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Lead generation – How To Build a Database Of Contacts

What is a LEAD and what is LEAD Generation? In marketing, a lead is a potential customer who has expressed an interest in your product or service. If we're being more specific, it's usually their specific (often personal) details, such as first name, last name, email or phone number, that they voluntarily give you, in compliance with GDPR, of course.

Lead generation – How To Build a Database Of Contacts
Source: Directiveconsulting.com

However, a lead doesn’t have to be an ordinary person. It can also be a business. It depends on whether your business is focused on B2C (business-to-customer) customers or B2B (business-to-business) customers.

Why is lead generation important?

As we all learnt at school, the basis of any business is to make a profit. But let’s ask the question, who generates profit in our business? Well, our customers who buy our products and services – we couldn’t do it without them. But customers don’t just fall from the sky, and that’s why online marketing needs to constantly attract them. So that one day, the lead will become our regular customer.

The whole process of lead acquisition consists of two parts:

  • Attracting as many relevant users as possible to your website, where you have placed a contact form (or other type of lead generation format)
  • Motivate and persuade the user you’ve got on the site to submit data to you voluntarily

Types of marketing leads

Throughout marketing, different types of leads help to drive sales and marketing activities effectively. These types are usually categorised according to how close they are to becoming customers.

  • Cold Leads – are leads identified as potential customers but have not yet been contacted or communicated with. They are at the beginning of the sales process and usually require a lot of effort to become customers.

An example: Imagine you are the marketing manager of a regional bank trying to increase the number of young customers, especially university students. As part of this strategy, you decide to use a competition to generate leads. You are organising a competition called “Plan your future with our bank”, which focuses on finance studies. All participants in the competition are considered cold leads because you have not communicated with them before, and their relationship with the bank is just starting to develop. These leads are potentially interested in the bank’s products and services due to their interest in the competition.

  • Warm Leads – are leads that have already shown some interest in a product or service. These leads already have more than basic information about your product/service and are more likely to move forward in the sales process and become warm leads.

For example, let’s say you’re a marketing manager at a company that provides cloud solutions for businesses. Your company recently hosted a webinar on “Increasing Productivity with Cloud Technologies”. When registering for the webinar, attendees had to log in and provide their contact information, including name, email address, company name, and answer two questions about their current use of cloud technologies. One of the participants was an IT manager from a medium-sized company considering moving to cloud services. He was very active during the webinar and asked specific questions. After the webinar, he downloaded the materials made available to all attendees. This IT manager is considered a warm lead because he showed interest in the topic and actively participated in the discussion, indicating a higher level of interest in the solutions offered. 

  • Hot Leads – Leads that are ready to purchase in the near future. This type of lead has all the information necessary to make a purchase in the near future.

An example. You have implemented an online marketing campaign to reach small and medium-sized businesses. One of the visitors to your website, the owner of a medium-sized accounting firm, clicked on an ad that caught his attention because it offered accounting process automation that could significantly streamline his business operations. After browsing the various product pages, this visitor downloaded a free ebook entitled “5 Ways Automation Will Simplify Your Daily Bookkeeping”. To download the ebook, he had to complete a form providing his name, email address and company name. In completing the form, he ticked a box indicating his agreement to receive additional product information. The owner of the accounting firm is considered a “warm lead” because he expressed interest in the company’s specific solutions and provided his contact information. The marketing team can now follow up with this lead, providing him with more personalised information and gradually moving him towards a purchase.

  • Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) – These leads have been qualified as a good fit for further sales efforts based on their engagement and interest. MQLs are typically leads that have met specific marketing criteria or have engaged with marketing campaigns to a sufficient level.

For example, let’s say you’re a marketing manager at a company that provides cloud storage for small businesses. As part of a marketing campaign, you recently launched a series of blog posts about the benefits of cloud storage for improving data security. A small business owner, one of the blog readers, filled out a form on your website after reading the article to get more information about pricing and plans. In the form, he stated that he was looking for a backup solution and wanted to implement the solution within the next three months.

  • Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) – are leads that have been pushed to the sales department and prepared for a direct sales call. These leads usually have a very specific interest in buying and are close to becoming customers.

For example, let’s say you’re a marketing manager at a company that provides project management software solutions for construction companies. As part of your marketing strategy, you’ve launched several online campaigns, including educational webinars on how project management software can improve efficiency and reduce costs on construction projects. During one of the webinars, a project manager from a large construction company actively asked specific questions about integrating your software with his company’s existing systems. After the webinar, this manager filled out a contact form on your website requesting a face-to-face meeting with a sales representative to discuss his company’s specific requirements and software customisation options.

 The most common lead-generation strategies

1. Web (Lead Generation Landing Page)

One basic approach to lead generation is the landing page (i.e., a subpage of your website), which is specifically tailored to generate the necessary leads with the highest conversion rate. When creating a specific landing page, it is important to remember the following rules:

  • The simplicity of the website – as they say, there is beauty in simplicity. Try to sell your product/service as clearly and simply as possible on the landing page. Users lose attention after a few seconds on the web, so engage them! You need to motivate them to leave a lead in a simple, clear and to-the-point way. This will increase your conversion rate.
  • Form simplicity – follow the same rules when creating your form. Don’t ask for the user’s wife’s name, dog’s name or blood type. Stick to basic information, preferably email. This is worth its weight in gold to you. Of course, the form should include mandatory fields such as first name and surname. Alternatively, you can add a date of birth or any other question you like, which will help you create user segments in the database.
  • Visual identity (branding) – do not underestimate the importance of appearance. Design the lead generation sub-page in your corporate colours. If you have a design manual, follow it. All elements such as forms, call-to-action buttons, etc. should be identical to your branding. This way the user doesn’t feel like they’re on a completely different site and loses visual contact with your brand.
  • Social proof (reviews) – don’t be afraid to publish reviews from satisfied customers. This will add credibility to your product/service, which will ultimately help you increase your conversion rate. Post positive reviews for the world to see.
  • Call-to-action buttons (CTA buttons) tell users on your site what to do, or they won’t do it! “Download,” “Free trial,” “Sign up now,” “I want to try,” “Watch demo video,” and “Download free ebook.” These are just a few phrases commonly used in CTA buttons.

Example: The cloud company Dropbox knows how to make good landing pages. Note in particular the 2 CTA buttons (Find your plan & Sign up for free) and the simply placed information “Join over 700 million registered users…”.

Source: Dropbox

2. Free subscription/trial

This principle of lead generation strategies is quite common today. It is mainly used in the world of services you subscribe to monthly, e.g. software, various marketing or IT tools, streaming services, etc. Offer your potential customers a free 7 or 14-day version of your tool. As this is a quid pro quo world, don’t be afraid to ask for their details in return. Use the trial version of your tool/software conditional on registration. Once registered, you already have the user’s details in your database and can use them in your marketing communications.

Example. A great lead generation opportunity. Note the simple and minimalist landing page. 

Source: Spotify

3. E-book

An e-book or electronic book is a digital version of a book that can be read on various digital devices. That’s why e-books are a great lead-generation tool for your marketing campaigns. How do you use e-books for lead generation? Here are some suggested tips.

  • Target content: Create a valuable and attractive ebook to your target audience. It could be a solution to a specific problem, helpful tips, expert guidance and advice, or in-depth information on a topic your prospects may be interested in.
  • Landing Page: Create a page (landing page) that will be used to promote the ebook. When creating the landing page, follow the rules we have summarised in the (web) landing page section.
  • Form: The landing page must include a form to access the ebook download. This should be a requirement for any lead generation campaign you run.
  • Media campaigns: Promote the ebook through various channels, such as social media, newsletters, PPC ads, blogs, and articles.
  • Follow-up strategies: Once you have leads, remember to work with them! Implement a follow-up strategy to keep your contacts interested. For example, you can send a series of follow-up emails with additional information, offer consultations, or offer other services related to your product.
  • Analyse and optimise: Evaluate the campaign’s performance and analyse how the ebook contributes to lead generation. Use tools such as Google Analytics or other CRM tools to evaluate how effectively you generate leads with your ebook.

Example: This is what a well-designed ebook lead generation landing page looks like.

Source: taboola.com & bioglan.co.uk

4. Online Webinars

In recent years, Webinars have become one of the most popular marketing tools for lead generation. And why is that? Because they are an effective way to reach your target audience, reinforce your brand and generate quality business leads. Here are some key ways webinars can help you build a quality lead database.

Build expertise and trust

Webinars provide a platform to showcase your expertise and strengthen your position in the industry. You can build trust and relationships with potential and existing customers by providing valuable and useful information.

Generate qualified leads

Webinars require registration, which allows you to collect contact information from attendees, such as name, email, and sometimes details about their profession or industry. This information can then be used for targeted marketing campaigns and follow-up communications. This additional information also allows you to segment your database and communicate with them in a much more personalised way.

Content creation

Webinar content can be recorded and used for various purposes, such as blog posts, social media videos, or even podcasts. This multiple use of content increases marketing campaigns’ ROI (ROAS, PNO).

5. Competitions

Contests are an excellent way to generate interest in your brand while effectively filling your lead database. However, this strategy has its own specific rules. Here are the key steps and strategies for using contests to generate leads:

Set goals

Before running a lead generation contest, clearly define your KPIs (key performance indicators). Do you want to generate a certain number of leads, or are you primarily interested in cost per lead (CPL) or conversion rate?

Choose an attractive prize for the winner

The prize should be enticing and motivating enough. The more the prize is related to your brand or products, the more likely it is to attract quality leads with a genuine interest in what you offer. If you’re selling coffee beans, don’t run a competition for a spa voucher(for example); you’ll only get poor-quality leads. Instead, run a competition for a coffee subscription or a set of coffees of your choice.

You can’t do it without a form

The same rules apply here as for other strategies. The form is your best friend; without it, there would be no leads. In the same way, the competition itself needs to be conditional, so don’t just get the basic contact details (first name, last name), but feel free to experiment with two or three additional questions.

Promoting the competition

Actively promote the competition through all available channels: social media, email campaigns, your website, blogs or advertising (e.g. PPC).

Analysis and follow-up

After the competition, analyse its success and the data collected. Evaluate which channels and formats were most effective. Use this information to adjust future campaigns. Don’t forget to follow up with participants, such as thanking them for their participation, special offers or reminders about future contests.

6. Newsletter Subscription

Newsletters are one of the most important tools in digital marketing. They not only generate leads but also for follow-up, retention and further marketing communication.

Motivate them to subscribe

Do you want to get people to sign up for your newsletter? Offer them something valuable and motivating in return! For example, access to exclusive content, a discount voucher, an interesting ebook or a free webinar (think of it as a link between different strategies).

Create an attractive subscription form

Yes, another form, and again, you need to take the time. The sign-up form should be simple and visually appealing. Place it on the website where it can be seen at a glance. Don’t be afraid to use modern tools such as a pop-up window or other interactive format (such as a wheel of fortune). For the newsletter – keep it simple.

The best lead generation and lead management tools

When it comes to lead generation, choosing the right lead generation tool is very important. Of course, it doesn’t just happen. It takes time, patience, money and, last but not least, quality evaluation. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the most commonly used lead generation and lead management tools.

HubSpot – all-in-one marketing, sales and service software.

Mailchimp – email marketing and automation.

Marketo – comprehensive marketing and automation tool for medium and large businesses.

Salesforce – comprehensive CRM with integrated marketing tools.

Leadpages – a tool for creating landing pages on your website.

Unbounce – create and optimise lead generation subpages focusing on A/B testing.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator – a tool for B2B lead acquisition via LinkedIn.

Google Ads – online advertising campaigns for lead generation (PPC).

Meta Lead Ads – Online advertising campaigns on the meta ad network (Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp).

OptinMonster – Popup creation for lead generation.

Drip – Email marketing and automation specifically designed for e-commerce.

Each of these tools offers unique features and benefits that can be tailored to the specific needs of lead-generation campaigns and marketing objectives.

What metrics should you track and evaluate for your lead generation campaigns?

Cost Per Lead (CPL)

Cost per lead (CPL) is one of the most important metrics in lead generation campaigns. It is a metric that shows the total cost of generating a lead in a marketing campaign. CPL is key to evaluating the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

How is CPL calculated?

CPL is very easy to calculate. You divide the total cost of the campaign by the number of leads.

Source: https://snigel.com/blog/what-is-cpl

For example, if you spend £10,000 on a lead generation campaign and collect 5,000 leads, your CPL will be £2.

In the same way, you can also calculate your CPL per final converted lead. This will show you the CPL per lead that you were able to sell something to.

For example, if you achieved a conversion rate of, say, 6%, you would have 300 converted leads in your database. So we calculate the CPL as 10,000 / 300 = 33.33 € / converted lead.

Why is CPL an important metric?

ROI evaluation – helps determine which channels or strategies are most effective from a financial perspective.

Budget planning – allocate resources more efficiently where they are most effective.

Campaign optimisation – CPL analysis can reveal the need to adjust or improve existing campaigns. If the CPL is too high, it may indicate that the campaign is not sufficiently targeted or that the media and marketing tactics are not delivering the desired results.

Conversion Rate – The conversion rate metric is another indicator of lead generation campaign performance. This metric measures the percentage of leads acquired into the database that were able to convert (buy our product or service).

How is the conversion rate calculated?

The conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of successful conversions by the number of total leads. If we want a % expression, we multiply the result by x100.

Source: Chisellabs.com

For example, if we collect 5000 leads through a lead generation campaign and 500 of those 5000 leads are marketed (sold a product/service), the resulting conversion rate is 10%.

Why is the conversion rate an important metric?

The same rules apply to CPL. It depends on what metric you want to measure and evaluate your lead generation campaigns against.

  • ROI evaluation
  • Budget planning
  • Campaign optimisation

Although lead generation can be challenging and requires patience and dedication, a properly constructed strategy can yield significant results and help you grow and develop as a business. Make sure you invest in analysing your results and regularly optimise your campaigns based on the insights you gain to maximise performance and achieve your business goals.

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