5 Ways to Improve Leads: Lead Generation Strategies
5 Ways to Improve Leads: Lead Generation Strategies
Greg Walthour, CO-CEO • Intero Digital • April 29, 2022
First things first. You can’t use hacks, secret maneuvers, finger snaps, or magic tricks for effective lead generation. (But wouldn’t it be simpler if you could?)
Instead, we’re left with utilizing hard work and old-fashioned best practices to drive leads. So why aren’t more businesses crushing their lead game if all it takes is a bit of elbow grease?
Because it’s not what you do to find leads; it’s how you do it.
Most things have stayed the same since the first cave salesman cold-cave-called another caveman to sell him the latest and greatest wooden club. Sure, things like TV, the internet, and Mark Zuckerberg have come along to revolutionize the approach. Still, the most fundamental principle has stayed the same: Provide enough supply to cover someone’s demand.
With that, a lead generation strategy comes down to capitalizing on one handy marketing mnemonic: AIDA.
That’s your sales funnel, whether you’re marketing shoes, software as a service, trips to the moon, or even a wooden club. The prospect follows these stages to determine whether your supply meets the demand. Or as one of the most insightful minds in business throughout the history of the world, Ariana Grande, says: “I see it. I like it. I want it. I got it.”
So we need to find the best method to drive leads using these tried-and-true concepts.
The solution? The sure-fire “secret sauce”?
Adapting to your audience.
It’s not quite that simple. But that mantra is the key. Marketing channels might change, but adjusting your target audience will never go out of style.
Everyone and their grandmother uses the same channels to reach people — SEO, paid search, content marketing, and the list goes on. Don’t get us wrong. These are the best ways to drive leads today, which is why we’ll cover them below. But even more crucial than the channels is how you actually use them in your strategy. This is how you’re going to increase your lead generation.
Step 1: Redefine Your Lead Across All Channels
There are two ways to start your lead generation campaign:
- Inbound marketing.
- Outbound marketing.
For this post, we’ll tackle inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing means creating an acquisition funnel that attracts prospects to become leads and customers, guiding them to us (as opposed to outbound marketing, where we see the leads).
The assumption is that if a lead seeks you out, they will be more open to converting, which makes a lot of sense.
But that’s only half of the story.
The marketing channels we’ll cover in a bit are the touchpoints that guide your prospects into the funnel. But the goal isn’t just to get as many people as possible to enter the funnel. Instead, we want to prioritize quality over quantity. Because there is nothing worse than spending time nurturing “lead mooches.” These are leads that will never convert — for example, someone who might have given you their email address in return for a free offer but never intends to buy anything.
So we must first identify which audience members will make the best leads.
Leads can be categorized into four buckets:
- Inbound lead.
- Marketing-qualified lead (MQL).
- Sales-accepted lead (SAL).
- Sales-qualified lead (SQL).
In brief, an inbound lead initially engages with your company, from subscribing to a newsletter to just visiting your site. A marketing-qualified lead is someone who has yet to be ready to buy but shows potential in the future. A sales-accepted lead has been vetted and is primed to be handed off to sales from marketing. And a sales-qualified lead is someone who’s ready to buy — also known as a scorching lead.
When using this categorization to improve B2B lead generation, start by reverse-engineering who you see as a high-quality lead (aka an SQL).
- Gather data about your previous sales-qualified leads and prospective customers.
- Put together ideal customer profiles and buyer personas based on their characteristics. These should be composed of firmographic, demographic, and technographic data.
- Build audiences for every marketing channel tailored to those profiles.
- Create campaigns and content for those audiences.
Just remember that an audience on one marketing channel might need a different approach than an identical audience on another channel. This means you might do more A/B testing to pinpoint the campaigns and content that resonate best with your target audiences across channels.
Finally, just as important is picking out which conversions matter to your business and then aim for leads that are likely to realize those goals. These are your end-goal, pie-in-the-sky macro conversions. Are you looking for leads that fill out a form? Or are you watching out for leads that purchase products and services across different verticals? Target accordingly.
Do this correctly and the result will be passing over “lead mooches” and going straight after your highest-quality prospects.
Step 2: Create Landing Pages With a Singular Goal
The best landing pages are tailored to your high-quality leads and consider the whole sales funnel. They’re simple, straightforward, and visually appealing, and they prioritize a single purpose.
Here are three essential elements of a high-converting landing page:
- Unique selling proposition (USP).
- Attractive hero media.
- Single conversion goal (or call to action).
Let’s look a little closer at each of these.
First up, your USP. A landing page’s unique selling concept includes three elements:
- Headline: This is a creative, straight-to-the-point slogan that generates urgency and solves a particular problem, ideally expressed in seven words or fewer.
- Subheadline: This is a sentence or two that reinforces the value communicated in the headline.
- Lead magnet: This can sometimes be your offering or a special offer a visitor receives after fulfilling the call to action.
Next, we have attractive hero media. This includes any photo, video, graphic, or the like that draws your audience like a tractor beam.
Because the human brain can process images 60,000 times faster than copy, having the right image (or video) displayed prominently above the fold of your landing page goes a long way toward brand messaging, building trust, and generating leads.
And last but certainly not least, there’s the landing page call to action (CTA).
One of the most significant issues with landing page design is requiring visitors to do too much work. Remember: This is a funnel that needs to get narrower the further your leads progress. Your CTA should focus on one goal and can be epitomized by a button (to a sales page) or a form.
Your CTA should follow these best practices:
- Use button text that’s tailored to your USP. Avoid generic CTAs like “Submit” or “Click Here,” and show the results when the user takes the action (e.g., “Start My Free Trial”).
- Keep your forms short. Don’t ask for more data than you need, ideally limiting the form to just a few fields.
No two landing pages are the same. Some benefit from being short and sweet. Others convert better when they are significantly longer (including social proof and service descriptions). It’s crucial to A/B-test both to find the highest-converting length for all your landing pages.
Step 3: Perform SEO for Leads, Not Traffic
Contrary to what most people believe, SEO is about more than just improving the page rank and increasing site traffic. More important is using SEO to target specific audiences and generate high-quality leads.
Increasing high-quality traffic to your website is the top benefit of a well-structured SEO strategy.
Traffic is useless unless those people take the actions you want.
Three of the best ways to gain more leads by using SEO are:
- Targeting queries that are identical to your ideal customer profiles.
- Testing titles and meta descriptions that entice your perfect customer profiles.
- Creating content that’s valuable for your ideal customers.
The most essential data to monitor success is the click-through rate (CTR).
Using a mix of Google Search Console and Google Analytics, you can see which landing pages and content drive your business the most leads. Please pay particular attention to which search terms they appear for.
It’s been found that increasing your CTR by two will increase the conversion rate by 50%. If ever there was a way to gain more leads, this must be it.
SEO and content marketing are long-term plays that complement each other. While you could craft a landing page that drives conversion well and ranks high, that can be challenging.
That’s why many businesses create SEO-focused content (e.g., blog posts, videos, etc.) that might not directly aim to generate leads. They can nurture prospects that fit your ideal customer profile into your funnel by providing valuable, relevant content.
Just make sure your descriptions and page titles are geared toward engagement. (If you need help doing this, give us a call.)
Step 4: Go Granular With Paid Ads
One way to generate leads quickly is paid ads, whether you’re crafting campaigns for Facebook, Google Ads, LinkedIn Ads, or display networks. They allow you to aim for new prospects that fit your ideal customer profile much better than most lead marketing channels.
In summation, every effective paid lead generation strategy thrives on one thing: specificity.
With that in mind, here are some strategies to enhance the lead generation of your paid ads campaigns:
- Craft highly targeted ad groups. If you have more than 10 keywords in your ad group, you might have too many. A targeted ad group allows you to create ads that align with your desired audience.
- Create landing pages geared toward ad campaigns. Not the other way around. A landing page and ad campaign should work together seamlessly and share similar CTAs and messaging. Not only will this improve the Quality Score and reduce the cost per click, but it will also generate even more leads.
- Target more specific keywords. Use a mix of long-tail and negative keywords. Aside from that, it would be best if you also had focused match types in all your campaigns, such as phrase match.
- Customize URL tracking. Take advantage of custom UTM parameters to track the efficacy of your paid media and social campaigns. UTM parameters can help you gauge the performance of specific ads throughout the conversion funnel, making cross-platform monitoring a lot easier. You can create custom UTM parameters with Google’s tool, which is simpler than other options.
One final note applies to both SEO and paid lead generation. They are as close as you can get in digital marketing to being resistant to recessions.
Whether we want it to or not, a recession is expected to come in the next few months (if it isn’t already here). But low-investment, high-yield marketing channels such as SEO and paid advertising can contribute to making your business flourish during an economic downturn.
Step 5: Go Offline
Undoubtedly, getting hyper-personalized is among this decade’s most significant marketing trends. Yet when personalization comes into a conversation, it’s almost always in the digital context. But what better way to get more personal than meeting face to face?
- Training seminars and workshops: After all of us get sick of Zoom meetings and virtual meetups, showcasing your expertise in front of a room full of people who can shake your hand after the event is next-level.
- Networking: There’s a good reason why 51% of B2B professionals point to trade shows and industry events as some of the best avenues for lead sourcing. Networking works!
- Print: Own a local business? Then, don’t underestimate the reach of print. Print has a cognitive advantage over digital. In fact, printed marketing collateral outperforms digital formats in recall, reading comprehension, persuasiveness, and emotional impact.
- Direct mail: A little originality can go a long way the next time your target customers open their mailbox. There’s so much junk filling our mailboxes that when something fresh, inventive, and valuable is sent, it instantly gets our attention.
Always Be Generating
It’s the standard ABG’s when it comes to lead generation.
And how does one do that?
Make changes to fit your audience. Don’t get sucked into every newfangled lead generation platform. Instead, use what’s worked since Carl Cro-Magnon bought the hottest new wooden club this side of Bedrock.
Identify prospects that match your sales-qualified leads. Then, use the above strategies to build awareness of your brand by utilizing content that resonates with your audience and convinces them to commit to the desired action.