“Content is king” is one idea that has been preached over and over again and it is perfectly valid and understandable why. Content creation is fundamental to the success of any business because nowadays, as Simon Sinek very well puts it,
“people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it”
However, experienced marketers claim that, while “Content is king”, lead generation is definitely the “Queen”.
Basically, lead generation campaigns are meant to stir up interest over a particular service or product you provide with the main purpose of ensuring a stronger relationship with your target audience. Be aware that lead generation is not instant, you don’t simply snap your fingers and you suddenly get more sales for your business. In order to be successful, lead generation must be part of each and every aspect of your marketing strategy.
Lead generation is the marketing process in which interest in a service or product is stimulated and captured in order for the sales pipeline to be developed.
Common terms in Lead Generation campaigns
A lead or a prospect is an individual who has already shown some sort of interest in your services or products. Therefore, they have a certain potential degree of becoming a client or a customer.
- Qualified Lead
We qualify a lead the moment they meet all the necessary requirements and qualifications in order to become clients or customers.
- Lead Generation
Lead generation is the marketing process that triggers interest, needs or inquiries regarding the services or products you offer.
- Lead Generation Campaign
A lead generation campaign depicts the interest triggering and stimulating processes for various products or services, lead development being the sole purpose.
- Lead Nurturing
Some leads qualify very early in the generation campaign process, while others take longer until conversion. The latter group will need nurturing by creating awareness and engaging frequent and consistent communications until you manage to trigger the buying decision.
- Lead Capture
The lead capturing process is mainly connected to the use of marketing automation systems that allow marketers to gather information and knowledge through different means of communication.
- Soft Offer
A soft offer doesn’t usually expect an immediate reaction or response. A soft offer, for example, can be an email newsletter subscription.
- Hard Offer
A hard offer is usually a service or a product offer that would normally require an immediate response from prospects. A lot of times, in order to create a sense of urgency, the hard offers are limited to a specific segment of the targeted audience or have a short availability term.
A successful plan to generate leads
There are two main steps that we never skip when planning our lead generation campaigns. Even though the process may vary according to different factors such as your campaign objective, the targeted audience or the media usage, we’ve noticed that these two steps always remain the same.
- Set your campaign objective loud and clear
Depending on the outcome you want to achieve with your lead generation campaign, the campaign goal may vary. For example, it can be defined by the forecasted number of leads or by the revenue generated by every lead.
A lot of times, we manage to define our lead generation campaign objectives by gathering around the entire team and answering some of the following questions:
- What’s the audience we want to target?
- How will we be able to reach out to them?
- What kind of behavior do we expect to trigger?
- What do we offer to the target audience?
- When and how do we follow-up on our lead generation campaign?
- When and how do we evaluate the success of our lead generation campaign?
- Evaluate and select your campaign target audience
According to your business situation and needs, you might target prospect in your current list of contacts or you might want to change your focus and target new segments of audience. No matter which case you find yourself in, it’s highly important to accurately identify the specificities of the target audience group.
Offline lead generation tactics
You need to know that promoting your business through social media channels is never enough. You also need to promote it offline.
Moreover, it always helps to be aware of the fact that there is less competition when you run lead generation campaigns offline and completely outside the digital world. The majority of the companies rely mainly on social channels, so you might actually gain more exposure for your business in the offline environment.
Offline marketing channels are still very powerful and incredibly efficient, especially for B2B marketers. There’s no need to take us for granted, though. According to a 2017 survey conducted by Global Web Index, a lot of traditional media and marketing methods such as news media, direct mail, print ads, and trade publications still have an incredible influence in purchase decisions. This is mainly due to the world being flooded with digital content, hence the offline methods of generating leads stand out in the crowd as long as they are trustworthy, timely and relevant.
The offline lead generation tactics include:
- Direct mail
- Print marketing materials
- Print media
- Events and exhibitions
- Trade shows
We’d like to emphasize a bit on the importance of the direct mail method of generating leads, mainly because we’ve recently run two incredibly successful campaigns using this offline tactic. You might consider direct mail a thing of the past, old and obsolete. However, you’d be surprised how effective it still is for targeted communications.
We basically consider direct mail one of the most important content assets when you target, for example, high-level executives. Why?! Mainly because executives don’t really browse the web for ads and information. It can also be pretty much of a hassle trying to reach them via email. This is where direct mail is really powerful because it helps you make your high-level target audience aware of your new content asset. Moreover, direct mail allows you to grab attention by being creative and innovative with your key messages and presentations.
The main advantages of offline lead generation methods
- Personal and noticeable
There’s an increasing tendency of internet users to ignore display ads due to the enormous amount of digital messaging which led to a diminished attention sharing. That’s why direct mail and other offline marketing channels still make a difference in 2018.
- Human connection
Most of the offline lead generating methods have the unbeatable advantage of fostering human connections with your customers and prospects. Nowadays, B2B consumers are utterly flooded with one-way messages from digital advertisement, so human touch has become more and more important and craved by consumers worldwide.
Even though it is harder to accurately measure the ROI benefits, print marketing materials have the power to increase customer engagement and brand awareness.
- Huge recall rate
According to VistaPrint, the recall rate of print ads is 70% higher than digital media. This is due to the human brain ability to easily remember tangible items, such as direct mail, rather than any other digital material.
- Easier to process
In the same fashion as with the recall rate, it takes 21% less effort for the brain to process print information rather than digital information.