Whoever did a critical job getting new customers on board must know how hard the lead generation process is. Because it’s a key component of your business to drive more sales, you are not at liberty to ignore it and expect something phenomenal.
You can relax. The lead generation process isn’t a one-off job, and you can’t make an overnight success. It requires some actionable and repeatable plans with a defined strategy. Once you can build the right formula, you can reiterate many times until you see a downward curve.
I want to share an insider tip. There are many nuances in lead generation, and I’m not spilling all over here. I’ll walk you through some steps that are proven and highly effective.
What is the Lead?
Why don’t we do a quick go-over of what lead actually refers to? In a word, leads are future customers, except they didn’t get in touch with you. Yes, they are real people who have a common interest in what you’re doing. But how do they become leads? Well, right when they share their personal information such as email addresses via subscription form or these sort of things.
Don’t forget that they might not be directly interested in your product, or want to buy instantly. What’s exciting here is they’re likely to get other things you offer, such as a walk-through guide, free tutorial, or even some actionable tips.
At first, you need to attract prospects and get them in your circle. While they have given consent to be with you, it’s time for building the relationship, which is also called lead nurturing. Although this post is all about the lead generation process, lead nurturing is a critical part and evenly important. But, can you imaging nurturing leads where they don’t exist in the first place?
9 Steps of a Successful Lead Generation Process
Here are the proven steps for lead generation and you should go through the whole article to get a whole scenario of how the lead generation process works.
Step 1: Start Building Buyer Personas
Where do you begin? This is the first question you may ask. And the answer is straightforward. Learn your audience. You need to garner as much information as you can about your target customers and classify them based on some valuable metrics. If you’re going to establish a relationship, you need to know who they are and what they like.
There’s a great strategy to gain more insights on your prospects, known as buyer persona. It’s not the exact details of your ideal customers, but the fictitious details you can work with. By gathering further details alongside the business growth, you can be more specific down the line.
The customers whom you do want to buy your products are people. Don’t just consider them as numbers or stats. That’s not how we interact with each other. Buyer personas can come real handy to rescue in this manner. It will help make your target clearer with more details and fewer assumptions.
Step 2: Lead Scoring and Segmentation
When you’re in the lead generation battle, one thing you’ll get for sure: lead. Later, you’ll find yourself in a dilemma where you don’t know whether to go after the numbers or the quality. Lead scoring is such an effective technique that will guide you to make the lead generation process better.
How does this thing work? The scoring determines if your lead is close to the buyer persona and if they’re ready to buy. You can prioritize each lead based on the score and find a personalized way to treat all the prospects. You’ll also figure out which lead deserves more care and which one is easy to convert.
- Whether they’re in the right industry
- Whether they hold the right job with the right income
- Whether their company size is right
- Whether their business model is perfect for your product/service
Based on those particulars, you will assign a score to each lead, considering how closely it fits your target audience. You also need to measure how a lead makes interactions with your lead magnets. Are they going to the right landing page and downloading marketing materials?
The higher a score, the sooner they’re going to convert. Don’t be too ambitious here because sometimes it might not happen as you planned, but it works pretty well most of the time.
Types of Leads You Can Work With
You can distinguish your leads based on two criteria: whether they’re interested in marketing materials or they tend to buy from you. Lead generation experts classified these leads into two types to better understand your prospects. There are few more classifications that exist, which I will discuss briefly in the third paragraph.
Marketing-Qualified Lead (MQL)
A lead who is interested in your free offers (marketing materials or lead magnets) but not quite sure about buying from you right now. Wait! Don’t cross them out from your list yet. They have some interest, meaning they will make a purchase later. It may not be the right time for them, but they’re aligned with your business and will watch you closely.
Sales-Qualified Lead (SQL)
This is a lead who’s highly interested in your products and very close to making the buying decision. It’s just a matter of time to convert them soon. With some quick steps – talking to them or sending enthralling emails – you can onboard these prospects as your customers.
Additional Classification of Leads
Lead scoring is not quite a formal way to determine the perfect choice. This is more of a best practice that industry leaders often apply, and get outstanding results to identify the qualified leads. However, there are some other leads to score and make sure how close they’re to make a relationship with you.
Cold Leads: When people haven’t expressed an interest in your product, you can specify them as cold leads. The thing is they might not be familiar with your brand, or you’re not sure they’re the right catch or not.
Warm Leads: These prospects are interested in what you offer but aren’t ready to make a purchase. They’re aware of your brand, and they need some time to go with you.
Hot Leads: Yes. As you guessed, they’re soon to be your customers because they are incredibly interested in your service. Your sales team can close a deal with an easy effort.
Step 3: Create Compelling Lead Magnets
Lead magnets are the assets that hook your prospects and make them feel convenient to share their email with you. Once you’re done with lead scoring, you need to create something valuable that your audience wants to have. These assets are for persuasion and might have a distant relationship with your products.
Let me put an example to explain what I said. Consider you have an app that helps small businesses in some way. For the lead magnet, you’re offering a report that helps your customers understand the current market. It doesn’t directly relate to your product, but it certainly adds value to your customer’s life.
When you’re building lead magnets, keep a few things in mind.
- They solve a problem your customers might have
- They’re aligned with your buyer personas’ interest
- They stand out that’s why people are ready to see it
- They hold a value that can be measured with money or profit
Now you know the prerequisites of creating a valuable lead magnet. But what could these magnets be? There are no definite boundaries for lead magnets as of what it could be and what not. I’d like to share some ideas so that you can start thinking about them right now.
- In-depth reports that you’ve made with extensive research
- Giving early access to a product
- Discount on a product
- Ebooks on exciting topics
- Templates for project management, content marketing, etc.
- Access to VIP group
- Downloadable PDF for a long, high-quality content
- Giveaways for ebooks, tools, graphics, etc.
Step 4: Embrace the New Technology
Well, this is the time to get your hands dirty with tech-stuff. Marketers often find it challenging to adapt to new technologies because of the critical process. Thanks to modern, user-friendly tools that make our life easier and more peaceful. Yes, there are countless business solutions built for people like you.
To learn more about technology for the lead generation process, read the next two paragraphs. You need to get in touch with various tools because they actually make the lead generation process more robust. Giving some hints, you must apply a form to capture leads and automate the process down the road. Later, you’ll have to understand the conversion and keep your hands free from tedious tasks.
Step 5: Lead Generation Form
To collect leads, you surely need to display a form where people will give their email addresses. This might seem harrowing if you aren’t familiar with the latest technology. Anyway, it’s a dauntless task, and anybody can set up without going through a training session.
There are many WordPress form plugins to help you with this situation. Get a plugin and install it on your website. You can start with a sign-up template, or build one from scratch. Modern form builders allow you to create forms in drag and drop style.
When you’re done, place this form across your website. With shortcodes, you can show your form wherever you want to. Take this step one level higher. Publish your form with a landing page, share the link via your social channels and email newsletter, or even external blogs.
Step 6: CRM, Automation, and Pop-Ups
In the previous section, I have explained a simple yet effective tactic that everyone loves. Later, you’ll need to connect your email provider to set up campaigns for email marketing. For making the automation process integrated with your business, you have to sign up for an email service provider and connect your forms with that.
Then, there comes Customer Relation Management (CRM) software. With CRM, you can do a lot of things, such as creating forms, integrating to your website, automating the process, generating reports, and more. However, CRM tools may seem a bit costly, so you’d better not go for one at an early stage.
Although I’ve mentioned WordPress form builders, they don’t have pop-up options in most cases. You may be familiar with an exit-intent pop-up that occurs when you tend to leave a website. Well, if you want to implement this sort of technique, you need to incorporate a pop-up builder with your website.
Step 7: Promote Lead Magnet With a Solid Strategy
I believe you’ve now built compelling lead magnets, but what about getting to the people who you’ve built the magnet for. Your content is as good as the number of people you can reach out to. That said, your prospect won’t come to you willingly; rather, you have to go to them.
You need a strong promotional strategy, be it organic or paid. And, you have to make a shout to let people know about your existence. Since you’ve worked out your buyer personas, now you’re well-aware of where your target people spend their time and what they like.
Make your promotions in line with the target people – their interests to be said particularly. If your target customers are the young generation, you may think about appearing on Instagram or TikTok. On the other hand, entrepreneurs may hang around tech websites and LinkedIn professional groups.
I’m suggesting a few places to help you get started:
- Sponsoring online events
- Display ads
- Promote your landing page via guest post
- Leverage sponsored posts and newsletter
- Using your current blog posts
- Social media promotion
- Affiliate and referral marketing
Step 8: Measure Your Efforts and Repeat Proven Tactics
As you have put a lot of your time and efforts, it’s essential to measure what you have achieved so far. What’s better is if you have detailed reporting to see everything that happened with your lead generation process.
Without keeping an eye on what gets you more success, you can’t go on the next steps or improve the process. No need to wonder what you can track. Almost everything that takes part in your lead generation process needs to be measured.
You may ask the following question when thinking of a well-structured report:
– Which lead magnet brings you more leads
– What’s the conversion rate associate with each lead magnet
– How much does it cost for each lead regarding paid promotion
– Which method sends you the most visitors to the lead capture page
Step 9: Optimize the Process
Now is the time to optimize your process. Rest assured, because you’re at the bottom of the process, and you don’t have to put a lot of hard work here. By now, you might understand that the first part takes more of your time. The more you spend time understanding your customers, the better your process will be.
What you need to optimize it based on what you have seen with your reports. It might be as small as reducing form fields to redesign the whole system ground up. If you see your lead magnets aren’t working as you have expected, consider improving them. Let’s consider a scenario that everything works fantastic, but you need more leads. You can think of a budget to spend on promotions on social media or search engine ads.
The steps I have explained worked for many organizations, and I hope it will work for your business, as well. All you have to do is start from step one and follow to the last. Finally, review the outcome and optimize wherever necessary. Once you’ve got a working strategy, don’t forget to iterate as long as it seems profitable.