Lead generation campaigns are used to nurture and govern the lead generation process, starting from the identification, profiling, and qualification of the target audience to the progressive conversion of users.
In this cycle of articles we have already talked about why data-driven marketing has been so successful in companies and how to do market research. Here, instead, we will focus on how to create successful lead generation campaigns.
Through lead generation campaigns, marketers implement typical inbound strategies where a mix of digital channels, content, and sales pitches is used to convince the audience to prefer the offerings of one brand over another. The purposes of lead generation campaigns can be diverse, from improving brand perception to informing the target audience about the technical specifications of a product or service, from fueling a public conversation, to providing support for sales in realizing sales opportunities.
If the final objective of any marketing strategy consists of transforming a prospect into a lead and of a lead into a customer, in the case of lead generation campaigns, this objective also coincides with what is now the first step in the funnel: gaining in-depth knowledge of the target audience in order to extract the insights we need to make the best decisions.
We’ve often mentioned this on our blog: the context where brands today find themselves competing has been shaped – and continues to be shaped – by the mass diffusion of digital technologies. In this reality that has become extremely fluid, the audience of potential customers has differentiated itself even further: the consumer himself has changed, acquiring, thanks to the more casual mastery of digital tools, a greater awareness of his ability to directly participate in a dialog with brands. When we talk about lead generation, we must inevitably take this evolution into account.
Lead generation campaigns in the time of digital transformation
Lead generation is the process that companies implement to attract potential buyers to their businesses, to increase their interest through lead nurturing, and to convert them into customers. In a nutshell: lead generation refers to the set of initiatives that are implemented to attract consumers’ attention, keep communication alive with them, and guide them through a series of status steps, up to the actual purchase of products or services.
The number of ways to generate leads increases as the number of contact opportunities offered by digital technologies grows, as a result of the growing amount of data coming from many different sources.
As the number of channels a brand needs to service grows, so does the complexity of lead generation campaigns. To govern this growing complexity, which risks leading to a dangerous and irretrievable entropy, it is necessary to act effectively:
- by exercising greater control over the quality and consistency of the content distributed across individual touchpoints,
- infusing additional effort into the collection and organization of feedback and qualitative information in general,
- equipping themselves with data-driven marketing solutions that allow them to juggle different media and channels and make full use of the data that the organization has access to.
Digital channels carry much faster and more consistent traffic flows than traditional channels. To intercept these flows and interpret them in order to grasp the changes in consumption habits as they occur, lead generation campaigns often take market research as their starting point. Market research provides valuable information about the target audience and the reference market by means of methodologies and tools, which today are mainly digital.
Before delving into the steps that lead to the creation of lead generation campaigns, let’s try to understand how the lead generation flow develops on the user side.
The lead generation flow: a beneficial exchange
The lead generation process begins when the user-visitor discovers a company’s business through one of its marketing channels, such as the website, blog, or social media page.
The visitor clicks on the CTA (Call to Action) that appears within the viewed content. The CTA must motivate and push the user to do something, for example, to download a gated piece of content. The CTA can be a short text or an image, and it must be linked to a button that makes it possible to physically perform the action.
Clicking on the CTA, the user “lands” on the landing page, the page that is created to complete the “exchange:” the company offers a valuable content, such as an ebook, participation in a course, or access to a webinar and in exchange, asks the user to fill out a form. In this way, the company acquires the user’s data (contact information, but not only: you can also include different questions in the form, concerning, for example, preferences, and purchasing expectations).
The visitor, once they have arrived on the destination page, fills out a form in exchange for content (the offer). Forms are generally hosted on landing pages, but can be embedded anywhere on the site. It goes without saying that the content offered must be perceived by the user as sufficiently useful and meaningful, such that it convinces them that the exchange is beneficial.
Implementing lead generation campaigns: three key tools
At the heart of lead generation campaigns, therefore, is an exchange of resources that are considered valuable by both parties. The tools that allow this exchange to take place are numerous and can be used successfully depending on the different circumstances and the different phases of the journey in which they are integrated. Here, we try to briefly describe three extremely effective tools: websites, CRM and interactive video.
1. The website to generate leads
Web sites can generate leads in multiple ways. They can cultivate new business leads, focus on recruiting, or be designed to establish opportunities for collaboration with specialized partners. Or they can constitute “information hubs” and be used to create awareness about a particular issue or function as an interface for an organization that needs to provide particular interactive features, such as online payment mechanisms, in order to facilitate connection with the individual user.
The point is that every contact opportunity today represents a relationship opportunity that must be pursued. A website – better if it is light, flexible, easy to navigate and mobile friendly – can capture the attention and interest of the potential customer. Marketing can take advantage of its qualities by freeing it from any promotional logic of a “showcase site” to transform it into a form of personalized communication, an interactive web content to be distributed across multiple channels and built based on the information of individual users.
Doxee Pweb® is the product that helps companies create and distribute personalized micro-sites that, thanks to the implementation of interactive functions such as calls to action, forms, and integration with chatbots, offers users a new way to interact with the company and offers brands an extremely powerful solution for collecting and distributing information.
2. The customer relationship management (CRM) system
Website, email, phone number, mailing address, content downloads, and pipeline position: CRM systems can play an important role in collecting and managing information about prospects obtained through contact forms. Organized in an automated and centralized manner, this information constitutes a wealth of knowledge that you can draw upon to implement further lead generation and lead nurturing actions.
You can use a personalized CRM solution to enhance the value of the information even further, for example by attributing specific tags to it and categorizing it based on its relevance to company objectives. The most sophisticated CRM systems today offer a complete and dynamic overview of the customer situation, which is useful for optimizing business processes, and they also guarantee medium- and long-term results for customer acquisition and retention.
All data, both quantitative and qualitative, that is collected along a customer’s path can be organized, linked, and analyzed through CRM systems: master data, information based on interactions with the company, transactions, service requests, feedback, suggestions. The system provides an interface that, starting from the sharing of data and information, makes it possible to design truly customer-centric marketing actions, which helps make lead generation campaigns more accurate.
3. Personalized interactive videos
The cornerstone of lead generation campaigns and an essential element for finalizing the various initiatives is your content strategy: the strategic plan for creating and distributing content to your target audience. Content – whether informative, educational, or in any case consistent with the targeted profiles – is used throughout the customer journey according to a precise editorial calendar.
This helps create a solid reputation for the brand as an expert, serves to increase the brand as an authority in a given area, and helps earn the trust of potential customers. Of all the types of content used in lead generation campaigns, personalized videos deserve a separate mention.
Personalized video has the great advantage of being able to convert traffic to action, an essential goal of any lead generation campaign (and digital marketing in general). In Doxee Pvideo®, calls to action are perfectly integrated into the flow of the sequences, and they are designed to maximize the effect of personalization and emphasize action.
Building your lead generation campaign: goals and strategy
Lead generation campaigns don’t always follow the same steps. They can vary from one another – even a lot – depending on the objective, the target audience, and the medium. However, there is a recurring structure that you can refer to as a starting point. Here are the basic steps.
- Establish the campaign objective. It may seem trivial, but don’t take it for granted: determining the intended result of your campaign cannot be confined to the marketing department alone. It is a decision that will have repercussions on the entire business and therefore must be made involving all interested parties, in absolute coherence with the company’s overall goals.
- Evaluate and select the target audience for the campaign. You can approach this step in two ways: review the list of contacts you already have or focus on a completely new target group. In both cases, you’ll want to identify the distinctive characteristics and dynamics of these segments: the weak points (needs, criticalities, urgencies) but also the aspirations and interests. You can respond to both problems and desires with content.
- Choose the mix of channels and content. Companies that use digital tools have extremely powerful lead generation resources at their disposal. There are many different channels and types of content that you can choose to employ as part of your lead generation campaigns, from email marketing to the publication of ebooks and guides, and from the use of mini-sites to personalized videos. The choice of the mix should be based on the objectives, the available budget, the expected timeframe for the first results, and an objective analysis of the brand’s current digital presence.
- Develop the offer (the content you intend to offer during the exchange). We know that a lead is a potential customer who has shown a specific interest in a certain product or service. Sending targeted invitations for access to gated content (sometimes referred to as premium content) serves to further qualify leads and identify that segment of the target audience that is worth investing in right away (because they are ready to convert) and that which it makes more sense to continue with other, more generic or less expensive initiatives. Content must be designed and developed with these considerations in mind.
- Design a communication strategy. The design phase should not only encompass the previous four steps, but also include market research, providing follow-up on individual lead generation campaign initiatives, tracking performance, arranging for metrics analysis, and finally producing documents for sharing and evaluating results.
Lead generation campaigns are an integral part of a brand’s marketing strategy. They proceed from a deep understanding of the target market and they aim to acquire qualified contacts through the activation and management of multiple media channels.
The key asset is the content that is designed and crafted as a value proposition, and that must be able to capture the interest of potential customers. Creating awareness is always the first step, but it doesn’t end here. The moments through which the company presents itself and tells its story must be replicated throughout the consumer journey. This is how you retain relationships with customers over time.
We wrote about this topic when we discussed the conversion of leads into customers: intercepting attention becomes the challenge to win. This is the essence of lead generation, which requires constant commitment and empathy.