What Is Lead Gen Marketing and How Do I Use It?
Learn how to contact your potential customers with a creative and useful lead gen marketing strategy.
Table of Contents
A good lead generation strategy can give you the contact information of hundreds, even thousands of potential customers. But, how does it work?
Until a few years ago, marketing campaigns were always focusing on the product or service. Learn about us, use our product, acquire our service, and your life will be better in some way. But marketers saw a changing landscape in their field: people will gladly participate in a campaign and leave their email address if they gain something back from it or it entertains them in any way.
Ever since the obligatory abiding of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), businesses had to find a way to get enough contacts for their email marketing campaigns, since ‘stealing’ email addresses was no longer an option. And so began the rise of the lead generation market.
Keep reading to find out more about it, and how you can design a lead gen campaign for your needs.
How does it work?
One of the main objectives of any business is generating more leads. Leads are what marketers call contacts, that can be used in email marketing or advertisement targeting on online platforms and can then move down in the sales funnel, from interested prospects to paying customers. They are relevant only if they can be assumed to be interested in that company’s products or services, so not every and any contact is considered a lead.
These prospective customers, or leads, opt in their own information in a lead gen landing page, usually, in return for a free tool, webinar, coupon, access to blog, ebook, product, discount, or similar.
So, a company very relevant and skilled in the field of marketing, naturally, offers insight and education about marketing. Makes sense, right?
Hubspot’s Make My Persona lead gen page
It is one of the best, if not the best way, to gather high quality leads and further reach a wider target audience through the use of these contacts for duplicate audiences (suggestions by social media platforms based on similar profiles like the qualified leads).
Lead generation is also the most common strategy of B2B marketers (business-to-business), since it can help them improve their marketing greatly and gives them an accurate image of their ideal buyer personas as well.
So the idea is that a person who is potentially interested in your business will leave their contact information. The marketing team then uses this information for social media marketing, email marketing, building user personas, update their marketing design look, and relaying them to the sales team that can later make them an offer.
Lead generation is important because of many reasons. Apart from vastly improving email marketing, growing your email list and enforcing other marketing strategies, it also:
- Helps find the right customers: Through super-narrow targeting, you can use your current leads and target the right people on social media and paid advertising
- Increases brand awareness: People who know nothing about your brand might learn about it through a useful, helpful tool you have supplied them with. For example, plenty of people use Hubspot, Neil Patel’s blog, Creativity Bloq and many other platforms to learn and improve their marketing skills.
- Improves brand loyalty: When you offer a valuable service or tool to your existing customers, they will be more likely to remain paying customers.
- It gives the opportunity to get the right information: Instead of collecting generic data, you can ask the right questions and gain exactly the information you need (job background, role, demographics, gender, age, company, country, etc.),
- Helps you position your brand as a respectable expert in the field: Through offering insight, education and networking connection to your company’s field of expertise, you and your employees will be seen as knowledgeable people respected in your industry community.
Types of leads
We’ve established that not every contact is a lead. But, how do you categorize leads?
Here are the four categories of relevant leads:
- Marketing qualified lead (MQL): Contacts that have been in contact with the marketing team, but aren’t ready to become paying customers. They have filled in a lead gen page with information, but aren’t transitioning down the marketing funnel.
- Sales qualified lead (SQL): Contacts that expressed clear interest into becoming paying customers.
- Product qualified lead (PQL): Contacts that have used a product and indicate clear interest in becoming paying customers. For example, a person using a free month trial of Netflix.
- Service qualified lead: Leads that have clearly indicated to the service team that will take an action to become paying customers.
The key rules of designing a good lead gen campaign
When brainstorming a lead generation campaign, your marketing team will have to think from the perspective of customers and interested onlookers. The goal isn’t only to grow your email list and improve your conversion rates but to offer something genuinely helpful and insightful to people. Through this, you will be able to maintain a loyal customer base and grow it too.
Make an ideal buyer persona
To be able to do this, you need to understand your target audience. So the first natural step before creating a good lead gen campaign is to create ideal buyer personas.
Your semi-fictional ideal customers will help you understand their needs, taste, common problems and ways you could help solve them.
These personas shouldn’t be just a product of your imagination or assumptions. They are a personalization of your existing customers: their interests, demographics, what made them buy your product, which are their most common problems and how you can help them solve it.
Ask these questions to your most loyal customers, and gather as many as you can. Then, give these findings a name, persona and face, and think about what would catch their attention in lead generation.
It is also important to update and build on your main personas: future lead generation campaigns might bring more people, or prove some assumptions wrong. Make sure you have them updated occasionally.
Offer what works for the customers, not just for you
Very often, companies offer ‘solutions’ that only show them in a good light and repetitively share the same advice, knowledge and products for a smaller amount of money. Customers and potential audiences don’t necessarily care about learning more about them.
When conceiving a lead gen campaign, you should try to offer your customers something that will help them. Instead of offering an ebook about your product as a lead gen tactic, why not go in-depth and give them alternatives, reviews on competition and objective knowledge about the product?
Companies are often afraid to include examples or talk about alternatives to their products and services. But in truth, customers often just need an objective overview. The real picture is that when you give a person something for free, they feel an emotional and moral obligation to make a purchase. They will remember your lead gen product as helpful and will be more likely to buy what you offer.
Make sure the favor you ask is smaller than the value you offer
It is simple psychology: you give people something and ask for a small favor in return. They feel obligated to say yes, and they do.
If you ask your potential customers to give you their email address for nothing, they will most likely decline. If what you give them is also small and irrelevant, chances are they will say no again.
But, give them something bigger than what you ask in return, and they will most likely do you that favor. Anyone would leave their email address for a free ebook in a subject they need to learn about, or 30% off their first purchase.
Still, make sure not to diminish the value of your product, service and expertise. Plenty of brands use giveaways all the time or offer free demos and subscriptions to the point where it is not economically viable anymore.
The favor you give should be bigger than simply asking for someone’s data, but not in a way that damages your business financially.
Find the right channels for your campaign
Your lead gen campaign can be perfectly conceived, helpful and well-branded. But, if you market it on the wrong channel, you can potentially lose thousands of potential leads.
For example, if you are a small business in the fashion, wellness and beauty industry, you are well aware that Instagram is your biggest marketplace. That is where your potential leads would find you the easiest.
At the same time, let’s say, a software development company that mostly deals in B2B marketing, should market its lead gen efforts on LinkedIn. That is where professionals look for the best and most effective options to grow their business.
Make sure to base your marketing channels on real data and findings, as well as your ideal buyer personas.
Creating a catchy and branded lead gen campaign
In order for your campaign to be effective and memorable, it should be ‘on brand’.
‘On brand’ here can be seen in two different ways: first, aesthetically, and second, in accordance with the company’s service, values and story.
When it comes to the aesthetic part, it means that in your lead gen campaigns, you should infuse your company’s branding identity, colors, typography, logos and other elements, so that people who learn about your brand for the first time through that lead gen campaign memorize it easily.
The second point is that your offer should suit your company and service. If you are a car wash, you probably won’t offer a size chart for a bikini, right? If you are a bank, you probably don’t offer 30% off bank loans.
It is important to make sure your offer is relevant for your industry, and that it shows you in a respectable fashion.
Here is a good example: a marketing agency offering a course in, let’s say, LinkedIn marketing. The agency has plenty of experts on the subject, which will easily persuade the viewers that they are the better people to take care of their business, than them trying to wing it.
As another example, here are some lead magnets (products that ‘magnetically’ attract potential leads) Hubspot offers. In the course of 5 minutes of scrolling through their blog, I have been offered:
- Free Instagram post templates
- Subscription to their insightful blog
- Ebook on Free strategy and planning template for sales leaders
- Yearly report about marketing trends and strategies
In short, a good lead generation page should have a very clear and intuitive layout, that doesn’t confuse the visitor in understanding what the offer is.
A lead gen landing page most commonly consists of these elements:
- CTA: CTAs or calls to action invite the viewer to visit a page or take a particular action. They are usually placed on a visited page, and urge the viewer to click on a button and go to the landing page. Or, they are clear and placed on the landing page, explaining the offer.
- Button: A button is where the viewer clicks. You’ve seen them a million times: ‘Read more’, ‘Download’, ‘Register’, etc.
- Description: Two or three clear sentences that explain the value and importance of your lead gen magnet.
- Descriptive image: Ideally, a picture that shows the potential buyer what they’re getting through the lead magnet. For example, some of the pages or over of the ebook, or an image of the webinar lecturer.
- Lead capture form: The fields that the visitor fills in with their information.
Where to get an affordable lead gen page?
Lead generation landing pages need to be clearly and intuitively designed, but luckily, they are not too complex most of the time. It is possible to pull off a good landing page for your lead gen campaign, even without being an expert, thanks to the vast array of online web builders and tools available.
Here is our selection of the four best and affordable lead generation landing page builders.
Instapage is a great platform that allows you to skip hiring a web developer and designer and easily create dozens of different variations with Instapage. It’s also a very useful tool in a/b testing. It offers two different plans, and each of them will get you plenty of useful features to help you optimize each new page for the specific use you have in mind.
You can choose one of over 200 templates available from Instablock manager, the platform’s page editor. Or you can create a completely custom landing page yourself.
The first pricing plan is the Business ($199 per month, or $149 per month if you pay the lump annual sum), which gets you up to 30 landing pages, 30.000 monthly visitors, and many other features. The other plan is Enterprise, which doesn’t have a set price but rather is subsequently estimated according to what sort of features you would like, as well as the number of custom landing pages or visitors you need.
Unbounce is an online platform that helps its users create and publish practical and beautiful landing pages quickly and easily. Like many similar platforms, this is a drag and drop page builder with an intuitive user interface and plenty of customization options.
Unbounce offers a 14 day free trial of their service no matter which plan you select. At the moment, they offer four options: Launch, Optimize, Accelerate and Scale, with the price starting from 80 dollars per month. If you decide to pay for an entire year you get an additional discount.
The main features such as the number of clients, number of published pages, unlimited pop-ups, and sticky bars are the same for all of the plans. Once you look at the number of conversions and unique visitors, things start to differ considerably. The cheapest option gives you only 500 conversions and 20,000 unique visitors per month. In comparison, the Scale plan offers 3,000 conversions and 50,000 unique visitors.
Leadpages is another easy-to-use drag and drop landing page builder, that is probably the most suitable option for small businesses. It calls itself ‘the most effective, affordable way for small businesses to connect with an audience, collect leads, and close sales’, and its biggest pro is probably that it has all the basics of other builders, but no limitation on visitors.
However, the customization options are very limited, and it has no enterprise plan.
GetResponse is great because apart from offering you a solid number of landing page templates, it also is a great email marketing tool, so it is a one-channel solution for your lead gen efforts.
It has four pricing plans: Basic (starting at $15 per month), Plus (starting at $49 per month), Professional (starting at $99) and Max (negotiable).
Unlimited graphic design
If you want a unique design on your landing page, you can also opt for an unlimited graphic design service, such as ours at ManyPixels. A designated web designer will make a fully branded and catchy landing page. However, the downside is that for the subscription price, you cannot publish the landing page and host it, you only get the designs. But, the same goes for website builders: if you want to remove their branding and customize your landing page, you need to choose a more expensive pricing package.
Lead generation marketing is an extremely useful tool tactic to gain you new potential, and even new paying customers. That is why it is very important to invest in it, through a well-thought-out campaign, a good landing page that offers a valuable lead magnet, and on the right marketing channels.
Journalist turned content writer. Based in North Macedonia, aiming to be a digital nomad. Always loved to write, and found my perfect job writing about graphic design, art and creativity. A self-proclaimed film connoisseur, cook and nerd in disguise.