Lead generation is the marketing process of engaging and converting prospects and moving them through the sales funnel.
While demand generation activities get potential customers interested in a product or service, lead generation is the next step. By offering in-depth, valuable content such as eBooks, whitepapers, templates and other long-form pieces, a brand can ask prospects to provide their contact information in exchange for the content. Contact information may also be captured in-person via a sign-up form at an event or exhibit booth.
Once contact information has been secured, this person has become a lead. As a prospect continues to engage with your brand (whether by downloading more content, visiting product pages, clicking on links from social media, etc.), you can use lead scoring to determine when a lead should be passed on to sales for a conversation.
Lead generation can be considered a result or product of demand generation, and the most effective marketing strategies use a balance of both.
Common lead generation issues and solutions:
ISSUE: Customers are reluctant to give out personal information.
SOLUTION: Don’t ask for an overwhelming amount of information. For example, start by asking for an email address. Then ask for a phone number as they move further through the funnel.
ISSUE: Creating barriers to your content can deter potential consumers.
SOLUTION: Provide some free content to users without requiring that they fill out a form, which will create goodwill and draw the customer into your site
ISSUE: Too much follow-up with customers can backfire.
SOLUTION: Plan your email campaigns wisely. Marketing automation software can help you segment your audiences and craft a series of follow-up emails to be sent at thoughtful intervals. This allows you to nurture prospects without bombarding them with too many messages.