How to use the Internet to drive leads and revenue

An Introduction to Lead Generation

What is a lead?

A lead is someone who has indicated interest in your company’s product or service.  Online, an inbound lead is usually defined as a person that completes a form on a landing page.

A landing page is simply a webpage with a form through which a person supplies contact and business information in exchange for free information they feel is valuable (i.e. white paper, product demonstration, etc.)

The mechanics behind inbound lead generation

If you want to generate inbound leads online for your business you’ll need a few things in place.  From a tactical level, there are 3 crucial elements required to make inbound lead generation happen.

1. Landing pages

Again, landing pages are website pages that have one distinct purpose: lead generation. This page contains a form that captures contact information from a visitor in exchange for an offer.

Below is an example of one of our Landing Pages.

2. Offer

An offer, in the context of lead generation, is either content or a product that has enough perceived value, a person is willing to give their contact information in exchange for access to it.  Typical offers include: e-books, white papers, webinars, free consultations, and demonstrations.

Below is an example of a content offer.  Click here to download it now.

3. Call–to–action

Landing pages and offers are useless if you know one sees them. To send people to a landing page from your website, you’ll need a strong call-to-action (often abbreviated as CTA).  A call-to-action is text, an image or button that links directly to a landing page.

Below is an example of a call-to-action.

Putting it all together: a scenario

A visitor comes to your homepage.

Once there, they see and click a call to action. The CTA takes the visitor to a landing page where they see a description of your offer and have an option to complete and submit a form.

Once the visitor submits the form, they receive your offer and now have a new contact who could be a potential lead.

Lead generation isn’t the end goal

Once a lead arrives in your database (via your website), the real work begins.

Your job is now to quickly assess and qualify the contact to determine if they’re a legit lead. If they’re not, you’ll save yourself some time, while in return, provided some value via your offer. If they have potential, they need to be nurtured with specific content and additional offers until they become ” sales ready” (or not).

Remember, lead generation isn’t the end goal, generating revenue and keeping your customers or clients happy is.  Lead nurturing–using an automated system to send personalized and relevant messages to leads–is probably the most underutilized step of the inbound marketing process.

But if you haven’t already, start with the above.

Build a landing page, create an offer and put calls-to-action on the key areas of your website.  But once you have inbound leads coming in, start looking at ways to nurture those leads in order to move them further down the buying cycle.

For example, a lead at the top of the buying cycle might be more interested in an informational piece like a guide or eBook, whereas a lead who is “sales-ready,” and therefore at the bottom of the cycle, is probably more interested in a free trial or demo.

The good news is you don’t need to pick and choose; create offers for each phase and include calls-to-action to these offers on various pages of your site.

Most important, continue to tweak and test each step of your inbound lead generation process in an effort to improve the quality and reduce your cost per lead.