Lead Generation: when the consumer indicates interest in a product, service or brand with the exchange of information.

Understanding lead generation doesn’t have to be like climbing Mount Everest. I promise.

Lead generation is the business process of generating intent-based engagements from a potential customer. You do this by communicating value to the consumer to create interest around your offering. That interest is supplemented with a method of collecting the consumer’s information for a future connection.

Lead Generation is critical to your success. Long gone are the days when consumers reached out to brands. Brands must now make it convenient, easy and worth the consumer’s time to engage. At L7 Creative, we call this Digital Brand Engagement and with the digital age continually advancing and evolving, digital lead generation is imperative for marketers to stay on top of their game. Intimately knowing your consumer and having critical information from the inception of the relationship helps marketers make consumers feel like customers long before they purchase. Nurturing that customer from inception to purchase, is important for the relationship and will turn customers into brand ambassadors.

 

Why Lead Generation Matters

Lead generation for businesses is essentially predictable revenue. It is measurable and with the correct tracking measures in place, lead generation can help with the volume of qualified leads –  it’s the path to the highly coveted marketing qualified leads you are so often evaluated on. Lead generation creates a solid pipeline at the top of the funnel that can then be nurtured and converted into brand loyalists, which helps drive financial forecasts, revenue, growth and the list goes on.

As a marketer, you should know exactly how many lead generation forms are submitted at any given time and with the right plan of action in place, marketers can continually analyze and optimize throughout campaigns. With critical data like average conversion rates, marketers can work their way up and down the funnel, depending on campaign goals. This helps tremendously with attribution, projections, sales and revenue goals.

 

How Lead Generation Has Changed

Marketing is no longer a monologue (talking TO consumers), it’s now a dialogue (talking WITH consumers). The path to buying has morphed from a fairly linear pattern to a multi touchpoint relationship. B.G. (before Google), the messaging was direct and limited. Sales (and marketing) targeted people in a very direct, forward, and solicitous manner, these days, marketing must be subtle, innocuous, and yet, always present. Marketing must also closely control the brand messaging and reputation from a plethora of outlets because consumers research everything!

The amount of information your customers have access to is growing every day. Review sites are everywhere and often times consumers take advantage of Google to heavily research and review their purchases. The buying power has shifted in the consumers favor. Mass amounts of information (review sites, competitor info, referrals) are at their fingertips and with programs such as, price matching, guaranteed satisfaction and exploited return policies, consumers are in the driver’s seat. With the shift in buying power, came the shift in marketing tactics. Product and service information is no longer what we’re selling, we’re selling people, a brand, the right experience, an emotion. People want to connect to a brand and feel good about their purchase. After diligent research and comparative data, the consumers are choosing the right product from the brand that feels good. This means lead generation may start with a simple engagement like an inquiry, but a consumer wants to be treated like a loyal customer from the very beginning. They want to feel valued, respected and taken care of. If they provide their first name in a form, they want to be called by their first name throughout the relationship.

What You Need to Know Today

It is imperative to make a good first impression at the top of the funnel and market an authentic message throughout the funnel. There needs to be value for the consumer at every step. Marketers need to give a reason for the consumer to engage. Marketers can do this by intimately knowing their consumer. And their own intentions. For example, only ask for relevant information. If you ask for their zip code, don’t ask for their city and state. If you intend to follow-up and communicate via email, don’t ask for their phone number. If knowing their company isn’t absolutely imperative but a nice to have, just extract it from their email domain. Only ask for what you absolutely need to nurture that consumer effectively. Your form should include only *required fields to capture the most amount of leads at the top of the funnel.

Just because a consumer doesn’t convert the first time, or second, or even third, doesn’t mean they won’t and that’s why it is important to treat everyone like a loyal customer at all stages. Since consumers research more, it has extended the sales-cycle dramatically. And if the consumer continually feels valued and appreciated, they are more likely to purchase from your brand as opposed to another brand who isn’t engaged. If the purchase is a positive experience and you’ve built a strong relationship, they’ll also refer you. We all know referred leads are gold but, that’s a discussion for my next blog.

 

L7 Creative has mastered the art and science of Digital Brand Engagement. Give us a call to talk marketing strategy and ways we can help you improve your lead funnel and reach your goals in 2017. Office: (760) 931-0777

 

By: Theresa Gallego