The digital marketing industry is advancing rapidly, and many marketers will agree that keeping up with its ever-changing landscape can be a challenge. Competitors can easily get an advantage through a better adaptation to innovations and developments in lead generation, which does seem to concern many; across studies and surveys, roughly 60-65% of marketers seem to agree that creating traffic and generating leads online is a primary challenge.
A similar percentage seems to set increasing lead volume and quality as their top priority.
Online lead generation
First, to define the term; a lead-generation workflow is, simply, attracting leads and then converting said leads into sales leads.
In essence, the process aims to attract people who are unaware of your product and eventually convert them to customers.
In terms of the sales funnel, the process is often divided into;
- Awareness – the initial stage, when people are first made aware of your product.
- Consideration – the intermediate stage, when people begin to consider your product as a possible purchase.
- Decision – the final stage, when people decide on their purchase.
Generating and subsequently increasing the volume and quality of your leads online thus affects both the initial and the final stage of the funnel; awareness makes your product an option, and marketing increases the odds that your product becomes the customer’s choice.
The benefits of generating online leads cannot be underestimated then since lead generation strategies can assist you in;
- targeting desired customer demographics,
- reducing your marketing budget,
- increasing overall sales, and
- getting a desirable positive return on investment.
Contrary to traditional misconceptions, the duty of generating leads on the Internet no longer lies with the sales team alone.
As sales and marketing departments become ever more intertwined, which used to be mostly telesales calls has evolved into a sophisticated process of employing what the Internet has come to offer.
There are now multiple different online lead generation channels that can be explored, and all can prove to be valuable assets.
We have gathered the best and most popular of those channels below for your reading convenience.
In an ever-changing industry, what will undoubtedly remain stable is the rule that content is key.
For marketing purposes, the content will always need to captivate the mind of the potential customer; be it amusing and entertaining or educational and informative, it must absolutely be eye-catching.
If it fails in this regard, then it directly translates to valuable leads lost.
Thus, content marketing should by no means be deceptive, but it does not need to be strictly, directly related to your product.
It is stimulating and raising publicity, and thus brand awareness has been found to be equally effective – if not even more so than the traditional “hard-sell” approach.
As long as said marketing links back to your brand it functionally serves its purpose, and thus generates marketing leads online effectively.
Especially if you’re transferring your business elsewhere, a consistent online presence can account for the practical downtime.
For a final touch, once those criteria have been covered, you could also consider sparingly adding CTA buttons across your blogs – anything from discount or exclusive content offers to simple nudges for the enquiring customer should suffice and remain effective.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
An increasingly prominent practice, effective SEO is similarly a very effective lead generation asset.
Generating leads online is vital, and Google informs a massive portion of the online landscape – therefore SEO can be absolutely invaluable.
Furthermore, the fundamental advantage of SEO over other practices – although many practices can be employed simultaneously, by all means – is that it can be conducted naturally.
Put simply, it is not a paid marketing service.
SEO is a vital asset towards online lead generation.
SEO can grant your website a prominent ranking on Google’s organic listings, thus generating a notable volume of leads.
For the initial step, your website will simply need to be optimized for SEO – titles, keywords, article descriptions, page structure, and so forth.
This will ensure that Google ranks you highly for the keywords your brand relies on and uses often.
Engaging and visually stimulating marketing content on the page itself, then, can drive further traffic to your website, which will, in turn, boost your position in the search rankings.
Finally, boosting traffic further through heavy social media presence and links in external sources, such as blogs and video content where possible, can solidify your online lead generation further.
Increased traffic through those means will of course also positively affect your search result presence as well, making your business all the more enticing.
On the subject of social media, then, it should be undisputed that online lead generation can be very effectively facilitated by social media.
While the initial stage of awareness can also benefit from an increased social media presence, this approach will also affect the intermediate stage of consideration.
In essence, it is a very common free way to increase engagement with existing leads and encourage them to continue to the last funnel stage.
What social media offer is, in function, an additional platform to both generate and “warm-up” leads online.
Social media platforms generate initial leads by generating awareness of your product and then allow sales departments and tailored marketing products to continue the process.
Following up on your communications with potential customers is an effective way to convert many of your accumulated leads to actual sales – the coveted final stage of the funnel.
Among the many technological innovations, marketing automation may very well be the most prominent and noteworthy.
Manual lead generation can be laborious, but software can somewhat automate the process into a much more manageable bundle.
Marketing involves a plethora of tasks, from the aforementioned social media presence and blogging to page management and email marketing campaigns.
Various software options allow you to administer them much more effectively by consolidating them under one roof, scheduling and automating administration tasks with minimal input.
Practically, this allows you to tackle more creatively or strategically demanding tasks through a busy schedule – all while analytics can provide invaluable insight that can help improve your efficiency in generating leads online.
PPC – Pay Per Click
Another massive breakthrough of the internet age, this practice can be an amazing asset towards online lead generation.
More and more potential customers, regardless of one’s industry, spend ever more time online – and PPC is tailor-made to target online customers, albeit at a cost.
However, said cost can most often be mitigated by its lead generation benefits if utilized effectively.
Much like SEO in function, PPC ads hinge on search result rankings.
You can bid for various popular Google search terms, depending on your brand’s needs, and, should you win, your PPC ads will appear next to the search results for your chosen terms.
This method of generating leads online is, by all means, a process of trial-and-error, as you will need to optimize your chosen keywords and key phrases over time.
However, it does guarantee that your targeted leads will also be optimized.
Your ads will appear to more people who are interested in your product and are thus more valuable leads.
What’s more, you will only need to pay every time a searcher actually visits your site and has thus already become an initial lead – hence the “Pay Per Click” name.