After a year like no other, here we are in 2021 still standing. The world has been stirred up by a global pandemic, most of us are still working from home, and digital marketing strategies have become a critical part of every company’s survival.
One thing is clear — lead generation has never been more central to a business’ success. When it comes down to it, one of the most important things marketing organizations are tasked with is generating marketing qualified leads (MQLs). Depending on your industry, this might be harder or easier in the status quo.
It’s that time of the year when new objectives drive marketing teams to come up with strategies and initiatives to reinvigorate lead generation efforts. Here are five lead generation strategies that will lead to success in the new year.
1. Make Content King
Content is an essential pillar of any lead generation strategy. Your digital content marketing strategy encompasses everything from producing high-quality lead magnets such as e-books, whitepapers, blogs, and optimized landing pages. They may even extend to your social media and email strategy.
Good content is a way to build trust between your brand and your ideal customers. As a rule, it should focus on the personas you are targeting and address their pain points, while illustrating how your product or service can fix their problem.
Your content should present your brand as a thought leader.
According to a study by Edelman, 88% B2B of decision-makers believe that thought leadership is effective in enhancing their perceptions of an organization—yet only 17% of them rate the quality of most of the thought leadership they read as very good or excellent.
Not all content is created equal. To be found by the right persona, your content must be both searchable and actionable.
The content you produce should be optimized for search engines, particularly for Google, which has 91.54% of the market share. To be actionable, your content must make tactical use of calls to action, offers, promotions, demos, and free trials that move prospects along the buyer’s journey.
2. Get Comfortable With Virtual Events
The COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses to shift their tradeshow and events strategy. Events that captured leads offline have now been moved online.
While your industry has likely been affected by this too, building out a strategy for virtual events can be a great way to attract prospects.
Attending virtual conferences is one way to gain exposure within your industry. At the beginning of the year, we found that conference activity is down 57% in early 2021 compared to the same time period in 2020.
It still makes sense to keep an eye out for relevant conferences as the year plays out. Additionally, you can produce webinars, workshops, seminars as well as facilitate virtual meetups and discussion groups that specifically serve your target audience.
While the pandemic may have caused this overarching shift to online events, there is something to be said for the ease with which virtual events can come together. 89% of event organizers say virtual or hybrid events will be a part of their organization’s long-term strategy.
3. Get Your Lead Magnets Out There
Lead magnets come in many forms— content, items or services given away for free to gather your prospects’ contact details. A lead magnet can be anything from gated content like ebooks, whitepapers, e-newsletters or consultations, to free product trials, free tools, demos, or samples.
In addition to producing valuable lead magnets, you must make sure they are being utilized properly on your website and can be found easily by prospects. This means optimizing your website to generate leads. This can be accomplished with small changes to your website such as:
- Pop-up or splash ads
- Promoting lead magnets in your blogs through banner ads
- Creating a landing page that houses links to gated content
- Adding a lead generation form on relevant pages
- Promoting lead magnets in various areas of your website such as a primary call to action or the sidebar
For example, if you have multiple ideal customer profiles that your company targets, you may want to design on-site funnels. They divide your audience into segments by directing them to lead magnets that they would be most interested in.
Additionally, your lead magnets should be promoted on your company’s social media channels. By highlighting your lead magnet on social, you are placing it directly in front of your target audience. It also provides them with a clear next step toward purchasing your product or service.
You can go even further in utilizing social media to get your lead magnet out there by paying to promote it. Paid social advertising can be an effective method to get your it in front of a lookalike audience on Facebook, Instagram, and even LinkedIn.
4. Get Your Lead Scoring Right
Lead scoring is a method by which marketers can distinguish high quality leads from low-quality ones. Once qualified, these leads are then passed on to sales for purchase conversion. The sales team is then tasked with using the information about each lead to figuring out what would be the best way to get them to purchase your product or service.
Lead scoring heavily relies on accurate data collection and measurement of metrics to determine results. You must think through the buyer’s journey and assign value to the interactions and engagement a prospect has with your brand across various channels. By assigning a score to each lead based on the actions they took, you can gauge the sales-readiness of the lead and decide on a course of action accordingly.
5. Align Marketing and Sales to Act Swiftly
So you did it! You generated that lead and got your prospect’s contact information. Now what? All of your lead generation efforts have no meaning unless you act upon them swiftly.
According to a study by Harvard Business School, 37% of participants responded to leads within an hour, 16% within 24 hours, and 24% after 24 hours. Twenty-three percent of participants didn’t respond at all.
The study also states that their average response time, for participants replying within 30 days, was 42 hours.
This just goes to show how critical it is for marketing and sales teams to work together seamlessly. The sooner your teams qualify and contact the lead, the more likely you are to make a successful sale. The more aligned your marketing and sales teams are, the more leads you’ll be able to convert into paying customers.
Make Lead Generation a Top Priority
Prioritize lead generation in 2021 by focusing on producing high quality content, utilizing virtual events, making sure your lead magnets get maximum exposure, having a comprehensive lead scoring system, and aligning your sales and marketing teams.