothing more, nothing less.

SQL – Sales Qualified Leads

Sales leads are people who are seriously considering buying your product or paying for your service. An SQL can be a contact who fills out a form asking questions about your service or product. Knowledgeable sales leaders need to contact this lead as soon as possible and answer any questions that lead has. This often leads to a sale.

Product Qualified Lead (PQL)

PQLs are people who are already using the free trial version of your product. The chances of turning a PQL into a paying customer are quite high, especially when marketers can fully highlight all the benefits of a paid version.

The most efficient lead generation channels

While the types of leads can vary, marketers can still find and reach them through the following channels:

Email Marketing

According to the latest Ascend2 analysis, email marketing is still the most efficient lead generation channel. For seasoned marketers, this is no surprise. Email marketing has been successful for 20 years and is one of the many lead generation channels. Some companies use email finder tools to get started in email marketing that is easily available online these days. Email finders are a great solution for businesses that can’t wait to have enough customers to sign up for their newsletter. On the other hand, using email finders is much better than buying pre-made email lists as their quality is dubious to say the least.

The only downside to using email finders is that quality tools like ZoomInfo tend to be expensive. However, you can always find a better, cheaper alternative to add to your email list.

Content Marketing

The second most successful lead generation channel is content marketing, according to the same Ascend2 survey. However, promoting content is one of the toughest ways to generate leads because you need to make sure your information reaches your target audience. In order to get leads with content, you need to create content that your audience will want to access through Google Search or by organically searching news feeds on the popular social media platforms. Experimentation is the best strategy for generating leads through content marketing. Create materials such as blogs, infographics, videos, podcasts or white papers to evaluate what best speaks and attracts your customers. Track content performance using analytics techniques to determine what type of content to keep. Work on reaching your target audience more efficiently and develop content that answers your visitors’ questions. This strategy will eventually bring you more leads.

Social media marketing

Social media marketing is another effective lead generation channel, although it depends heavily on your type of business and the main consumers of your product. Some companies believe that social media marketing is incredibly beneficial, while others get low conversions from their efforts. However, all of the marketing efficiency through social media is usually the result of a good SMM strategy. Your marketing team needs an effective, fully implemented social media plan if they are to generate useful leads through this channel.

Website landing pages

Your company’s website is one of the most effective lead generation tools. It is not enough to have a responsive website to generate the leads your business needs for continued growth. In order to retain customers, your website (and your landing pages in particular) needs to be optimized. To do that, you need to improve the user experience (UX). Landing pages are essential in driving traffic to your website. This implies that there is a great deal of consideration given to the usability and design of the page. Are they easy to navigate? Is the website design up to date? Is the loading time fast enough? Do all links lead to correct pages? In order to get leads on your website, you need to keep an eye on these issues all the time.

Search engine optimization (SEO)

Next up is SEO, another lead channel worth using as it brings natural, organic traffic to your website. When your website ranks high on Google, more people will see it. In return, it will generate more leads for your company. Of course, SEO campaigns take time, so don’t expect to get your first Google page in a week. To speed up this process, you can consider running pay-per-click ads above Google search results. Alternatively, optimize your website keywords for voice search, as around 50% of all mobile users use voice search today.

Lead generation channels are essential to ensure the future success of your business. The most successful lead generation methods include content marketing, landing pages, optimization, SEO, email marketing, and social media marketing. These offer you the greatest opportunity to get your lead pail filled. However, you shouldn’t forget that marketing is all about trial and effort. A timely analysis can therefore be of great help – especially if your current budget is low and you only need to focus on one or two channels that work best for you.

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