A lead is a record with all personal data and contact relevant that facilitates concerned voluntarily. Lead generation forces the active acquisition of such contacts in both B2B and B2C marketing. To do this, it uses a series of online and offline methods.
What is lead generation?
The so-called lead generation (in English, “lead generation”) includes the initial phase of the lead management process, in which actions are developed to obtain potentially interested clients. And it is that everything starts attracting those consumers who show some interest in a product or service, since, before working with the leads, to qualify them until they are “sales-ready” and put them in the hands of the sales department, First of all, the contact has to be established.
However, the mere obtaining of any type of data is not usually the objective of lead generation, since quality here plays an essential role. These are high-quality contacts of qualified leads with a high probability of becoming new customers. While, for example, participants in the raffles provide their contact information without any interest in the company’s offers and services, subscribing to a newsletter is linked to a need for specific information and interests. This fact marks the difference between what is called “cold leads” and “hot leads”. While cold contacts do not have to have a special interest in the company’s products, the hot one has an interest and actively searches for a specific item.
The various lead generation methods
In lead management, there are different approaches and practices that determine the methods and strategies that will be used later. To begin, it is essential to establish the strategic orientation of the campaign, which sets the tactics of lead generation. The fundamental issues that should be clarified in this regard are:
What media and channels are used?
What are the means through which the company communicates with its customers? The focus can be on classic methods such as, for example, the acquisition of customers by phone or with the help of advertisements in print media, but potential customers could also be found on social networks or other online channels.
Are push or pull marketing strategies followed?
What are the principles on which you want to create the campaign, following push marketing or pull marketing strategies? How can leads be generated? While in direct marketing an active contact with the client can be established, in the case of inbound marketing or permission marketing, the tactic is rather to capture their interest to attract it to the company.
Is the quality or quantity of leads more important?
The answer to this question is closely linked to the quality of products and offers. While a single quality lead can be of great value for an expensive and complex product, a large number of leads are needed in other business areas to make the process profitable. Lead quality assessment is the task of lead scoring.
Although marketing experts are continually devising new lead generation methods, there are a number of strategies that have proven to be more effective:
Direct mail: users are contacted by mail. With a form and a franked envelope, you can show your interest in the product and request more information.
Contests: There are many people willing to share their contact information to participate in a contest. If they give their consent, the company may use this information to contact them again.
Destination pages: with the search engine a potentially interested party can reach the landing page of a company. Here you can leave your information in the case to obtain more information about the offer.
Newsletter: Another method to generate leads is represented by newsletters, which contain news about the company, as well as new products and services, and reach potential customers regularly as emails.
Conversaciones direct with the prospect: Especially at trade fairs and B2B businesses, sales representatives can collect customer data with this method.
Social networks: interested parties can follow companies in their social networks. Through these platforms, companies can establish direct contact with their followers.
Lead generation modalities
There are several ways to generate leads and these differ from each other in relation to the type of communication. Among the basic modalities can be found:
Outdoor: The Lead generation outdoor, also called offline or face to face (face to face) comprises the most classic way to attract interested people such as, for example, attending trade fairs, promotional stands, raffles or participation in events. The personal treatment with the assistants or the participants in the fairs takes place of the hand of the workers of the company or of the promoters. This form of lead generation carries work and expenses.
Print media: Leads can also be generated through advertisements in newspapers and magazines. In this sense, we often work with so-called response announcements, which contain a telephone number or an answer coupon. Likewise, direct advertising with response elements is also a classic lead generation path in the field of print media.
Telephone: When lead generation is carried out by telephone, you can differentiate between inbound calls and outbound calls. Direct line services and call centers play an essential role in this regard. In this regard, people who are interested in specific topics can be picked up through inbound calls or incoming calls. It is also possible to establish outgoing calls, that is, outbound calls, but these are subject to strict legal provisions. If there is no valid opt-in with additional information, it is not allowed by law to establish any contact for advertising purposes.
Online: The generation of online leads takes place in almost all channels, that is, through email, social networks, the website or the blog itself or through banners or advertisements that redirect to special landing pages. A central element is the different types of content formats, such as whitepapers, eBooks and other tools, which are used as incentives.
Lead generation: advantages and disadvantages
All companies can benefit from generating leads. Those who actively contact the target group are more likely to expand the client portfolio. However, for smaller companies, this additional effort in marketing and sales may involve the use of important resources needed in other areas. Therefore, the generation of electronic and online leads can be of great help: IT has facilitated the processes for lead generation, which can take place passively.
Push against pull: from dialogue marketing to inbound marketing
When establishing a distinction between pull marketing and push marketing measures, one could say that it is about seeing who takes the first step, the company or the client. In the case of direct marketing or dialogue, it is the company that takes the initiative, for which it is addressed directly to the potential client, thus enabling dialogue. In the field of pull marketing (in English “pull” means to attract or pull), marketing professionals trace the reverse path, that is, they invest in high-quality content to gain the interest of customers.
Dialogue marketing: the classic lead generation approach
Dialogue marketing is a form of direct marketing in which the employees of a company directly target potential customers with personalized offers. At other times, the contact was initiated exclusively by telephone, so it is often associated with dialogue marketing with the work done in call centers. However, dialogue marketing generally includes all the measures taken to initiate dialogue with customers, which refers to emails and postal items, but also to social networks. Such a response element, that is, the return channel, has a decisive importance in this regard.
Unlike classical advertising, the objective of dialogue marketing is to provoke a reaction in the client to persuade him and establish a dialogue. If dialogue or direct marketing is applied within the framework of lead generation, the objective is, in this case, for the potential client to provide their contact information.
Greater use of inbound marketing and permission marketing
ECommerce is an economic sector that is increasingly important in Spain. Additionally, the trend of opting more and more often for online commerce rather than for fixed stores continues to advance. In this way, the eCommerce boom has also influenced lead management and has given way to new opportunities.
Instead of targeting potential clients directly and actively, it is increasingly common to earn their interest through indirect marketing measures.
In the inbound marketing sector, the main objective is to attract the attention of potential clients through quality content. In this way, interesting content is published on the Internet that provides added value and is guaranteed to be easy to find. If a potential client normally searches for information or answers to specific questions, he can obtain them with the help of eBooks, whitepapers, guides or videos.
Another important aspect in this regard is to become visible on the Internet and, therefore, to convince potential customers of the company’s knowledge and, indirectly, of the quality of its products. A content strategy and a professional search engine optimization strategy are fundamental success factors in the inbound marketing sector. If the strategy works, the first result of lead generation in this marketing sector is the presence of a qualified and quality lead.
Apart from the classic “push” channels, permission marketing or permission marketing has also increased in importance. This concept refers to a marketing approach in which the recipient’s permission is obtained before offer advertising, especially considering the inconvenience of contacting customers with unwanted advertising messages. And it is that many Internet users have become very sensitive to such advertising. Consequently, the advertising flow of recent years has resulted in the well-known banner blindness or blindness to banners, that is, the fact of ignoring advertising intentionally.
To increase the acceptance of the marketing measures themselves and to reach more customers and get their attention, it is increasingly common to follow the strategy of requesting permission (in English, “permission”). The so-called incentives also play, in this sense, a prominent role, and that is that gifts, discounts, free samples or raffles become tools to get customers to voluntarily provide their contact information. Users should have the feeling of obtaining advantages from such contact. If a company achieves this task, lead generation can be carried out successfully.