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What does lead generation mean in marketing?

If you’re new to sales and marketing, get your head around one of the most important terms you need to know: lead generation…

Customers are the lifeblood of a company. To survive and thrive, businesses need people to buy their products or services, which is why they invest time, money, and resources in marketing and advertising. In this post, we’ll be answering what does lead generation mean in marketing, showing how to attract qualified leads, and providing you with effective lead generation strategies.

Table of contents

  1. What does lead generation mean in marketing?
  2. What is a lead?
  3. What are the qualities of a qualified lead?
  4. Types of leads
  5. 3 lead generation strategies

What does lead generation mean in marketing?

Lead generation is the process of attracting prospects to your business and increasing their interest in a product or service with the goal of turning them into paying customers. In digital marketing, this process involves collecting a visitor’s contact information through blog posts, online content, coupons, and live events. Lead generation is a core part of the sales funnel for B2B and B2C companies because it nurtures prospects into customers.

What is a lead?

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The main goal of marketing your business online is to generate leads, but what exactly is a lead? A lead is any person who has shown interest in your company’s product or service in any way, shape, or form. To show their interest, they may have shared some basic contact information, subscribed to your blog, or registered for a trial. That said, not everyone who provides their contact information is ready to make a purchase. Determining a good lead is important because it will stop your sales team from cold calling unqualified leads.

What are the qualities of a qualified lead?

Lead qualification involves two key elements:

Fit

This aspect of qualifying a lead looks at information such as industry, job title, company revenue, location, etc. Based on your buyer persona and historical trends on individuals actively engaged in your buying lifecycle, marketing and sales teams can are able to identify what a qualified lead should look like. The closer a lead is to your ideal customer profile, the more qualified they are.

Engagement

This determines a lead’s level of buying interest. Engagement looks at all aspects of their online behaviour from web page visits, email response, social media involvement, etc. For example, a lead who has visited your website once and just begun following you on social media is aware of your company, but they aren’t engaged yet.

Types of leads

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There are three main types of leads in marketing:

Information qualified lead

These leads are at the top of the sales funnel. They are trying to identify their problems and find possible solutions, so at this stage, you must provide them with helpful information relevant to their queries in order to get their personal details. This type of marketing lead is also known as a cold lead.

Marketing qualified lead

As the name suggests, this type of lead is anyone who has engaged with your marketing efforts. They discovered your brand by either watching a video, clicking on an ad, reading a blog post, etc. Marketing qualified leads are in the middle of the sales funnel and therefore need nurturing to make a purchase. They are also called warm leads.

Sales qualified lead

Sales qualified leads are prospects who have taken actions that explicitly indicate their interest in becoming paying customers. They have been vetted by your company’s sales and marketing team and have passed the lead qualification criteria. Companies sometimes hire lead generation specialists to help them win over sales qualified leads and finalise the deals.

3 lead generation strategies

Lead generation is crucial for marketers and businesses who want to grow. If done right, it can increase sales and help you create long-lasting relationships with customers. If you are getting started with lead generation, here are some strategies to help you attract and convert qualified prospects.

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1. Email marketing

Email marketing is perhaps the most effective way to attract, nurture and convert leads. Once you have a prospect’s email address, you are able to stay in contact with them, making it easier for you to keep your company at the front of their minds and move them through the sales funnel successfully. To achieve the best results with email marketing, ensure that you create cleans and concise emails that demonstrate value and urgency. Also, include a strong and compelling call to action [CTA] that encourages visitors to take your desired action.

2. Blogging

Blogging is a great lead generation tool because of three reasons:

It helps attract targeted traffic to your website: At the beginning of the buying process, customers turn to the internet to search about their problem and how best to solve it. With a good blog, customers can find you easily because you have answers to their questions. It allows you to create content centred on your products and services, which helps you attract good leads because anyone interested in your content will be interested in your products or services as well.


It gives your visitors a reason to convert: Blogging creates value for your customers, and value makes them want to convert. When your blog posts help visitors solve their problem or accomplish a task, they’ll be more likely to provide you with their contact information and even buy from your business. That said, to ensure that visitors convert, incorporate some well-placed call to action in your blogs and link landing pages where people can fill out contact forms.


It offers long-term results: Blog posts don’t disappear. If you continue to promote your blog posts periodically, they will drive traffic and leads for years to come.

3. PPC advertising

PPC campaigns are effective at grabbing the attention of people who are actively searching for your products or services. It brings users to pages on your site relevant to their search queries, allowing you to nurture them into paying customers. When using PPC campaigns, make sure you use appropriate keywords that define where your ads appear.

✏️ Find out just how does content marketing generate leads in our blog post.


Header image: Tumisu

Embedded images:Niek Verlaan, Gerd Altmann, Gerd Altmann

Alison Fordy

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