What is Lead Generation?
Lead generation in marketing (often referred to as “Lead Gen”) is the process of attracting and converting prospects to your business and getting them on the journey to eventually buying (source). It’s the initiation of a relationship with someone who has demonstrated interest in your product or service.
Generating leads enables businesses to educate and nurture prospective customers before they are qualified and contacted by the sales team. A lead can be as basic as a customer responding to an email or sharing contact information in exchange for a coupon or discount. In addition, it could be someone who downloads a piece of educational content like an ebook, webinar, or case study.
The Lead Generation Process
Lead generation has two steps: attracting visitors to your site and convincing them to provide contact information via an online form. There are many different tactics you can use to get noticed and attract people to learn more about your product or services. Popular examples in eCommerce include:
- Running display ads or sponsored posts on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and Twitter
- Ranking for specific keywords or optimizing your site or content to appear higher in search engine results
- Creating a SlideShare that shows how your product solves a major pain point
- Guest posting as a thought leader in your niche
- Speaking at industry events, local meetups, and conferences
- Answering questions on Quora with links back to your site
How to Generate Leads
Once you’ve attracted visitors to your site, convincing them to share contact information is a matter of offering a valuable incentive in return. Here are some effective lead generation strategies you can use to educate and convert prospective customers:
- Offer useful and relevant content such as e-books, case studies, and white papers, with a gated form that must be filled out before downloading
- Trigger exit intent overlays with incentivized discounts to compel abandoning visitors to opt-in via email
- Use landing pages to detail your product’s capabilities and provide one clear call-to-action to entice visitors to learn more
- Host a webinar with valuable tips and information and follow up with a Q&A session
Persuading prospective visitors to buy your product or service is a continuous process, which often requires going beyond these tactics and nurturing the sales leads that are generated as a result.