What Is Lead Gen? The Beginner’s Guide

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When you want to boost sales at your business, lead generation – also referred to as lead gen – is a critical part of the equation. It’s a way to entice engaged potential customers, increasing your odds of converting them into genuine buyers.

If you’re new to lead gen, you may wonder what it is, how it works, and how you can leverage it to boost sales. Here’s a quick beginner’s guide to lead generation to get you started.

What Are Leads and Lead Generation?

A lead is an individual who’s expressed an interest in a company’s offerings, such as its products or services. Typically, they’ve engaged with the business in some capacity, such as by participating in a trial offer, joining a mailing list, or commenting positively on a social media post.

Leads come in several varieties. For example, a marketing-qualified lead is a potential customer that’s engaged with a company, but they’re near the beginning of their journey toward making a purchase. Sales-qualified leads have taken additional steps to indicate a desire to become a customer, while product-qualified leads have typically had interaction with a customer’s offerings and are interested in transitioning from free or trial versions to paid alternatives.

Lead generation is the process of attracting leads. It’s a strategy that usually involves nurturing prospective customers to move them through the sales funnel. Lead generators are the approaches used to forge connections with would-be buyers, such as offering coupons in exchange for joining an email list.

Why Do People Use Lead Gen?

Lead gen allows companies to engage with potential customers with a demonstrated organic interest in their products or services. You aren’t introducing the prospective buyer to what you have to offer; you’re connecting with them after they’ve shown an interest in learning more. It’s an inbound marketing strategy, as the would-be customers are coming to you instead of you trying to make the initial connection.

Often, genuine leads have a higher likelihood of buying from your company than those who haven’t interacted with your company on their own accord. As a result, these prospects typically have more potential value and may require less work to convert.

How Does Lead Gen Work?

The process of lead generation begins with the prospective customer discovering your company’s offering through their own efforts. For example, it could occur when a potential buyer is searching for a specific product or service category online, sees your company’s website in the results, and decides to check out the site. At this point, the individual is simply a visitor. However, if they engage with a call to action (CTA) and provide relevant personal detail – like names and email addresses – they transition into a lead.

Qualified leads are generally open to additional marketing efforts by your company, such as sales advertisements or messages that teach them more about your offerings. Since they’re already interested and engaged with your business directly, they’re more receptive to the details you provide and typically take less convincing to become a full-fledged customer.

Tips for Implementing Lead Gen

When it comes to lead gen, ensuring the interested parties come to you first is critical. While cold calling was once a go-to technique, only 19% of Americans will answer calls from unknown numbers. One reason is that 60% of all calls in the United States are either spam or robocalls, a significant portion of which are often scams. However, once an individual engages with your company, they’re expecting a response from the business, making them more open to future efforts.

It’s also wise to monitor visitor traffic and social media engagement. Identify top-performing pages and posts, as those could be viable locations for calls to action. Make sure any CTAs provide the person with value based on what’s discussed in the source content, as relevancy increases the odds of interaction.

Also, make sure to curate a suitable buyer journey. The idea is to nurture connections and keep marketing attempts aligned with their position in the sales funnel, carefully helping them move further along without being overly aggressive or overwhelming them. Finally, make sure to deliver on all claims or promises along the way, as that can turn a lead into a buyer and a buyer into a long-time customer.