The Value of Lead Generation and How to Implement a Strategy
What is Lead Generation?
Let’s start by defining what lead generation really is. Simply put, a ‘lead’ is any person or business that shows interest in whatever it is you have to offer. ‘Generation’ refers to collecting the information from the lead in order to provide goods and/or services to the lead. Smash the two together and ‘lead generation’ is simply the art of getting people who show interest in your product directed down the path to buy.
Why is Lead Generation Important?
The path to buy can be a rocky one without smart lead generation. The end goal of every campaign should be to not just get people to make a purchase but to be active promoters of your company. We all start out as strangers and then make our journey down the road to becoming active promoters of purchasing experiences that we liked. Lead generation fits into this strategy early on and is often the first interaction a person has with your company. This first impression is the difference between continuing down the path or leaving and going a different direction.
How to Get Started with Lead Generation
The best place to start with lead generation is by looking at what you are trying to accomplish by collecting leads. Most of us find ourselves trying to sell a product so let’s stick with that for now. All customers start as strangers to our product so we need to cast a wide net across multiple platforms to see who is out there. There are six main areas to fish in the world of platforms:
- Social Media
Social Media: Most social platforms provide easy and free opportunities to place a ‘call to action’ (CTA). Whether you are buying ad space, boosting posts or using hashtags to promote your product, social media is a great way to showcase your product.
Emails: Emails are a fantastic way to promote a product to people who are already familiar with your brand. Since customers have to sign up for an email list, you already have the advantage of targeting people who trust your company with their personal information.
Ads: When used correctly, ads can play a large role in lead generation. Correct ad placement involves detailed targeting and custom content so that you are only spending money on reaching people who will engage with your product.
Content: This can be an excellent way to reach leads while simultaneously informing them of your product. Content is often found in the form of blog articles with SEO friendly topics that funnel customers to a CTA. If you are generating this type of content yourself it can have a huge ROI since all you are paying for is the time to create the content.
Experiences: This category encompasses a wide variety of experiences that leads may stumble into. Trade shows, demos, pop-ups, etc. are all considered an experience where a lead interacts with you for the first time. Be smart about these! Don’t sign up for a booth to sell bacon at a vegetarian farmers market.
Referrals: Referrals arguably carry the most value of all platforms because your company has to do zero work for a high return. This is where the product often speaks for itself OR you have already done an excellent job turning your leads into promoters. A smart path to buy strategy ends with a happy customer who starts the process over by referring someone new.
This brings us to the next step in lead generation which is attracting customers to your product. You know what platforms you have access to so it’s time to use those platforms wisely to catch someone’s attention. Sticking with the fishing analogy, it’s impossible to drag a net across the entire ocean so have some discretion when it comes to picking an appropriate sized net. For example, if we’re selling dog food, it’s probably best to use images and language that speaks to dog owners and not the entire population. Tailor your message to fit your ideal customer!
You now have someone’s attention and it’s time to bring them onto your boat (more fishing analogies?!). Let’s say your boat is a landing page and reeling them in is your call to action. We mentioned this term before and we’re circling back because this is such an important piece to the puzzle- this is the bait (we promise, we’re almost done with the fishing analogies). A call to action is very self-explanatory and is the ‘thing’ that gets someone to take a desired action. It is often in the form of a message, image or button that gets people excited to follow through. CTA’s can be the same across platforms or specific to each so that your message is resonating with the audience.
CTA’s take information from every platform and bring them to one spot- a landing page. The landing page serves as a single webpage where you collect user information. Give the lead a reason to share their information with an offer! An offer can be anything from a discount to early access or free stuff but it has to have enough value for them to want to exchange their info. Another value that landing pages add is the ability to see what platforms traffic is coming from. If you are getting a lot of clicks from social media then consider spending some money to boost the post and reach more people. If you aren’t getting many clicks from an email campaign then consider switching things up and go a different direction.
And just like that, you now have a lead! Once a lead fills in their information be sure to nurture them along their path to buy. You have done an excellent job with the catch (that’s the final fish analogy, we swear) and now it’s time to make sure that it stays healthy and loyal throughout its journey. Lead generation is a continual process so make sure that you are experimenting with everything that we talked about- if message ‘A’ doesn’t work then try message ‘B’. The more you practice the better you will get and soon you will be able to hone in your skills so that you are collecting leads on the first cast…
How to Value a lead
Once a lead is generated you can quantify the value of the lead. Keeping the math simple would look something like this:
average revenue per lead x % leads from source = lead value
Say a customer spends $100 on average and 3% of your leads come from social media. 100 x .03 = 3 so your lead value is $3 for that platform. When designing an ad campaign you should be shooting for that $3/click or less to have a successful lead generation campaign.
Many businesses will go stale if they aren’t actively acquiring new leads. Remember, leads begin as strangers to your product so the more vocal you can be the more valuable the process. With effective lead generation you can focus more energy on other aspects of the business. Imagine showing up to work with 100 new people interested in your product and asking questions about how to get their hands on it. Great! Your efforts can shift from gaining clients to streamlining workflow.
Lead generation takes a little bit of work upfront but saves time and money in the long run. Effective strategies take people from strangers to promoters and affords you more time to focus on figuring out how to use the new espresso machine you got for the office.