The Best Systems to Generate a Digital Marketing Lead
A digital marketing lead is the result of the first step in business that every seller must undertake: research, which is a key task, especially when sales are low.
Generating a digital marketing lead is a crucial step in the marketing process, but more importantly, it is critical to business growth.
While business owners of organizations large and small, as well as marketers at all stages of their careers, say they understand the vital role lead generation plays in generating the best results, they also say it’s one of the biggest challenges they still face.
What Is Digital Marketing Lead Generation?
There may be thousands of people who know about a brand, but until they interact with them in some way, they still don’t know about their business. Simply put, lead generation is the process by which strangers (people who have shown an interest in a product or service) become prospects and are guided along the path to becoming customers.
After all, if you haven’t captured customer interest and figured out how to reach and identify them, you have no one to guide your marketing efforts or drive them to buy. That’s why it’s important to manage your lead generation practices well.
If lead generation is the process of turning strangers into customers, then a lead generation strategy is about the methods you use to support and optimize that process. It is basically an action plan for attracting potential customers.
However, creating an effective lead generation strategy involves many concepts and decisions.
How Lead Generation Has Evolved with Digital Transformation
First, it’s important to understand that the lead generation process today is not the same as it was 40, 30, or even 20 years ago. With the advent of the internet, the way brands reach potential customers has changed dramatically.
It is worth familiarizing yourself with these changes so that you can adjust your strategy and take advantage of these opportunities if necessary.
- Information overload and lack of attention. With the proliferation of online channels, consumers have access to a lot of information. As a result, brands have to work harder to overcome the noise and get noticed. A solid lead generation strategy is crucial these days.
- Appearance of new channels. In the past, companies were limited to local lead generation tactics. Today, thanks to digital transformation, businesses can use everything from blogs and Facebook posts to SEO and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to get noticed.
- Access to data. Thanks to analytics, we can now closely monitor user behavior and measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. Consequently, lead generation strategies can be less general and more personal.
- Greater focus on relationships. Customers now expect engagement with brands. Lead generation is now more about building long-term relationships with potential customers than anything else.
Digital Marketing Lead Generation Methods: Inbound Vs. Outbound Marketing
When developing a lead generation strategy, one of the first decisions you need to make is whether to rely on an inbound or outbound marketing strategy, or a combination of both.
- Inbound Marketing
The objective of inbound marketing is for the person to be found. Inbound marketing is the process by which businesses organically engage potential customers by offering them something they are actively seeking, such as something useful or educational.
In this way, organizations gain attention and prospects are the ones who open the lines of communication. Examples: blog posts, native social media posts, podcasts, subscription emails, optimized content, YouTube videos.
- Outbound Marketing
Unlike inbound marketing, outbound marketing efforts are focused on delivering a message to find potential customers wherever they are. In this case, it is the business, not the potential customer, who is reaching out to arrange a purchase or get attention. Example. Cold calling involves calling a potential customer you haven’t communicated with before and is a prime example of outbound marketing that used to be a popular tactic.
In addition to the above, other examples of outbound marketing include television, radio, print advertising, billboards, direct mail, and emails to a purchased list.
Lead Generation, Lead Management and Sales Funnel
Lead generation is just one part of a larger process in which people and businesses go from outsiders to engaged customers.
The sales funnel is a visualization of this process that represents the stages through which a consumer passes in the purchase process.
To develop a solid lead generation strategy, you need to understand where this part of the process fits into the bigger sales picture. It is also important to remember that marketing is not just about generating leads. Once you get a lead, you still need to convert it into a sale.
Top of the Funnel (TOFU)
Lead generation is a top of the funnel (TOFU) tool. This occurs throughout the awareness phase and at the intersection of the awareness and interest phases.
- Awareness: Prospects currently know about your business (perhaps they saw your ad on social media or heard about you from a friend), but haven’t yet engaged with your brand.
- Interest: Customers engage in actions that indicate an interest in your product or service. They traded some of their information in exchange for some kind of offer and are in the early stages of an investigation.
What does it look like in practice? This is usually a website visitor who fills out a form on the landing page and gives you their information in exchange for an offer.
Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)
This stage of the funnel is where your target audience starts to think more seriously about your product or service. They have made more specific data collection attempts, but have not yet made any purchase decisions.
- Intent: At this stage, the actions taken by the digital marketing lead indicate their intent to make a purchase. That is, they are interested not only in your offer, but also in making it their own (for example, they have added the product to the online shopping cart).
Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)
Prospects are very close to making a purchase, but they are making a final comparison with similar products or services and evaluating all the information to make a purchase decision.
- Purchase: A prospect makes a purchase and becomes a customer.
The Importance of Effective Digital Marketing Lead Generation
In order to attract the type of digital marketing lead that is most likely to convert, you must first have a clear idea of what you want to attract. In other words, you need to understand who your ideal customer is and what motivates them to buy. For this reason, creating buyer personas, and research-based customer types, is a critical first step in developing a lead generation strategy. A deeper understanding of the target audience will help to:
- Choose the most appropriate lead generation channel.
- Develop content of specific interests so that they can be evaluated.
- Personalized messages for different target groups.
- Select the appropriate lead magnet.
What Is the Difference Between Each Digital Marketing Lead?
So far, we’ve talked about leads as if they were all the same, but that’s not true. It’s important to know the difference, and use tools to tell the difference, so you don’t waste time on an unworthy digital marketing lead or lose promising leads.
- Indirect prospects. Downstream leads are leads that you know, but don’t necessarily know you and haven’t yet expressed interest in your solution.
- Immediate prospects. They get to know your company and take certain actions to show interest in your offer. However, they have not seriously thought about the purchase and have not worked out the details of what they are looking for.
- Qualified leads. These types of leads meet the key criteria that make them worth pursuing. They are closer to the buying stage than direct leads, may fit your buyer persona, and have taken some discovery steps, like downloading your company’s booklet. Qualified leads can be defined in two different categories:
- Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs). The MQL is a digital marketing lead that is likely to become a customer but is not yet ready to make a purchase. They’ve shown that they’re open to your marketing efforts and engaged with your content (perhaps they’ve visited your site multiple times or downloaded an eBook)., but they haven’t made a purchase decision yet.
- Sales Qualified Leads (SQL). These leads are further down the sales funnel than MQLs. These leads indicate that they are intent on making a purchase, so they are ready to pass on to the sales team for conversion.
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