Be it a small start-up or a big million-dollar business, one common challenge for every marketer is “how to increase lead generation?” Businesses accept as an important aspect of the sales funnel and consider it as the lifeblood of the business.
Hubspot says, 74% of companies say converting leads into customers is their top priority.
B2B lead generation ideas play a crucial role in building a pipeline of high intending prospects for businesses. By following the lead generation best practices you can increase conversion rates and gain huge profits in the process.
What is Lead generation?
The lead generation process embodies actions of identifying and targeting potential new customers with the intention of cultivating their interest in what your business has to offer. It involves understanding the customer journey and developing interests in prospects by providing them maximum information about your products or services.
Actually developing the interest to such an extent that customers will contact you to get more information and perhaps even end up with a purchase. Creating lead generation ideas is crucial for effective sales and marketing. This is where businesses get their precious pool of prospects that can eventually become loyal customers.
Stages of the lead generation process
The lead generation ideas and processes for businesses differ depending upon the complexity or cost of the purchase being considered. For e-commerce businesses it could be online purchases, for some, it could be filling up forms or increasing email subscribers.
However, B2B lead generation ideas include a couple of stages that if done right can deliver a huge ROI at the fastest possible time. Marketers identify it as lead generation funnel that has four stages:
- Awareness – The first stage is to make your prospects aware of the key positioning of your business by analyzing their journey and knowing their interests.
- Education – Once you create awareness you must build trust for your products and services. With the help of consistent newsletters, events or seminars/webinars you can educate your leads in the best way. It helps you to showcase your expertise, resources, and experience.
- Evaluation – Usually, in this stage prospects evaluate your brand as a whole. You can further convince your leads with the help of demos, free trial offers, etc. and build trust for your brand. Here you need to deliver much more so that it reaches the final stage.
- Purchase – If the lead generation stages above are followed in the right way to the end result is successful conversion. You need to show your leads, how can they get the desired results with your solution.
The above framework can be used to create a perfect end to end lead generation process.
Note: The four stages of the lead generation process discussed above are to get involved in moving someone from awareness to conversion and at each of these stages, address a prospect’s evolving relationship with your business.
Top lead generation ideas & best practices that work
Understanding the different stages behind a lead generation funnel is very important. It helps to focus your sales efforts to turn your prospects into customers. The lead generation ideas and best practices will give you valuable insights into making it work for your business.
Let us dive in.
#1. Provide real time sales assistance with live chat
The focal point of every business is to deliver real time sales and support assistance to customers to increase their sales and profit percentage. Live chat is one of the best lead generation channels and is most preferred among customers.
According to Vtldeaign, 91% of users, were invited to have a live chat with sales reps and it helped them in their product purchasing decisions and resolve their product queries instantly.
Using live chat tool can be an excellent lead generation idea as it empowers you to respond instantly to all the sales queries.
Creating lead generation ideas with live chat
- Deliver real time sales assistance – With live chat, you can instantly connect with your customers to answer their sales queries to enable them to make quick decisions.
- Shorten the sales cycle – You can proactively engage with your visitors when they have any doubt being at the product or pricing page. You can reduce the sales cycle and deliver a great live chat for sales experience.
- Reduce bounce rate – When you assist your customers at the moment when they actually need, you keep them engaged and bounce rate falls.
#2. Automate your lead generation with chatbots
Chatbots have revamped the way brands interact and engage their customers. Bots are greatly used as B2B lead generation ideas to automate the sales tasks. You can configure chatbots to prequalify leads when your sales agents are not available.
You can build an effective sales bot and train with relevant sales questions to qualify visitors. With bots, you can reach out to a large number of customers that do not hamper the effectiveness of your sales team.
Generating sales leads ideas with chatbots
- Identify your audience – Bots can help you to segment your target audience based on interests, needs, expectations.
- Prequalify leads – Bots ask questions to your visitors and provide options to prequalify them. Based on the response they can be directed to the sales team.
- Hybrid assistance – Businesses can provide hybrid support experience by using a bot for simple queries and live support for complex conversations.
- Lead nurturing – You have to nurture your qualified leads based on their entire journey for making a final sale. you need to nurture them based on their journey. Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than those who buy immediately.
Health Tap, the leading technology company delivering a suite of connected health apps, created ways to generate leads with a bot to answer health related questions and created an excellent lead generation example.
The bot helps in the following ways:
- It assures accurate virtual care by immediate access to the right doctors.
- It also helps doctors or clinics looking to pre-screen their appointment.
#3. Use social media as lead generation ideas
Social media channels can serve as one of the best lead generation channels. It helps to build the face value of your brand. Businesses grew by 24% by using social media for lead generation.
With the help of social media platforms, you can build an active audience and share relevant content with them. This will help to expand your audience and build stronger relationships with them. Social media lead generation helps to create ways to generate leads and invite them into your sales funnel.
Key social media lead generation tips
- Social media advertising – You can come across lead generation ads by the popular social channels i.e.Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You can collect direct leads with targeted marketing to social media users right on the platform.
- Run contests on social channels – There are two main reasons businesses can run contests. The first one is they acquire many leads and the other one is that participants can share it with their contacts.
- Gate your valuable content – If you have valuable insights about your product or services, you can gate them and share across social channels. Thus, you will gather relevant social media leads.
#4. Omni channel support for lead generation
One of the lead generation best practices could be adopting an omni channel approach that connects all the channels like phone, email, in-app, website, store, etc. to connect with customers over their preferred communication channel.
Businesses that provide a consistent service quality across multiple touchpoints retain 89% of their customers.
Omni channel communication strategy helps to gain insights into how the customers have interacted with the brand so that you can use customer journey maps to meet or exceed your customer needs. Thus, delivering optimal omnichannel customer care and increase opportunities to interact with customers.
Best practices to leverage omnichannel strategy
- Identify your lead generation objectives and measure the activities.
- Determine how will you generate leads by inbound marketing, buying a list or digging new prospects.
- Develop content that is valuable and relevant to your audience.
- Track your leads and offer support across respective channels.
Bank of America, a globally acclaimed brand delivers consistent omni channel service to its customers by creating a great lead generation example.
The bank allows for everything starting from depositing checks to scheduling an appointment to be handled by the company’s mobile and desktop apps.
#5. Provide real-time assistance with live engagement tools
There are instances when messaging has not much impact which is why visual interaction comes to picture. When customers are on your website, they might face some issues such as difficulty in understanding the product demo video, product subscription queries or information about completing a form or application.
In such scenarios, you can wisely use the live customer engagement tools like co-browsing, video and voice chat to deliver real time assistance to your customers. Aberdeen Group shows that co-browsing is helping companies accomplish far greater annual improvements to customer satisfaction, achieved by reducing customer effort in real time.
Tips to use live engagement tools for B2B generating lead generation ideas
- Guide through the form fill up process – With co-browsing solution, you can collaborate with your customer browser and jointly navigate the fields of the form or application to fill up accurately to complete the sales process.
- Provide sales demo – Live video chat or co-browsing can be used to offer a sales demo to deliver a thorough understanding of the products or services. It helps customers to make a quick sales decision.
- Personalized conversations – Live engagement tools allow face to face interaction that develops personal communication with the customers. You build trust with your customers and vice – versa.
#6. Create valuable content to generate leads
Marketo research found out 93% of B2B companies say content marketing generates more leads than traditional marketing strategies.
Content marketing is more effective for your business and smart content marketers know that diving in with a clear strategy is key to your success. But your success depends on the kind of content you are able to produce on a regular basis. When the content is interactive it will engage your customers and capture interested leads.
Here is a roadmap for creating content that generates leads and sales
- Know your target audience – If you try to create content that appeals to everyone, you will end up appealing to no one. So, it is vital to identify your target audience to create content that is relevant to them.
- Identify the right content – There are different types of content but you need to focus on lead and traffic generating content. Traffic generating content like social media posts, blogs, videos, infographics, etc. Lead generating content webinars, discounts & coupons, free trial, etc.
- Select channels for content distribution – You can shape up your content plan by distributing it in the right channels. The two distinct channels of distribution are organic channels such as Facebook, Twitter and paid channels like social media paid ads, Google AdWords, etc.
- Create high value content – You must focus on writing high converting content that can be made effective by maintaining the standard length, making it educative & useful, use visuals, and incorporate keywords
#7. Make your Call To Action (CTA) stand out
Have you ever come across a “Sign up for a Free Trial” or “Add to Your Shopping Cart” button?
I am quite sure that you have seen it. These are a call to actions or CTAs that act as prompts for your visitors to do specific tasks.
The orange button in the below image below represents a clickable CTA.
If you notice, WordStream uses contrasting colors with their CTA to make it stand out against the entire blue site. They also reiterate the fact that their product is free to use twice further enticing you to try it out.
CTAs should be prudently used across the website to boost customer engagement. You can direct your visitors to comment on your articles, ask them to subscribe to your email list. You can also ask them to connect with you via social media.
Best practices for an effective CTA to increase lead generation
- Color matter a lot so stand out with contrasting colors
- Make sure about the shape and size of the button. It should be able to draw the attention of the visitor instantly.
- In order to grab the attention of the user tailor CTA copy with unique words.
- Include the element of value proposition in call-to-action button
For e.g., incorporating value proposition elements like ‘Free Guide’, ‘Save up to 25%’ in a call to action button clearly explains to the visitor what they are going to get in return for their action.
The key to making your CTAs stand out is using the right language according to situations and consider their placement carefully. The business profits and revenue greatly depend on the judiciously using CTAs.
#8. Introduce an educational webinar
Webinars are a great tool for B2B lead generation. It is a very good medium for sharing and retaining knowledge. With the use of webinars, you not only reach your target audience better but also deliver a database filled with leads.
Research has shown that there is a 75% better chance of people watching a video than reading a text. 79% of buyers say they will share information in exchange for webinars.
Some other benefits of webinars are that they are much cheaper to organize in relation to physical events. Using webinars saves on travel and accommodation costs.
Key effective webinar formats as lead generation ideas
- Webinars – Educational webinar provides action steps to solve the problem of the prospect. Assets.cdn getgo research shows webinar titles containing a list or the words “how-to” drive higher attendance rates, showing the power of practical information to garner new leads.
- Case studies – Case studies are an effective webinar format because sales-ready leads look for concrete details on product ROI and benefits. Case studies provide social proof that your product can deliver. 42% of B2B buyers find case studies to be valuable in the buying process.
- Product demos – Prospects expect more in-depth information about your product. Product demos can engage those leads by showing clear solutions to their queries.
#9. Use email lists to reach your target audience
Email marketing remains one of the best ways for small businesses to reach and engage their audiences. It is still the most effective way to market your products, services and getting the word out about your business.
According to Marketing Sherpa, 72% of U.S. adults prefer to communicate with brands through email as opposed to other marketing channels.
One of the reasons why email marketing remains so effective is that consumers are comfortable with this marketing channel. In fact, many actually enjoy getting email communications from their favorite brands. You can easily communicate with your target audience through a reliable channel.
Lead generation ideas via emails
- Qualify whom to reach to create email lists – You have to identify your target audience whom you can reach out with your emails to educate and engage them about your product or services.
- Segment email lists by buyer personas – You can use different types of email subscriptions or attributes like industry, use cases to specific segments of your marketing personas.
- Personalize your email communication – Usually, the recipients are likely to click through emails that cater to their specific interests. If you personalize the emails, you will increase the chance that visitors will subscribe to one of them.
- Follow-up emails – Once you send the email it is crucial to follow-up, at least 2-3 times weekly.
#10. Create exciting popups to engage with your visitors
It is vital to use the latest technology to engage your visitors. Popup technology can help you learn what engages your visitors. It is one of the best practices for capturing the attention of your prospects.
Using the latest popup technology allows you to fine-tune your popups so they don’t bother your visitors. You get a chance to learn about your audience or promote an ebook, and you never have to worry about annoying your visitors.
Best practices for using pop ups as lead generation ideas
- Push your visitors towards your goal – You can employ pop up as a tool for navigation, sharing exciting news or updates your visitors would need to know about.
- Clear CTA or value proposition – How fast your visitor understands your offer or value proposition depends upon the speed and design of your pop up. The quicker your visitor understands the message of the popup the better. Confusing language or multiple offers on a single popup is confusing and will likely lead to a quick exit.
- Pop up timing is crucial – Timing is very important in sales and marketing. Approaching the customer too soon or too late impacts the decision. 40 seconds for a timed popup is effective by marketing pros. It’s an appropriate amount of time for your visitor to take a look around and get a good sense of what your website is offering.
#11. Offer discounts & deals
Whether you are a small business or an enterprise, if you are looking to move your sales figures, one of the most common approaches is to offer discounts, coupons or deals. Offering discounts or deals can be a powerful weapon in your conversion arsenal to drive customer loyalty.
How lead generation can drive sales volume?
- Your customers feel positive about your business. Mediapost research says when people receive a coupon or savings offer, they become happier and more relaxed.
- Offers and discounts help your customers choose your products over other brands, giving you a foot in the door.
Here are several types of discounts and offers you have at your disposal. Some of the most common are percentage-based discount, dollar value discount, free shipping, free gift, etc.
Lead generation best practices for using coupons & discounts CTAs
- Loyalty reward programs and bonus discount offers to improve customer loyalty as well as retention.
- Provide coupon offers to your customers for sharing their reviews and stories
- You can offer coupons – discount offers exclusively for newsletter sign-ups and for email alerts.
- Offering discounts on the next purchase is also a good way to incentivize your customers.
#12. Highlight your social proof
“Users spend an average of 5.94 seconds looking at a website’s main image”
Researchers found that their subjects spent about 2.6 seconds scanning a website before focusing on a particular section. One of the biggest challenges when designing a website is not only creating a flawless experience for all devices but also one that engages the visitors and holds their attention in the right way.
Including distinctive elements such as reviews, testimonials, video based customer stories provide the opportunity to influence the visitor by striking a balance between regular content and important details.
What it means is images add depth and significance to a user’s impressions of a website while spicing things up. It also shows that users pay attention to the main image on a web page, so it’s important to make sure that this image communicates effectively and reinforces the brand.
B2B lead generation ideas to make a website appealing
- Select images that are relevant to your product or service offering and will not distract from the overall objective of the website.
Note: Balance the images across the website. Don’t go overboard.
- Depending upon the product if you feel an image slider is a good idea you can do that. It gives you the ability to showcase your brand in multiple different settings. It also allows you to pitch a variety of offers.
Note: There are statistics that show sliders actually having a detrimental impact on conversion and user opinion. Here’s a chart from Instapage showing the massive discrepancy between click-through rates of slider images at different positions.
#13. Be active in communities and forums
Forums or communities allow customers to ask questions and connect over similar interests. Often users turn to forums to ask for technical help, look for information on businesses they may use for a service or just for general knowledge of a subject.
This creates great opportunities for business owners to reach out with their services or to resolve any problems that may have happened.
How communities create ways to generate leads?
- Arrange events & workshops – You can plan events or workshops in order to build and strengthen customer relationships.
- Share your thoughts & ideas – You need to be active on the forums as they act as social platforms to share your ideas and expertise that matches the interest of your customers.
For example Quora. It is very important for B2B businesses. It allows you to communicate with your customers. Quora might just be the place where you can enhance the customer experience.
On Quora, your prospects and customers are already asking questions — questions that you have the answers to. If you join the platform and play the part of the expert, you’ll quickly enhance your brand’s image in the eyes of your target audience and drive leads to your website.
#14. Attend trade shows and industry specific events
Trade shows or industry-specific events help to target leads. According to the study by Convention Industry Council, there are more than 284,000 conventions, conferences, and tradeshows in the U.S. These events attracted more than 87 million attendees.
Lead generation campaign ideas to increase the ROI
- Set specific goals for your trade shows and events. No matter small or large, it’s important to set business goals and map out a lead generation plan prior to attending the
- Ensure that you select the right conference, convention, or trade show for your business goals.
- ROI should be the focal point, not the size of the trade show or event.
- Choose the right location for your trade show to attract your target audience.
- Make sure to keep your event or shows simple yet attractive.
#15. Mind your competitors to increase lead generation
Staying on top of your competitor’s marketing tactics is key to be ahead in the game. This knowledge consists of both knowing what to track and how to be effective at it.
Tips to track competitors and create ways to generate leads
- Website modifications – Track the website changes and stay informed of what are tactics competitors are using and it is really working out. Check out the blogs, case studies, interlinking, videos they are using.
- Social media updates – Keeping an eye on their social channels helps you to know their posts and what are they writing about, their style or the way they engage.
- Lead generation campaign ideas – Monitor promotional campaigns used by your competitors for lead generation to gain insights into their product details and how you can outperform them.
How to implement the lead generation ideas and best practices
Whether you are in B2B or B2C industry, you need to understand buyer personas and choose the right lead generation channels. Lead generation is not an end goal but a continuous process to engage with your customers and prospects too.
Make sure to follow the lead generation best practices to help your businesses to acquire more customers, retain them and accelerate overall revenue growth.
As some initiatives are more successful at driving immediate conversions than others, and therefore should be measured accordingly in relation to the sales funnel.