Now, I think we should dive straight into the topic without first taking minutes to beat around the bush, or what do you think?
I think we should go straight into defining a lead, and then we will cover what online lead generation is, why you need lead generation in your marketing, how you qualify a person as a lead, how to label lead types like sales Qualified leads, how to generate leads, and why inbound lead generation is more effective than just buying leads.
What do you think? If you leave the choice to me again, here is what I think, we should start already.
Table of Contents
What is a Lead?
A lead is any person who has shown interest in a company’s product in some way, shape, or form.
Leads typically listen to a business or brand after opening a communication (by submitting personal information for an offer, subscription, or trial) instead of receiving a random cold call from someone who has purchased their contact information.
Are you satisfied with that response already or I should bring more light on what a lead is?
Okay, Let’s say you take an online survey to learn more about how to take care of your HP laptop. A day or two later, you get an email from the device manufacturer that created the survey asking how they can help you take care of your laptop.
This process would be much less intrusive if they called you without even knowing if you even care about laptop maintenance, right? This is what it is like to be a lead.
And from a business standpoint, the information the device company collects about you from your survey responses helps them personalize that initial communication to address your current challenge — and not waste time randomly calling those who may not be interested in device maintenance at all.
Customers are part of the broader lifecycle that consumers follow as they transition from visitors to paying customers.
Now you should take note that not all leads are created equal (nor do they have similar qualifications). There are various types of leads depending on how qualified they are and what lifecycle phase they are in.
Types of Leads
#1. Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
A marketing-qualified lead (MQL) is a prospective customer that has been reviewed by the marketing team and satisfies the criteria needed to be passed along to the sales team.
Okay, think about it this way: If your marketing team can closely align with sales on what makes for a first-rate lead at your company, then marketing can classify and handoff these leads to sales after a lead’s initial interaction(s) with your company.
Then, once sales have these contacts from marketing, reps can also qualify them and cultivate them accordingly.
This leads to time being well-spent across the company and ensures sales reps aren’t throwing away their time trying to identify leads that marketing has already engaged and screened.
These leads that marketing engages, screens, and hands off to sales are called marketing qualified leads (MQLs).
In summary, Marketable leads are contacts that are involved with the efforts of your marketing team but are not ready to receive sales calls yet.
An example of MQL is a visitor who fills out a landing page form for an offer.
#2. Sales-qualified lead (SQL)
A sales-qualified lead is a potential customer that is ready to talk to a sales team, the one that was vetted by the marketing team.
Typically, this lead has expressed enough interest in your product that they are ready to move into your sales funnel.
Almost always, they have been researched and screened by your marketing department and then handed off to your sales team to nurture through the sales process.
An example of SQL is a website visitor who fills out a form to ask questions about your product.
#3. Product Qualified Lead (PQL)
A product-qualified lead (PQL) is a contact or business that has experienced value from using a product as a result of a free trial, use of a limited version model, or other types of first-hand experience with the product or service.
The use of the product takes the contact a step further than a marketing-qualified lead (MQL).
A PQL is more likely to purchase a product than other leads since they already receiving value from an understanding of the product.
These contacts have bought into the product beyond other leads who have only performed research, received promotions, or have been referred to a company.
The goal of a product-qualified lead strategy is to submerge the customer in the product experience so that the customer understands the full value of the product.
A product-qualified lead marketing strategy is becoming more popular in the cloud software space where companies are allowing potential customers to trial their products for an extended period while the company monitors usage behind the scenes (such as features utilized and how often they log in).
Examples of this strategy beyond software, include a situation where a personal trainer offers an initial training session at a reduced cost.
The customer acquisition cost is expensive and is usually a “hit or miss.” Situation. A product-qualified lead strategy, if performed properly, can lead to remarkable decreases in acquisition costs as a result of potential buyers overthrowing many of the barriers inhibiting a purchase decision.
An example of PQL is a contact who uses your free version but only engages or requests for features available on payment.
#4. service qualified lead (SQL)
A service-qualified lead (SQL) is an individual who has indicated to a customer service team member that they are ready for a conversation with a sales rep about new services.
Customer service reps have a big opportunity to impact their company`s bottom line by identifying SQLs and reattaching them with a sales rep to identify possible upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
Ensure to actively listen to your customers for signs they have a need that can be solved with your product or service and could benefit from talking to a sales rep.
What is Lead Generation?
Done with telling you what a lead is, let’s go ahead and tell you what lead generation is. Lead generation is the process of attracting potential customers to your business and increasing their interest by nurturing them, with the ultimate goal of turning them into customers.
There are a few ways to generate leads through job applications, coupons, blog posts, live events, and online content.
These lead generators are just a few examples of lead generation strategies that you can leverage to attract potential customers and guide them to your offers. (We talk about these in more detail later in this blog post)
Whenever someone outside the marketing world asks me what I do for a living, It won’t be right to just say, “I create content for lead generation.” It could be completely lost on them.
So rather, I say, “I work on finding unique ways to attract prospects to my business. I want to gift them so much that there is a natural interest in my company so they will eventually embrace that brand.
Why Do You Need Lead Generation?
It’s no secret that leads generation is the water to water and nurtures every business to grow. You could be the best at what you do in your niche or industry, but without leads, your business will be stunted.
How do you determine the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy? It is either by the number of views they receive Or maybe by the number of shares they get.
Do you get it? Leads are essential to the sustainability of your business and also to promote your business. But how exactly does lead generation benefit your company?
#1. Lead Generation Expand Your Market
When you started your business, you likely targeted a defined group of people. But is this the only market you can and should be targeting? Lead generation helps you to learn about your prospects.
Maybe you are getting engagement from companies and job roles not included in your marketing campaign targets. With lead generation, you will see this trend and can add them.
#2. It Grows Your Following
Content creation and communication are big determiners of lead-generation efforts. It consists of creating quality content and starting conversations on social platforms.
The goal is to share valuable content with your target market, to position you as a thought leader in the niche or industry.
In turn, this builds a community of experts who like and follow your brand. Some will become customers and even more, may turn into brand loyalists.
#3. Gather More Customer Reviews with Lead Gen
Social proof is everything when convincing potential customers to convert into paying customers. And there is no better form of it than a review from a past customer.
But you don’t always get these automatically (even when your product is excellent). So it pays (literally) to ask your customers for reviews and testimonials.
#4. Lead Gen Boosts Your Revenue
When conducted correctly, lead generation can maximize your brand’s ability to reach the target audience. This requires using the right offer, messaging, and content to generate interest from these specific groups.
In doing so, you will find it easier to capture the attention of qualified leads, which makes it easier for the sales department to convert them.
The revenue growth potential is great, especially when you are focusing on interests and pain points your prospect cares about.
#5. Build Brand Visibility and Brand Awareness
Maybe you are a startup that recently launched without much buzz. Or you are an established business that’s operated behind the scenes for years. And now you want to get more eyeballs (and wallets) focused on your company and product.
Creating visibility and awareness is critical in turning the tide in your favor. You can do this by creating content your audience can resonate with and sharing them on the platforms where they spend their time.
Lead Generation Strategy?
You may only achieve success with one or two of these strategies. Evaluate each one carefully in the context of your revenue, your marketing goals, resources, and competitive landscape.
As much as we trust in the effectiveness of these lead-generation strategies, there’s no universal formula for business growth.
#1. Craft a lot of opt-in opportunities and make them charming
Webinars, live demos, and free reports don’t stop at just one or two opt-ins. Turn every blog content into an opt-in page. You can give away recipes, PDFs of your blog posts, resource guides, worksheets, and more.
An opt-in is an incentive, an offer, a bribe, or a lead magnet, all mean the same thing: something to persuade your prospects to punch your opt-in form and get into your funnel.
#2. Make landing pages clear and easy for the visitor to read and take action on
Landing pages are one of the most important components of a successful online business.
One of the first things visitors will notice when they arrive on your landing page is the layout of the text.
How readable does it appear? Does it look like I will quickly absorb information? Visitors will process the quality of the text after they have taken some time to read through it, but if it looks like a clustered wall of text, they will almost certainly navigate away almost immediately.
Therefore, you must break up your text into easy-to-read chunks using headers, bullet points, or numbers. Visitors can absorb the information packed into the text much easier if it comes in smaller bytes.
In areas in which you have multiple paragraphs, make sure those paragraphs are also short and to the point, and contain their ideas.
Again, walls of text are almost always intimidating, but a series of short, easy-to-read paragraphs are not as likely to scare away visitors.
#3. Write better ads!
It should no longer come as news to anyone that most ads just suck on their way to get in minds of the intended audiences. They are boring, they are all the same, and one isn’t any more fascinating than the other.
#4. Provide better offers
Unless you are one of the very top advertisers, there is much room for conversion rate improvement. The top 10% of landing pages witness conversion rates 3x to 5x the average.
One creative way to hit this high stakes is to provide better offers. This is far more meaningful than your typical, run-of-the-mill optimizations, changing button color, font type, spacing, and more.
Every software brand offers a free trial. Every plastic surgeon offers a free consultation session. What do you have to offer that is unique, attractive, and offers real value to the visitor?
#5. Simplify your lead generation form (The result you get for this is an improved conversion rate)
There are multiple ways in which you can collect lead contact information. But do you want to hear what’s the best lead generation strategy online?
Keep the sign-up form short, and collect only the basic information.
That’s right, Just think about it from the visitor’s perspective
Half of your visitors use mobile devices to browse your website and they are busy. So ensure that you are not discouraging them with a long lead form that takes up all the space on their small screens.
Lead generation is a process that helps companies build relationships with potential customers and convert them into paying customers.
The goal is always the same; to convert prospects into loyal customers. It can help you grow your business, build customer relationships, and ultimately improve sales.
Lead generation is an essential element of success for any enterprise. Businesses can unearth many potential customers by properly creating and executing a lead generation strategy, allowing them to open up a world of possibilities.
Through the process of tracking and identifying leads, companies can save time and money while simultaneously cultivating new relationships with prospects.
Ultimately, lead generation is an invaluable tool for businesses to increase their reach and visibility while engaging in meaningful conversations with potential customers.
Effective lead generation can help generate more sales opportunities, as reaching out to people interested in the product grants access to immediate conversions.