Lead Generation, one of those key terms in modern marketing that can be somewhat ambiguous or even daunting to the new marketer or entrepreneur, and despite its seemingly simple name it can be easy to misinterpret exactly what a lead is and how to approach it.
To clear it up, Lead generation is the process of familiarizing people with your brand and cultivating their interest in your product or service so that they might make a purchase. This process is vital to the life and success of a business and something that can provide a challenge in young businesses.
Given that different people have many different ways to classify and organise types of customers and stakeholders it’s important that we clarify what a ‘lead’ is and where it fits amongst all the models and structures.
A lead is someone who in some way is already familiar with or ‘warmed up’ to your company and what you do and may have had prior communication with. Primarily the process of lead generation itself is concerned with attracting, learning about and approaching these people in such a way that results in a successful business transaction.
However, lead generation isn’t exclusive to those we classify as ‘leads’ in that it may also works to attract people who might not be familiar with your company.
As mentioned Lead Generation is crucial to business; no leads no customers, no customers no sales, etc. Majority of the work involved in lead generation occurs in a middle stage between a stranger who first comes in contact with your brand and when a sales team or similar mechanism actively interacts with the lead and converts them into a customer.
To grow and expand a business it’s important to always be drawing in new prospects who could one day become faithful customers, and could assist your marketing efforts later on via word-of-mouth, subscribing, liking or sharing via social media. Thus creating a cycle of interest and attention towards your brand. This is what lead generation is all about.
The best leads are generated when a person opens communication with your company; after being made aware of your brand the person has recognised they have a need and is seeking information and a solution. This if referred to as ‘inbound’ as the prospective customer is seeking you out to investigate and asses the value of your offering. Often we refer to leads as being ‘captured’, this phrasing is due to the methods by which we convert people into leads, typically we aim to lead people down a pathway from simply being web traffic to clicking into our landing page with the use of things such as coupons, free eBooks and more information, which is offered once an ‘opt-in form’ is completed.
The Opt-in form is where the person provides us with their name and email, along with any other information we may desire. Once their information is captured it provides us not only with the means to connect with them later on, but also sets a tone with which to communicate which isn’t as startling or disconcerting as simply contacting someone of the blue and is much more fruitful.
Not all social media platforms were created equal! Therefore a particular process or strategy that may be effective on Facebook, will need to be altered if you want the same success on Instagram.
In order to clarify this, here are some examples of step-by-step processes for lead generation using social media marketing such as Instagram, Facebook and Google Ads. The end goal here is to capture the information of the people who have liked or viewed your content or page.
Instagram is a great platform for digital marketing, considering that it’s a primarily visual platform and an image is the quickest way to get information across to people. There are 4 main steps in Instagram’s lead generation process that can be dismantled further.
- Profile your ideal Lead
A clear idea about whose attention you want to gain is essential, your Ideal Lead, you also want to be able to know a fair bit about what they like, what they value and what they ‘consume’.
The clearer your outline of your ideal lead is, the better you’ll be able to appeal to them.
- Optimise your profile
Having your profile ready to ‘receive’ leads is very important. The branding must be obvious and consistent so the viewer immediately recognises that it’s you.
Secondly, it must be easy for a visitor to discern what it is that you’re able to do for them, this is most commonly achieved via a description or call-to-action that, by abiding a certain formula, will tell the person what they want to hear. These 2 things must be geared towards your ideal lead in order to capture their interest.
This mostly involves the creation of content that your ideal lead wants to see, there are many supplementary apps that can improve the quality of the content you produce, however the schedule by which you post content is markedly more important than exactly what you post, so long as it’s in line with your ideal lead’s aspirations
Other tactics, such as commenting and following, liking, contests, share-for-share and user generated content can also be employed during this step to increase exposure and traffic.
- Tracking your campaign
Finally, it is important to have some metric by which you can see how effective the whole process has been and that you could use to improve the process for next time. There are a few questions you should be able to answer in the tracking step such as ‘how many people have clicked into your profile?’ ‘How many of those have gone on to become leads?’ and ‘How much resources did it cost to gain a paid customer?’
Undoubtedly the most widely used social media platform in the world, Facebook attracts many people from all different walks of life. However this doesn’t mean lead generation is any easier than with other platforms, Due to the overlap of Facebook and Instagram the exposure of one could crossover, but the sheer amount of white noise can washout your brand’s message. Which is why the process discussed above will need to be modified slightly and different tactics will need to be employed using some of the systems Facebook has in place to facilitate lead generation.
- Targeting your ideal lead
Targeting your Ideal lead on Facebook differs from Instagram in a number of ways because you not only have to appeal to the target with the right themes and imagery but through the use of ‘Facebook Ads’ can aim your ads at people with specific interests and demographics based on their profile and can select specific categories in which target.
- Facebook Ads
Facebook ads allows you to select the type of people you want to target the ads at based on certain features. Ads are a primary means to expose brands to the general audience, with a correctly crafted ad you can increase the number of people who click through to your landing page or visit your Facebook page. The main rule here is to stand out from the crowd, using the right branding techniques (colour-scheme, imagery, key words) you can become more recognisable and obvious to your target. Tactics such as contests or ‘free’ content should also tempt people to click into ads. Another way to boost exposure is by posting entertaining content such as videos and memes that appeal to your target.
- Landing Page
Once a person clicks the ad the next big consideration is where they will go, similarly to Instagram there needs to be a carefully planned landing page and should be offering something to the intrigued party with both script and imagery, this might be done differently due to Facebook’s layout. The landing page should contain some kind of free content that is valuable enough for the viewer to exchange their information for (it must be emphasised that the site is secure), and an opt-in form for them to do so but must also limit the amount of options available on the page, forcing the person to either opt-in or leave, this is known as “squeezing”.
- Tracking with Facebook Pixel
Facebook pixel is a tool that allows you to track the goings on of your final landing/squeeze page. By copying the unique code from your ad provided by Facebook ads you can paste it into your landing page coding to allow the program to track the activity of the viewer whilst on that page, giving valuable information about what needs improvement and what is already effective.
As the world’s largest search engine it’s no wonder that Google AdWords has a reputation for delivering fast leads, the nature of a search engine means that people come when they are searching for something, however Google does have a bit more policy and restrictions as to how ads can be ran than other media like Instagram and Facebook and they won’t hesitate to remove ads that don’t meet their standards.
- Create a Google-approved Landing Page
Google has a set of strict guidelines regarding the look and functionality of a landing page judged as if from the perspective of a consumer. The policy is mostly centred on User Friendliness and not being misleading or dishonest (clearly explained offers, easy navigation and providing some of your own contact info) in its layout or pathway and some may even be shut down if they aren’t mobile friendly or take too long to load (google provides a tool for this). It’s important to read and understand all their rules and adhere to them when designing your page.
- Key Words
The next step is to select the right key words that you want your ad to appear for when searched and choosing the type of matches you want to appear in, there are a number of options that range from broad match, modified broad, phrase match and exact match. There is also an option that leaves you out of searches when specific words are used this is called “negative keyword”.
- Quality Score
Google’s metric for evaluating the efficacy of your overall ad group, they compare estimates and statistics to industry history and records using algorithms to give you a score, which determines how far up the page your ad will appear on the search page. By creating a page that is both useful and relevant to the intended user your chances of receiving a higher score increase which also has a strong bearing on your CPC, so improving your quality score will save you money. Using the quality score as a measure you are able to tweak the settings of ad and optimise your score.