Lead generation means attracting the attention of potential customers and gaining their interest in your product or service. It’s the first step in building relationships that will turn into business.
When people hear the phrase “lead generation,” it may seem nebulous or something out of reach. However, there are straight forward ways to generate leads through marketing to keep your sales funnel active.
Marketing can help you generate leads in two ways.
Outbound marketing pushes your message out far and wide hoping that it resonates with the person that would be interested in your product or service. TV and radio ads, telemarketing, banner and display ads, billboards, newspaper and magazine ads, pop-ups and online contextual ads are all examples of outbound marketing.
Outbound marketing methods are very effective at raising brand awareness and keeping you top-of-mind. They can also be effective at generating new business if the media and the message is narrow and targeted.
The second method for generating leads is inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is where you help yourself "get found" by people already learning about and shopping in your industry. In this arena, you are using tactics to attract your potential clients. Inbound marketing includes blogs, white papers, webinars, search engine optimization, and videos.
A successful inbound marketing campaign has three components:
- Content is the core of any inbound marketing campaign. It is the information that attracts potential customers to your website or your business. Content is shared via your website, email, or social media.
- Search engine optimization makes it easier for potential customers to find your content. It is the practice of building your site and inbound links to your site to maximize your ranking in online searches, where most customers begin their buying process.
- Social media amplifies the reach of your content. When your content is distributed across social media platforms, it becomes more authentic, and is more likely to draw qualified prospects to your site.
The key to any lead generation campaign is to have a thorough understanding of who your prospects are and tailoring your marketing and messaging to that audience.