Businesses thrive when they make money. But to do that, they need a lead generation marketing plan to help them get in front of the right people, those that may be willing to buy their product or service.
If you have a desire to generate interest in your business’ offering and ultimately grow sales revenue, keep reading.
What is lead generation?
To keep things brief, lead generation is the process by which companies are able to generate interest in their product or service.
For a personal injury lawyer, a lead is a person that was recently in a car accident and is looking for a lawyer.
For a general dentist, a lead is a person that needs a dental cleaning and cavity fillings.
The list of examples goes on and on but one thing is certain for all businesses, effective lead generation can be the difference between hiring new employees and turning off the lights for good.
Below we dive into four steps that businesses can follow to get started with lead generation marketing. We go from the beginning in identifying who the business wants to reach, to the end result which is how to convert acquired leads into paying customers.
Step 1: Identify your ideal customer
The first step in planning for lead generation marketing is to identify the ideal customer for your company.
Identifying the ideal customer allows your company to then research the right marketing channels through which to find those ideal customers as well as to determine the right messaging to get their attention.
Let’s look back at an example. Personal injury lawyers want to get in touch with people involved in car accidents. These people generally have a need after an accident: either to take action against the alleged guilty party or to defend themselves against claims that they caused the accident.
Experienced lawyers are able to pinpoint the characteristics of their best customers. For example, they may:
Be licensed drivers in the state in which the lawyer practices law
Have between 25 and 45 years of age
May consist of more males than females
Possess car insurance
In general, companies can ask themselves the following questions about their best customers:
What’s their age range?
Where do they live?
What are their interests?
What do they dislike?
What’s their level of education?
Once the ideal customer is defined and your organization knows who they want to reach, they move on to the next step which is to actually get their attention.
Step 2: Get your ideal customers’ attention
Dozens of channels exist that your company can use to get attention: television, radio, newspapers, social media, search engines, etc.
The key to this step is to research where your ideal customers spend their time.
For example, younger generations are more likely to spend time on social media while older generations on television. All of these insights make the difference because advertising budgets are at stake. Putting money in the wrong channel might result in you not getting the right attention, or overpaying for it, both of which cost money and yield few if any results.
Differences also arise when considering the type of client. Business-to-business (B2B) companies and Business-to-consumer (B2C) companies vary greatly in the channels their customers use on a consistent basis. Customers of B2B companies might use LinkedIn when it comes to social media, while customers of B2C companies might be regulars on Instagram.
At this step, the questions you should ask include:
What channels does my ideal customer use?
What message will get the attention of my ideal customer?
How much will it cost me to run advertising to get the attention of my ideal customer?
Once the attention is there, the next step is to convert that attention into a lead.
Step 3: Converting attention to actual leads
So at this point, you have paid for advertising. An ideal customer sees your advertisement but now it’s up to the creative itself to convert that person into a lead.
Depending on the channel that you use, different calls to action (actions that people can take) are available.
For example, when it comes to new technology such as social media, you can run a Facebook advertisement that, once clicked, can display a contact form for the ideal customer to fill out with their contact information.
When it comes to Google, you can have a click result in your ideal customer calling your business directly.
Such actions might be more difficult to attain, or perhaps more difficult to measure with non-digital-based solutions like newspapers. For example, if someone sees your advertisement in a newspaper, you have to hope that they pick up their phone, dial the number, and call.
The most important point to keep in mind is to have your ideal customer take an action that your company considers valuable such as placing a call to your office. At the time they take that action, it's vital that their contact information is recorded including name, phone number, email address, and other fields that your sales team needs to call that person an actual lead.
Step 4: Closing sales
Congrats, if you have gone this far, chances are you will generate leads.
But to get ahead, you need to close those leads into actual paying customers.
Now, the sales process can be a separate article on its own but we are going to do our best to break it down in the best way possible.
After you have filled your business with leads, you need to work on converting them.
Depending on your industry you may have to call your leads, visit them in-person, or email them with additional information. Along the way, you’ll know what leads are qualified, meaning that they have the need, financial resources, and decision-making ability to buy from you.
Regardless of the way you interact with them at first, one thing is true: you have to constantly follow up on your leads.
Someone that calls a dental office and schedules an appointment might miss that appointment. But that doesn’t mean they’re not interested. Many things could have happened in the time between scheduling the appointment and the visit itself. As a company, you need a system in place to follow your leads along the sales process.
A Customer Relationship Management system, for example, is a powerful tool that helps you keep track of your leads. A company that offers a feature-rich and free CRM is Hubspot.
By following up with your leads, you're able to answer their questions, build trust, and eventually convince them that your company is the best one to solve their problems. When they finally swipe that credit card, they're a customer, and you have successfully converted a lead into a sale.
A lead generation marketing strategy can help businesses generate sales but it's a process that takes time to pull off. As we discussed, companies that want to implement lead generation campaigns should:
Identify their ideal customer profile
Grab the attention of their ideal customer
Convert the attention into an actual lead
Close the sale
If you’re a professional (dentist, lawyers, etc.) looking for lead generation services to provide you with quality leads to feed your sales team, look no further than our agency. We’re a lead generation company that focuses on strategies for professionals with attention to measurable results.