You believe in the value of the products and services your company provides. Whether you’re selling hand-crafted dog collars, top-notch physical therapy services, or affordable kitchen supplies, you know that your company’s offerings will make certain people very happy. The question is: how do you find those “certain people?” Connecting your company with its ideal customers can be tricky, which is why it’s so important to focus on lead generation and take advantage of all the leads you acquire . . . So what is a lead? And where might your leads lead you?
Leads: A Beginner’s Guide
What Is a Lead?
From an online marketing perspective, a lead is a person who expresses interest in a company’s products or services, i.e., a potential customer.
The goal of a lead is to find someone who shows an organic interest in your company. This eases the transition from stranger to customer, making it feel natural instead of forced and intrusive. Once a lead is secured, a company may choose to reach out to that potential customer, aiming to transform their interest into a sale. This communication might include customized offers or information, which show the customer that the company took their unique interest into account.
Has a telemarketer ever interrupted a pleasant moment of your day and tried to sell you something? Scratch that. Why am I even asking? Of course you’ve been bothered by a telemarketer or a robocall “cold calling” you. This form of marketing feels intrusive and impersonal because it is intrusive and impersonal. You were a stranger to that company, not a lead (because you’d expressed no interest in them previously), so you likely felt annoyed or even angry when they interrupted your day. The fact of the matter is, contacting random people out of the blue is far less effective than implementing personalized communication through leads if you’re hoping to expand your customer base.
How to Generate Leads
In marketing, we’re focused on lead generation, which is the process of attracting strangers to your website and converting them into leads. We want to catch the attention of people who might be interested in your company’s products or services, convince them that they are interested, and then prompt them to express that interest. Generating leads is crucial because it gets random people on the path to becoming loyal customers.
How do you attract people’s attention? You could use Facebook, Google Ads, YouTube advertising, Pinterest, and more. There are a variety of options available, so it’s important that you select the right option for your company. For example, Pinterest often works well for e-commerce stores but it may not satisfy the needs of a consulting firm. Using these websites and advertising options, you can catch a visitor’s eye and guide them to your website.
Calls to Action
When a stranger lands on your website, you want to give them a little taste of your company and make them aware of your benefits so that they become naturally interested in your products and services. The idea is that once a person has warmed up to your company, they may want to hear from you – and they won’t find it pushy or invasive if you reach out to them.
So when someone visits your website, we use calls-to-action to encourage them to take action and become leads. A call-t0-action may take the form of text, a link, an image, or a button, and it ushers the visitor to another page, which offers the visitor an opportunity to express their interest.
You will need to offer something of value on the landing page so that the stranger feels compelled to provide their personal information in exchange for access to that thing. Some examples of this include more information about your product or service, a free quote, or a discount. To obtain this special something, the visitor will need to complete a form or take you up on an offer.
Forms and Offers
On the landing page, you want the visitor to either fill out a form or decide to interact with your company in another way.
A form is a very simple, no-fuss way to transform someone from a visitor to a lead. Some examples include message forms, quote request forms, and newsletter subscription sign-ups. Once a visitor fills out and sends a form, you instantly have a new lead. Forms commonly ask for a person’s name and e-mail address, but you can request other pertinent information as well: phone number, zip code, project type (for a quote), etc.
However, you may prefer that your visitors take a tangible, timeless approach to expressing their interest in your company. You could provide a phone number for them to call, supply a coupon for them to use in your store, or invite them to attend a live event. Another option is to provide a button, which users can click to begin following you on a social media website like Facebook.
Acquiring Leads vs. Buying Leads
It’s possible to buy leads – and tempting too – but this isn’t the same as naturally acquiring leads with effective marketing.
If you purchase a potential customer’s contact information, you aren’t actually securing a lead. That person hasn’t expressed any interest in your company or asked to receive information from you. In fact, they may not even be aware of your company. Typically, they’ve signed up for something else, and then their information became available for you to buy. So in most cases, they will find any communication from your company intrusive and unwelcome.
Buying leads is far less likely to lead to successful conversions than acquiring high-quality leads with an excellent marketing campaign.
How to Track and Value Leads
While you can track leads in a variety of ways, we prefer to use events and goals in Google Analytics. Using Google Analytics, we can track each time someone clicks on a button or submits a form, for example, transforming them into a lead. Tracking events and goals will give you insights into which sources are generating more leads so that you can invest your time and money optimizing them.
It’s helpful to continually review this data and to reassess how you’re spending your marketing budget. For example, 417 Marketing assisted a nationwide e-commerce website with a Google Ads campaign and tracked the results using Google Analytics. This data was produced on a single day in March 2019:
Reviewing this data helped the client understand the worth of their Google Ads and how frequently people’s visits lead to conversions. This allowed them to make more informed decisions going forward.
In addition, it’s important for every business to understand the threshold of a lead, as this varies from company to company. For some, generating 1 lead over 1,000 visitors is a success; for others, it’s a waste of resources. The best way to determine if your marketing efforts are worthwhile is to assign a monetary value to each lead (often referred to as the “cost per lead”). For example, perhaps you consider a newsletter subscription to be worth $1, while form submissions are $20. This technique allows you to compare dollars with dollars, evaluating the cost of leads, the cost of the campaign, and your revenue.
If you’re struggling to land leads, consider using A/B testing to perfect your lead generation technique. Also called “split testing,” A/B testing helps you determine which of two (or more) options is most effective by isolating a single variable to compare. To do this, you simply need to create a randomized experiment with two variants, A and B. These variants will be shown to users at random, and then you can use a statistical analysis to determine which variation performs best for your lead goals.
Depending on whom you ask, you’ll hear different answers to the question, “What is a lead?” This is especially true if you ask both marketers and salespeople. But however you think of a lead, we encourage you to take advantage of the leads you acquire so that they don’t languish away as untapped potential.
Hoping to gain more leads? Check out 417 Marketing, an online marketing company based in Springfield, Missouri, that specializes in SEO and web design. Click here to contact us and learn more about what we can do for your company.