Today’s customer expectations are very different to those of even a few years ago, and they’re still changing constantly. As marketers, we need to focus on lead generation strategies that truly fulfill those customer demands.
“In Network Marketing, Lead generation is one thing that every marketer should take seriously, as it determines how much you can make with the business.” – Julie Riolo
Quantity and quality are both key consideration when it comes to lead generation. Even if you have the best product around, without successful B2B lead generation, your business will soon dry up.
If you’ve been in the trenches for a while, you know that lead generation can be a tricky business. In fact, a recent study by IDG shows that, 61% of B2B marketers think generating high-quality leads is one of their biggest challenges.
The lead generation process has got tougher as new technologies have emerged. But within these difficulties lies opportunity. There are lots of marketers yet to embrace these advances, instead, relying on traditional methods. And even when they do give it a try, they give up when the problems arrive.
In this article, we’ll look at 21 simple lead generation practices you can implement right now to drive leads into your sales funnel and convert them into paying customers. Using these lead generation strategies will help you reach your lead generation goals.
1. Define your audience
Everything starts with knowing your audience. To create great products, or high-quality content that really resonates, you need to know their pain points.
Recent studies have shown that 48% of buyers are more likely to consider solutions that are personalized to address their specific business issues.
By creating the right buyer personas for your target audience buying cycles, you can really get to know your audience.
Apply the wrong buyer personas and your conversion rate will suffer, you’ll end up targeting users that simply don’t need your product—no matter how great it is.
Creating the right buyer persona for each stage of the journey is crucial to successful lead generation campaigns.
2. Live Chat
The last time I contacted a financial company via email it took around 4 days to get a reply. By that point I had completely lost interest in them, so I used another company instead.
Live chat is a great way to engage your customers as soon they get to your website. Starting up communication like this gives you the chance to guide them, answer questions, and understand their specific needs. A recent study by Forrester shows that 44% of online customers consider live chat as one of the most important features a website can have. Today’s generation expects a quicker response, faster resolution, and exceptional customer service.
How is live chat helpful for generating leads?
- Improves conversion rates: Visitors can quickly connect with live chat agents when they face issues. As a result, waiting time is reduced and customer satisfaction increased. Live chat gives real-time support to customers, increasing the likelihood of conversion. The more visitors you have, the more chances there are for you to generate leads!
- Captures customer contact details: Before connecting customers to agents, get them to fill in a form with their phone number and email. This helps with following-up down the line.
- Proactive chat: When return customers initiate live chat, their details are already available to you. This helps build better rapport and has a positive impact on lead generation.
- 24/7 availability: Users could contact you at any hour. Providing live customer support 24/7 makes sure you don’t miss out on any potential leads. Of course, customer representatives’ work shifts need to be arranged accordingly.
The numbers really back up how important live chat is.
In a recent survey by eMarketer, 38% of online visitors purchased a product because of live chat, and 63% of customers who participated in a chat said they were more likely to return to the website in future.
When visitors come to your website they are often ready to buy, but if there’s no one to guide them and answer their questions, they may lose interest and switch to your competitor.
Live chat also helps foster trust—it’s a much more satisfying experience for users to feel they are dealing with a real person.
According to Virgin Atlantic, the average chat agent can cover the same amount of work as 15 agents focused on emails and phone calls.
Quite a remarkable statistic.
Here’s what John Giddings, General Manager of Virgin Atlantic contact centers says about live chat:
“Customers who chat convert at nearly 3.5 times the rate of those who don’t,”
Another case study shows that Virgin Atlantic reduced service costs by more than 1,500% using live chat, as well as increasing their conversion rate.
Using live chat to drive conversions is a great idea. However, it does require consistent effort on your part. Don’t back off just because of any difficulties you encounter—deal with them and then move on.
3. Interactive Content
Generating leads can be fun with Interactive content. Interactive content engages users, whilst providing them with real value. In return, you get their contact information. Customers are usually willing to give out relevant information if they get something out of it. Consequently, you can use this information to create a detailed buyer persona and segment them accordingly. Let’s explain with an example.
Let’s assume you are trying to market an ecommerce makeup store. You could create an effortless product recommendation quiz like this one:
Customers will feel compelled to provide their contact information to find out which makeup set suits them best. The company will also receive other relevant information like their budget, skin type, and so on, which can be used to create personalized targeted emails to help boost sales.
4. Make use of CRM software
According to Capterra, 53% of top-performing companies are investing in CRM to drive sales productivity. In the modern marketplace, CRM tools are crucial for generating leads. You need to analyze, understand, and plan for market trends and consumer behavior. Using your CRM software properly involves:
- Customer analytics: Understanding your audience is crucial. With CRM analytical tools you can retrieve data regarding age, purchasing habits and geographical locations. Use this to modify your outreach approach for generating leads accordingly.
- Social networking: One of the most effective methods for connecting with your clients is through social media. You can post various surveys on social media platforms and store the data in your CRM software.
- Nurturing your leads: Once you have the data, make sure you reach out efficiently. Your CRM’s email marketing software can help you contact the right customers at the right time.
- Integrate your CRM with live chat software: By doing this, you can record and read chat histories and conversations in your CRM tool. With the relevant information at your fingertips, you can serve your customers much more effectively.
Through proper use of CRM and live chat software, you will generate more leads because you connect with your customers in a more professional way. There are a number of other tools, such as screen sharing, cobrowsing, and email marketing among others, that will also help you generate more leads.
5. Encourage online reviews
According to bright local, “88% of respondents confirmed that they trust and will check online reviews before trying something for the first time.” And 68 percent were willing to write a review when asked to.
The second statistic highlights an opportunity to really boost conversions and sales. Encouraging your existing customers to share their experience is the most effective way to enhance your brand image and attract new customers. Employing this strategy encourages long-term customer relationships.
6. Include a contact number
Even if your customers don’t actually call, including a contact number on your website really helps to create trust and cement your credibility.
In fact, adding a phone number at the top of your page (this is especially true of the homepage) has been proven to increase conversions by up to 53%. Here’s an example from Zappos, the popular shoe store. As you can see, there’s a phone number at the top of every page.
Your customers can relax in the knowledge that, should they need to, they can call up and talk to someone
7. Invest in targeted PPC ads
According to WordStream, the top 3 paid ads get 41% of clicks on that page. PPC, or pay-per-click, is a model commonly applied in internet marketing. In it, the advertiser pays a fee every time a user clicks on one of their ads. Think of it as a tactic for buying traffic to your website.
The best part about PPC ads is that the ads instantly appear on the first relevant search page for the user. As a result, you get maximum exposure to a highly appropriate audience, informing those users about your product.
How is PPC helpful in generating leads?
- It reaches visitors who are searching for your offering or similar
- It brings more traffic to your website and immediate keyword rankings
- It’s possible to see what the audience is searching for and therefore craft your email/message according to their needs
- You can track ROI down to the cent
- You can grow your database of leads and remarket them accordingly
PPC gives exceptional results if used wisely. Proper analysis of your keywords and target market is requisite in achieving the best possible ROI. Without adequate planning, PPC can result in a lot of wasted money. However, if you are prepared to do the proper research on your offerings, target audience, and budget, as well as employing the right expertise, PPC could prove to be one of your best lead generation strategies.
8. Create some great content for users to check out
When it comes to grabbing your users’ attention, content is a great way to do it. Content that is relevant, catchy, informative, interesting, and useful, can go a long way to convincing users to do business with you.
Remember, even though you can promote your product or service through website content, don’t use it simply for that. Instead, provide users with valuable information, and include information about what you do, and the market you serve. There is a good chance users will see you as an industry leader if your content portrays the right image.
Of course, you want to present your product or service as a perfect solution to users’ problems. Nevertheless, you can still seek to provide an overall view on the subject, and position your company as an expert.
Once you know what to put in, the next question is how to distribute it. There are a few different ways you could choose to interact with your users.
- Memes or comical content
- Podcasts etc.
As you can see, there are a lot of options available. Remember though, only post relevant content, and do it through the appropriate medium.
9. Add media files and testimonials for greater credibility
If you’re not using testimonials and media content on your website, you're leaving so much on the table. Testimonials say a lot about your credibility and are great for building trust.
This is especially true if your testimonials and recommendations come from reputable people. GetResponse makes use of trustworthy testimonials on their homepage. Take a look.
Video testimonials, or even pictures, get the message across and fast and can do wonders for your conversion rate.
10. Promote your brand through contests and affiliates
Don’t the brick and mortar shops near you organize contests and competitions? Well, there’s no reason your website can’t do the same. In fact, some marketers have been at it for ages.
Users love it when prizes are on offer, and they love it even more when they win them! Often known as digital sweepstakes, it panders to their competitive spirit and helps you grab their attention. Get them to write some slogans or taglines, participate in quizzes, post pictures, or share your content—then offer them something in return.
Imagine how many active leads you can gain by running these types of contests.
You can also merge them with sign up forms, surveys, and email listings. Offer your users the chance to enter a contest and sign them up. Offer discount and rebate coupons as prizes, or even free items to some winners.
Sephora, for example, used a quiz contest offering the lucky winners $400 worth of beauty products.
Aside from contests, your company could invest its time and resources in starting an affiliate marketing strategy.
Companies often hire affiliates to boost their promotional program and convert leads for them. Affiliates are an easy way to improve sales numbers, but only if the plan is well targeted. Member strategies are very inexpensive, as the scheme works on a commission basis. The scheme also incentivises affiliates to work effectively in promoting your brand and bring in the leads—as performing well is the only way they get remuneration. It’s win-win.
11. Be active on communities like Quora
With 100 million unique monthly users, Quora is a very popular website. Your company can use it to generate leads. Apart from answering user queries, the website also allows you to add links to your page and therefore indirectly market yourself whilst providing honest answers.
This is a fantastic way to interact with users. You just have to open up an account, be active, and search for the relevant opportunities to get involved. Take Acquire as an example, we are getting 20 to 30 visitors daily from Quora because of one top post. It really is that simple to earn leads when you use Quora, and you get to help users out too.
Besides Quora, there are several other question and answer websites around. For example, you could be active on answers.com, or Yahoo answers, among others. There are also several community websites where you can generate leads by participating—like Reddit.
12. Provide freebies to your visitors
A great way to collect data and generate leads is to offer various freebies to your visitors. Psychologically, free stuff is extremely efficient in attracting users. If your users find your freebie offering useful or informative, then they will be happy to provide you with their details. Some of the most effective freebie offerings are:
Newsletter: You can offer a weekly or monthly newsletter that provides unique, informative content. To do that, you need to draw in the user with eye-catching one-liners so they feel the need to give their details.
As you can see in the image above, the Chive has creatively designed their newsletter pop-up, helping attract people to subscribe to their newsletter.
Ebooks: Who doesn’t want free and informative eBooks? You can offer your customers handy eBooks in exchange for their data. In the example below, Optinmonster has beautifully designed their eBook offering pop-up window.
Whitepaper: Whitepapers are an effective way to not only generate leads, but also impress your users. You can convince your users by offering them various ideas and content about your product or service. Below is another brilliant example of a freebie offering by Nichehacks.com. They have a neatly designed pop-up window offering handy content.
13. Consider the end-goal first
Clearly define what a lead means to your business. This is very important. Do you consider anyone that signs up for your offer as a lead, or someone that fills out your contact form, or maybe it’s someone that requests a callback.
Whatever your goal is, it’s important you define it up front. It's basic, but nonetheless essential to do before you move forward. It forms the basis of metrics you will use to measure how successful your lead generation campaign is.
14. Avoid “cookie-cutter” site templates
Nowadays, there are lots of pre-designed website templates around. However, when it comes to creating a good lead generation website, it’s important you make it stand out.
Invest in creating a top-notch design. It’s worth it because customers will see you as more credible if you have a good website.
A customized, professionally done website design, that’s clean, responsive, and user friendly, really works. Consider your website design as your chance to make a first impression on users. If they don’t find it appealing, it’s likely they’ll just walk away.
15. Use power words to describe your offer
Use power words to nudge users into taking action. If you want them to subscribe to your newsletter, go ahead and ask.
When visitors hit your site, if they don’t see words like “get”, “download”, “have”, and other words that invoke action, they may well leave.
16. Use trust seals
“The toughest thing about the power of trust is that it's very difficult to build and very easy to destroy. The essence of trust building is to emphasize the similarities between you and the customer.” – Thomas J. Watson
Adding trust seals to your website will increase trust in your brand and encourage users to do business with you.
Trust seals provide your users with a guarantee. OrientalFurniture.com increased their conversion rate 7.6% by adding the BuySafe guarantee.
The BuySafe seal guarantees the delivery of purchases up to $500 and also offers $10,000 guaranteed protection if a customer’s identity is stolen on the website. You should use trust seals that guarantee strong protection like this.
17. Post forms on every page
Give yourself a better chance of persuading potential customers to fill out forms by placing them on every page, and making sure they are in positions where they can be easily found.
It’s a good idea to use visual cues like arrows to show them where to look. Minimizing the number of fields in your forms is likely to improve completion rate and increase the number of subscribers since the form will be easier to fill.
In most cases, their first name and email address could be all that’s needed. That’s exactly what David Siteman did on his homepage, and his opt-in rate went through the roof.
18. Use popups to sign people up for personalized emails
Companies make extensive use of personalized emails as a strategy to generate leads and grow their business. Personalized emails provide the reader with a human touch, creating a much more engaging experience than generic, automated emails.
A great example of this comes from Netflix. Many people spend a lot of time searching for the right movie/content to view on Netflix rather than actually watching it. Hence, Netflix provides an option to run, or add, a particular movie via personalized email. Netflix knows the importance of providing personalized emails, users cherish useful suggestions from companies, and in the end this helps to generate leads for your organization.
So what’s the best way to generate an email list to promote personalized content to?
Using a pop-up box is one of the easiest ways to gather email ids. Just remember to make an attractive looking box that’s easy to locate, and importantly, is easy to get rid of if someone doesn’t want to engage with you. According to one study conducted by a blog, a website generated 1,375% more registered email ids thanks to the installation of a homepage pop-up box.
19. Optimize for Mobile
According to Think with Google, 48% of a mobile customer’s research starts with a search engine, and about 48% of customers say they feel frustrated and annoyed when they land on websites that are poorly optimized for mobile.
As the days go by, more of your target customers are using mobile devices to find you and read your content, so it’s important you make your website mobile-friendly. Optimize your website for mobile, make it responsive, easy to navigate, and make sure it functions as desired.
20. Lead scoring
The lead scoring system allows you to prioritize your leads according to their engagement with your content. Not all leads are ready to buy. Segmenting based on their level of engagement in the buying cycle is critical to your success.
Set up your lead scoring system in such a way that you know who is ready to buy, but also exactly what those leads are interested in.
Having an effective lead scoring system allows you to focus on your most engaging leads, whilst continuing to nurture leads that aren’t yet ready to buy. This will allow you to save time and money, whilst gaining an advantage over competitors as, sadly, over 79% of B2B marketers are yet to establish a lead scoring system.
21. Experiment and Test
Now with all these best practices at your fingertips, it’s time to experiment with them to see exactly what works for you.
Test your CTAs, test the colors that convert the most, test the lead magnets that convert best. Keep testing until you find what works best for your target audience.
Implement for success
Having the best B2B lead generation strategies in your arsenal is one thing, but implementing them successfully is what matters the most.
Be sure to put these best practices to use, and you’ll acquire more leads, make more sales, and increase your business profitability.