Lead generation is the process of generating consumer interest for a product or service with the goal of turning that interest into a sale. In online marketing this typically involves collecting a visitor’s contact information (called a “lead”) via a web form.
Lead generation is a core part of the sales funnel for many B2B companies since their products can cost thousands of dollars and web visitors are less likely to buy their product or service directly from the website. Collecting new leads allows the businesses to educate and nurture prospective customers through email marketing, before reaching out to qualified leads directly via salespeople.
Lead generation is also important for ecommerce and other businesses, as email marketing is still one of the most effective channels for marketing online, and gathering a prospective customer’s contact info allows the business to market to them later, even if they do not make a purchase immediately.
There are two main components to the lead generation process: getting traffic to your site and then convincing them to share their contact information with you.
The first step of the process is finding an effective way to attract prospects to your website. Depending on your company’s goals and budgetary constraints, there are many ways to start attracting prospects to your site. The following are some of the key ways businesses use to drive traffic:
Once visitors start arriving to your site, the next step is to convert them into leads via an online form. This can be done in using many different lead generation tactics but involves getting users interested in your product or service and getting them to submit their contact info, often through the use of an incentive (known as a “lead magnet”).
Here are common marketing strategies businesses leverage to generate leads:
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 begin nurturing the lead via marketing campaigns. This nurturing process typically involves marketing automation campaigns to specific email lists to follow-up with content that helps to educate and persuade the prospects to eventually mature into sales leads.
After a lead has been nurtured, a prospect can be convinced to make an inbound purchase on the website or by reaching out to a salesperson, turning them into a sales qualified lead. In enterprise sales, it is often the sales team that reaches out to the prospect to close the deal.
Aside from driving more traffic to your site, there are many ways in which you can optimize your website in order to drive more leads.
Since content is often a key incentive for driving leads, experiment with different pieces of content, call-to-action placement and lead magnets to determine what type of content performs best. This typically involves identifying your key buyer personas, and creating content that would be compelling and useful to drive quality leads.
Beyond incentives, often a key part of the conversion funnel that can be optimized is the lead form. Although it is beneficial from a business standpoint to collect as much information as possible about a prospect, more form fields lead to a reduction in form submissions. Experiment with different form lengths to see what is optimal in terms of lead capture and lead information.
There are many other aspects of a site that can be optimized as well, from having a clear call-to-action to making the site distraction free and easy to navigate so that users can easily get to the content that you want them to. Exploring the data in an analytics platform can be helpful to visualize how potential leads are navigating around your site. For more lead generation inspiration, see our post on 50 B2B lead generation ideas.
Although there are many elements of your site that can be improved, you don’t want to just 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 out different changes on your site to segments of your traffic in order to determine whether they have a positive impact on your conversion rate on not, and what the impact will actually be. Testing allows you to make data-driven decisions about changes to your site, rather than just going with your gut.
Whether you are making changes to your lead forms or testing out different lead magnets, A/B testing software such as Optimizely makes it easy to show different versions of your site to your visitors, so that you can determine which version performs the best.