If we are talking about e-commerce, lead generation becomes an essential thing to get right. And for companies in the process of attracting their first customers, this normally means the lead generation that occurs away from the home website.
This, in turn, means lead generation as part of a marketing campaign – which can be visual marketing, video, text, or even audio. And finding success here means first understanding what a lead actually is.
Most basically defined, a lead is a moment of aroused interest on the part of a potential customer. There are many ways internet users can express interest, and that means more ways than simply buying a product.
Lead generation is the process of cultivating new customers by first fostering interest. So, when an internet user clicks on your Facebook ad and finds themselves on your website via a link, then this is a successful lead generated – but it might not mean a sale.
Closing the deal, as it were, certainly relies on the quality of your products and how well they are presented on your website. Azola Creative, a lead generation and website design company, says that while professional lead generation services can take you a long way, it’s wise to learn about the process yourself.
Inbound Lead Generation
We cannot separate lead generation from marketing, precisely because marketing is the only way to create inbound lead generation. But what is this?
First things first, inbound lead generation is what you should be aiming for. When you cold-call a random person in order to start bleating a marketing spiel down the phone about the quality of your microwave ovens, you have technically generated a lead (the customer’s interest has been aroused, even if that interest is primarily directed toward hanging up the phone), but it is not inbound lead generation.
Inbound lead generation instead refers to customers initiating contact with you or engaging with your marketing material voluntarily. It can also involve sales calls and you directly contacting them, but if this is justified by a previously expressed interest then it is still inbound lead generation. Moreover, as mentioned, inbound lead generation is the only lead generation you should be aiming for.
Specific Leads to Aim For
Consequently, the best way to incorporate lead generation into your marketing campaign is to generate the right leads – the ones that most often result in a sale. Here are a few of the most well-known categories of such leads:
Marketing Qualified Leads
A marketing-qualified lead is a contact who has engaged with your marketing material (an inbound lead) but is not ready to have a conversation with you or receive a sales call. You should not attempt to directly contact such individuals (for example someone who has filled out a landing page form) as you could scare them off.
Sales Qualified Leads
These leads are those contacts who have indicated in some way that they are interested in becoming a paying customer. An example here is someone who has made a customer account on your website (a link to which you can include in marketing material) and so can be expected to buy something. You can have a closer interaction with such potential customers.
These are the people who have used your products in some capacity and expressed a definite interest in them. The classic example here is a potential customer who has signed up for a free trial. These leads are some of the easiest to convert to paying customers.
Customer acquisition begins with lead generation, and so you need to build this into your marketing.