For B2B and B2C businesses alike, the ability to attract and convert prospects often makes the difference between being ahead of the curve or being left behind. In very simple terms, lead generation can dictate how healthy a company is, by determining the growth of its business. But the process of implementing a lead generation campaign relies on following pre-determined steps. Understanding this workflow will have a great impact on the success of your efforts and will help you achieve your goals.
Lead generation explained
What is lead generation? There is no single definition, but we, at DataValidation, refer to lead generation as the process of attracting and converting potential customers for a product, solution, or service. What we are going to do is to structure this process in 15 easy to follow steps, so that you can draft a lead generation strategy for your own needs. In this first article, we are addressing the first five steps.
Lead generation strategy guide
1. Exploratory stage
First of all, to get started, you need to understand your goals and the tactics involved in the process. During the exploratory stage, there are three boxes that you need to tick before moving forward. Another purpose of this stage is to calibrate and validate assumptions either within the team or with the client or stakeholder.
- Campaign brief and workflow
To be able to run a successful lead generation campaign, you will have to properly incorporate your client’s needs, while also drafting the first workflow of your campaign. You can start with your product or service and do your research. Include the tactics and a logical sequence for each tactic (i.e. PPC campaigns, affiliate marketing, content syndication).
- Prospect profiling
Who is your target audience? Whenever possible, try to work with buying personas, to be able to classify decision-makers, influencers, and end-users.
Whether we are talking about advertising campaigns, such as Facebook Ads, Google Ads, or LinkedIn Ads, or media partners, it is important to grasp how well you can reach your target audience using these tactics. Developing targeting profiles for each tactic will help you estimate results with greater precision.
2. Marketing Plan
Now that the first questions from the campaign brief have been addressed and the answers are clear, it is time to start working on a marketing plan for lead generation. The strategy will dictate objectives and goals, while also providing an insight into the campaign timeline and how each tactic fits into the overall plan.
- Competition research
Analyze competing products, providers, or vendors to properly establish a competition gap. This will allow you to overcome challenges down the road and will provide a blueprint for what your target audience is looking for. You will also be able to understand what prospects are most likely to engage with, in terms of content and tactics.
Once you have a predefined budget, based either on internal data, industry benchmarks, or expectations, you can start defining lead generation KPIs. Work on short term goals and long term objectives to have a clear picture of what metrics you need to track.
As mentioned above, personas will allow you to categorize tactics, content, and value propositions to convert prospects. Instead of working with various audiences, you will group them into up to three categories and address their needs, concerns, challenges, and expectations.
Calculate how much resources are needed for each stage in your marketing plan and work on a timeline. Try to include the roles in your responsibility assessment matrix (RACI) as an overview. Doing so will clarify who needs to complete each project tasks or deliverables.
3. Content roadmap
You might have already heard that content is king, something that cannot be underestimated when it comes to a lead generation campaign. As with every inbound marketing strategy, it is important to create relevant, valuable, and useful content for your buying personas.
- Content curation
If you already have an established brand for creating content and a backlog of articles, whitepapers, infographics, or ebooks, the first thing you need to do is to curate it and decide what can be repurposed. Decide on what piece of content can be used in your lead generation campaign by referring to the marketing plan and the personas you are targeting.
- Content workflow
A lead generation campaign does not mean dumping content on your website or landing pages mindlessly. Quite the contrary. For a successful implementation, you will need to fully understand the three main stages of the lead generation funnel: top of the funnel, where you identify needs, middle of the funnel, where you will want to provide value and establish authority, and bottom of the funnel, where the content’s main goal is to build trust and establish authority. Structure the content you plan out on this model and you will end up with a clear and actionable content workflow. If the funnel is unclear, think of if as follows: how to address a specific issue (top), how your company can resolve the issues (middle), and finally, how your company has resolved the issue for its clients (bottom).
- Content creation
This is going to seem difficult, especially after you have the entire workflow. But what you need to remember regarding the content creation process for a lead generation campaign is that you don’t need everything at once. Build an MVP (minimum viable prototype) and generate the content you need for the first interactions with your prospects. Have some emails, gated content, and articles before launching the campaign and work on everything else as time progresses.
Most of the content that is going to be a part of your strategy will need a graphic designer’s input. Be it a whitepaper, infographic, or demo video, you will want to resolve the design part of it before going live. The RACI matrix we have mentioned above is going to come in handy at this stage because you will be able to delegate tasks accordingly.
4. Website/landing pages
Think of the landing page or the website page as a hub for all your lead generation efforts. There are important advantages to choose a landing page over your main website. One of them is that a landing page will provide a unified experience for prospects, without distracting them with other products, services, or solutions that your company might offer. Learn more about the difference between the two by reading this informative article from WebAscender. Moving forward, we are going to strictly refer to landing pages for this stage.
What are the main sections of your landing page? What kind of content will you need to populate it? The easiest way to find an answer to all of these questions is to design a wireframe. Decide on sections, element placements, and sizes, while also providing a first look at your landing page. Furthermore, if you want to, you can also create a mockup, to also have a visual representation of the page.
- Landing page content creation
The content on your landing page is something that will weight a lot in the success of your lead generation campaign. Work on the value proposition, call to actions, benefits, and anything else that will be included in the landing page.
- Landing page design
You will have to work with a UI/UX designer to reach the best version of your landing page. But before doing that, you will need the design assets that are going to be included there. We are talking about the header, icons, buttons, images. Based on the wireframe/mockup, you will need to create a live version of the landing page for your prospects.
5. Email marketing
Alongside content marketing, email marketing will play a big role in the effectiveness of a lead generation strategy. You are going to contact prospects and qualify them by using email marketing.
- Email marketing workflow
For each interaction, it is important to understand what emails will need to be deployed. Take into account what confirmation emails you are going to send out, what newsletters you will be scheduling, and when emails are going to be used in your lead generation strategy.
- Email design
Create the templates for your emails and decide on the look and feel of your emails. Work closely with your graphic designer to collect the necessary assets.
- Email frequency
How often are you going to send out emails? To be able to answer this question, refer to the workflow created previously. It is important to decide on a frequency that makes sense for your buying personas. Take into account that you don’t want to overwhelm your subscribers, so limit emails to a reasonable frequency.
Now that you have all details figured out, it is time to implement the emails that will be included in your lead generation campaign. Using the design assets, the content, and frequency, start setting up the first emails.
During the next article, we are going to talk about the role of social media and advertising campaigns in lead generation, while also going over how to automate workflows and how to set up the overall process of generating new leads. Finally, we will talk about when and how to launch this type of campaign. Subscribe to the DataValidation newsletter to stay up-to-date with the articles we are publishing.