Photo Credit: Warren Wong
Nurturing relationships to drive sales.
Lead generation, why does it continue to be the number one top priority for any business?
Lead generation is the act of nurturing relationships to deliver sales. We’re now more than halfway through 2021 and businesses are starting to build next year’s marketing plans and budgets. So, it makes sense to take a second look at how your business is tracking towards the goals that you set last year and what future lead generation strategies might be necessary to close any existing gaps in the months ahead.
While difficult to predict what new technologies will impact relationship-based marketing tactics in 2022, we can examine recent marketing trends to forecast what lead generation tactics have been most effective in 2021. In doing so, we can use those learnings to help build out strategies and plans that will generate broader reach, attract more high-quality leads, build a better customer experience, and ultimately convert leads into customers for years to come.
Top lead generation trends continue to point towards website optimization and SEO, lead generation pages and sales funnels, email marketing, content marketing and paid advertising.
Website Optimization and SEO
Why does Search Engine Optimization (SEO) continue to be one of the best lead generation channels for businesses? Simple. Everyday millions of individuals hop on the internet to search, whether that be for a new restaurant, a problem they are trying to solve or a product they are looking to purchase. Ensuring your website is SEO optimized will make sure that your business will appear in the search results to provide your future customer with the solution they are searching for.
It’s hard to find a better-quality lead than one that’s actively searching for brands, products, and services like yours.
In 2022, expect to invest more in website optimization to increase your business’s rankings on search engines to stand-out from the competition, drive organic traffic and boost conversions. This will involve identifying the best target keywords for your site, optimizing your website content, generating high-authority backlinks and optimizing your business’s online listings.
Lead Generation Pages and Sales Funnels
What is a sales funnel? It’s basically the journey your ideal customer takes from the moment they’re introduced to your brand for the first time, to becoming a client or customer. And lead generation pages are dedicated landing pages that drive your lead generation efforts and convert new visitors into high-quality prospects.
Funnels can be long and complicated, or they can be short and simple. Funnels work for business owners who want to make more sales or a way to turn your followers into paying customers!
First, you need to decide what traffic channels (paid, organic, direct, etc.) you are going to use to drive users to your site. Then, you can use lead page builders, like ClickFunnels, to create a high-converting landing page.
Many businesses have dedicated landing pages for each type of service they offer. With these, they can create highly targeted campaigns. You can organize your funnels for each offer and the high-quality leads generated can then be directed to the sales team members best to handle this type of offer.
The best lead generation campaigns utilizing funnels contain four critical elements:
- An Offer: A piece of content with high perceived value (eBooks, whitepapers, free consultations)
- A Call-to-Action: A button or image that links directly to a landing page so offer can be downloaded
- A Landing Page: Specialized pages that contain information about easy to access offers
- A Form: Leads, along with volunteered information and opt-in data, are captured here so you can easily add them to existing or future email lists.
Email List Generation
More and more marketers are understanding that it is difficult to build long-term lead generation results on systems that you don’t own or control. However, marketers may not always focus in this area as a lead generation tool.
A healthy, engaged, growing list is one of any businesses greatest marketing assets. These are email subscribers, potential, or current customers, who have been attracted to your business and opted-in to receive updates or an offer from your business directly into your inbox. Once in your inbox/database, it is important to nurture these leads and convert them into loyal customers or brand evangelists.
Tips to generating a more robust email list:
- Include a FREE e-book or pdf offer on your website that captures their name and email
- Run a survey or quiz, and offer survey/quiz results in email
- Create a FREE tool, requiring email submission
- Host a webinar, requiring email sign-up
- Offer a promo code or discount
- Do an email promotion for a business partner and vice versa
- Speak at local industry events and promote content that requires email
- Create a sales funnel with an offer for your ideal customer and promote through Facebook
Content is (STILL) King
One of the most important SEO trends that will continue in 2021 and beyond is high-quality content. Customers continue to expect brands to provide interesting, engaging information in the form of content. This makes content marketing one of the most effective tools for lead generation.
Today’s algorithms are much more precise and able to recognize and boost websites with credible information. Content marketing encompasses everything from blog article creation to eBooks to videos. Yes, creating quality content takes time and effort, however important enough to remain a focus for 2022.
Your job as a marketer is to create content that’s of interest to your audience, market this content across platforms, and include compelling calls-to-action to encourage potential leads to convert into paying customers/clients. Utilize an omnichannel strategy with your content by publishing an engaging blog article, sharing that article on social media, and distributing to your email list, run a paid ad campaign to the article, and direct them to view it on YouTube. With this strategy, you can reach more leads and keep your brand much more visible online.
Paid Advertising (Pay-Per-Click)
If you have been relying on organic marketing tactics like SEO and social media but are struggling to see the results that you want, it may be time to invest in PPC. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platforms like Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and Instagram Ads work to help businesses reach a highly targeted audience with click-worthy campaigns.
To generate leads, you have to pay-to-play, however, you often get better, faster results compared to organic methods. You will have the ability to set your targeting parameters, ensure compelling ad copy, direct users to a set landing page, which ultimately generates more leads for your business.
According to Unbounce, 50% of people arriving at a business’s website from a paid ad are more likely to buy than those who came from an organic link. This would be well worth testing.
The above Top 5 lead generation strategies are a great place to start for any business. And when you’re ready to take things to the next level, there are others that can be layered on to boost your efforts, increase sales and scale your business. Social Media Marketing, Referrals and Networking and SMS Marketing are all starting to generate some solid results.
The most powerful lead generation campaigns will incorporate a combination of the above to reach a wider audience more quickly. And testing various approaches to better understand what your targets best respond to can be a game changer. The key is to get started, learn as much as you can about your audience and then take the time to really get to know them. You never know when they’ll need what you’re selling so keep the conversation going.
Interested in testing some lead generation tactics? We’d love to share our learnings.