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Lead Gen 101: Understanding The Lead Life Cycle
Lead generation is a critical element of a successful sales and marketing strategy that can work perfectly alongside your existing marketing plans. Do you want to grow your database with long-term loyal customers, but not sure where to start? Then you’re in the right place!
What is lead generation?
Lead generation has many names, including CPL (cost per lead), Lead Gen, List Build, and Performance Marketing. To put it simply, lead generation is a digital marketing strategy and process to initiate, stimulate, and capture customer interest in your brand, and the products and services you have to offer. This creates a pool of new prospects which can be nurtured until they are ready to make their first purchase, turning them into a high value, longstanding customer. Lead generation is valuable for any type or size of business and works in both the B2C and B2B spaces.
The aim of lead generation
The main aim is to drive targeted traffic through to a data capture form, concentrating on collecting new opted-in customer data that will be added into your CRM, increasing and enriching your database.
This will help you achieve the below:
Generating a pool of qualified opted in leads
Increasing brand, service and/or product awareness
Collecting additional information on prospects to better understand your audience.
Building relationships with new customers
Increasing social media awareness and/or following
Benefits of CPL over CPA
If prospects are correctly nurtured, a CPL campaign has the potential to build loyal customers who will return to make further purchases. They can become loyal lifetime customer rather than a quick one-time sale which tends to happen with CPA campaigns through the affiliate model geared for a one-time reward for instance (cashback), and in the process offering lower customer loyalty and ultimately, in the longer term, a higher acquisition price.
Why is lead nurturing so important?
A pool of new leads has been generated and added into your CRM, so you should start seeing the sales roll in, right? Unfortunately not. You now face the most critical and important stage in the life cycle of a new prospect: lead nurturing. It is important to implement both lead capture and nurturing into your overall marketing strategy enabling you to run a successful lead generation campaign.
You’ve got to stay with these leads, to nurture them, learn, and build trust by monitoring how they interact with your brand. Consumers are taking more time than ever to complete a purchase with all information being available at their fingertips to explore options and educate themselves before making a final decision. You need to be right there until they are ready to do so.
Create tailored welcome programs to nurture these new users differently from customers who have organically come to your website. This is about building a relationship through various forms of consistent, relevant, and targeted communications based on information collected in the data capture process. Your aim here should be:
Reminding them you exist
Telling about your brand and who you are
Educating them on the services and products you offer that match their interests
Putting your brand front of mind, ahead of your competitors
Building trust and loyalty
Showing other elements and channels your brand appear, E.g. social media
The following graph shows the life cycle of a lead, from targeted traffic into a potential lifetime valued customer (LTV):
There are 4 main key stages to this cycle:
Attract: Using branded assets to increase interest and drive targeted traffic through to a landing page featuring a capture form.
Convert: The main goal of this process is to turn these targeting visitors into converted new opted in leads by signing up to your marketing communications.
Nurture: Understanding and learning about your new leads to build their trust and loyalty in your brand to turn them into customers. This is most important part of the process and takes the most of time.
Delight: Customer trust and loyalty has been formed and they are now ready to make a purchase.
At any one time all your potential customers could be at various stages of the cycle, so it is extremely important to understand their interactions with your brand. They should not all be treated the same. Customers need to be spoken to differently as they become engaged and see value and knowledge in the content you share, based on their activity and your knowledge of their interests to help build trust.
Depending on your product, market conditions, seasonality, and many other factors, a lead nurturing strategy could start to be successful after only a few weeks or take several months. Which is why it is so important to understand where in the customer journey these leads are and to keep the content fresh, relevant, enticing and continually monitor, test, learn and adapt your communications. Ultimately the basis for any good CRM strategy.
If you have campaign launches or holiday events, such a Black Friday, coming up in your marketing calendar, do not wait until then to run your lead gen activity. The benefits to running these campaigns earlier, means that your new prospects are already in your database, invested in your brand, and if done correctly, ready to purchase.
This article was first published by MAPP. Permission to use has been granted by the publisher.