“The cold call is dead.”
Imagine this. You sit down on your lunch break to enjoy a delicious pre-cooked meal and catch up on some social media. It’s a nice day so you’ve decided to take it outside on the bench and soak up a little sunshine. Your phone rings, it’s an unknown number, but you’re in a great mood so you decide to take it anyway. The person on the other end mispronounces your name and instantly starts trying to sell you something that you’ve never heard of and have expressed zero interest in. What do you do?
You don’t buy anything, that’s for sure. This is an example of cold outreach, pure and simple. Sometimes it works for lead generation, most of the time in the digital era it does not. So, how can one find quality leads who are more likely to be open to your products and/or services? In this article, we break down what lead generation is to get back to basics (so you can be growing your business in no time!).
What is a lead?
A lead is a person who indicates some form of interest in a company, their products or services. Leads will typically be engaged by a business after they have opened a line of communication. This could be in the form of a query via contact form or signing up for an offer or trial (as opposed to being contacted coldly from someone who had previously ‘purchased’ their contact information.’)
What are the different types of leads?
There are a number of different types of leads and not all are created equal or are qualified the same. Let’s take a closer look at the various types of lead:
- MQL (marketing qualified lead): Marketing qualified leads are those who have engaged with your marketing efforts, though aren’t quite ready to be pitched. For example, they may have filled out a landing page form for some kind of special offer.
- SQL (sales qualified lead): A sales qualified lead is someone who has expressly communicated an interest in potentially becoming a paying customer. For example, they have sent you an inquiry through your website regarding your products.
- PQL (product qualified lead): Product qualified leads are those who have experienced your products / services and have expressed a desire to continue doing so. PQL’s are a type of lead that exist for companies that offer free trials such as Amazon Prime.
- Service qualified lead: Service qualified leads are those who have expressly indicated to one of your representatives that they would like to upgrade their service and are then put through and ‘up-leveled’ to the relevant department.
“Just as a fisherman will use the right bait to catch a certain fish, marketers must adhere to similar principles when generating leads.”
How do you generate quality leads?
Now that we know that lead generation is the process of attracting prospective customers to your business and increasing their interest via nurturing their brand journey, how do we go about generating quality leads with a greater chance of converting?
How you go about generating quality leads depends on the method that you use – and the type of lead that you’d like to attract. For example, are you looking for customers? Investors? Or employees?
When it comes to finding quality, it’s all about creating relevant content. Just as a fisherman will use the right bait to catch a certain fish, marketers must adhere to similar principles when generating leads.
What are the different ways that a company can generate leads?
- Expand your digital footprint: keep creating content and expanding your online presence. The bigger the net, the more fish.
- Use social media such as LinkedIn: LinkedIn is great for generating quality B2B leads. If you want to pick up clients in a specific industry there are some great tools at your disposal on the professional platform.
- Create value-based content: Create free-value content and share it with your prospective customers. Once they associate your business with value they may be more likely to invest in your products.
- Ask clients for referrals: Self-praise is no recommendation, so have your satisfied clients do it for you instead.
- Demonstrate your passion: Show how passionate you are about what you do in the content that you create – it’s infectious. ( its about that great agency culture.)
- Deliver something different: Try to think outside the box and deliver unique and exciting content. Yes, there will always be an element of upcycling ‘tried and tested’ methods, but be bold and innovate as well.
- Host webinars: Host webinars and offer people valuable inside-industry information. This is a great way of creating more questions for your audience to engage you with.
- Promote your ideal clients: Share the love and write blog posts promoting your ideal clients. This is an effective way of building the online profile of who you love working with while giving the company in question a friendly boost.
- Prove your authority: Always demonstrate your authority by sharing factual and well-sourced information. Give the people what they want and deliver it in such a way that is easy to digest and remember.
- Know where to find your target audience: There’s no good promoting your business and creating content on Twitter if the majority of your ideal audience is on Instagram. Know where to find those prospects and learn how to attract their attention. (Our Buyer Persona template is a good starting point.)
- Leverage #hashtags: Use popular hashtags, create your own, and take full advantage of these widespread social tools.
- Talk about your offers: Create great offers and talk about them! Spread them around social media, send them out to your email list, and create attractive graphics and adverts to push them even further.
- Make your brand story clear: Make your brand story and message loud and clear.
The above list contains all highly effective ways of attracting quality leads that will have a much higher chance of converting into loyal, paying customers. When you do it right, very rarely will you need to do any cold outreach at all.
As the saying goes: ‘build it and they will come’.
For expert help on lead generation, book a call with our business development team.
Check out our ABX series if you’re interested in taking the next step into the latest marketing tactics.