Lead marketing or lead generation marketing describes the process of arousing the interest of potential customers and subsequently converting them into buyers. As a rule, this is done via various online marketing channels.
Needs-based marketing with a sure instinct
In this context, the term lead refers to a prospective customer who has come across a company’s product or service and, ideally, willingly leaves his or her customer data.
Marketing has changed in the process. Today, customers research information about companies and products online long before they even speak to a salesperson. To do this, they use search engines such as Google, social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or find out more on the company’s website.
Lead marketing is about picking up and addressing potential customers according to their needs, depending on their stage in the buying process. The goal of lead marketing is to convert prospects into customers. A lead then refers to a qualified contact.
How lead generation works
So the first step in lead generation is to make contact with potential customers and get them to provide personal data.
For example, when prospective customers download an e-book, subscribe to a newsletter, or register for a webinar, they are encouraged to provide their contact information.
This customer data is collected in order to subsequently set up appropriate campaigns or pass the data on to sales. For sales, this offers the advantage that these are not “cold contacts” but qualified prospects. Before leads generate sales, several steps are usually necessary. First, it is necessary to attract the attention of the target persons and gain their trust. To do this, companies primarily use certain online channels:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Search engine marketing
- social media
- Landing pages
- Banner advertising
- Online PR
However, trade shows and conferences are also effective tools for companies to generate leads. Another way to generate leads is affiliate marketing. Participants in affiliate programs often receive payment per lead, i.e. a commission per contact made by a prospective customer (e.g. a registration or a download).
Lead generation via content
To generate high-quality leads, the use of relevant content is essential. Instead of “jumping in the door”, it is important to use high-quality content to generate interest in a company’s products. In doing so, it is important to offer the potential buyer the right content at the right contact points (touchpoints).
Lead marketing is also about picking up prospects along the customer journey with the right content. The aim is to establish a relationship with the potential customer before he or she is contacted about a sale.
The customer journey varies depending on the user, but can be roughly divided into certain phases. These are based on the AIDA formula (Attention – Interest – Desire – Action), which is well-known in marketing:
- Awareness: perception of need
- Consideration: Deciding/evaluating
- Decision: Purchase
In the phase of information search, the consumer must be addressed differently than when he is about to make a purchase decision. Keyword research can be used, for example, to pick up on specific search queries and draw the user’s attention to the company’s product, for example, with solution-providing blog articles or videos.
If the user has already consumed information from a company and found it useful, he may then download an e-book or sign up for a newsletter. If he now leaves his contact details, marketing can then set up personalized campaigns via e-mail. With appropriate content for each phase of the customer journey, the respective needs of the customer are taken into account.
To manage leads and target contacts, many companies use a customer relationship management (CRM) system such as Salesforce or marketing automation software such as Marketo. Such tools collect not only records such as customers and leads, but information about all previous activities and interactions. This makes it possible to manage and evaluate leads, set up personalized campaigns, and initiate sales calls at the appropriate time.
Conclusion: Lead marketing for lasting relationships
Generating leads is an important task of new customer acquisition. However, lead marketing is not just about initiating contacts with the aim of turning them into sales, but also about building long-term customer relationships.
Since the attention of potential customers is very often attracted online, a company’s digital presence is particularly important for successful lead marketing. In addition, companies should offer potential customers appropriate content depending on the stage in the buying process. Once prospects have been acquired, the qualified leads can be passed on to the sales department.
Good cooperation between the marketing department and sales is essential for successful lead marketing. Many companies rely on the support of lead management software for their lead marketing.
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