Leads are the lifeblood of every business. You need a constant flow of leads in order to generate more sales and get an edge over your competitors so that they don't snag those precious customers first.
Online lead generation is important for every industry. Channels like social media, email, SEO and PPC play a vital role in bringing in a constant flow of prospects, as the following statistics show:
- 61% of marketers say generating traffic and leads is their top challenge.
- 27% of marketers have reported below-average CPLs (cost-per-lead) for both social media and email marketing.
- Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and delivers 3x as many leads.
- Marketers who prioritize blogging efforts are 13x more likely to see positive ROI.
- Lead-nurturing emails get as much as 10x the response rate compared to standalone emails.
Let’s discuss the best tactics to generate leads via content marketing, social media marketing and email marketing.
How to Generate Leads with Content Marketing
By 2021, almost one third of Internet users will be using ad blockers — which means that almost one third of all ads won’t reach their target and these companies will lose a good chunk of revenue. So how can you avoid experiencing such a loss?
As Neil Patel points out:
Unlike other lead generation strategies, content marketing gives to prospects, instead of asking them for something.
Not only would 70% of people rather learn about products through content, but content marketing delivers a higher ROI than paid ads.
The power of content marketing becomes evident when you read (and learn from!) these 22 examples of companies that are dominating the world with awesome content marketing.
Here are some tips to help generate leads via content marketing at a better ROI.
1) Write Content for Your Buyer Persona
A buyer persona is a detailed, research-based description of your target customer. It’s a simple document that lists everything from demographic information to hobbies, and from career history to family size — all written as if the persona were a real person.
71% of companies that exceed their revenue and lead goals have created buyer personas.
A buyer persona like the one below helps you get answers to critical questions like what are your customers' pain points and, thus, what they need to solve them:
When you have such information at your fingertips, you can create more specific (i.e. better) content that will be much more efficient in generating qualified leads because people are more likely to give out their email if they feel that the content is crafted especially for them.
How do you create specific content for your different customer demographics? Think of it like a Q&A: Research which questions your customers are asking and then answer them in detail in your blog or video content. Here's a detailed guide on how to create content for each stage of the marketing funnel.
2) Select Your Content Type Carefully
Once you've determined what you will write for your potential customers based on what they want (see #1 above), how do you know what type of content you need to create? It should be based on the targeted platform, buyer behavior and the buyer persona. Some examples of content types are:
- Infographics: Infographics generate 94% more clicks and 30x more leads. An infographic is a visual representation of information and while most people are familiar with the basic format, this is starting to change:
- Informational Content: This type of content focuses on educating your customers with your expertise. When you write on a topic specifically related to your business (i.e. on which you're an authority) in the form of “How-to” guides, white papers and case studies, this is informational content.
- Video Content: Videos are great for keeping your viewers engaged: Video marketers get 66% more qualified leads per year, achieve a 54% increase in brand awareness, and have gotten new customers from a video on social media. You can put in optional email gates to your videos to start generating leads.
- Podcasts: Podcasts are a great way to share your expertise with your prospects in a format that is the easiest to consume. In 2019, 90 million people listened to a podcast on a monthly basis – a number that is expected to reach 132 million by 2022. Adding pre- and mid-rolls (CTAs) throughout your podcast will increase your chances of turning listeners into customers.
Keep in mind that the primary aim of the content format you choose must first match the customer's or lead's need, then must answer their questions and only then can it generate interest in your product or service. Otherwise it's too salesy – in which case, why don't you just invest in paid ads?
3) Create High-Value Lead Magnets
A lead magnet is an incentive that you offer to your potential customers in exchange for their email address or other personal information. Your free offering is typically downloadable content, like a PDF checklist or short, concise how-to article, a thorough PDF report with clickable links, an e-book or a white paper. It could also be access to a video, a webinar or a course.
Below are some of the best types of lead magnets that can help you generate leads for your business.
- PDF checklists: You can provide a handy and thorough list of tools or advice that people are desperately looking for. For example, Single Grain offers a free, downloadable 21-point on-page SEO checklist that we display in our SEO-related articles:
- E-books or free reports: People love to save and read e-books that go into more detail than a typical blog post. Offering a free report or e-book in exchange for an email is always a great strategy:
- Quizzes: Allow your visitors to play a free quiz but display the results only after they have entered their email address. This is another great way to grab leads in a way that makes it fun for them.
- Infographics: If your article is fact- or number-heavy, offer a lead magnet that is an infographic of all the key data. That way, your readers can download the infographic to conveniently refer to the information when needed.
- Free courses: This could be a one big webinar or a series of shorter videos explaining something that your users are most interested in learning. Use CTAs in your videos or in the landing pages to generate leads.
- Templates: Once you've explained to your reader how to do or create something, such as a buyer persona, don't make them go away and have to create the buyer persona from scratch. Instead, offer a downloadable, interactive template that they can then use to put to use what they've just learned. Like this one below:
4) Use Powerful CTAs in Your Blog
Calls to action (CTAs) are any kind of a link or button that prompts a reader or visitor to perform a desired action on your website, landing page, email, etc. A good CTA helps enormously to convert these visitors into leads and there are various types that you can use in your blog, such as:
- Subscribe CTA: This is one of the best ways to generate leads. Ask visitors to enter their email address if they want to receive regular updates from you. A “Subscribe” button gives people a reason to return to your blog by sending emails to them every time you publish a new one.
- Slide-in CTA: Slide-in CTAs are a great way to grab readers’ attention and offer additional information to them before they bounce off the page. Unlike static calls to action, they follow the reader as they scroll up and down the page.
- Get It Free: If you offer a free trial of your products, add a “Try for Free,” “Get It Free” or “Join Free for a Month” CTA to encourage people to try out a demo of your product. Once someone uses your demo product, not only will they be more likely to purchase the full product or service, but you will better understand their requirements and can thus propose the paid version of your product in a way that speaks to them directly.
- Social CTAs: Social media is the best way to keep your prospects engaged, and social CTAs allow your readers to easily follow you on your social channels. When they start liking what you post to social, they are more likely to become a lead.
No matter which CTA you use, just use one per page and make sure that it aligns with the page's copy and intent in order to increase the click-through rate. Check out the below link to learn how to create compelling copy for your CTA button.
Dive Deeper: How to Create CTAs that Actually Cause Action
5) Leverage the Power of Paid and Organic Distribution Channels
Although organic channels of lead generation are cost effective, you shouldn’t ignore the power of paid channels. In order to reach the customer at every point in their buyer journey, paid channels play a crucial role.
When it comes to lead generation, both paid and organic distribution channels have their own benefits:
- Organic channels like SEO are great for lead generation in the long-term
- Paid channels can help you generate leads from the first day
At a minimum, you should be using these channels:
- Blog: Post valuable and relevant content on your blog regularly as this will help you rank for new keywords and increase the overall organic visitors on your website. (Learn more.)
- Guest Blog: Additionally, you can write guest posts on websites related to your industry to attract people who are already interested in your business. (Learn more.)
- Social Media: Interesting content is one of the top three reasons people follow brands on social media, so start posting engaging content on your social networks. (Learn more.)
- Paid Ads: Run PPC ad campaigns on Google, Bing, LinkedIn and Facebook to attract prospects looking for your products or services. (Learn more.)
- Retargeting: You can even retarget prospects who are interested in your business but are not actively looking to buy anything. (Learn more.)
Dive Deeper: The Best Paid and Organic Search Channels
6) Invest Time and Resources for Lead Nurturing
If you’re not nurturing your leads with the right content offers, the chances of them converting into sales decreases drastically. As per Marketo's definition:
“Lead nurturing is the process of developing relationships with buyers at every stage of the sales funnel and through every step of the buyer's journey. It focuses marketing and communication efforts on listening to the needs of prospects and providing the information and answers they need.”
Study their online behavior and segment them into different groups based on their characteristics, needs and interests. Why is segmentation so crucial? Well, 74% of customers feel frustrated when website content is not personalized, and a further 59% say that personalization influences their shopping decision.
After you have segmented your leads, curate personalized content for each of them to move them forward in your sales funnel. You can use email marketing to deliver personalized content or offers that benefits your customers.
You also need to respond to your prospect’s queries quickly. Companies that respond to a query within an hour of receiving it are nearly 7x as likely to qualify the lead as those that respond an hour later.
How to Generate Leads with Social Media Marketing
The stats on social media are not to be dismissed:
- There are 3.2 billion social media users worldwide, which is about 42% of the world's population.
- Around 73% of marketers believe social media marketing has been effective for their business.
- Moreover, 71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend the brand to their friends and families.
Here are some impressive ways to generate leads via social media:
1) Organize Contests
Running contests on social media is an easy and fun way to increase engagement and brand awareness. When running contests on social, ask people to like, comment and share your content.
You can ask them to provide their email address as a way of gaining entry to the contest as they’re more likely to give their personal details when they think they might win something.
You can also run a tag-a-friend contest in which users need to tag their friends to be eligible to enter the contest. This will help you generate lots of leads in a short period of time.
Keep in mind, however, that the prize needs to be valuable enough that people will want to enter and encourage their friends to enter as well. If your winning prize is something they can easily get anyway or something that isn't very useful or interesting, your contest just might backfire and you can kiss your high-quality leads goodbye.
2) Go Live or Host a Webinar
Figure out the pain points of your target audience and then host a live video on social media channels to address those problems and provide a solution.
In order to increase engagement, ask your viewers to type in their questions or problems and then respond to them in real time.
You can also host a webinar on subjects that your prospects are most interested in. Start with advanced registration because this way you are more likely to get relevant leads.
3) Use Lead Generation Social Ads
Social media ads are not only great for improving brand awareness, but they can also help attract new leads. You only need to figure out which channel is right for your business.
Facebook lead ads make it easy for people to sign up and provide their information without leaving the platform. Once people click on your CTA, they’ll see a form that is pre-filled with their Facebook contact information (instead of redirecting them to your landing page), that is ready to submit:
4) Leverage the Power of Social Listening Tools
Social listening simply means monitoring your brand’s mentions, customer feedback and discussions related to your industry or competitors on social media platforms.
Social listening tools give you the ability to gather information based on the overall sentiment and tone of conversations going on about your brand as well as your industry on social media. Here are some of the popular ones:
With the help of social media listening tools, you can find your competitors’ at-risk customers and approach them with a better offer.
5) Pin a Post to Promote Your Contact Form
In order to acquire leads via your contact form, you can use the pin-a-post feature of Facebook, which leads to your contact form that might otherwise get lost in the crowd.
Go to the published post you'd like to pin to the top of your page. Click on the three dots at the top right corner, then select “Pin to Top of Page.” This will be the first thing on your Facebook page that visitors will see.
But remember that a pinned post stays at the top of your timeline for only 7 days, after which you’ll need to pin it again to bring it to the top.
How to Generate Leads with Email Marketing
Email marketing is the most cost-effective ways to generate leads:
- 80% of marketers claim that email is best for customer acquisition.
- Email marketing has an ROI of $44 for every $1 spent.
- The average email open rate for all industries is 20.81%.
Moreover, 89% of consumers use their email at least once every day, which means if done right, email marketing can prove to be a game changer.
Here are some tips to start generating leads with email marketing:
1) Personalize Your Emails
Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened.
Not everyone visits your website for the same reason. Segment your subscribers into different groups and create multiple email campaigns for each group. You can use your buyer personas to send highly targeted emails to your subscribers.
Check out this infographic from Post Funnel on the impact of personalization in email marketing:
There are various ways to personalize your emails, such as:
- Write an eye-catching subject line so it doesn't sound like spam.
- Use the customer’s first name in your emails (the body as well as the subject line).
- Use automation to trigger emails when visitors perform certain actions on your site.
- Send your emails at a time when they are most likely to be opened:
- Praise your customers and use their names more than once in the email body.
In order to increase the chances of success, pair personalized emails with relevant landing pages.
2) Improve Your Subject Lines
Users click on an email only when they find the subject line interesting and valuable. In fact, 35% of marketing emails are opened based on the subject line alone.Even if you create an amazing email body, people won’t click it unless you write a compelling and eye-catching subject line.
CoSchedule says there are three points that make for a great subject line:
- Write short subject lines for mobile devices
- Communicate a clear benefit
- Use words that positively impact open rates
Check out how Rent the Runway, an apparel and accessory rental service, used the subject line “Don’t Buy It” to create curiosity among recipients and forced them to open the email:
Take time to craft your subject line that users can’t resist clicking (hint: think about what would make you, a seasoned marketer, curious enough to open an email). Let people know what’s in the email for them but don’t reveal everything. Here are some examples:
- Thanks for joining! Here’s what on sale.
- Avoid these lead generation mistakes.
- Get this before it’s gone (at midnight tonight!)
- Mastering YouTube Ads (New Course)
Creating a sense of urgency and scarcity in your subject line (all in a creative manner) can compel readers to take immediate action.
3) Use Verbs in Your CTAs
Using verbs in your CTA is important if you want your readers to perform certain actions. How? Because verbs force readers to think about the action and then when you couple it with a pronoun like “your,” it makes readers think about how their actions will benefit them.
For example, Flock, a team messenger and online collaboration platform, uses a verb (“Go”) and a personal pronoun (“Your”) in the CTA of its emails to give it a personal feel:
Some of the most effective verbs you can use in your CTA are:
When subscribers have an idea of what the exact action that needs to be taken is, they’re more likely to perform that action.
4) Present Your Complete Blog Post in an Email
Many marketers think sending complete blog posts in an email might reduce their blog traffic, but there’s a logic behind it.
When you send your complete blog post in an email, your readers are that much closer to conversion. This happens because you reduce one step, going from email to blog.
In order to get the most out of it, write a “how-to” blog post and support it with a relevant and compelling call-to-action button. The key is to ensure that it looks as slick as a blog post.
Have a look at how Webpage FX sends a full blog post via email:
Then they put the stand-out CTA at the bottom of the email directing the user to their service page instead of the blog post. An innovative approach!
5) Use Video in Your Emails
Using video in your emails can increase your click-through rate by 200-300%. Similarly, just by using the word “video” in your subject line, you can boost open rates by 19%. Videos help you create a deep connection with your viewers and, as a result, increase the likelihood of converting them into a lead.
Keep in mind that video email marketing doesn't necessarily mean that your subscribers will be able to play the video without leaving their inbox. Because of spam and security reasons, embedded videos are not supported in email across most major email clients.
But you can link a video thumbnail image with a fake play button within an email to a landing page where the video is hosted.
Check out Brian Dean's email that explains what viewers can expect in his video and then adds a fake play button to the thumbnail image. Clicking on the “play” button takes you directly to the video. This strategy works!
- The Ultimate Guide to Video Marketing
- The Video Structure that Big Agencies Use to Create Successful Videos
- 20 Pre-Production Tips to Create Successful Video Content
- How to Make a Video That People Will Watch Til the End
Top Customer Acquisition Tactics to Get New Customers
The process of bringing in new clients is referred to as customer acquisition. With the right customer acquisition tactics, you won’t only attract new customers, you will also be able to retain existing ones.
Let’s have a look at how you can acquire new customers using the latest customer acquisition techniques.
1) Update Your Older Blog Posts
Updating an old blog post requires less effort and time than creating new content from scratch.
Moreover, Google loves new content, which means that the chances of your older blog posts ranking at the top of the SERPs are higher when you update them.
Here are the most important elements that you can update in your older blog posts:
- Replace outdated information (facts, stats, links).
- Rewrite your title to signify freshness, like “updated for 2020”.
- Add more images and videos because this will help increase time on page.
- Add extra high-performing keywords that boost SEO.
- Add fresh internal links to your post to improve relevancy.
- Rewrite portions of the content to improve readability.
- Edit your URL and meta description.
Increasing the value of your old blog posts with updated info, research and formatting will give your content a much-needed lift.
- 7 Creative Ways to Make Your Blog Posts Stand Out
- How to Create Quality Blog Posts that Convert Customers
2) Try Ranking for New Keywords and Increase Rankings for Existing Keywords
Research new keywords with a tool like Ubersuggest to determine high-performing long-tail keywords, and then create blog posts based on those keywords.
Similarly, you can check the rankings of your existing keywords via Ahrefs rank tracker and acquire links to pages that aren’t performing well:
You can also use a tool like SEMrush to find high-performing keywords for which your competitors are ranking but you’re not.
3) Use Marketing Automation for Better Personalization
Marketing automation drives a 14.5% increase in sales productivity – and companies using automation enjoyed an average 12.2% reduction in marketing overheads. It helps you automate repetitive tasks and send personalized messages to prospects across multiple channels, as well as nurture and acquire new leads.
When someone opts in to receive emails from you, a marketing automation tool can send them a sequence of messages designed to increase their interest in your product.
Here's an example of marketing automation. Suppose ten visitors land on your e-commerce store and register themselves. The automation software triggers a set of emails to confirm the email IDs of the customers and welcome them. Five out of those ten customers visit the e-commerce store again after a day or two and add products to their cart. However, two of them leave without purchasing anything.
The automation software keeps an eye on the customers' behavior and sends a different set of emails to the different customers, such as:
- An email containing special offers are sent to the five customers who never visited the site after registering.
- An abandoned cart email is sent to the two customers who have left part way through checkout.
- An order confirmation and product tracking ID email is sent to the three customers who have purchased products from the site.
This is how marketing automation software works. It identifies the lead, nurtures it and closes the sale all by itself without the need for any manual interference.
4) Master Website Inheritance
Website inheritance means buying a website and redirecting it to your main site to boost your SEO. This is one of the best growth hacks for SEO in which you can quickly increase your organic ranking for several keywords at once.
It's also known as multiple domain strategy, and many large companies are able to dominate the SERPs with this tactic. For example, if you Google “real estate,” both Zillow and Trulia show up on the first page. But these are not two independent companies; Zillow owns Trulia.
All you need to do is to browse a list of available domains on sites like Flippa and acquire the ones that have the maximum traffic and links. You can then 301 redirect the acquired domain to your site.
5) Give Something Away for Free
Everyone loves free things, so why not give them what they want? It could be anything from a ten-minute free consultation or a discount coupon or an actual product. Make sure the freebie you’re offering adds value and is available instantly (as much as people love freebies, they hate waiting to get it!).
Here is a simple and easy example of Subway giving away a free sandwich coupon in exchange for your email address:
6) Upgrade Your Product Based on Customer Feedback
Market research that you conduct before launching your product gives you an idea of what your potential customers like. However, you can only learn about the flaws in your product after customers use it.
Customer feedback is a report card that tells you what is working well about your product and which areas need improving.
When you upgrade your product based on customer feedback, it makes them feel valued, like they contributed to your success. As a result, the chances of their becoming your loyal customers increases because they feel like they have more of a stake in your brand.
7) Leverage Newsjacking
Taking advantage of current news stories or events to promote your brand is one of the most effective ways to grab your potential customers’ attention and convert them into a lead. This is called newsjacking.
Have a look at how KitKat leveraged the BendGate controversy (in which the iPhone 6 Plus would bend in people's pockets) to promote its product in real time. They received a very good response with more than 28,000 retweets:
The exposure that’s possible with newsjacking is great for building brand awareness and acquiring new customers because when you create compelling and/or funny content to deliver your message within a popular story, viewers can't help but share it on their own social networks.
Dive Deeper: How to Newsjack: A Guide for Content Marketers
8) Reach Out to Journalists Using HARO
HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is a free platform that connects journalists with experts. The biggest advantage of using HARO is that you may get featured on major digital publication sites such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and more.
Once you've joined the platform as a source, journalists post requests for experts about certain topics, which you’ll receive by email. You can then send the pitch to the masked email address in the source request. If the journalist is interested after reading your pitch, they’ll reach out to you.
When people read about your business on the top digital publication sites, they'll trust your brand even more. Trust generates a higher number of leads, and leads convert into sales.
9) Use Influencers to Improve Your Brand Value
A brief description of influencer marketing:
“Referrals have long since been one of the most effective marketing strategies. If you have a problem and one of your friends tells you about a great solution for it, there is a good chance that you'll go buy it.
Influencer marketing is just like that – only at scale. Influencers have already built a loyal following of people who trust them. So when they tell their fans and followers about how great your product is, there is a much higher chance that their audience will convert, simply because they need the product and trust the influencer.”
Before you start working with influencers, do thorough research about the influencer’s followers. Do they reflect your business? Do the influencer’s followers list reflect your target audience? Is their engagement rate good? Also, decide your KPIs and work on the messages you want to convey to your target audience.
- How to Grow Your Business With Influencer Marketing and Brand Partnerships
- All You Need to Know About the ROI of Influencer Marketing [infographic]
- 9 Influencer Marketing Trends You Can’t Ignore in 2020
10) Share Your Expertise on Podcasts
Podcasts are one of the best ways to make a deeper personal connection with your audience or potential audience. Use long-tail keyword research tools such as Answer the Public to figure out questions and phrases that your target audience is searching for that could be used in the podcast.
In order to generate leads from podcasts, use a CTA as you wrap up and make sure that it is related to the topic of the podcast.
To increase your podcast's visibility and attract more potential customers, submit your podcast to relevant sites and directories, such as:
- 9 Podcast Trends You Can’t Ignore in 2020
- 10 Best Marketing Podcasts to Help You Grow Your Business
- The Most Underrated Tactic to Boost Your Search Ranking: Podcast Guesting
11) Optimize Your Website
Optimizing your website helps it rank for a higher number of keywords, thereby increasing organic traffic and conversions to the site. Things you can do to optimize your website to attract more customers include:
- Reducing the page load time.
- Optimizing your site for mobile.
- Optimizing your site for question keywords.
- Fixing broken links.
- Spreading keywords strategically across your website.
- Posting fresh content regularly.
- Developing new sitemaps for Google and Bing.
- Adding “Alt Text” to every image on your website.
- Using tools like Google Search Console to check how search engines view your website and fix the things that are harming your SEO.
Also, don’t let users wonder what the hell your company does or provides when they visit your website; make sure to display your tag line or mission statement prominently on the homepage.
- 9 Effective SEO Techniques to Drive Organic Traffic
- SEO & CRO: How Rankings and Conversions Complement Each Other
- 9 SEO Trends You Can’t Ignore in 2020
12) Measure What You Do
It’s important to measure everything you do to acquire new customers, as it will help you understand the areas where you excel and the areas where you need to improve.
Use a tool like Google Analytics or other alternatives to track track the total number of form submissions, clicks on your CTAs, e-book downloads or newsletter sign-ups.
Last but not least, calculate cost per lead (including cost-per-click and cost-per-acquisition) for every channel. This will help you identify the exact channels that are working for your business.
- 9 Mission-Critical Lead Generation Metrics You Need To Track
- Google Analytics for Content Marketing: How to Track and Improve Your ROI
- 9 Alternatives that Are Just as Good as Google Analytics
Generating highly qualified leads should not be tough, especially when you have a solid lead generation strategy in place. Use the strategies discussed in this article to generate leads from multiple channels including social media, email, SEO, PPC and blogs.
Last but not the least, don’t forget to measure the performance of each channel to know what’s working best for your business and what’s not. You can then invest more time and effort into well-performing channels and eliminate the non-performing ones.