Lead generation is a process in marketing that aims at converting strangers into potential customers. The goal of lead generation is to stimulate and capture a person’s interest in a product or service.
The ideal outcome of lead generation in marketing is to acquire new customers and make them loyal to your brand. That’s why lead generation also involves personalization – you should focus on making each lead ready to convert.
A lead is a person or a business interested in your brand’s product or service. Sometimes leads can also be called contacts (because a lead is required to share contact information).
Oftentimes, leads are confused with prospects. What’s the difference?
A lead is a contact you haven’t qualified yet, and a prospect is a lead that is already in your demand generation pipeline. That means that you’ve already collected enough additional information about this person to effectively move them down the sales funnel.
As you might know—not all leads are created equal.
Some of the leads possess more traits characteristic of your target audience than others. Also, different leads have different lifecycle stages and require different lead capture strategies.
All these criteria define the main three lead types. Let’s take a closer look at them.
Let’s say you receive a filled-out content form from a lead that expresses interest in what your brand offers. This is a marketing lead, and it is qualified because it has more potential to become your customer than others.
Usually, such leads find brands by themselves and voluntarily submit contact information. They engage with your team of marketers both directly and indirectly to learn more about your product before purchasing it.
Contrary to a marketing-qualified lead, a sales-qualified lead is here to buy your product. Their actions let you know directly that they want to complete a purchase so that you can pass them to your sales team right away.
However, it doesn’t mean that a marketing-qualified lead cannot become a sales-qualified one. SQLs are the outcome of successful sales lead generation and nurturing.
This lead type has already experienced your product, for instance, through a free trial or a freemium plan. PQLs have a bigger chance of becoming paying customers because they’ve not just expressed interest in it but have already given it a try and experienced its perks.
Lead generation is definitely a buzzword and a trendy topic in the digital marketing community. But, is it really essential for businesses? Does it bring real results? And, most importantly, will your investment in lead generation pay off?
Let’s see how designing a solid strategy for acquiring leads might benefit your business.
First and foremost, businesses use lead generation for financial profits, but there’s more to it than money. Lead generation is the best way to help you gain consumer trust and find customers with lifetime value. Besides, it’s the most efficient way to convert more people into loyal buyers.
Another good reason to give a lead generation a try is to improve brand recognition and, subsequently, expand your potential customer base.
Over 60% b2b marketing on content as the main way to generate leads. Content is also the most effective strategy to grow brand awareness.
When you make lead generation a part of your customer acquisition strategy, you collect valuable customer data. Later, you can use this information to retarget the buyers and adjust your lead generation strategy.