Written by Dan Marzullo

January 6, 2020

The term “lead generation” can sound pretty daunting to those that aren’t sure exactly what it means. You may have heard of it being tossed around without having a clear understanding of the specifics. In fact, a lot of us know that it’s important without fully knowing what it is or how to do it.

Fortunately, lead generation is a relatively easy concept to grasp. The challenge becomes finding a strategy that works for your business, but this task should become clear as we cover all there is to know about lead generation.

What is a Lead?

Before gaining an understanding of lead generation, it’s helpful to know what a lead is.

Simply put, a lead, or sales lead, is as a person or business who may eventually become a client or customer. You might be thinking, “Oh, like a prospect!” and you’d be absolutely correct. However, the main distinction between the two is that a prospect is regarded as having a greater probability of becoming a client or customer.

You could have a whole list of leads that may or may not have promise, whereas a whole list of prospects are people aligned with your target persona or that have shown a peaked interest in what you offer. 

What is Lead Generation?

Lead generation is simply the act, strategy, or method of creating leads. This can be done through social media, specific platforms, your website, Messenger bots or Messenger Marketing, and more. Every lead generation strategy has been specifically tailored based on target personas, the products or services being offered, and other factors.

One thing that’s helpful to know about lead generation is that it varies greatly depending on whether you’re dealing with B2C or B2B. The lead generation tools and approaches for each will be quite different.

Where Do Leads Come From?

While lead generation can be done using a variety of different methods, most leads will come from:

  • Paid and organic site traffic.
  • Advertising.
  • Social media.
  • Digital listings.
  • Referrals.

The key to discovering where your leads are coming from lies in where your target persona can be found. For example, if you’re a B2C online clothing retailer, you may find that most of your target audience is shopping on Facebook or Instagram instead of Pinterest.

How Can I Generate Leads?

Working a lead is like gold prospecting: It’s a small yet promising opportunity to convert your audience to clients or customers. Naturally, this begs the question: How can I generate leads? This is the question most people have on their minds as they formulate their digital marketing strategy. 

1. Do Your Homework.

See where other competitors are generating leads, who you’re targeting, where these potential customers are, and what type of things they’re looking at. Understanding your audience and what strategy is currently working will greatly improve your chance at successful lead generation.

2. Use Channels That Are Best for You.

Invest your time and resources on channels where your target audience is amassed and will find you during top engagement hours. No matter what type of brand you are, you’ll likely be heavily involved with Google Ads and SEO, but certain channels are optimal for certain brands, such as LinkedIn for B2B and Facebook or Twitter for B2C. Additionally, some social platforms will have optimal times to post, including during work hours for B2Bs, and in the evenings for B2Cs. 

3. Use Effective Lead-gen Tools.

Most lead generation channels will have a whole host of various lead-generation tools you can use to maximize results. If social media is your lead-gen channel, consider using a chat marketing platform that can maximize your social media communication with your audience, like ManyChat. ManyChat is an easy-to-use Chat Marketing platform that allows you to leverage Facebook Messenger to grow your business. You can set up chatbots, create Messenger marketing campaigns in the Flow Builder, automate conversations with customers, and even communicate with them via text and email. 

There is a whole host of growth tools that allow you to grow your subscriber list including the overlay feature which employs an overlay on your Facebook page where visitors can subscribe.

4. Nurture, Nurture, Nurture.

Once a lead is generated, it’s up to you to nurture it along the customer-buying journey. How you do this will be unique to your own strategy, but more often than not it’ll involve answering questions, directing them to critical touchpoints, or having real-life conversations with them. A lot of lead-gen tools, such as email drip campaigns and SMS or Messenger bots, can actually do this for you. The ManyChat platform features a Flow Builder which allows you to build automated Messenger campaigns that can support and expedite the customer buying journey. 

Your Lead Generation Strategy

Now that you have a firm understanding of lead generation, you’re ready to create a strategy that works for you. This may mean choosing channels where your audience is, investing in lead generation tools, and continually making improvements as you discover what works and what doesn’t.

If social media is your digital marketing ace-in-the-hole, ManyChat has the lead-gen tools for you, including services to sell products, book appointments, nurture leads, capture contact info, and build relationships through Messenger, SMS, and email.