Lead generation is the ultimate objective for marketers. Lead generation offers are, therefore, crucial for marketers to optimize. Without leads, there can be no sales, and without sales, there is no business for which the marketers can promote. At its core, this cyclical process involves not just attracting potential customers, but converting these prospects into interested individuals. A 2017 report on the State of Inbound Marketing by HubSpot, a marketing automation powerhouse, reveals that the top marketing challenge faced by organizations is generating leads that convert.
To put this in perspective, lead generation capabilities are seen as more difficult than securing a suitable budget, training employees, hiring talent, and managing corporate websites.
So, how do marketers generate leads, and which methods are more successful than others?
The power of inbound marketing
Let’s start with lead generation. In today’s world, the production of leads relies on inbound marketing. Since inbound marketing is such a large topic in and of itself, I’m referring to content creation, specifically publishing material that benefits the customer. While sales pitches may convince a prospect to choose your product or service over a competitor’s, the actual generation of leads comes from quality content. As you write your content, keep the prospect’s needs in mind — not your business’s. In fact, 96 percent of B2B buyers reported that they want content with more input from thought leaders within the given industry. In the long run, having a customer-focused content strategy will put your organization at top-of-mind as an industry expert and trustworthy source.
Your content needs to be well-written, of course. However, it also has to provide value to your reader if you hope to convert a prospect into a genuine lead. Typically, in order for a person to access the valuable information that you’re offering, they need to supply their contact information (phone number, email, company name, etc.). This gives them free access to meaningful content and it gives your business a new lead.
High-value content for your lead generation offers
Not all lead generation offers are created equal. While the following types of offers are proven to generate the highest numbers of leads across the board, you should keep in mind that different prospects have different needs. As such, they will respond differently to certain offers.
Experiment within your niche or industry to see what works best for you. Create content that is highly relevant to your target audience and you’ll see conversions. That being said, the following lead generation offers are proven to drive results:
An eBook is simply text that has been formatted specifically to be read on a computer screen or mobile device. Alternatively, you can market “eBooks” as “guides.” Run A/B testing in your lead generation campaign to see which term resonates with your target audience. A benefit of using eBooks as one of your lead generation offers is that you can take larger amounts of information and compile it into a document that readers can review at their leisure.
The eBook itself works best as a PDF. This allows you to hyperlink text and images, as well as provide notes if desired. “Don’t judge a book by its cover” doesn’t apply — eBooks convert better when you have an attractive cover. Here are two free online services where you can design an eye-catching eBook cover: Canva (my personal favorite) and Snappa.
Templates are the second most effective lead generation offers. Examples include:
- fillable spreadsheets
- Powerpoint slides
- calendar templates
- checklist templates
- customizable calculators
Prospects can download and personalize these to fit their needs. Templates are especially helpful in the B2B market. Look at your buyer personas. What are your ideal prospects doing in their jobs that might require a template or presentation? Make their job easier. Since you can brand your templates, you’ll benefit from the lead information you receive when a prospect downloads the content. You’ll also see increased brand awareness with your target audience, as a result. Again, you’re establishing your company as a helpful industry thought leader.
According to Google, prospects in the B2B world make an average of 12 searches before engaging with a specific company’s website. This proves that your customers are doing extensive research before making any decisions, so capitalize on this information. If you have any data insight into your targeted industry, first create a report or research document. Request that your prospect enter their contact information in order to download the content.
Reports are the third-highest marketing lead generation offers because they are valuable to the consumer. Offer your company’s unique insight to get in front of your prospect earlier.
Bonus tip: Take important statistics and key figures and create a compelling infographic for the more visual learners. Here are more ways to effectively recycle content and reach a wider audience.
You’ve created the content – now what?
These are the top three marketing lead generation offers, but other content pieces can be very effective, too. Whitepapers, kits, webinars, on-demand videos, and blog posts are other great lead producers. Again, it’s important to research your product or service’s niche. Include your buyer personas, too, in order to create the most compelling content for them. People are most willing to relinquish their personal information when they see an immediate benefit for themselves.
Once you’ve created the content, it’s time to promote your offers. Check out this blog post to learn the best practices for promoting your content and generating those leads.