Content marketing, automated email campaigns, and paid advertising—there are many ways to boost sales with an online business. However, the real question is about the actual start of using digital marketing. What is the first thing you need to do to generate engaged customers (leads) online?
In this article, you will learn what exactly a lead is, how you can quickly generate leads online, and why organic lead generation reigns over paid advertising.
What Is A Lead?
Imagine you own a gift store in a charming, tourist town. Every day, people stream in and out, attracted by the carefully designed shop windows. Among your store visitors, your goal is to sell to the majority. So, how do you react when a customer communicates interest? This faceless visitor in your shop becoming a prospect is what we call a lead. You will, most likely, explain to the visitor the gifts’ unique value, show their features, and make an attractive offer. Now, if your visitor buys a product, your lead will convert into a customer.
Why Do You Need To Generate Leads?
Lead generation means that these prospects don’t just appear by chance. You attract them. Just as through a beautiful shop window with full shelves, you need to build an engaging website and implement simple, lead-converting tools, such as newsletters, or free demos, within it.
You might ask yourself why you need marketing strategies to generate leads—why not simply pay for an ad service?
- First of all, because of a well-known phenomenon in marketing: banner blindness. Banner means that people tend to oversee and ignore information they perceive as promotional ads. Our perception is very selective, and most people don’t trust direct advertisement (in fact, the percentage of distrust is as high as 96%).
- Secondly, a potential customer who organically stumbles over your business is more valuable than a customer who responds to a paid ad. When naturally finding your business, customers are ready to develop a genuine interest in your brand, your concept, and your products. If they find you via a Google search, they are looking for a product related to your offerings. When they sign up for your newsletters, you will set up multiple touchpoints for their engagement with your brand in the future. Either way, there’s an inherent interest in your brand.
To attract natural, in technical jargon organic leads, you need a well-optimized website first. There, you then use tools to invite potential customers to sign up for your newsletters. The goal is scattering diverse lead magnets across your site, be it a pop-up banner, chatbot, or ebook access options. Let’s dig deeper into the steps needed to kick off your lead generation successfully.
Step 1: Creating Your Website
In a world where 81% of consumers do online research before making a purchase, having a website presenting service and product offerings is key. To create a website, you can choose between several options:
- You can buy a domain, hire a web host and opt for a content management system (CMS). CMS is the framework you use to manage and design your website. If you take this route, you can match your preferred domain (also referred to as website URL) with the website builder you like.
- The fastest and most beginner-friendly option is to acquire your website with an inclusive website builder. These complete solutions offer all the necessary features and are often better priced, if not free. Their additional marketing services help you gain further traction for your website.
If you are additionally looking to sell online, don’t forget to confirm that your chosen option allows for easy implementation of e-Commerce functions, such as selling products, offering digital payment options, delivery, and managing customer service.
Today, designing a website is as easy as choosing a template or building an interface from scratch by combining different elements (text, images, headlines). Most tools offer examples and easy-design tools that are both eye-catching and intuitive—installed in only minutes.
But having a website is only the first step. Now, it’s the lead generation tools that will help you get your online business up and running.
Step 2: Integrate Lead Generation Tools Onto Your Website
The heart of your new website is your landing page, your sign-up forms, and the call-to-action (CTA). If these three aspects are properly designed and explain your product well, they will spark the necessary interest in your visitors to reach out and get more information.
The Infamous Landing Page
Let’s start with the details of the landing page. A landing page is a standalone page used for a dedicated campaign or marketing activity. On landing pages, a visitor converts. Examples are sign-up pages, ebook download pages, or free trial pages.
The key elements here are an intriguing headline, a description of what a customer can expect from your product or service, and a persuasive CTA.
Let’s take a closer look at the landing page of the CRM platform Gorgias:
The headline Reduce Support Cost by 20% When Switching From Zendesk is followed by a short description explaining the difference between Zendesk and Gorgias. The CTA is Get your demo. It presents an excellent example of a hierarchical website copy that communicates what the app offers and encourages people to try the software immediately.
You can integrate photos, illustrations, videos, or mockups of your products on your landing page or keep the design clean with a simple copy and buttons. The most important thing is that your website copy is clear and crisp—demonstrating to visitors why you are of interest to them.
Nurture Your Leads With Signup Forms
Capture your first leads by providing a signup form. By entering their contact details, they can subscribe to a newsletter, an ebook, a discount, or other incentives.
As soon as you have a potential leads contact list, you have the chance to develop a relationship. Your first point of contact should be a personalized email. If you have offered a discount, embed it in this email. The same goes for adding ebooks, newsletters, or other promised incentives.
The best signup forms are short and straightforward, asking for the most crucial information, such as name and email address. For business-to-consumer (B2C), age or interests may also be important. for business-to-business (B2B), the company name/industry or even the role of that specific person may be included, as well.
The Right Copy For The Call-To-Action
The CTA is the main trigger point on a website that prompts visitors to take action. This button can lead to the signup form, to requesting a demo, or even to purchasing a product. However, when you’ve just started your business online, we recommend incentivizing people with a free trial, discount code for e-commerce, or a newsletter.
A clear, compelling message and an eye-catching design will improve your click rates. Some examples are Sign up for our email newsletter, Get in touch, or Try for free. However, there are no limits to your creativity. Just make sure it connects well with what you offer.
Step 3: Use Email Marketing To Attract More Leads
On average, email generates $42 for every $1 spent, making it one of the most effective marketing options available. An email is the easiest way to capture your first leads with solid click-through rates (also referred to as CTR… when email recipients clicking on the links to the website).
On top of that, email newsletters are usually a part of website builder tools, so you can get started easily. In their pre-made templates, you insert your text and images, automating the sending out quicker results.
Best Practices For Using Email For Lead Generation:
- Greet your new contacts with welcome emails. When new subscribers sign up to your contact list, their engagement and interest in your brand are higher than ever. Leverage this by sending an engaging welcome email. Our analysis of different email campaigns shows that more than eight out of 10 people will open a welcome email, generating four times as many opens and 10x as many clicks as other email types.
- Manage your email lists. Segment your contact list to run more targeted campaigns and drive more engagement. Most email marketing solutions have tools that allow filtering subscribers based on their attributes and behavior. With this information, you can personalize emails for each subscriber, taking into account the person’s subscription date, interests, gender, age, location, and industry (if B2B).
- Measure your results. To attract the first leads and secure them for the long term, you need to find out how well your email marketing campaigns (or any campaigns) are performing. Measuring key metrics (KPIs) will help improve the return on investment (ROI) of your campaigns. One performance indicator is the open rate determining how well your subject line is written and customized to your audience.
Then find out how many customers clicked on the links within the email. This helps assess whether the news, offers, and visual design seems interesting.
If you are just starting your campaign and email is your primary marketing tool, it’s valuable to consider the conversion rate too. It shows whether your email campaigns are not only attracting leads but are also converting them to paid customers
In conclusion, as a beginner, you should focus on creating clear goals and building your digital store step-by-step. Success does not come overnight. Instead, it will start with simple tools, running an organic marketing campaign, and adding more tools and marketing initiatives with time. For now, start by establishing your first website, and writing a creative welcome email to entice your very first leads!
GetResponse, a marketing automation software, has more than 20 years of experience empowering businesses to run online marketing effectively. Along with 24/7 customer support available in eight languages, GetResponse features more than 30 tools: email marketing, website builder, conversion funnel, marketing automation, marketing automation suite for eCommerce, live chats, webinars, paid ads, and more.
Disclosure: Martech Zone has added affiliate links into this article.