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5 Crucial Elements of an Effective Online Lead Generation Strategy

Jawad Khan

The ultimate objective of any marketing and branding activity is to attract potential customers to your brand and convert them into qualified leads that can be targeted to generate sales.

A survey by Forbes found that more than 500,000 internet-based small businesses and startups pop up every month in the US.

But the majority close down within a few months. Lead generation is one of their biggest challenges.

From available data evidence, you can safely assume that most businesses struggle at meeting this challenge.

Related Article: Simple Steps to Optimizing Your Email Marketing Campaigns

From collecting visitor email addresses to social media marketing, there are hundreds of different ways to generate qualified leads for your business. But in this post, I’ll focus on the five key areas that can make any lead generation strategy effective and powerful. In fact, if you look closely, every successful lead generation campaign has these five elements.

Make sure you have them in place.

1. Identify Your Target Buyer and Build the Right Personas

Before anything else, you need to identify exactly who your target customer is and the kind of leads you want to generate. Without understanding the needs, preferences and buying habits of your prospective customers, you can never develop an effective lead generation strategy.

This is why developing buyer personas is so important. A buyer persona is a sample profile of your ideal buyer. When developing a buyer persona, you’d need to list down everything from the average age of your prospective customer, to his annual income, buying habits, preferences and the major reasons why your product provides him value.

graphic explaining buyer interviews

You can gather information for developing your buyer persona from

  • Your existing sales and marketing stats
  • Online forums and groups like LinkedIn and Quora
  • Previous customer interactions
  • Your own experience and judgement

Create this sample profile and then devise all your strategies around it. The more accurate your buyer persona, the better chances you have of generating the right kind of leads. You can use this free template by HubSpot to create buyer personas.

2. Offer a Memorable User Experience

According to Salesforce, 55 percent of customers are ready to pay more for a better buying experience. On the contrary, it takes a business almost 12 exceptionally good experiences to overcome one bad customer experience.

The verdict is clear, if you want people to land on your website, stay on it and explore your product, you need to provide them a memorable experience. For an online business, user experience majorly depends on the performance and speed of your website, and whether you’re using responsive website design.

A responsive website design adjusts according to the device of your user, and since more than 50 percent user queries generated on Google search now originate from mobile devices, using a mobile ready design is crucial for user experience.

intersection of technology, business and design

If you’re running an E-commerce website, user experience will also depend on the way you display products, the comprehensiveness of product information, the payment options you offer, the number of redirections involved in the checkout process, and the time it takes to complete the order.

In short, a memorable user experience is created with the right combination of technology, design and your business goals.

3. An Optimized Lead Generation Process

The key to an effective lead generation strategy is to have a well-defined and optimized lead generation process. This means that every step involved in your lead generation process should have a clear objective and should contribute to the overall strategy.

You need to define the steps you want your visitors to go through, the actions you want them to take and the goals you want to achieve from them. For example, you may want them to download a free eBook and sign up to your email list, or you may want them to use a discount coupon on a product, or have a consultation call with you. Whatever it is, it needs to be well-defined., a B2B lead generation startup, recommends developing a well-researched process that qualifies your leads from one stage of the buyer’s journey to the other, similar to the inbound marketing methodology.

how to create leads through online marketing

In short, develop clear goals and actions that you want your visitors to complete. This will allow you to segment and target your prospects in a much more effective manner.

Related Article: Two Sides of Content: Lead Generation vs. Demand Generation

4. Data Driven Content Marketing

Content marketing is not just a buzzword used by fancy marketers. It’s a proven methodology to convert even complex information into easily understandable content that people can consume and, as a result, learn more about your product.

Research shows that more than 51 percent marketers use content marketing for lead generation and brand awareness.

B2B lead generation statistics on content marketing

However, making well-researched data a part of your content marketing mix can really help you stand out, even if you’re in an industry that’s not known for content marketing. This data-driven blog post on private vs. public college ROI, or this article on adopting law as a profession are great examples of how well-researched content can simplify information that is otherwise difficult to understand.

An even better approach is to mix up visual content like infographics with conventional blog posts. Infographics are packed with data and make even dry subjects interesting and easy to understand. This eye-catching and data-rich infographic by a black mold removal company is a great example. They’ve combined text content with stunning visuals to create content that stands out and gets noticed.

visual on black mold exposure infographic

The same approach can be replicated when generating leads for your business, whether you’re offering services or products on an E-commerce site. A prime example is how Shopify, one of the leading E-commerce apps in the world, is using blog content to generate leads and customers. In fact, the Shopify blog has become one of the top E-commerce thought leadership platforms.

5. Targeted Social Media Marketing

The role of social media in online lead generation is constantly evolving. While Facebook is still clearly the leader when it comes to sales and lead generated from social media, other platforms like Pinterest and LinkedIn have also become a great source of qualified leads for businesses.

graphic showing majority of orders come through Facebook

But Facebook ads in particular are a great way to zoom in on your target buyer personas and generate qualified leads for your business. The audience targeting features of Facebook ads make it a much more viable option as compared to other paid ad networks.

E-commerce businesses in particular have found a lot of success in driving traffic to their online stores and converting first time visitors into subscribers and leads. Intelligent use of these ads can really skyrocket your lead generation process.

Related Article: 6 Hacks to Turn Your Blog Into a Lead Generation Machine

Wrapping Up

Generating qualified leads for your business requires you to understand the needs of your prospective customers. You need to have a process in place through which your visitors can consume information, learn about your product and approach you for more information. The accuracy of your leads will depend primarily on how well you can perform the steps I’ve discussed in this post. There are many different ways to generate leads, but these five elements will be a part of most successful lead generation strategies.

Image Credit: NanoStockk / Getty Images
Jawad Khan Member
Jawad Khan is a content marketing consultant and a freelance blogger for hire. Follow him on his blog Writing My Destiny.