Conversion rate optimization | December 16, 2020

How to Create and Execute a Successful Lead Generation Strategy

Burkhard Berger

Leads are the lifeblood of your business – whether online or offline.

If you’re struggling to get leads, there’s a chance that your lead generation strategy is leaky. According to 65% of businesses that responded to a survey by HubSpot, “generating traffic and leads is their biggest challenge when doing business online.”

Nowadays, customers are smarter because they have access to better technology and tools.

How do you prove that you’re the best?

The most effective way to earn the trust of an ‘informed’ audience is to be honest, transparent, solution-focused, and empathic. These are the ingredients that make up a successful lead generation strategy.

In this article, I’ll walk you through the simple but often neglected process of creating a high-converting lead generation strategy.

Why is lead generation important?

There’s no alternative to lead generation. It’s as important as choosing a good niche for your business. 

As a business owner, It’s important to capture and nurture new leads and persuade them to become paying customers. Targeted leads are business assets.

If you’re getting consistent leads into your sales funnel, your revenue will grow YoY (year over year). Your competition may even give up — considering the pace of your growth.

There are several ways to generate leads to your business — for example:

  • Giving away valuable (but free) eBooks and white papers
  • Offering free trials for your software product
  • Hosting live or automated webinars

And so on.

Note: The aim of utilizing the above techniques is to nudge users and potential customers to fill out a form with their first name and email address. 

With these two essential pieces of personal information, you can follow up with helpful content that answers their questions.

In the process, you build interest and earn people’s trust. Your relationship with them will motivate them to buy a product or service that you’re offering.

With that sorted, here are 7 effective ways to create and execute a successful lead generation strategy.

Step #1: Set a Clear Goal

Goal setting is just as important to the lead generation process as it is to other parts of your business. What exactly do you want to achieve in your business? How SMART is your goal?

smart goal illustration for lead generation strategy

Source

This question might sound common but do you set goals religiously? Your goals and objectives define where you’re going, how you intend to get there, and the plans you put in place to overcome the challenges along the way.

Clarity of goals is equally important. If your goal is to “get leads for your business in 2021,” I’m afraid to tell you that not a goal. Here’s why:

It isn’t realistic, attainable, and neither is it measurable. A clear goal is something in this line: I will drive 1,000 leads in 2021. An even clearer goal is the one broken down into separate months.

If you do the calculation, then 1,000 leads divided by 11 months (excluding December) = 90.909/month.

So, essentially, you need at least 90 qualified leads each month to reach your goal. The goal is realistic, attainable, and can be measured.

Using a SMART goal like the one above, you can estimate how much content you’ll need to create, the types of content you publish, and how many paid ads you’ll implement. 

Step #2: Create Buyer Personas

Do you have your buyers’ profiles? What are their interests and challenges? 

You can’t afford to market to everyone and still acquire qualified leads. Not everyone needs your product and service. Focus on your ideal buyers based on the information you have about them.

That’s why a buyer persona, customer profile, or persona profile is so important. A persona profile is a semi-fictional representation of your target customer

This persona shouldn’t be based on assumptions or guesswork. It’s based on market research and studying your customers to truly understand what to include in the buyer persona.

Here are 4 steps to create a buyer persona:

Step #1. Conduct thorough research: Check social media and other channels to find relevant information about existing customers. The information you need includes:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Language
  • Interest 
  • Challenges
  • Spending power, etc

Step #2. Identify customer pain points: What problems or challenges are your target audience trying to solve? What barriers are stopping them from reaching their goals?

To find out, you might need to engage in social listening and social media sentiment analysis. 

Essentially, you want to set up search streams that will enable you to monitor mentions of your products, brands, and competitors. These streams will give you real-time insights into what people are saying about your brand.

Step #3. Identify customer goals: While pain points are problems that your potential customers are striving to solve, goals are positive aspirations they want to achieve.

These might be personal or professional goals. What’s your customer’s end goal? What’s their motivation?

Step #4. Create your buyer persona: With all of the insights and information you have gathered during audience research, create your buyer persona. 

Give it a name, a job title, a home, and other characteristics. Make your buyer persona relatable, like a real person.

Here’s a good example of a Persona profile used by Brightshark Consulting to reach its intended customer.

Persona profile

A buyer persona will help you generate ONLY the right leads that will convert to loyal customers. 

When you know your ideal customer, it’ll be easier to create content that will answer their questions at every touchpoint.

For example, if your target audience prefers actionable blog posts instead of watching long-winded videos, you may consider embracing long-form and illustrated blog posts as a lead generation tactic to connect with and engage this audience.

Step #3: Create Compelling Lead Magnets

Lead magnets are the incentive your ideal customer wants at all costs. It inspires them to fill out a form and submit their email address, name, and other contact information you request.

If your lead magnet is valuable and perceived so by the target audience, you’ll have consistent sales in your pipeline. 

To save time, use a tool like Canva, one of the best content marketing and design tools that comes with a large collection of templates. You can get free photos and brandable vector graphics for your lead magnets at places like Icon8, Pexels, and Unsplash.

These resources will speed up the entire process.

A favorite example of mine is Digital Marketer’s Facebook Ad Template Library. 

Source

It’s a valuable resource, which online marketers, digital marketing agencies, and advertisers all want to lay their hands on.

In just 60 days, the team at Digital Marketer generated 35,859 targeted leads. Isn’t that impressive?

The lead magnet contains swipe file templates for running ads. Not many online businesses use such lead magnets because they often require months and years of testing to figure out what works. 

The common lead magnets B2B businesses use are white papers, free trials, membership access cards, product demo, etc.

Businesses that sell directly to customers (B2C) use an online course platform to sell online courses, ebooks, blog posts, checklists, video tutorials, free trials, discounts, coupons, and so on. 

Step #4: Create High-Converting Landing Pages

Most blogs and corporate websites aren’t designed for lead generation. They’re mostly for providing helpful information and creating brand awareness. This approach is fine if you want people to learn more. 

A good example is Infinite Recovery, a Texas rehab center. The Experience page talks about the “Individualized approach to helping people recover from addiction to a more fulfilling life.

The CTA simply reads “Learn more” because that’s what a potential client or patient wants. They might not be interested in filling out a form yet.

However, landing pages are the epicenter of lead generation. Lead magnets, landing pages, and Leads are the 3Ls of lead generation. They’re critical for selling online and building a long-term business.

Your landing page is a dedicated or standalone page where you offer the lead magnet that you’ve created earlier based on the information contained in your buyer persona. 

Here’s a good example from Lyft – a ride-hailing company.

Yes, you want your free offer to appeal to these ideal customers. Also, make sure your call-to-action buttons tell the user what they will get by clicking it. 

A good example is GILI Sports, it says “View Paddle Boards.”

Smart businesses create at least 1 landing page for every lead magnet. That means you’ll probably have multiple landing pages that are closely-relevant to a select group of customers.  

If you have multiple high-converting landing pages that are generating traffic daily, you’ll notice a boost in the number of leads your business gets. 

Creating beautiful landing pages is important, but there’s more to it than a good-looking page. What you really want is a landing page that converts.

How to Create High-Converting Landing Page

Here is the 5-step process of building your first landing page:

1). Write a catchy headline: Your headline is one of the most important landing page elements. Make it compelling by adding power words such as best, quick, great, effective, proven, and so on. 

More importantly, your landing page headline must be relevant to the main offer and establish message match your lead magnet or Google ad. Here’s a good example:

2). Use converting forms: Every landing page needs a compelling form. Use fewer form fields to encourage people to fill it out. Draw attention to the form itself by using visual cues (e.g., an arrow) and place it above the fold when possible.

3). Image placements: Whether you’re using an eBook cover or video thumbnail to represent your lead magnet on the landing page, you need the right placement if you want people to take notice.

When you dissect your landing page, you’ll have four distinct sections. Which section is best to place your image in?

Well, according to a study by the Nielsen Group, humans read in the F-Shape pattern. This means they read from the top to the right, then scroll down as they read towards the right side again. 

To get more eyeballs for your lead magnet, the best approach is to either place the image at the top-left side or at the middle.

Facebook ebook example of lead generation strategy

If you’re using a drag-and-drop landing page builder, then it’s easy to customize your page as you want, move boxes, elements, blocks, change text, colors, and have control over your design.

Step #5: Drive targeted traffic to optimize your lead generation strategy

Traffic is the oil that lubricates your landing pages. But getting traffic can be tough. So you must be smart about it — otherwise, you’ll waste time, money, and other resources. 

There are many traffic generation strategies, one isn’t better than the other. But certainly, some methods can get you leads quicker.

For example, running Facebook ads (the right way) can generate 100 daily or weekly leads (if that’s your goal at step #1). Facebook ads can also drive a lot of awareness to a store to increase sales. Here’s an example from Jasper’s Market:

The method you choose to drive traffic will depend on your goal and content. If your offer requires an upfront investment, for example, software that guides people on how to buy stocks, you’ll need to build trust first before asking people to buy.

If you’re sending traffic to a product review page, your approach is going to be different from another company that’s driving search traffic to an informational post. 

As an example, Zoma drives most of its traffic from organic search because the company is creating content that targets certain keywords such as best bed in a box mattress, king vs split king, best foundation for memory foam mattresses, and so on.

According to ahrefs, this results in roughly 71,500 monthly organic visitors which equals $145,000 worth of traffic.

If you want to capture leads gradually and build trust over time, then creating informational blog posts, videos, infographics, podcasts, running contests could be the ideal approach to take. There are countless tools to make each of these strategies successful. 

However, if you want to quickly generate leads and persuade them to buy your product (regardless of the level of trust you’ve built with them), then Facebook ads, Google ads, Instagram ads, sponsored posts, and other paid traffic generation methods should be your focus.

LinkedIn marketing is another great option for proven best results. In a recent study by HubSpot, it was discovered that traffic generated from LinkedIn is more likely to convert with a conversion rate of 2.74%, which is higher than Twitter and Facebook. Moreover, the entire process can be automated with LinkedIn automation tools.

In general, you should create and execute a lead generation strategy that has a balance between free traffic generation methods and paid methods. That’s how to scale and build relationships in the process

In this case, you use paid ads to get the leads, then send them to your blogs, podcasts, and videos. You could also use a webinar tool to host an educational meeting to nurture the relationship further.

Step #6: Lead Scoring and Nurturing

Did you know that 73% of B2B leads are not ready to buy your product or service yet? It sounds unbelievable but true.

So it doesn’t matter how many leads you’re sending into your sales funnel daily, you also need to have a system in place to score and nurture them. 

The truth is that if you want to achieve productivity in business, you can’t afford to waste time on leads that aren’t converting.

Lead scoring is the act of ordering and prioritizing leads based on their likelihood of buying. 

It drives your KPI metrics (e.g., leads value, repeat buyers) in the right direction. You can score leads based on several core factors such as interest, expected lifetime value, sale amount, etc.

When you run Facebook ads, for example, about 27% of your acquired leads may buy your product/service right away. It’s your role to nurture the remaining 73% who aren’t ready to buy yet. They might have questions, concerns, or fears.

With your content (blog posts, videos, podcasts, webinars, and even phone calls and emails), you can educate, inform, and inspire these people. If you’re able to convert an additional 20% of them into customers, you’ll multiply your sales.

Truly, both lead scoring and nurturing are tasks you can implement simultaneously within your CRM and sales automation tools. They will improve the quality of your leads and boost your sales conversion.

Step #7: Analyze, track, and tweak your lead generation strategy

When you create and execute a lead generation strategy, it’s important to analyze, track, and tweak your campaigns every other week or month

Since most businesses drive traffic and leads through inbound and outbound sources, there’s a need to analyze, track, and tweak performances across these channels.

outbound vs inbound lead generation strategy

But it’s not a one-off task. Don’t set and forget it. You’ll miss out on potential leads and insightful data along the way. That’s the whole essence of CRO.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) helps you maximize the potentials of your landing page. To get started, it’s important to do a site audit to be able to figure out which areas of your landing pages you need to improve.

You may need to test out your landing page elements such as headlines, CTA placements, colors, short vs. long copy, and more.  

You can also improve your lead magnet’s packaging (maybe redesign an eCover for the eBook or white paper). You’ll be amazed by the impact of tiny tweaks in your lead gen. Campaigns.

Also, your marketing channels require regular improvements.

For example, if you observe that leads coming from your videos aren’t as targeted as those coming from organic searches to your blog posts, it’s a clear indication to focus on creating more content that will drive organic traffic.

If you look at your set goals and targets (in step #1), it’d be easier to see your progress and make improvements along the way. Look for leaky funnels, loopholes, and issues to address. 

Remove sentiment and just analyze what’s working and what isn’t. Fix the mistakes and negligences. Pay attention to what’s driving the most leads, double down on those techniques and channels.

Conclusion 

When creating a lead generation strategy, do you start by looking at your marketing budget or your customer feedback and buyer profile?

If you want to get consistent leads for your business and nurture a happy customer base, I recommend using customer-focused strategies to guide you every step of the way.

This approach may not require fancy tools and skills to grow a profitable business. But rather, it puts the target audience at the center of your business’ decision-making. 

It’s a lot easier to get leads when ‘people’ perceive they’re appreciated.

Savvy companies and marketers that drive high-quality leads to their business use this approach. I’m talking about companies like Amazon, Zappos, Zendesk, Awesomex, and ConvertKit, among others.

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