Lead generation is a critical process for any marketing agency. If you want to help your clients find leads of their own, you had better be able to perform this service to grow your own business first. A marketing agency directory can be a valuable source of these leads.
Tips to optimize your profile
Want to make the most of the directories in which your agency is featured? Make sure you do the following:
- Use keywords that are relevant to specific services or industries you serve. If you’re an agency with extensive automotive marketing experience, for example, make sure you state this in your profile. If you think your call tracking support helps you stand out from your competitors, mention this, too.
- Make sure information about location, size, and more are up to date. If and when you expand into new markets, update your listings accordingly.
- Fill out as much information as possible for each directory. Keep in mind that different directories ask for different information. The more information you give about your company, the better your visibility will be.
We found an excellent article Blog written by Anthony Lee Jan 03, 2020
“If lead generation is the process of converting strangers into leads, then a lead generation strategy refers to the approach you use to support and optimize this process. Essentially, it’s a plan of action to attract and capture leads.
Naturally, there are a number of concepts you need to understand and a range of decisions you have to make when building an effective lead generation strategy. In this section, we cover key definitions and outline important factors to consider before you start implementing specific tactics.
How lead generation has evolved with digital transformation
First and foremost, it’s key to understand that the lead generation process today looks nothing like it did 40, 30, and even 20 years ago. With the rise of the internet, the way brands reach potential customers has changed drastically.
Here we outline a few of the digital transformation-related developments that have impacted this aspect of marketing. It’s worth familiarizing yourself with these changes so you can adjust your strategy, if necessary, and capitalize on these opportunities.
Information overload and attention scarcity. With the proliferation of online channels, consumers are now inundated with information. They’ve had to learn how to tune certain messages out, and they’ve become pickier about the content they consume. As a result, brands have to work much harder to cut through the noise and grab attention. A strong lead generation strategy is now essential.
The shift from “finding” to “being found.” Because ofthe abundance of information out there, buyers today are fairly self-directed. They do their own research and actively seek out brands that appeal to them. While in the past, companies would spend much of their time looking for and “finding” prospective customers, today businesses invest in tactics that position them to “be found” by consumers organically.
The rise of new channels. Companies used to be limited to offline lead generation tactics (more on this later). Today, thanks to digital transformation, businesses can use everything from blogs and Facebook posts to SEO and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to capture attention.
Access to data. Thanks to analytics, we can now closely monitor user behavior and measure the impact of marketing activities. Insights from data provide us with invaluable information about prospects and the types of messages they respond to best. As a result, lead generation strategies can be less generic and more personalized, and less based on intuition and more on hard facts.
A heightened focus on relationships. Lead generation used to be about initiating interest for the purpose of ultimately closing a sale. Now, customers expect engagement with brands. They want two-way communication and meaningful interaction at multiple touchpoints. Lead generation is now more about initiating long-term relationships with prospects than anything else.
Lead generation approaches: Inbound marketing vs outbound marketing
One of the first decisions you’ll have to make when developing a lead generation strategy is whether you’re going to rely on inbound or outbound marketing tactics or a mix of both.
Inbound marketing explained
The goal of inbound marketing lead generation is being found. These effortsrely on a strong digital presence.
Inbound marketing is the process of companies pulling in prospects organically by giving them something they’re actively looking for (something useful or educational, for instance). Organizations earn attention this way, and the prospective customer is the one who opens the lines of communication.
Examples:blog posts, organic social media posts, podcasts, opt-in emails, optimized content, YouTube videos
Outbound marketing explained
In contrast to inbound marketing, outbound marketing efforts focus on broadcasting messages to find prospective customers wherever they are. In this case, the organization buys or otherwise gets attention, and it’s the business that initiates communication, not the prospect.
Examples: Cold calling, which entails phoning a prospect you’ve had no prior contact with, is a key example of outbound marketing and was once a popular tactic. As this methodology relies on making contact with cold leads (more on this below), it’s lost much of its efficacy today. That means that if you’re going to make use of this technique, it’s critical that you’ve mastered the art of cold calling first.
Aside from the above, other examples of outbound marketing include television, radio, and print advertisements; billboards; direct mail; and email blasts to purchased lists.
Outbound vs inbound: A direct comparison
|Outbound marketing||Inbound marketing|
|Direction of focus||Outward||Inward|
|Approach||Push messages to customers||Pull customers to messages|
|Audience (scope)||Large and broad||Smaller and more targeted|
|Messaging specificity||Tends to be quite generic||Tends to be more personalized|
|Conversation dynamics||One-way conversation||Two-way conversation|
|Customer control||Low: Customers see messaging whether they’re looking for it or not||High: Customers seek out contact and messaging|
|Cost per lead generated||Tends to be higher (according to HubSpot, outbound leads cost 61 percent more than inbound leads)||Tends to be lower (as compared to outbound marketing)|
Offline lead generation: Why you shouldn’t neglect it
With all the emphasis on digital, it’s easy to forget that there are ways to generate leads offline, out in the physical world. While many may try to convince you that online is the way to go, there’s still some merit to offline lead generation tactics. Some of the benefits of going this route — to supplement your digital efforts — include
- Tapping into the offline market. Depending on your brand identity and offers,there may be a slice of your target market that isn’t very active online. This audience is, therefore, going to be more receptive to offline tactics than blog posts and PPC ads, which they’ll likely never see.
- Building relationships in an old-school way. As mentioned previously, today’s customers want relationships with brands, and there’s no more powerful way to engender trust and strengthen connections than to engage in face-to-face interactions. That’s likely why 51 percent of B2B professionals name trade shows and industry events as a top source of leads.
- Playing where there’s less clutter. With most marketers moving online, it’s become less common to encounter offline lead generation techniques. If consumers aren’t as flooded with content in this area, attention scarcity becomes less of an issue, and they might be more receptive to messaging
Examples of offline lead generation
Consider some of the following non-digital lead generation activities:
- Setting up a booth at a trade show
- Presenting at a seminar or conference
- Sponsoring an event
- Sending direct mail
- Publishing entertaining or educational content in print mediums (offline content marketing)
Lead generation, lead management, and sales funnel
Lead generation is just one part of the broader process of individuals and businesses progressing from strangers to committed customers. The marketing-sales funnel, or the lead funnel, is a visualization of this process, and it indicates the various stages that consumers move through on their journey toward a purchase. It’s meant to help marketing and sales professionals better understand where prospects are in this process and what information they might need to become customers.
To develop a sound lead generation strategy, you need to understand where this particular part of the process fits into the broader sales picture. It’s also vital to remember that marketing doesn’t stop at lead generation. Once you’ve captured a lead, you still need to nurture this prospect down the funnel toward a sale.
Let’s take a look at the traditional lead funnel and its various components.
Top of the funnel (ToFu)
Prospects at this stage are aware of your business (perhaps they’ve seen your social ads or heard about you from a friend), but they haven’t yet engaged with your brand in any way.
Prospects have engaged in an activity that indicates interest in your product or service. They’ve exchanged some of their own information for an offer of some sort and are in the early stages of research.
Lead generation is a top-of-funnel (ToFu) acquisition tool. It takes place throughout the awareness stage and at the intersection of the awareness and interest phases. Essentially,it’s the process of taking mere awareness and converting it into active interest, which you capture in some way so you can enter the prospect into your lead management system. What does this look like in practice? Often, it’s a website visitor who fills in a form on a landing page, giving you their information in exchange for an offer.
Middle of the funnel (MoFu)
As its name suggests, this funnel stage sees targets start to more seriously consider your product or service. They engage in more targeted information-gathering attempts but haven’t yet made any kind of buying decision.
At this stage, the lead has taken an action that indicates they intend to make a purchase. That is, they’ve demonstrated interest not just in your offering but in the act of making it their own (they’ve placed an item in their online shopping cart, for instance).
Bottom of the funnel (BoFu)
Prospects are very close to purchasing but are making final comparisons with similar products or services and are evaluating all of the fine details to make a buying decision.
The prospect makes a purchase and turns into a customer.
The importance of developing buyer personas for effective lead generation
Before you can pull in the kind of leads that are most likely to convert, you need to have a clear understanding of who you’re trying to attract in the first place. In other words, you need to grasp who your ideal customer is and what motivates them to buy. For this reason, creating buyer personas — research-based representations of customer types — is a critical early-stage step when developing a lead generation strategy.
Developing a sound understanding of your target audience will help you to
- Select the most appropriate lead generation channels
- Develop content that addresses targeted concerns and, therefore, is likely to be valued
- Personalize messaging for different audience segments
- Select appropriate lead magnets (see description further down)
- Determine which leads are more likely to convert — based on their similarity to the target audience — and, therefore, which prospects are worth nurturing (see more on qualifying leads below)
Questions to ask yourself when building buyer personas
- What’s our target customer’s income and education level?
- What are their key interests?
- Which social media platforms do they frequent?
- What compels them to buy?
- What are their biggest pain points?
- What’s their role in their company?
- Where do they look for information?
- How do they prefer to communicate?
- How much power do they have to make decisions (for B2B)?
- What are some of the key challenges in their industry (for B2B)?
Answer the above questions by conducting market research, surveying your existing customer base, conducting focus groups, and using analytics.
What’s the difference between cold leads, warm leads, marketing-qualified leads, and sales-qualified leads?
Up until now, we’ve talked about leads as if every one of them is equal. But that’s simply not the case. Some leads are warmer than others. Some are more qualified than others. It’s important to understand the difference and have the tools to make the distinction, so you don’t waste time on leads that aren’t worth pursuing or miss out on the opportunity to convert a promising lead.
Cold leads. A cold lead is a prospect you’re aware of (perhaps you’ve purchased their contact details, for instance), but who aren’t necessarily aware of you and hasn’t yet expressed interest in your solutions.
Warm leads. A warm lead, in contrast, is aware of your company and has taken some kind of high-level action to express interest in your offering. They haven’t seriously considered a purchase yet, though, and haven’t ironed out the details of what they’re looking for.
Qualified leads. This type of lead meets key criteria that suggest they’re worth pursuing. They’re closer to the buying stage than a warm lead, they likely fit your buyer persona, and they’ve engaged in a telling action, like downloading your company brochure. Qualified leads fall into two different categories:
Marketing-qualified leads (MQL). An MQL is a lead that’s more likely to become a customer than others but is still not quite ready to make a purchase. They’ve shown that they’re receptive to your marketing efforts and are engaging with your content (perhaps they’ve visited your website multiple times or have downloaded an e-book), but they haven’t made a buying decision yet. These leads warrant further nurturing; a sales call might be too much, however.
Sales-qualified leads (SQL). Sales leads are further down the funnel than MQLs. They are prospects that have indicated they intend to make a purchase and are, therefore, ready to be handed over to the sales team for conversion.
An overview of lead scoring: How to rank and qualify leads
How do you go about labeling a prospect as an MQL or SQL so you can target outreach accordingly? You use lead scoring to qualify leads.
In lead scoring, you assign points for different attributes and actions to determine a final score that indicates the buying stage and purchasing intent. The higher the score, the closer to conversion the lead is.
You have to decide what weight (or a point value) to give different qualities and behaviors, and you have to identify a score threshold for the promotion of a lead to MQL or SQL status. In bigger companies, this requires collaboration between marketing and sales teams. Once definitions are in place, many businesses then program lead scoring software to assign points and measure lead against benchmarks.
For the most part, businesses determine points based on
- Demographic information. How closely does the lead match your target B2C customer profile?
- Company information (in the case of B2B selling). How closely does the lead match your target B2B customer profile?
- Behavior on your website. Has thelead visited high-value pages? How many pages have they viewed?
- Email engagement. Does the lead frequently open your emails? Do they often click through newsletters to your website?
- Social engagement. Does the lead regularly like, share, or comment on your social media posts?
What’s a lead magnet? 22 effective examples
Prospective customers aren’t just going to hand over their personal information. You need to offer them something of value (beyond your product or service offering) in order to make this exchange fair. This “thing of value” is your lead magnet, so-called because it attracts leads by giving them something they want or need.
Generally speaking, good lead magnets are specific, accessible, and easy to consume, and solve a defined problem or address a particular need, while positioning you as a thought leader in your field.
Just as your ability to capture leads depends on the strength of your lead magnet, it’s essential that you identify appropriate options early on while developing your lead generation strategy. What works will depend on the buyer personas you’ve developed and the type of offers that prospects are likely to find most valuable.
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