Ultimate Guide to Online Lead Generation
April 19, 20219 minute read
- Digital Marketing
- Lead Generation
According to Statista, $3.05 billion will be spent on U.S. digital lead generation in 2021. Leads are the lifeblood of every business — regardless of size or industry. That’s why billions are spent on new leads each year.
“You are out of business if you don’t have a prospect.”
Lead generation used to mean TV, radio, and newspaper coupons. Those channels still exist for businesses, but are referred to as “traditional” lead gen. Thanks to modern technology and the internet, lead generation today has significantly evolved, and provides more leads, higher quality prospects, and exponentially better tracking.
Print ads, hosting and sponsoring events, cold-calling, billboards, and all the other old school advertising methods were a crap shoot. Unless someone redeemed a coupon code, there was no way to track if a campaign was working. Fortunately, that’s no longer an issue.
Modern targeting, analytics, and attribution are so in-depth that we can use these insights to quickly optimize campaigns so that we can target the best leads possible at the lowest cost possible. This blog post was created to help you achieve the same level of success we see in our own lead generation campaigns.
Strikepoint Media’s Guide to Online Lead Generation will show you:
- Why lead generation is important
- How lead generation workks
- How to create an effective lead generation strategy for your business
Why Lead Generation is Important
Lead generation is arguably the single most important focus of a successful marketing department.
Nearly 50% of businesses fail within five years — with 2 out of every 10 shutting down after just one year. And a global pandemic only hurts that success rate even more. One of the major reasons businesses struggle is because they ignore lead generation as a whole, and generally stay away from online lead gen because they don’t understand it and think of it as an unnecessary cost. But online lead generation isn’t an expense, it’s an investment.
Think of it this way…
If you knew that every dollar you put into a campaign would return $2, how many dollars would you invest in that campaign?
For most of us, the answer is “as many as we can afford.”
That’s what successful lead generation can do when done right. We can track every step of the process and see:
- How much each lead costs
- How much it costs to acquire a customer
- How much a customer is worth to us
And then use that information to optimize our marketing efforts so that we’re as profitable as possible.
But before diving into strategy, let’s clear up exactly what online lead generation is all about.
What is Online Lead Generation?
Online lead generation refers to the process of identifying, attracting, and converting strangers (as well as prospects) into engaged “leads” who have expressed interest in your business or its products/services by giving you their contact information so that you can continue communicating with them in the future.
These leads come from online marketing channels and strategies like paid ads, email campaigns, lead magnets on your website, and a long list of others.
Whether you run a B2C or a B2B business, lead generation is critical to your company’s growth because lead gen:
- Supports Healthy Business Growth: Without leads, businesses don’t have a concrete direction. While there are various ways to attract traffic to your website and convert them into paying customers, without a clear lead generation strategy you’ll have a hard time scaling your business. It’s critical that you have a way to not only attract prospects, but make sure they’re high quality prospects ready to convert into customers.
- Offers a Natural Transition from Your Consumer to Customer: Again, successful lead generation is about converting paid traffic into paying customers. The best way to do this is by finding leads who are looking for your information and services so that the process doesn’t feel forced. Your consumers should feel like they are moving at their own pace. A well-thought-out lead generation strategy helps ensure a seamless customer journey, resulting in a natural transition from prospect to lead to paid customer.
- Helps Attract Qualified Leads: Lead generation is about more than just throwing out the biggest net possible. Imagine trying to sell bacon to vegans. It sounds insane, but many businesses make the mistake of targeting huge audiences full of people who are unlikely to purchase your products or services. That’s why they end up failing. Proper targeting should be a focal point of any lead generation strategy because it helps you bring in qualified leads while reducing the cost of your campaigns.
The traditional lead gen strategies mentioned earlier (billboards, tv, radio, etc) can cost up to 40% more than digital lead generation, and offer no attribution or tracking. That’s why more and more businesses have switched to an online focus for their lead generation efforts.
Now that we’ve covered what lead generation is, let’s look at some highly effective lead generation strategies for your business.
Lead Generation Strategies That Work For ANY Business
There’s no ‘copy and paste’ formula for success when it comes to marketing. Every business is unique, and requires unique messaging. But you can apply these proven strategies to your existing marketing efforts to improve your lead gen results.
OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBSITE FOR BOTH LEAD GENERATION & CONVERSION
Not everyone who visits your website is ready to buy. But they are judging you in anticipation of potentially making a purchase in the future. Your website is the gateway to your business. It’s a billboard that tells a prospect everything they need to know about you. If you don’t optimize that first impression for visitors, they’ll leave just as quickly as they came. Make sure it’s a great first impression by leading with value and optimizing for lead generation and not just conversions.
To do so, make sure you have a clear opt in form that allows leads to join your newsletter, get a free coupon, schedule a free strategy call, or whatever other lead magnet you have available that provides value for your prospects in exchange for their contact information.
This way, even if a visitor isn’t ready to buy when they visit your site, at least you can keep communicating with them and stay top of mind for the lead, so that when they are ready to purchase they’re likely to think of you.
If you need a little guidance regarding what type of lead magnet to offer, just make sure that it’s aligned with your business and its goals. If you’re an ecommerce store, a coupon works well. For coaching or consulting services, a free strategy call can be highly effective. And for digital products or lifestyle brands, you can always give away a free report.
Whatever you choose, make sure you have a clear and simple call to action at the top of your homepage that visitors immediately see when coming to your site.
From your website homepage’s headline to the Call-To-Actions, you need to ensure that your prospects aren’t left with trying to decode what you are trying to say.
For instance, if you want them to fill that lead-generation form and download the E-Book you are offering, make sure that your message is clear and simple. Overcomplicating it will make things worse.
Here’s an example we’ve used that communicates a clear message call to action to the audience.
INCREASE YOUR CONTENT MARKETING EFFORTS
Content marketing is a highly effective marketing strategy focused on the creation and sharing of online material like blogs, videos, and social media posts (much like this one) that people are actively searching for. The content isn’t focused on the brand so much as providing value to engage readers, build trust, and establish a relationship with prospects.
Because people are actively seeking the information, it’s a great lead generation strategy to attract qualified, engaged leads to your business. You just need a clear CTA to capture their information that is directly aligned with the topic. For example, this post is all about lead generation. That’s what Strikepoint Media does best. But as a full-funnel digital marketing agency, we do so much more than that. And we share the most effective strategies and what’s working best in the industry every month with all our subscribers who sign up for our free Clicks to Conversions Report.
That’s just an example, but it also happens to be true. Our monthly C2C report is packed with value, and it’s totally free. If you’re enjoying this post so far, just know that the C2CR is exponentially more involved in all aspects of marketing. If you’re interested in seeing what’s working each month (and what’s not), sign up for our free Clicks to Conversions Report now.
To be clear, content marketing doesn’t need to be a deep dive into a specific subject. Podcasts, infographics, memes… they can all be useful content marketing pieces. Just make sure you’re providing value and have a clear CTA that builds upon that value.
ProTip: Webinars are a phenomenal type of content to leverage in your lead generation marketing.
BUILD AUTHORITY THROUGH WEBINARS
Webinars are a hypereffective — and hyper affordable — way to reach a large audience who want to hear from you. Webinars allow you to:
- Engage your audience
- Educate your audience
- Build trust and credibility with your audience
That makes webinars a perfect tool for driving revenue, getting new leads, or just providing value to your list.
Webinars are a great way to establish credibility with leads and build authority with your new audience. These presentations can be automated (not just live), which allows you to scale a successful webinar lead generation campaign.
This can be through paid traffic, email promotions from affiliates, list rentals, or partners, or banners on your website. Whatever the source, you’ll need to direct leads to a registration page to collect their contact information.
Regardless of how they get there, the important thing, as with all content, is to provide value and engage your audience. At the end of your webinar, you have an opportunity to make an offer to a highly engaged group who has stayed on through the entire webinar, indicating high engagement and interest. Make sure your offer is aligned with the presentation and acts as a natural progression of what they learned.
For example, if this article was a webinar on Lead Generation in 2021 instead of a blog post, the offer could be a ‘done for you’ or ‘done with you’ lead gen service offer at a reduced price. Or, an opportunity to identify highly engaged leads by getting them to raise their hand for a free strategy session that leads to a high ticket service.
Do everything you can to make the offer as effective as possible. Here’s how.
Create Irresistible Offers
There’s an old quote that says “People don’t like to be sold, but love to buy.”
That message is just as true today as it was when Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, first shared it years ago. And the best way to make them love to buy is through creating an irresistible offer that has them actually wanting to make a purchase.
Truly irresistible offers add value to a customer’s life. Ideally, your offer is so good that it’s a “no brainer” for prospects. They should regret saying no to your offer, so that even if they’re not quite ready for your offer, they still want to connect with you and stay up to date on your news.
When done right, your offer aligns with your lead gen campaign and seamlessly takes leads from prospect to customer. Keep testing offers to find out which converts best for your leads, and make sure you’re tying it to your lead gen campaigns.
You can also offer a downsell or ‘free sample’ as a hook to encourage non-buyers to take advantage of your offer at a later date.
Utilize Exit Pops Wherever Possible
Exit pops are an incredibly powerful marketing tool that businesses can use to get a lead to think twice about whether or not they want to turn down an offer. You can use exit pops to offer a downsell, provide another option for viewing (such as a transcript instead of a VSL), or capture an email address with a coupon or newsletter opt in.
Here are some examples:
Exit pops are activated when one of your website visitors leaves your page without taking any kind of action. As s/he ‘X’s out’ of the tab, an exit pop appears with an offer or opportunity. It’s an extra opportunity for your business to capture leads or create customers, and one that any business focused on lead generation should be utilizing.
Take Advantage of Social Media
Most businesses don’t put enough attention towards social media, or avoid using it altogether. That’s a mistake.
Social media can be a game changer for your business. It’s designed for interaction and engagement, and is a dream platform for organic lead generation and relationship building with qualified leads.
And that doesn’t just mean paid advertising on social media.
You can also generate new leads by hosting giveaways, contests, and promotions on your properties. And the more people interact with you, the more you can interact with your audience. You can even collaborate with influencers to attract more traffic to your website.
And with new features like Live Video, IGTV, Instagram Rooms, and plenty of others still in the works, you have more and more new opportunities to show how transparent and trustworthy you are, creating new leads more easily than ever.
In today’s digital world, if you don’t have a lead generation strategy, your business is almost guaranteed to fail. Focusing on the strategies and tips above can help you reach out to a larger target audience, generate more high-quality leads, and create a steady stream of new customers.