So you’ve got tons of leads for your business, and you can’t wait to market to them. Before you do that, sit back and think for a minute—how many of them are likely to convert into paying customers?
Scroll through the data and consider how many have interacted with your marketing communication. Are they mere followers or true advocates of your company?
Lead generation is a practice most businesses take pretty seriously. In fact, 53% of marketers spend more than half of their budget on lead generation efforts. However, if you’re not winning quality leads, you’re not doing it right and throwing all this money down the drain.
Let’s discuss some practical and sure-shot ways to collect high-quality leads who not only become your customers but also bring referrals for your business.
Know whom you’re targeting
Not everyone is your customer, especially in your social media following count. Some are there to engage with your content, while some are just lurkers or competitors. This is why you must know what your target market particularly looks like. Here are a few ways you can do that.
Personas are mental models that individuals rely on before making a decision and are used to gain an empathetic understanding of your leads. Having a well-defined persona helps you realize how your ideal customer’s preferences and personalities vary from yours.
So, instead of making assumptions about what they’re likely to do, conduct thorough audience research and map out the personas for each. An audience persona is about writing fictional characters’ personality traits in great detail.
Let’s say you have a SaaS product that helps companies design better creatives. In this case, the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) or the C-suite executive will decide whether or not they wish to purchase your product. In your audience persona, you’ll map their demographics, personality traits, daily routines, spending preferences, goals, and more.
Here’s an example of what an audience persona template looks like.
Qualify a lead
One way to qualify a lead is to make your lead gen forms super-targeted. This involves including specific fields such as the company or their job role. With this data, you’ll clearly understand your lead’s industry and if they’ll benefit from your product.
Another way to check if your leads are somewhat interested in your product is by quantifying their traits on various scales. This is called lead scoring, wherein you score your leads on different criteria based on your audience persona. These criteria are the action they take, their level of engagement with you, or how much they resemble your target persona.
To help you with this process, several tools are available today with a built-in lead scoring feature to track the personal and behavioral traits of your target customer.
Never overlook branding
We don’t just buy from a brand because we need their products. Among the many brands offering the same product, we chose a brand for how they make us feel, the values they believe in, or the experience they offer. In fact, 89% of shoppers stick with a brand that shares their values.
Branding comprises everything from brand colors, content, mission, and packaging material to the campaigns brands launch. Good branding helps create a positive brand image in your target customer’s minds and make them your raving fans.
For your branding strategy to work, you must learn more about market research for branding and dig deep into your target customer’s perception of your brand. This involves creating a detailed audience persona and understanding what they care about and the topics they would resonate with. All in all, create a customer-centric brand where there’s no barrier between brand and customer interactions and you know them on a deeper level.
Invest in lead generation marketing
When it comes to lead generation, gated content, webinars, or newsletters are one of the best ways to go about it. This way, you’re asking your leads to share their information in exchange for something valuable—win-win for both.
How do you generate hype around your lead magnet? By strategizing your lead generation marketing plan.
Your content brings your leads to your landing pages—the more relevant you keep it, the more leads it’ll attract. Prioritize content that mentions or shares success stories from previous sales—organizations that do so have a 12% higher sales acceptance rate.
Use snippets of your gated content as posts or create blogs about the topic’s ‘what’ and ‘why’. Include the link to download the gated content (explaining the ‘how’) as a CTA. Hubspot does it really well in their blogs—notice how they place their gated content, so their readers don’t miss it.
Social media platforms are the best place to quickly connect with your followers, promote your lead magnet, or talk about your newsletter. With the swipe-up story option on Instagram, it’s easier to help your audience get to your landing page in no time.
Emails are a great way to collect quality leads and influence their purchase decision. Think about it—they’ve voluntarily shared their information with you, which means somewhere they have a teeny-tiny interest in your products. All you need to do is persuade them to purchase from you.
This involves writing attention-worthy subject lines to nurture them with useful content. Subtly place your products or experiences in a context. Give them reasons to consider your product and provide use cases to help them decide. Keep the CTA (Call to Action) very clear and short.
Email marketing gets easier and more convenient with tools that allow you to bulk send emails and segment your subscribers’ lists based on their personas or lead score.
Ads are an effective way to market research, seek customer feedback, or convert leads into customers. It’s the quickest way to reach your target customer and tempt them to take action. The sole purpose of an ad is to get people to take action.
Of course, make sure your landing page offers exactly what your ad promises and nothing shady. It tells a lot about your brand, and your audience immediately perceives you negatively.
Looking for an immediate way to break barriers between ‘interest’ and ‘sales? Hook them up with a free product trial that will bring them closer to conversion. As prospects try your product out, they’re clarifying their inhibitions. Once their trial is over, offer incentives such as discounts or resources to help them take the next step.
Make sure you’re explicitly announcing your free trial offer in every customer touchpoint—website, social media, emails, and others. Take an example of how Hootsuite has done it by placing a popup right on their web pages as a visitor scrolls their website.
Referrals or word-of-mouth approach takes your lead gen process to another level. 92% of customers trust a brand more when their friends or relatives claim to have liked its products.
Moreover, customers feel more encouraged to spread the word when you offer referral discounts or incentives to them in return.
Influencer + affiliate marketing works wonders
Is there anything influencer marketing can’t help you achieve? Be it brand awareness, reach, brand perception, or sales, partnering with an influencer gets you high ROI.
Combine influencer marketing with affiliate marketing by enabling the influencer to promote your product with a discount code. It’s a win-win situation for both the parties—your target audience and influencers.
If you’re a B2B company, working with thought-leaders and subject matter experts to promote your products or services is your best bet.
Highly targeted case studies
No content marketing strategy is complete without case studies. Think of them as a refined version of customer reviews with more depth and context. They help your prospects put themselves into your past customers’ shoes and take a step toward purchasing.
Make sure to include these points in your case studies:
- Introduction of the customer and their present situation
- The problem your past customers faced
- The conditions that led them to your product
- How was your product a good fit
- Proof of your claims
- Words of advice as a CTA
Distribute these case studies to your website, newsletter, social media, ads, or whitepapers to cover every customer touchpoint.
Let automation do its magic
Automation helps in bringing marketing and sales teams on the same page. It helps you to track your leads’ lifecycle stages, from ‘awareness’ to ‘conversion,’ and ensures you take timely action to ascend them to the next stage.
For example, if a customer purchases your product, the automation software will take action to send a confirmation email or message with the invoice. The next step it’ll perform is to seek feedback after a week or so. Based on what action your customer takes from the email (subscribe to a newsletter or share a review), the software will send a ‘thank you’ email with more offers and incentives their way.
Optimize lead generation to grow your business
Generating high-quality leads and converting them isn’t too difficult, as long as you understand your target customers well and have a proper marketing plan in action.
By following a holistic approach, you’ll see significant improvements in your sales and develop a thoughtful relationship with your customers.
Ready to take your lead generation game to the next level?
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