Lead generation is an essential activity for any business. It is the process you use to identify the right potential prospects, connect with them, qualify them, and pull them further into your sales funnel. 85% of B2B marketers say lead generation is their most important content marketing goal, but 61% also say it is one of their biggest challenges. Simply put, the ability to identify, connect with, and qualify the right prospects is essential for making new sales.
But trying to generate leads in a purely digital landscape is challenging. It can be difficult to know what lead generation activities to use and when to use them. Here are five key lead generation activities.
Optimize your website for search engines
57% of B2B marketers say that search engine optimization SEO generates more leads than any other activity. But your prospects must find you first. When prospects with no familiarity with your business start looking for a product or service using an online search, SEO improves the possibility of them finding your business in their search engine results.
SEO is the process of increasing your website’s visibility through organic or free search results on search engines. It helps improve visibility and page rankings in searches and increases organic search traffic to your website.
Optimizing your website for search engines often begins with keyword research to determine the phrases or keywords your target prospect searches for before making a purchase. Tools like SEMRush or Google Ads Keyword Planner can help you search for that information. Once you’ve identified the keywords or phrases you want to target, it’s time to optimize the content on your website to include that information, and you want to include those target keywords in any content you create going forward. This helps slowly improve your search engine page ranking (SERP) over time and helps your target prospects find you.
The other side of optimizing your website is technical SEO, which involves optimizing the technical infrastructure of your website, such as sitemaps, page speed, URL structure, and site navigation. Technical SEO is a key component of website optimization because search engines need to be able to find, crawl, and index your website. The easier you make it for search engines and users to access and interact with your website, the more traffic you’ll see.
Pay for traffic with pay-per-click ads
Pay-per-click (PPC) is one of the most popular ways to help grow your search engine results. It enables your business to show up earlier in the search engine results and increases your visibility on the page by placing an ad in the results. When a user clicks on your ad and goes to your page, you pay a fee.
Google Ads is the most popular pay-per-click system. Businesses can create ads that show up on Google’s search engine, which owns 91.9% of the market share for search traffic done on the internet. You identify a keyword or keyword cluster for which you want your ad to appear in the results. Then you bid on that keyword by specifying how much you want to spend. Any time someone clicks on your ad result and goes to your landing page, you pay a fee to Google for that click.
How does Google determine where your ad is shown?
Google looks at several factors to determine where and when your ad is shown. It creates something called an ad auction that includes other PPC competitors. The winner of the ad auction is based on something called your ad rank.
Ad rank is your max bid multiplied by your quality score.
Max bid is the maximum you want to pay for each click on your ad (based on the keyword you selected).
Quality score is a metric that determines how useful Google thinks your ad is to users. Google is not transparent about how they determine your quality score, but it depends on several factors:
- Your click-through rate
- The relevance of your keyword to the ad group
- The quality and relevance of your landing page
- The relevance of your ad text
- Your historical performance with Google Ads
Leverage those referrals
Your existing clients are a resource for finding other clients just like them. They already benefit from your product or service and likely have peers who could benefit from working with your business. Creating a referral program can be a powerful way to drive referrals from existing clients. When looking to purchase or find a new service, people first turn to people they trust for advice.
A referral program encourages your satisfied customers to recommend you to decision-makers at other businesses. But it’s more than just a verbal or written recommendation. A referral program includes a referral page where your customers can provide their referral’s contact information so your Sales team can reach out to them. Your customer receives a reward whenever one of their referrals leads to a sale. Offer a good incentive for your customer to recommend you to their friends or contacts.
Creating a sound referral system makes it easier for your customers to share your business with others, and then tracks all those referrals and automatically rewards businesses for sharing. At the very least, providing clients with collateral that explains your offerings and provides some information about your business makes it easy for them to share how wonderful you are with their professional circle.
Give something away for free (well, for information)
One of the most valuable pieces of information you can get from a prospective client is their email address. Opt-ins help you capture a lead’s email address as they visit your website. Leads provide their email address in exchange for an informational reward. Informational rewards are content that offers unique insight and valuable information to help a prospect with a problem they’re facing. It should be something that has value for the lead. It could be a helpful piece of thought leadership that helps a prospect think about a problem differently or provides unique solutions. It could be a series of worksheets that help them or even a cash reward or discount on a service or product. It should be valuable enough to the lead that they want to provide you with their information.
The key to maximizing signups through an opt-in is only asking for an email address. Asking for a lead to provide their name will reduce conversion by 20% and their phone number by 40%. It’s better to have their email address and the opportunity to continue the conversation. There will be opportunities to ask for more information later.
Capture leads where they are
One way to generate leads is to go out and look for leads, either cold ones that fell through the cracks or prospects that your other lead generation activities are not capturing. These activities allow you to target the most interested people and drive the conversations about your business that lead to sales. Here are some examples of ways to engage more directly with prospects to try and turn them into leads.
Connect on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is one of the best places to make connections with the right people. Define your target audience and then search for prospects that match that audience’s target traits and demographics. Upgrading to Sales Navigator lets you define your target audience and directly target the people who match that target’s traits and demographics. Then run a LinkedIn Connection campaign to connect with those preferred targets and kick off the conversation by sharing actionable insights with them and demonstrating value in your relationship from the very beginning.
Once you’ve made those connections, continue the conversation. Continue to share key insights and content based on your experience that show you understand your target market’s problems and how you can help solve them. From there, drive those connections to your website so you can capture their information and keep the conversation going.
Mine your inbox for lost leads
Many potential leads get lost in your email conversations. Identifying and capturing those leads provides an opportunity for you to re-engage with lost prospects, evaluate and reconnect with past clients, further segment your audience, and keep growing your email list. There are tools, like boomtime’s RECOVER, to help you scan your inbox to capture leads that fell through the cracks and pull them back into your marketing and sales funnels.
Use landing pages and interest forms
Landing pages are dedicated pages on your website designed to target specific verticals and capture those leads. Landing pages enable you to analyze where leads are coming from and maximize conversions.
Once your visitor has made it to your website or landing page, you can capture their information using interest forms. These are optimized and customized forms that capture information at various points along your buyer’s journey. These forms are usually used in combination with informational rewards to drive conversions.
Track your website visitors
For businesses with other lead capture tools in place, advanced website visitor capture allows you to maximize lead capture on your website. It captures the pageview information of visitors to your site even if they don’t fill out a lead generation form or give you their email in an opt-in. You learn who they are, where they work, what they looked at on your site, and if they are a potential lead your team should contact, helping take your lead generation to the next level.
Have a plan
No matter what lead generation activities you decide work right for you, make sure you have a plan that outlines how you will reach out to prospects and what activities you will use. Research where your current prospects and clients found you and use that as a guide to determine what activities to focus on. Set some goals and analyze the data regularly to determine what is working and what needs to be adjusted. Once you have filled your pipeline with the right leads, be sure to follow up with them the right way. You should have a plan in place to evaluate your leads based on their potential to convert and then continue to nurture them accordingly.
Need help finding the right lead generation activities to fill your pipeline? Visit our website or contact our Sales team for more information.
Chat with Nick, boomtime’s Director of Marketing Innovation, to learn more about how he helped generate more than 300 leads with a value of $155,845 for one of his clients.