It’s quite obvious that with no customers, there would be no business for anyone. But how do businesses go about getting new customers that haven’t yet engaged with their product? In other words, how do businesses get ‘leads’?

One thing is for certain, and that is prior customer interaction stands businesses in much better stead to generate leads, with cold calling only offering a 1-3% success rate. This probably comes as no surprise when you recall your own cold-calling experiences, occurring with an abrupt, unwanted knock at the door or someone calling your phone when you’re just trying to relax or work.

However, thanks to the advancement of modern technology and online marketing, cold calling is slowly becoming redundant as a way of generating leads, with many different online lead generation techniques available to businesses.

There are several different methods of online lead generation that can be employed by any business, and it should form a core part of your marketing strategy.

A few ways to generate leads include:

    • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): In this digital age, most people use search engines to try and find a solution to their problem. Businesses with an online presence can capitalize on this by optimising their online content for search. This involves completing keyword research and continuously trying to stay one step ahead of your audience by monitoring the latest search trends relevant to your product or service.
    • Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC): Giving you greater control over what keywords you use to get onto your customers’ radar, paid search allows you to rank higher in search results and only pay when someone clicks through to your website, which is often the ideal result as searchers are looking for a specific solution. PPC is also completely trackable, allowing you to see where it generates leads and where it doesn’t do so well. Of course, it can end up being pretty expensive, especially in competitive industries, but good conversion rates should mean you can spend more and earn more business.
    • Blogging & content marketing: Once you’ve done your SEO and PPC research, another great way to harness the power of keywords and consumer searches is by blogging. Not only do search engines prefer websites with high-quality written content, but blogging is a great way for prospective leads to read all about what you offer before engaging with your product or service. Similarly, producing informative, downloadable reports and white papers is a great way to generate leads.
    • Email: Email as a marketing channel isn’t dead, despite what some people might believe. It’s a great way to appeal to your target audience as they have actively signed up to hear from you – they want your information and you should be maximising this opportunity. Email campaigns are also completely trackable with visible metrics that allow you to identify what works (and what doesn’t).
    • Lead Generating Design: Website design can play a huge role in generating leads for online businesses. If the website is filled with technical jargon or overloads the consumer with too much information, they are less likely to engage and interact. By centering the design and content of your website around a converting consumer journey, you’re much more likely to generate quality leads.
    • Marketing Videos: Consumers love to see evidence that you are as capable of delivering as you say you are. By incorporating videos of previous client feedback, case studies, and even informative interviews into your website design or social media presence, you’ll make your brand instantly appear more relatable and trustworthy.
    • Online Networking: Social media platforms, forums and webinars can provide a great opportunity for connecting with prospective customers and generating leads. However, you need to be sure that you choose the correct platform that is likely to be used by your target audience to avoid wasting your time and resources.

Why is lead generation important?

Inbound lead generation is one of the most important elements of operating a business online, as it means your desired customer is interacting with your product and giving you the opportunity to turn that interest into a conversion.

This organic interest makes for a much more natural transition from prospect to customer, and hopefully on to return customer, thus increasing your profit margins and expanding your client base.
How do you generate a sales lead?

You can generate sales leads online by following a step-by-step process that begins with one of the lead generating techniques set out above. Whether it starts with a video, white paper or even an online conversation, the aim is to get that prospective lead onto your website landing page. Once they’ve accessed the landing page, you should make it easy for them to follow a ‘user journey’ that you have designed with the intention of scoring a conversion. This basically means that there should be a call to action (CTA) for them to follow, which results in a conversion.