Lead generation is not just for some business, it’s for ALL businesses: B2B, B2C, for-profit, non-profit, SMBs, Enterprise–you get the idea. But do you have any lead generation tactics in your current strategy? Are you always on red alert when it comes to filling your lead pipeline? Do you have a lead pipeline?
Believe it or not, there’s still a surprising number of businesses operating today without a lead generation strategy besides “We need leads so…let’s get them somehow.” Avoid the panic and anxiety that an empty sales pipeline brings by utilizing some lead generation tactics now. We’ll show you how in today’s post.
What is lead generation?
Lead generation is just what it sounds like: it’s the discipline of generating leads. There are several ways to do this and most companies practice lead generation through Outbound Marketing (reaching out directly to generate leads) or Inbound Marketing (letting leads come to you) or a mix of both we like to call Allbound Marketing.
You know Envision loves data and stats so here are some stats to drive home that lead generation is on the collective Marketing Hive Mind:
- 63% of marketers say generating traffic and leads is their #1 challenge. (source)
- 80% of marketers say their lead generation efforts are only slightly of somewhat effective. (source)
- Lead nurturing results in a 50% increase in sales-ready leads and a 33% decrease in cost. (source)
- 53% of marketers say half or more of their budget is allocated to lead generation. (source)
That last stat hits home more than any other—if you’re not allocating budget towards lead generation, your competition IS.
Lead generation tactics from Easy to Hard
Now that we have some stats and a renewed sense of urgency, let’s talk tactics. If you’re having trouble generating leads, then looking for new lead generation ideas is the right move; however, it’s important to understand that not all lead generation tactics are created equal. This is because some tactics require more effort (and more budget) than others. We’ll cover just a few here today (because honestly, we could literally write FOR-EV-ER!) and highlight an easy, medium, and hard tactic you can take on today.
EASY: Paid Social
Have an event to promote? A new blog post you’d like to garner more views and clicks? Want to get more engagements, broader reach, and/or more page likes? Boost or promote your posts on social!
Promoting posts is often an easy, quick turnaround on lead generation that can take only a day of running and a small budget (depending on how many people you want to reach, that is!) to get results. Facebook is the most popular platform for this type of boost but, depending on the type of content you’re sharing, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram may also be excellent choices.
BEFORE you boost you’ll want to figure out two things:
- Who is your target audience? Whether you have a specific buyer persona or you’re using a lookalike audience built from your email lists, knowing WHO you want to talk to is imperative to making a targeted boost. It matters because you want the people who are interested in your services or offerings to see the post and interact with it. If your targeting is too broad, you’ll be wasting money on people who may not be a good fit for your service or offering.
- What action do you want them to take? Make the objectives clear so your users know right away what to do: click on your link to learn more, read more, get a free report, or schedule a free demo. Remember to make sure your actions are easy and concise as social users have no patience for vagueries.
How does this generate leads? By creating opportunities for engagements and referral traffic through social boosting, you’re letting people know your business is here and ready for them. They can educate themselves on your business and either take immediate action (like buy a product) or begin their buyer’s journey by becoming acquainted with your brand.
Why we say this is easy: You’re probably already doing social, so you don’t have to create new platforms for this. Creating social ads is usually pretty simple as each platform walks you through the process on how to create the promotion from start to finish. Paid ads can get complicated the fancier you get, but if you have a simple, straightforward objective, you can usually do simple promotions rather easily with good results!
Medium: AdWords…er, Google Ads
Here’s the deal: I will probably not stop calling the newly named Google Ads by its original moniker: AdWords. We recommend allocating an AdWords budget for keywords you wouldn’t be able to rank for quickly and organically (like through your website/native and blog content).
Use your native content and content cluster methodology to rank organically for keywords that are less competitive. The higher your bid is and the more specific your keyword is, the more likely your ad is to reach the leads you’re targeting. They’ll see the ad while performing search queries — but you’ll only pay for the ad if they click on it.
BEFORE you boost you’ll want to figure out two things:
- What is your goal? You can do search ads (ads that show up in search results and are text only) or display ads (ads that can have rich media like video and images), optimize for clicks or calls of views. Think about what you want this campaign to do! We recommend picking keywords you can bid on to help get your business found more easily.
- What is your budget? Budgets are important for AdWords (and ANY campaign) because it will dictate how often your ad is shown. AdWords is based on a bidding system, so you’ll want to know how much you can afford to spend a day and how much you want to pay for your actions/conversion (clicks, calls, etc.).
Caveat: This a VERY SIMPLE explanation of AdWords but if it sounds like a lot—it IS. It’s more medium hard/too hard if you have a LOT of campaigns and very large budgets ($10k+/month) to run. There are people who do PPC all day, every day and that’s all that they do. SO, when we say medium here we’re thinking some easy branding search and display campaigns.
Just make sure you do your homework! Keyword research, targeting and optimizations.
How does this generate leads? You’re serving advertisements to people with intent. They’re either searching for things related to your products and services or on sites where your product and services fit right in! By taking actions on your ads you can convert customers through the ad and generate more leads for your business!
Why we say this is medium: AdWords can be a little scary for people, but Google has been working really hard at making the user experience simpler and easier to navigate. That being said—it’s not something you can just jump into without a plan. You’ll need to have a budget in mind, a conversion action. ad copy and imagery, and audience target information ready. You’ll also need to understand Google’s requirements, so your ads get approved and run.
We recommend getting AdWords certified. It’s free and they’ve recently re-done the process to make it easier to digest!
Hard: Content Marketing
Content Marketing requires research, strategy, and skill…but so do the other tactics mentioned in this post. The different with content marketing is that is it truly its own discipline. Content marketing can be a LOT of things and can take you in a LOT of directions but it’s necessary.
- It’s good for SEO: Several ranking factors are tied into your site’s content!
- It’s imperative for lead generation: From case studies and eBooks to on-site content and blog posts, you can educate your leads about your product or services without content to show them through the sales process.
- It helps you qualify leads: Different pieces of content can be created of each level of the sales loop/funnel, so you can get a better idea of where a lead may be in their buyer journey.
- It can be used for a lot of things: Outbound, Inbound, Allbound, Social, SEO, CRO—all of your marketing disciplines require some form of content. Whether it’s sales collateral, convention booth one sheets, or digital content—your content marketing feeds all of your activities!
Whether you’re just getting started in marketing or a seasoned veteran, you know how important content is to your overall strategy.
How does this generate leads? Content marketing is how your leads understand your services or product. It’s what you use to sell, what you use to convert, and what you use to create brand ambassadors. You can use gated content (content that requires lead information like emails and names) to generate a new lead database or blog content to track new leads’ interests across your site. Automate workflows can serve cold or lukewarm leads specific content and help determine whether they’re ready to be contact by sales.
Why we say this is hard: Content marketing is not easy nor is it quick. You may be able to knock out blog posts fairly quickly but having a real, strong content marketing strategy requires research and foundational documents like brand positioning, value propositions, voice guides, user personas, editorial calendars, keyword research, etc. Content marketing is just about creating content, it’s about creating the right content for the right people at the right time and that requires time, effort and bandwidth.
It’s important to have an arsenal of lead generation tactics to help ensure your strategy moves your business forward. Lead generation is what helps turns visitors into customers, and what ensures you always have people in your pipeline.