Lead generation is simply the process of generating a lead. To generate a lead, we first need to know what a lead is.
In simple terms, a lead is a prospect that has an interest in and is attracted to a particular product or service.
For instance, if you sell foot wears and caps, you will agree strongly that not everyone us interested in buying footwear and caps. The contact information of the subset of the population that is interested in these products is what is referred to as Lead.
A lead is a link that has been established (in an appropriate and authorized manner) to the prospective customer by the seller. It is way different from just randomly calling or sending emails to just anyone.
Leads can be classified based on how they qualify. This range of qualification differs based on how close the lead is in being converted to a customer.
1. MARKETING QUALIFIED LEADS
These leads have shown interest and have engaged in the marketing efforts. These people have probably gone through the information about your footwear and caps but they are not ready to receive calls or emails from you yet.
2. SALES QUALIFIED LEADS
These are leads that are already interested in becoming paying customers.
3. PRODUCT QUALIFIED LEADS.
These are leads that have at one point or the other purchased the products or services.
4. SERVICE QUALIFIED LEADS
These leads have already indicated purchase interest to the service team. Marketing is all about linking customers to the products or services that they need. The bulk of the ‘linking work’ is done by the seller. Deliberately and even desperately, sellers should link potential customers to their products or services. In doing this, an effective and efficient strategy needs to be put in place. Amongst many other strategies being used, lead generation is the most effective method.
Now, lead generation is the process of attracting strangers and prospective customers to a particular product or service that they are interested in.
This involves searching for and finding particular people who are interested in particular products and services. Also, it includes the process of making sure that this people are not just found but they indicate interest.
It is a way of directing potential customers to your business and also ensuring that they do business. It indicates the initiation of the interest of a customer into a product or service. Lead generation, generally, leads to the ‘lead’ making a purchase.
Getting a potential customer to show interest does not just end the work. For instance, let us go back to the fit wear and cap business model. If you decide to write a beautiful content on a blog about footwear and caps, you may attract huge traffic to your blog or business website. Among the people that will visit the website, some will be interested in getting some footwear and caps.
How these are potential leads
So, if your blog post was to be a review of the latest Adidas shoe, someone may be interested in getting it. However, he can just read the post and leave if there is no call to action. You have only discovered a lead but not generated one for yourself.
You generate a lead by making use of the potential customer’s interest. You may want to ask how.
This includes getting potential customers to make enquiries from you and getting them to submit their name and contact information. Now, you have just generated a lead who is interested in purchasing your product.
You may want to ask, ‘Why is lead generation important?’
Lead generation helps you streamline your audience into the important ones alone. This will also prevent your product or service messages and promotion from being classified as Spam or getting blocked.
Remember the last time you frowned about an unwanted message or email you recieved? It is certain you do not want anyone to frown at, trash or discard your business promotion messages, calls or emails.
Randomly sending emails or calls or text messages about your services or products will not in any way help.
You can call or send emails to about hundred random strangers and find no one that is interested in your product or service.
Therefore, getting the names and contact of people that are interested in your products or services (Lead generation) is very important.
How can one go about lead generation?
This can be done using several strategies and methods. However, all the strategies and methods follow the same path and flow. This involves coverting a stranger or a visitor to a lead. From a lead, they can then be converted to customers.
In a 2014 study, it was shown that direct traffic, search engine and web referrals account for 93% lead generation via online channels. Marketing channels for lead generation include; Social media, websites, blogs, contents, Ads, referral marketing, product trials and several other means.
For the footwear or cap business model, let is assume that the marketing channel to be used to generate lead is a website.
After creating an amazing review about footwears and caps, some people will indicated interest.
These people should be directed to a Call to Action (CTA) link that should lead to a landing page.
On the landing page, the contact information of these people should be requested for in exchange for an offer. This offer may be an ebook, product trial, limited free subscription or any enticing thing.
The visitor drops the information and there it is. A lead! This lead can now be co tacted further through the contact information that has been submitted.
Then, the lead can be converted into a customer.