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Online Businesses Need to Develop A Lead Generation Strategy

Title: 5 Steps for Effective Lead Generation for Online Businesses

Generating leads is the most significant challenge facing founders of online businesses today. Without leads, there are no sales… no revenue… no business.

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Let’s face it, the only 2 things that matter are:
1. Customers and
2. Revenue
And how do you get customers? Yep, you guessed it…leads.
So we know you need leads that will convert into customers and revenue. But the big question is HOW to generate leads. First you need to develop a lead generation strategy.
If you’re a founder and you’re asking yourself these questions, stick around:
Why does lead generation matter so much?]
How do I attract QUAILIFIED leads?
What’s the difference between hot and cold leads and why is forgetting about cold leads a big mistake?
How can I build and maintain an effective lead generation strategy over time
How can I find out how well my campaign is working, and constantly improve it for better results over time?

1. What is a lead generation strategy and why does it matter for your business

Lead generation is the process of producing, curating and nurturing prospective lead prospects, or hot contacts. It is the process of converting prospects into sales opportunities through lead nurturing.

 

2. Why you should focus on generating leads that are qualified prospects

How do you know if your lead generation strategy is working?
Most young marketers believe that their job it to develop the largest the number of leads possible. However every lead costs you money.
All leads are not created equal.
In order to have the best ROI, you’ll need to pay attention to quality and quantity. At the end of the day, if you’re collecting leads you can’t convert into sales opportunities, they aren’t qualified and you need to evaluate your strategy. Of course, this assumes your closers… can close.
If you’re not generating qualified leads, then you might as well be throwing your time and money in the trash. It’s important to think about lead generation in a way that gets the best possible return on investment (ROI). Historically, marketing hasn’t been considered a profit-generator. It’s been deemed a necessary evil and founders expect to lose money on marketing and make it upon in the sales process.
But, we believe that the lead generation process should pay for both your marketing and sales efforts.
Be sure to track analytics like: the lead source, the lead cost, show-up rate (for phone/zoom based sales), close rate, average order value and acquisition cost.
To make sure you are getting the RIGHT leads, you’ll need to identify the right prospects for your business. Here’s how
Determine Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) to Build Your Tribe
To create a lead generation strategy you must first know who your ideal customer is. It’s extremely important to understand how best to connect with these people online and offline, and what types of messages inspire them enough to request a demo or give you their contact details – i.e., become a lead in your funnel. Once you have identified those individuals, then the real fun begins: lead development.

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Start by determining exactly who your ideal customer is – what they look like, who they are and why they buy from you – consider their demographics, behaviors, values and desires. If you’re struggling to find out who your customers really are then it might be worth getting some of your own team members involved in the process via an online survey or focus group of current customers. If you are already getting traffic, you can also use Google Analytics to discover key demographic information about the people who visit your site.
Hint: every good marketing strategy starts with the ICP.
Utilize Your Tribe’s Needs, Wants and Motivations
Once you have mapped out your ICP, you will need to use that information to determine where your target audience can be reached. For example, if your target market is 21-year-old college students, you might want to start on TikTok and Instagram. But if your target market is 50-year-old executives and you have a B2B business, you’ll probably want to examine Facebook and LinkedIn.
Also consider:
1. How they consume content: written work (blogs, websites, LinkedIn Articles), video (short-form or long-form), printed material (magazines, books) or images. 
2. What days and times are they typically active online?
3. How do they prefer to shop: online or in-store?

3. Prepare to nurture relationships with cold leads

Lead nurturing is an integral part of lead development. It could be weeks, months or years before a lead becomes a customer depending on your business model and lead-cycle.
Most people in sales place more stock in lead generation than lead nurturing. But don’t let them fool you. 
You need:
1. Cold leads (problem-aware) to fill the top of the funnel
2. Warm leads (looking for a solution) to fill the middle of the funnel and
3. Hot leads (ready to make a decision) to make a sale.
Of course, if you only target hot leads, your pipeline will never be full enough. That’s why different marketing activities are designed to attract leads at all stages.
How lead nurturing works
It’s easy to see why the “build it and they will come” mindset doesn’t work when it comes to lead generation. This approach usually concludes with bad leads because you didn’t take the time to learn about your potential customers’ needs, wants and motivations. On the other hand, lead nurturing takes a lot more effort because you need to stay consistent and create long term relationships with potential customers until they finally become paying customers – but that’s okay because you end up with qualified leads who are much more likely to convert into sales, which means lead nurturing turns into lead generation with a positive ROI.
In lead nurturing, your job is to keep in touch with your lead prospects on a regular basis and give them the information they need to make a decision about purchasing from you. There are lead nurturing tools that can help you plan out messages to send to lead prospects based on their individual characteristics and behaviors – i.e., lead scoring. I know what you’re thinking: one message for each lead? Fortunately not – nobody has time for that! That’s where custom automation comes in handy.
Not all lead nurturing messages are about sales
This is the biggest mistake I see our clients making before we overhaul their lead strategy….Lead nurturing is supposed to lead up to a final sale, but it’s important to recognize that not every lead prospect will make the purchase during their first encounter with your brand.
And people don’t want sold to constantly. Think about the marketing you see everyday. Are you more interested in working with someone that says “Buy, buy, buy” or someone who is genuine about helping you solve your problems.
Your lead nurturing should genuinely aim to help your leads in some way. Offer education, advice, resources, stories they can relate to, stories that help them learn more about you and content that helps them without paying a cent.
You need to talk to your leads like you care about more than their invoice… because you do!
Bottom-line: you can’t leads them to suddenly buy something after they’ve been nurtured for only one week – it takes time; lead nurturing doesn’t happen overnight. The key thing you should do is continue stay in contact with your lead prospects until they’re ready and willing to buy from you.
The why behind lead nurturing
Because of this lack of instant gratification, lead nurturing may seem like an unnecessary task if you want fast results; however, without lead nurturing most leads would be ignored because they don’t know enough about your product or service. The lead generation process should lead to an increase in sales, but lead nurturing is going to be a vital part of lead development until your lead prospects become paying customers.

4. Tips for maintaining an effective lead generation strategy over time

here are many different types of campaigns that can be used from social media ads, blogging, content marketing, etc. We recommend you try each one out and see which ones work best for your company!
Your lead generation strategy should be focused on developing high-quality leads using digital marketing techniques like SEO & PPC combined with traditional lead generation methods like content marketing & email campaigns. Your lead nurturing strategy should focus on creating compelling offers at each stage of lead development – e.g., lead magnets, webinars, free trials, etc – while constantly looking for ways to improve lead conversion rates (the percentage of visitors that become leads).
Not all leads are created equally – lead generation is a science that requires research to understand the right lead types for you and your product. You’ll need to think about lead-generation as a process rather than a single event, building a flow of leads from first contact to close. Leads can come in many forms – email, phone, text, messenger, chat bots, social media and so much more.
Make sure you have the right tools in place to track and report on what is working and what isn’t working in order to make adjustments as necessary!
Analyze data from previous campaigns, so you can learn more about how people are responding to your offer(s)
Track ROI of each campaign, so you know which ones are most profitable or least costly per lead generated
Create powerful content
The first step in your lead generation campaign is to attract customers. This is where your content marketing team comes in, with engaging and useful information that can help you capture more potential leads! Depending on what kind of business a company has- there are many different techniques they could use for generating this type of material; but here I’ll outline some quick tips about how you might go about doing so…
You may want start by brainstorming topics/topics ideas (elevator pitches) which have been proven time after again as being effective at capturing attention from people online – like “5 Ways To Make Your Website SEO Friendly”. You should also remember not just including text but images or videos too if possible since these formats
One of our favorite ways to generate leads is through blogging. It’s a great way to build brand awareness, create product/service awareness and increase overall traffic for your website.
A podcast can be used to generate leads as well! If you want to be creative with how you get the word out about your business or services then creating a podcast might just do that for you! This is a great way to gain brand and product awareness as well.

5. How to generate qualified leads by using the right marketing channels (i.e., email, social media, online advertising)

After determining who your ideal customer is and what they want from you it’s time to start planning lead generation activities. You could use lead acceleration through your website to generate leads for certain products or services you’re selling, build lead generation tools and lead magnets to collect leads directly offline and more.
Your lead generation plan should outline the three lead types you want (email, phone, social media etc), how you’ll target four key stages of the customer journey (awareness, interest, desire and readiness) and which marketing channels you’ll be using to communicate with them (social media ads , email marketing etc). It’s also worth thinking about lead gen opportunities like remarketing too – as well as the numbers – consider what KPIs will measure success i.e. ROI on leadgen spend etc.
Developing a suitable lead generation strategy is not about just hiring someone with technical knowledge in this field but also about getting an expert who will help you identify who your target audience is, how they behave online, what are the keywords they are searching for etc.? Also it requires doing research  to know which technologies are being used by your target audience to interact, engage and transact with your business. This will enable you to build a strategy that will work for you and not against you.

The Final Word

In the end, lead generation is all about knowing who you’re targeting and finding them in the best possible way that makes it easy for them to come to YOU. It’s not always about pushing offers and ads – lead generation is passive by nature so find ways of attracting potential customers before they purchase something else.

 

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Crystal Volinchak

Crystal Volinchak

In her 7 years as a growth marketer and entrepreneur, Crystal Volinchak has helped dozens of companies boost online traffic and sales and strengthen their online brand reputation. Volinchak is the co-founder of CNV Creative and CNV CMO.

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