How Can Your Business Generate Leads?

Understanding Lead Generation vs. Demand Generation

Demand generation involves building awareness, becoming and staying relevant, and fueling the interest that results in a quality lead. This is where online marketing strategies come in to play, and includes all of the interactions that precede a business transaction. There are several ways to begin this process, some more effective than others.

Lead generation comes next. For business-to-business marketers, a lead is someone who completes an opt-in form, downloads a company resource, attends a sponsored event or webinar, and so on. These are people who have demonstrated valuable levels of interest in your product or service, and are at various stages of the sales cycle. A substantial quantity of leadss are necessary for accurate analytics of your campaign’s effectiveness. These contacts, if handled with care, can become leads, and eventually even clients or consumers.

Generate Leads with Search Engine Optimization

One study revealed that direct traffic, online referrals and search engines were responsible for 93% of leads. If you follow SEO best practices within the pages of your site, those in need of your product or service are more likely to stumble upon your site.
However, simply viewing a page is not the same as closing a deal. This is where effective opt-in methods come in. The prospect is here, now you need their contact information. You can do this via sidebars, pop-ups, or by creating a landing page that is an opt-in form in itself. Here are a few tips on what to include in successful opt-in forms:

  • Incentive: What benefits come with signing up? Ensure readers you are not going to send them thirty spammy sales emails each day, but that you have content of substance. Whether it’s in the form of blog posts, whitepapers, webinars, or sales announcements, make it clear that opening your emails will bring relevant satisfaction to the receiver. A friendly way to do this is in question form (Example: “Want more awesome marketing advice?”).
  • Simplicity: The less fields required, the better. What do you absolutely need from your contact at step one? Only ask for this, and you can gradually gather more information as your email marketing relationship develops.
  • Call to action: This may seem obvious, but make sure that the purpose of your form is clear, and maybe try something that isn’t just “Sign up now!”.

Social Media Lead Generation

Actively promoting your company through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus can definitely help direct people to your site–this is a way to reach people who may not have been directly searching for your product or service, but your post caught their attention enough to explore further. Joining industry-specific groups within each of these social networks can help hone in on these people more sharply. LinkedIn is a great bet, as it generates 277% more leads than Facebook and more than 75% of B2B marketers report to have found leads here. While still a viable demand generation source, social media is often more effective in the later stages of email marketing, once you have established credibility and familiarity with your audience. There are some other little details to consider in the demand generation process, and depending on your target audience, a more creative or off-beat strategy may prove successful.

Laying the Foundation of Your Email Campaign

Choose an Email Services Provider

Using an email service provider (EMSP) is necessary when sending to a large contact list. This way, you avoid being flagged as spam by your internet service provider (ISP). Read all about the CAN-SPAM Act here. Luckily, there are several EMSP’s to choose from–the top ranked being iContact. Each provider is a bit different, so you can decide which one is best for your business model. With these providers, you have access to templates to design professional emails that can then be sent to the increasingly vast contact list you have generated. It is not necessary to write your own HTML or CSS, but you often still have the option if you want to. Many EMSP’s provide testing options and data that can help you improve your campaigns as you embark on segmentation and nurturing.

Congratulations, you’ve generated the demand and have a list of prospects for lead generation. Now comes the hard part: converting them into loyal clients.

Read all about nurturing campaign strategies in next week’s blog!