The Most Effective Lead Generation Strategies for Growing Conversion
Lead generation is the essence of business growth. By capturing better consumer information, brands build awareness, generate interest in their solutions and inject more prospects into the sales funnel.
As digital trends and technologies evolve, marketers have access to better tools and broader options to pull in leads. Marketing automation software is making it even easier for small businesses with limited budgets to engage in cost-effective lead generation. Plus, free and inexpensive online tools mean that startups now have clever tricks to target more valuable leads.
Better lead generation options are great for you but also for your competitors. Considering the most effective lead generation strategies is crucial to apply greater influence to your target consumer and begin building the relationship. With that in mind, we have detailed the best lead generation strategies for 2021 to build potential in your network.
What is a Lead Generation Strategy?
If you want to build your sales and profits, you need to attract as many leads as possible. Many of these individuals won’t convert to customers. But, it’s always better to cast a wide net and continue attracting more leads as you go.
Sales is a simple numbers game. Let’s say that your lead conversion rate is 20 percent. If you capture 100 leads, 20 of them will become customers. So, if you increase your lead number to 1,000, you could earn 10 times as much.
That’s where lead generation strategies come in. A lead generation strategy is simply a method of finding and attracting more leads to your business. Think of them as bait on fish hooks. You want to cast a line in as many bodies of water (marketing platforms) as possible. The more strategies you use, the better your results.
What is Your Inbound Marketing Strategy?
At its core, lead generation is all about stimulating interest in your brand, your products or both. Because the goal is building buzz, you will not have to work as hard to find new leads. Instead, they will come to you. This process is called inbound marketing, and it can be highly valuable.
You do not need to have your sales team track down individual leads with cold calling or other outbound methods. Instead, they can instead field inquiries from people who already want what you have to sell. However, inbound marketing is trickier than it looks. Some examples of effective inbound marketing tools include:
- Blog posts.
- Targeted SEO.
- Event hosting.
- Sale events.
When developing your lead generation strategies, you want to have a mix of both outbound and inbound marketing materials. In either instance, though, the more attractive your pitch, the less your sales team has to work.
The Four Components of B2C and B2B Lead Generation Strategies
While individual lead generation strategies differ on the details, each one has the same four elements. Before deploying your various tactics, you need to know how to approach each of these components and keep track of the results. Otherwise, it is impossible to know how well your strategies are doing and whether they are worth continuing.
A visitor to your site is worth nothing unless you have some way of contacting them. You could have thousands of unique visitors per month. But, without lead capture tools, you will leave tons of cash on the table.
Typically, modern consumers don’t want to give out too much information right away. A name and an email address should be sufficient but do not stop at contact details. You can capture a wide array of useful data about each visitor, including:
- Origin – “How did you hear about us?”
- Needs – “What brought you to our site?”
- Solutions – “Which products are you interested in the most?”
Overall, you want to get information without making the process too lengthy or complicated. A few questions with simple answer options should suffice. For example, you can either have a drop-down menu or a survey below each question to streamline the response times.
Asking for information is only going to get you so far. If a visitor doesn’t see value in providing their details, they won’t move forward in your sales funnel. Lead magnets are enticing offerings that encourage more engagement.
By providing extra value or compensation, you are more likely to get visitors to answer your questions and give their contact information. Examples of lead magnets can include:
- Free Trials.
Ideally, you can customize the magnet based on the user’s engagement. Some visitors may be looking for more information about their problem, while others just want free stuff. If you can tailor your lead generation strategies, your conversion rate will increase significantly.
Landing Page Conversion Technique
One way to customize the user experience is with different landing pages. Since each visitor is coming to your site for a specific need, you must adapt to fit them. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work and will yield far fewer results.
When it comes to landing page conversion techniques, here are some core components to use:
- Keep it Simple – Don’t distract your visitors with complex information or cluttered pages. Focus their attention on what matters most.
- Have a Call-to-Action – Each landing page should have a specific goal (e.g., subscribe to our newsletter). All of the information should point to your CTA so that the visitor knows what to do.
- Add Value – How can you solve your visitor’s problem? The landing page should address those needs specifically and show that the CTA will move the visitor to the next step.
While you want to get as many leads as possible, not all of them will be winners. One way to separate the quality leads from the duds is by scoring them. There is no universal template for lead scoring, so you will have to develop a proprietary system.
The basic methodology works like this: every time a lead does something, it’s worth a set number of points. For example, entering an email may be worth five points, while downloading an e-book is worth 10. You want to assign more value to actions that indicate more interest. While most of your leads might enter their emails, only a select few will download an e-book.
Once you have the scores, you will need to determine a minimum score for pursuing a lead. Don’t worry about getting the system right immediately; you will need to refine it as you start scoring new leads.
Leverage Chatbot Conversations
Your sales reps are busy, so they cannot always respond to new inquiries and emails. Unfortunately, the longer it takes to reply, the less likely a lead will convert to a customer. Thankfully, technology has your back.
Chatbots are an excellent way to engage with potential clients immediately. Not only can leads feel heard, but you can use the bot for scoring.
Best of all, chatbots are highly customizable and can do a lot more than you might realize. For example, if a lead just wants more information about a particular product, the bot can offer a whitepaper attachment.
Bots can help categorize your visitors so that they are directed to the right individual. Not only does this keep the lead engaged, but it saves your team time and energy later on.
Create Gated Content
High-value content can work for both inbound marketing and as a lead magnet. However, while you want to entice users with free information, you can save the best content for later.
Gated content means that a user has to complete a specific task to access the material. This task could be something small, like entering their email address. Or, it could be significant, like scheduling a product demonstration.
Using this strategy can be tricky since you need to ensure your content is attractive enough to warrant the action. While valuable content can be good enough on its own, you want to “sell” it to the user as well.
You can entice each lead by hyping the benefits of each piece. Ideally, you can back up your boasting with specific success stories as examples. If the content has helped other clients in the past, new customers are more likely to want access.
Create a Value-Packed Newsletter
While some lead generation strategies are designed to help you find new prospects, this tactic allows you to move current leads through your sales funnel. Capturing someone’s email address is an excellent first step, but you have to follow through if you want to convert.
One of the best ways to convert email subscribers is with a value-packed newsletter. You can also highlight access to this newsletter as a means of attracting new leads. Some enticing elements can include:
- Special Offers – Only subscribers get access to deep discounts.
- Rewards – Give prizes to subscribers for being on your email list for a specified period.
- Event Invites – Who doesn’t like getting invited to an exclusive, invite-only party?
- Upcoming Content – Preview new material to your email list before publishing it live on your website.
Be proactive with your lead generation strategies and give leads a reason to come to you. Hosting a live or online event can be an excellent way to drum up business and build some buzz. Some examples of events can include:
- New Product Launch – Show off what your R&D department has been working on before you release it to the public.
- Customer Celebration – Play games and award prizes for participants while showcasing what your brand can offer.
- Webinar/Seminar – Leverage your authority within your industry and provide crucial information and insight that your customers want.
- Workshop – Teach potential clients how to use your products more effectively. Workshops are excellent for both new leads and past customers.
Top Lead Generation Strategies
The paths to obtaining leads can have different effects for B2C and B2B companies. The level of purchase involvement and the sales cycle, for example, can determine what lead magnets are effective. As we will discuss, testing becomes an important part of finding the optimal lead generation strategies that create meaning and value for your target consumers.
Let’s look at the best lead generation strategies for B2C and B2B organizations in today’s digital marketing world.
1. Use PPC Campaigns with Better Ads
A search engine marketing campaign can entail labor-intensive yet low-cost work in building rankings or more immediately effective paid solutions. Getting ad placement does cost money but when used effectively, you can quickly cut through noise and competitors to get your brand front and center for your target audience.
Online ads appear either through organic search or the display network. With organic search, paid ads are placed at the top of search engine results for a particular query. This is highly relevant, as the searcher’s input already indicates a general interest in a solution and the potential to buy.
The display network involves ad placement on various websites (e.g. banner ads), usually at a lower cost-per-click than search engine advertising. Unfortunately, the relatively low targeting of these ads means they may not be put in front of a potential customer, and the low cost is offset by fewer conversions.
In either context, ad design is by-and-large a secondary consideration for even top advertisers and there is a huge opportunity to stand out with a captivating offer. Using more engaging visuals and a thoughtful copy can significantly raise your CTR.
2. Retarget Visitors with Remarketing
One of the savvier lead generation strategies, remarketing multiplies the efforts in the display network for retargeting visitors that have popped up on your website. Website cookies save user information so that they are presented with targeted ads in other online arenas, such as social media feeds and emails. For instance, if you visit a car dealership’s website, you may later see their ads show up in your Facebook feed.
With remarketing, you greatly increase your chances of conversion. Single visits to a website overwhelmingly fail to convert but with aggressive reinforcement, you can continue to add value until you hit a deep point of connection that inspires action. Retargeting is easy to set up with a Google AdWords campaign or third-party engines like Perfect Audience, which provide usable, automated solutions. Within a few months, you should see positive results in your lead quality.
3. Create Compelling Landing Pages
B2B companies with longer sales cycles can see a huge effect that landing pages have on how effectively they generate leads. These single-page devices take leads that have passed through the top of the sales funnel through a search result, ad or email link and present them with a clear CTA.
As one of the major lead generation strategies, optimizing your landing pages makes the difference in getting users to input the information that moves them to the next step of lead qualification. Keep in mind these best practices when designing your landing page to ensure a higher success rate:
- Plan out the exact action you hope to generate.
- Keep forms short, simple and as non-invasive as possible.
- Copy needs to be scannable. Use bullet points and design to guide the user’s eyes and make it easy to understand.
- Use relevant images or videos to communicate more in less time and increase attention.
- Ensure a clear, easy-to-find CTA.
- Offer social proof is through by displaying reviews, testimonials and major clients.
- Include privacy policies and security badges to boost trust.
- Take advantage of landing page optimizers from sites such as HubSpot or Unbounce to find opportunities.
4. Create Content to Grab Top-of-Funnel Leads
Organic search is a great channel for earning leads because it is perceived as more trustworthy than paid ads. Businesses large and small can benefit from creating content that uses well-researched keywords and topics relevant to targeted consumers. Executing a blog strategy, for example, is an excellent way to continually offer fresh content that is valuable to customers and gives search engines reason to push your website to the top of the rankings.
The key to content is consistency. New content should be created regularly and even old content should be updated, especially if referenced data changes, to give search engines more fuel to boost rankings above your competitors. However, content alone will not drive visibility. Consider the best practices for SEO when crafting content:
- Conduct keyword research and assign one primary keyword per piece of content.
- Use headers, meta titles, meta descriptions and image alt tags to highlight your primary keyword.
- Include links in content but don’t overload it. They need to be high-quality and relevant internal and external links.
- Be conscious of mobile users and create a more scannable piece.
- Focus on quality. Search engines are learning more and more to dodge SEO tricks and give preference to truly valuable content. SmartAsset, as noted on Alexa’s lead generation checklist, is a great example of a company that offers rich information and earns a first-page ranking.
Online tools from services such as Google, Moz, SEMRush and Ahrefs can give you the analytical support to enhance your SEO efforts.
5. Use Top-Tier Content as Lead Magnets
While frequent content is great for improving rankings and subsequently awareness and even interest in your business, capturing lead information is a harder task. Producing gated content with loads of useful, exclusive insights can give users a good reason to input their contact information. Specially-produced content that you can make accessible through sign up can include:
- White papers
- Video masterclasses
- Information-rich newsletters
- Ultimate guides
- Online tools
Creating unique, enticing material like this leads is a great example of an opt-in route, one of the primary tools in generating manageable leads.
6. Offer Opt-In Opportunities Throughout Your Website
Give visitors to your site plenty of opportunities to provide their personal information in exchange for free gifts. These are often thought of in terms of the aforementioned high-value content but there are tons of other places to ask for a customer email.
You can also create signups for ongoing content, such as new blog posts. Or, if you are selling a product that is out of stock, you can have an email field for customers to get an update on when it’s back in stock. All of a sudden, you have a new lead. It is as simple as exploring and optimizing your website to find new, creative ways to put opt-in opportunities in front of visitors.
An important note: Make sure your opt-ins are glaringly apparent and force visitors to make a choice between opting in or out. Giving visitors the option to ignore it entirely does little to generate leads.
7. Optimize Gmail Ads by Researching Effective Uses
Gmail ads get your lead generation mechanisms right in the user’s inbox. Figuring out the best ways to maximize your open rates benefits your conversion and CPC.
Using past email campaigns can lend insight into what gets customers to click. If you use a management system, such as ConstantContact, you can usually sort historically effective emails. Taking that content and transforming it into a Gmail Ad can continue that success.
Gmail ads cannot use the same remarketing processes of display ads but you can keep ads in front of more relevant audiences with a classic SEO practice — keyword targeting. By using unique keywords in your email campaigns, you can see more qualified leads in your sales funnel. Taking those keywords to your Gmail Ads gives those users another, often more attractive, engagement channel.
Competitive analysis also works through Gmail Ads. You can sign up for and research competitors’ email marketing and steal their keywords. On top of that, you can also use domain placements, a technique that DigitalOcean uses to great success in targeting cloud storage customers.
8.Use Coupons, Freemiums and Referral Programs to Reward Leads
Consumers in B2C contexts love exclusive discounts and they are surprisingly quick to provide contact information in exchange for a good deal. Coupons are an excellent lead generation tool that ensures purchase and ongoing contact.
Similar to coupons, referrals generate leads and push purchases from the person doing the referral if you give them an incentive (i.e. discount) to provide another potential customer. The authenticity of word-of-mouth promotions takes action with referrals, as new leads generally trust the recommendations of their friends, family and peers.
Free trials are similar to coupons but do not necessarily guarantee revenue. However, they do generate some of the best-qualified leads. If a customer is willing to at least invest their time in actually using your solution and experiencing the value firsthand, they are more likely to spend their money on it.
Making a stripped-down, free version of an offering is another great way to move qualified leads down the sales funnel. For example, if you sell a keyword research tool, you can offer a free version good for so many keywords you want to be analyzed. To get the absolute most utility out of the tool, you can give them tiered upgrades available for purchase.
In both free trials and freemiums, you get some of the best potential customers because they are displaying the highest level of interest. You can get more aggressive with moving them to purchase with the information they provide in signing up for the free trial versions. Contact them regularly via email and remarketing ads to reinforce the benefits of upgrading.
9. Test Your Tools: The Power of the Split Test
Creating effective opt-in channels is the centerpiece of practical online lead generation strategies. Using an A/B split testing system can help you draw connections between the layout of landing pages, ads or opt-in forms and their ability to convert on the CTA. Never assume that you are doing it the best way possible.
Split testing can identify opportunities and weaknesses in the images, headlines, body copy and other design elements. For example, if you have a form offering a how-to guide in exchange for an email address, you could release one to certain users with the email capture in one color and another one to different users in a different color.
You can split-test anything from the words you use to where items are placed. The differences in conversion may be surprising.
There are hundreds of creative ways to affect lead generation through optimizing your web pages and social profiles, working through affiliates and creating better advertising than competitors. We have discussed the most impactful focus points for generating leads but so many cost-effective solutions can be found with the right research and perspective.
Getting the most out of your lead generation strategies often still requires expert guidance. The Selling Revolution was designed to create the customized solutions that fill the gaps in your sales and marketing and achieve your organizational goals. We equip teams with the training, tools and knowledge to develop sustainable strategies that get the most out of their leads. Start the conversation with us today to learn more about how we can help your business grow to its full potential.