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Among the many challenges that businesses face, one of the most significant is finding the right businesses who will be interested in the products and services and are likely to make a purchase. Considering that many Business-to-Business (B2B) sales situations are complex and require multiple people within a business to be involved in the buyer's journey, the sales cycle can be very complex with many people as influencers and decision makers. In fact, data collected by CSO Insights shows that 68% of B2B companies still struggle with lead generation. Getting more people (and the right people) interested in your business is one of the key ways of obtaining more customers and increasing the effectiveness of your marketing campaign. This is where lead generation comes in. It is the process where your business attracts people to become engaged in your products and services.

Once prospects are interested and engaged with the business, they now become leads who can be targeted for nurturing into eventual customers. The end result is that your marketing campaign ends up being more effective, with more leads that the team can nurture until they become sales-ready. The nurturing process includes education and awareness within the industry as well as products, features, and pricing as necessary depending on what part of the journey the lead is located. 

This article will provide insights into why lead generation is important and how more leads can be generated.

Methods to Generate Leads

Only about 13% of businesses are consistently successful with lead generation. This is because most marketers are still not aware of effective ways that will consistently generate more leads for the business. As businesses strive to increase their visibility in front of a wider audience, there are multiple ways that can be used to successfully generate more leads for marketing campaigns.

Create Consistent, Quality Content including Blogging

With online marketing being at the heart of most present day marketing campaigns, creating consistent, quality content is the fuel for driving visitors to the website. One of the critical areas for generating content is to create a blog. A blog is a great avenue for customer engagement and a entry point for lead generation.

Blogs that regularly provide high quality content will allow prospects to become engaged with your business by learning about various topics of interest. Over time those visitors will view the organization as an authority or thought leader their industry or field. In addition, blogs are commonly a place for visitors to enter the website as they are often highly ranked in the search engine results for any particular keyword or phrase.

As visitors that view blogs are often at early steps in the buyer's journey, or Top of the Funnel (TOTF), and are typically the first page on a website for visitors to see, it is best practice to encourage the visitor to view more content on the website. This additiona content can include additional blog posts as well as landing pages with lead magnets that are designed to convert from anonymous visitors to known leads (discussed below). As the brand improves at creating content and becomes more credible, opportunities can be found to publish content on other reputable sites for increased exposure as well as links to the website (called backlinks). This will generate more traffic to the branded website as well as establish the website as an authority with Google, thereby improving the chances of the website pages ranking higher in the search engine results.

Develop Compelling Lead Magnets

Lead Magnet are very important assets for lead generation. Lead magnets offer an incentive for a prospect to trust the brand with their personal information because they are being offered something of compelling value in return. In simple terms, a lead magnet is a reward that is interesting enough to the visitor and presents a high enough value to a prospect in order for them to provide their contact information. 

Lead magnets are effective at generating leads, because they provide a means to gather important contact information from prospects in order to begin to build relationships with them. After getting their information, the business can start a marketing nurture plan to push them down the buyer's journey and get them closer to a sale. The most common way of doing this is by using email marketing to continually provide the prospect with additional, interesting content over time until such a time that they are ready to engage more activity with the brand. In addition, by offering the prospect something of value, the lead magnet will be an other step toward building trust, which is a crucial component of generating leads and critical step in the buyer's journey.

Some of the most effective lead magnets are newsletters, eBooks, and webinars. These resources provide a platform where your business can create great content that is helpful and relevant to prospects. Prospects are able to dive more deeply into the products and services that your business provides and to get comprehensive answers to their problems. By solving real world problems, more and more trust is established in the brand.

Newsletters and eBooks that generate the most leads are those that go beyond simply describing the products of your business. They should also provide industry insights, valuable data and unique perspectives or research in the chosen field or subject area.

Landing Pages and Calls-to-Action

Incorporating the right calls-to-action (CTA) on landing pages on the website is an important concept for lead generation. A call-to-action (CTA) allows the brand to convince visitors to the website or social media pages to take the next step towards engaging with the business. It is essentially an internal advertisement to encourage the visitor to take a specific action that moves them along the buyer's journey.

Carefully designed CTAs present value to the customer when they decide to take the next step. This will make it possible for more people to be directed towards landing pages where they can access helpful content and become new leads. The CTAs should be strategically placed on the website so they can convince customers to be directed towards your landing page. Blog posts are common locations to have an effective CTA.

Having the right landing page allows the website to turn visitors that were attracted to the website into leads by having them fill out a form in order to get access to a lead magnet. In line with this, research shows that 68% of B2B businesses incorporate strategic landing pages with lead magnets. This is probably the first interaction that a potential customer will have with the branded website, which is why landing pages are so important.

Because of this, landing pages should present great value to the customer and incorporate a useful method for collecting information from them in exchange for that value. Landing pages also provide insights into the behavior of the target audience, allowing for a better understanding of the visitors and provides an opportunity to important adjustments to any appropriate marketing campaigns.

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most effective ways of generating leads. In fact, 93% of B2B buying processes normally begin with an online search. When a website is optimized by keyword(s) or keyword phrase(s), content and overall design, it can become an incredible draw for lead generation. The first step is to optimize the content around keywords that are unique yet popular among customers, or searched often on the search engines such as Google. This will allow for the content to rank highly in search engines and for customers to find the website when they performing searches.

The second step is to restructure the website to have great content, make it easy to navigate, and ensure that it is highly responsive (mobile-ready) so that prospects that engage with the content can develop an interest in the brand's products and services. The end result is that these prospects will end up turning into solid leads. SEO is very large and complex topic that requires additional documentation to cover properly.

Utilize Social Media

Social media can be a goldmine for lead generation. In fact, Hubspot reports that lead conversion rates through social media are 13% higher than the average conversion rate. Many potential customers are spending a great deal of time on sites such as Twitter and Facebook, connecting with friends and engaging with content that interests them. As a business trying to become more visible to this audience, brands should seek to connect with people who are looking for products and services that it provides.

One way to do this is through Twitter. Connect with other entities in the same or similar industries that have already established a solid following. As they engage in conversations that are relevant to the business, the brand can get involved through tweeting unique perspectives and incorporating the use of intelligent, specific hash tag(s). The goal is to stand out from the competition and to come across as unique and knowledgeable in the industry and chosen field of interest. This will eventually generate more interest in the business and as a result, generate more leads.

In addition to tweeting, brands can also create and share helpful content such as videos, memes, and infographics that have the potential of being viewed by a larger audience. If they like the content enough, they will come looking for more. Links back to the website will generate more traffic and allow for more opportunities to drive them to landing pages through the use of CTAs, thereby creating additional leads.

Increase Engagement with Prospects

One of the top ways of generating leads is by directly engaging with the target audience. Most businesses tend to engage indirectly with their audience. They design pages that have FAQs and other indirect channels of communication that tend to disengage potential customers and generate very minimal interest in their products and services.

Brands that excel should strive to engage more directly with people in order to attract their interest and turn them into leads for nurturing. One way of achieving this is to utilize communication channels such as live chats, forums, and help centers. These resources should have customer representatives who are always present to address customer concerns. Using social media to actively connect potential customers with customer service requests and overall questions is a great way to continue to engage directly with the right audience.

When people come looking for certain information about the business, they should be able to get an answer as soon as possible and through a communication channel that is personal and engaging. The result of this is an increased level of interest and engagement from the prospects in the brand, who will eventually turn into leads.

Adapt to Current Trends in Technology

When seeking to generate leads, the primary goal of the business should be to make sure that you are visible to as many members of the target audience as possible. Potential customers are evolving in how they look for and access information. For example, more people tend to use mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to access their emails and other online content than ever before.

It is therefore important for every business to invest in new technology that adapts to changes in viewing behaviors for optimum viewing on mobile devices. The website should be accessible from mobile platforms, and emails should be optimized for mobile viewing. This is commonly called making the website responsive or mobile-ready.

This will ensure that customers are more likely to find the brand when they come looking and at the time that they are looking. In addition, the great content that is created will be able to reach as many potential customers as possible and will generate as many quality leads as possible for the marketing campaigns.

Importance of Lead Generation

Generating leads for the business has numerous effects on marketing campaigns. Some of these include:

Saves on Costs

Lead generation saves marketing dollars for most businesses. This is because it aligns the efforts of the sales and marketing teams so they can both focus on getting the right people who are most likely to make a purchase. By generating leads, marketing campaigns can focus their efforts on a target audience that they not only understand well, but have also developed strong relationships with through the use of lead nurturing.

The marketing team can create efficiently targeted campaigns that have the goal of generating content and driving leads further down the sales funnel.  The overall effect is that the business saves more on costs by reducing advertising expense. The marketing department becomes more efficient in its operations.

Increased Conversion Rates

On average, 36% of leads that are effectively nurtured eventually become sales-ready opportunities. Compare this to businesses that simply try to turn website visitors directly into customers without first nurturing them as leads. Such businesses often report conversion rates of about 7%. Therefore, generating leads often has the effect of increasing conversion rates when a proper nurture system is engaged, which means that a larger percentage of the people interested in the business eventually become customers.

This is the case because leads have already expressed an interest in the business. Therefore, as engagement increases with the leads, the more the brand is able to target them with content that they find relevant and helpful to their needs. This propels them further down the buyer's journey and increases their likelihood of making a purchase.

In other words, when leads are generated, the brand is able to obtain a specific audience in which it can market its goods and services in a more strategic manner. This targeted approach is better than the blanket approach of previous marketing techniques where a business would simply try to reach out to as many people as possible.

Better understanding of your target audience

It is difficult, if not impossible, for a business to generate leads without a solid understanding of its target audience. Therefore, lead generation is the best way for a business to dive into the minds of its prospective customers and to figure out what their needs are. They can thereafter develop solutions that are directed towards satisfying those needs. This is the most effective strategy through which businesses are able to generate more leads. A business that is seeking to generate more leads has to take the time to understand its customers’ tastes, behavioral patterns, and trends.

Builds trust in your Business

Because generating leads involves finding more people who are interested in the brand and attracting them inward, it creates the opportunity to develop strong relationships with your prospects and to build trust in the brand. In addition, if the content is strategic, relevant and helpful, prospects will begin to view the business as an authority in its particular field and/or industry. Because of this trust, the prospects will often turn to the brand when seeking solutions to their problems. In other words, this relationship builds trust in the brand and it eventually leads to loyal customers.

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