Lead generation is the process of finding people, usually online, who are interested in your product or service and getting them to take some kind of action. This usually involves entering their contact details on a form, in exchange for an incentive of some kind.
There are a vast number of different ways to find people who might be interested in what you have to offer, but I like to reduce these methods to two broad categories – paid and unpaid. Paid methods include all forms of advertising, both online and offline, while unpaid methods include search engine optimization, free classified ads, social media marketing and content distribution.
Of course, everything you do has some cost, which is why I use the term 'unpaid' rather than 'free.'
Landing Pages For Lead Generation
Once you've attracted the attention of the people you're targeting, you send them to a 'landing page.' This is a web page which is specifically set up for the advert you're using. You would want to make sure that the headline on the landing page is clearly associated with the advert.
Most landing pages offer an incentive of some kind. This could be a free downloadable item, like an ebook, a video, a report or a white paper. It could be a coupon, a free consultation or a product demo. It could be a paid offer, for example a 'Buy One Get One Free' deal.
Call to Action
Every landing page needs a strong Call to Action. This is copy which encourages the visitor to take the desired action – whether it's calling a phone number, entering their name and email address or clicking on a link. It's best to make the desired action quite obvious.
Lead Generation Automation
Most landing pages try to get the visitor to enter their name and email address (or just their email address.) An automated email marketing system is usually used, so that the visitor's details are automatically stored in a database, and the visitor is sent an email with further instructions, which might be a download link for the free report, or an opt-in confirmation request.
Most third-party email services allow (or require) the use of a "confirmed opt-in" or "double opt-in" process. The email service sends an email to the new subscriber asking them to confirm their email address by clicking on a link. This confirmation process makes it hard for a visitor to sign up someone else without their knowledge, which reduces spam complaints. On the other hand, a percentage of subscribers won't confirm their email. This may not be a bad thing – if they don't confirm, they probably weren't that interested.
It's usual to send a series of emails after the first one (or the email with the download link.) These are designed to educate the subscriber about the product one is selling, usually by providing further useful information. This 'lead nurturing' process can continue indefinitely.