As a business owner, you want to see as many people as possible experience your product or service. While having an excellent product or service is essential, that in itself won’t take you far if no one is interested in it or willing to pay for it.
The growth of your business and sales depends on your ability to identify interested people who might benefit from what you have to sell and encourage them to make the journey from interest to purchase. The higher this number, the greater are your chances of success. So how do you ensure this queue of people keeps growing? You want it to extend out the door, round the block, and even further.
The process of building this pipeline of customers requires you to get their attention first, often through digital marketing. This approach is known as lead generation. Let’s try and understand this concept a little better.
What is Lead Generation?
In simple terms, the people or organizations interested in what you are selling are called leads. You could also think of them as potential customers. Now, there may be thousands of people, if not more, who might know that you exist but haven’t shown any interest in what you have to offer.
They can’t help your business grow if they remain indifferent towards your brand. You have to pique their interest before you can think of selling to them. This process of getting someone’s attention and converting them into potential customers is known as lead generation.
Why is Lead Generation Important?
To ensure your business continues to grow and expand, you need to reach more people who could be your potential buyers and elicit interest in your product or service. You should see a steady inflow of people who are interested in exploring what you have to offer. Of course, you are not alone in wanting this for your business. Every business owner or marketing executive has the same goals as you.
In a world where attention spans are limited, and distractions are infinite, attracting potential customers is getting trickier. More and more businesses are vying for this attention, so why should individuals lend their eyeballs or ears to you?
While it may sound simple, generating the right kind of leads can be challenging. Therefore, it is vital to invest time and effort into getting this right. Here are a few statistics to set the context:
As per a Marketo study, companies with effective lead generation strategies have at least 133% more revenue than companies that have not put the right strategy in place.
It is only natural then that the number one priority for marketers is lead generation, as Hubspot noted in their report on marketing statistics.
Despite lead generation being the number one priority, 61% of marketers consider lead generation to be their biggest challenge.
You now understand the importance of lead generation and want to do this well. The surest way to do so is to have the right strategy in place. Before you develop this strategy, there’s one key question you need to answer.
Who Is Your Target Audience?
Every business caters to a particular audience. These are the people who may want to explore your product or service, and they’re the ones you want to identify and sell to. There are various factors such as age, income, geographical location, and gender which will determine your target audience.
For example, there may be two businesses selling handbags. However, one sells luxury handbags, and the other focuses on affordable handbags for everyday use. Their target audience will be very different even though they sell the same category of products. The income of the buyer is the criteria that separate the target groups of these two businesses.
Before you start designing a lead generation strategy, jot down as many details as possible about your target audience. In fact, go a step further and create buyer personas. It will help you design a lead generation strategy that is much more effective since it is tailored to the needs of a particular group of people.
Lead Generation Approaches
Once you’ve identified your target audience, the next step is to determine how you will reach these people with digital marketing. There are two ways of doing this:
Outbound Marketing is when you initiate contact with people to generate interest in your product or service. It could be through cold calling, direct emails, billboards, radio, TV, magazine, and newspaper advertisements.
Inbound Marketing focuses on drawing people in by creating content that is relevant to them. You pull them towards your company through content that aligns with their needs and interests.
Which One Should You Choose?
While it is a decision you need to take, keeping your target audience and the buyer personas in mind, here are some statistics that will help:
86% of people skip television ads
44% of direct mail is never opened
91% of email users have unsubscribed from company emails they previously opted into.
200M Americans have registered their Photo Editing Services phone numbers on the FTC’s “Do Not Call” list.
Inbound Marketing costs 62% less per lead as compared to a traditional outbound marketing campaign.
Inbound Marketing not only helps generate leads but also increases customer acquisition.
3 out of 4 inbound marketing channels cost less than any outbound marketing channel.
If we go by these statistics, it is evident that inbound marketing is far more effective and provides a greater ROI than outbound marketing. It is primarily due to customers being bombarded with information left, right, and center. This has made them pickier about what kind of content they want to consume.
Customers are also spending more time doing their research and actively identifying brands they want to engage with. So you now want to make it easier for your potential customers to find you rather than the other way round.
While inbound marketing is great, you should definitely not write off outbound marketing. Depending on your target audience, certain outbound marketing tactics can be beneficial. Trade shows, conferences, events, and published content in print media can help reach certain categories of people.
Lead Generation Channels
If you’re sold on inbound marketing and want to build your lead generation strategy around it, you need to identify what channels you will focus on to generate leads for your business. Here are the best digital lead generation channels: