To grow your business with B2C lead generation, you need to reach customers before they decide when, where, and what to purchase so that you have the opportunity to guide them to your product before they even know they need it. That’ll give you some measure of influence over how a customer conducts themself in the marketplace, granting you the leverage to facilitate a purchase either immediately or, more likely, down the line.
B2C lead generation is the chief means by which businesses create and maintain relationships with potential customers. Lead management doesn’t end with running ads and maintaining an email list. A lead generation strategy is composed of many moving parts, including one-to-interaction with potential customers and regular check-ins with former customers.
Learn all about the basics of lead generation and B2C lead nurturing here.
What Is a Lead?
A lead, in sales terminology, is a potential client. B2C leads can take many forms.
Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
An MQL is a potential purchaser identified by the marketing team. They may have had multiple interactions with your product in the past without making a purchase, or they may simply belong to a very narrow demographic range that you’ve decided to target. MQLs should be passed on to the sales team to help facilitate a purchase.
Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
An SQL is a potential purchaser who has been in contact with your sales team. Once a lead becomes an SQL, your sales team will focus on converting that lead into a paying customer.
Product Qualified Lead (PQL)
A PQL is a potential purchaser with first-hand experience with your product, usually facilitated by a free trial or demo. PQLs who feel positively about the experience they’ve had with your product are in the perfect position to make a purchase.
What Is B2C Lead Generation?
B2C lead generation is the process of attracting prospective customers to your business and establishing a relationship with them. Lead generation doesn’t just refer to the initial connection but also includes the development of the relationship over time. It’s essential not only to put your product in front of an audience but to develop a strong rapport and build trust.
B2C Lead Generation Process
The goal of the lead generation process is to turn strangers into promoters. There are a few steps in-between, though. Here’s every phase of the lead generation process:
1. Turn Strangers Into Visitors
Turning strangers into visitors is your first task. Common tools for accomplishing this include publishing SEO-optimized content, posting on social media, and running advertisements. If a stranger sees your content and decides to follow up (usually by clicking through your site), you’ve now turned them into a visitor.
2. Turn Visitors Into Leads
Once on your website, a visitor should be immediately delivered to some sort of landing page designed for people who’ve never been exposed to your product before. The landing page should include a call to action (CTA). The CTA, though, shouldn’t prompt a purchase right away.
Instead, your landing page should request some information, such as a visitor’s email address or phone number. In exchange, offer an informative PDF, video, or sample of your product or service to be emailed to the visitor. Once you have a way of getting in touch with a visitor, they’ve become a lead.
3. Turn Leads Into Customers
To turn a lead into a customer, you need to manage the relationship carefully. Send regular reminder emails about your product line or recent developments in your business or industry. Let them know whenever you release new informative content on your blog or social media. They’re already interested — give them a way to fulfill and deepen that interest without necessarily having to buy right away.
Very few consumers are ready to make a purchase the first time they hear about a product. Instead, they prefer to build trust in a brand before closing the deal. Converting leads into customers is all about giving them space to build that trust without feeling excessive pressure.
Of course, once they’re willing to make a purchase, you’ll be ready, but hard-selling too soon can really spoil a transaction.
4. Turn Customers Into Promoters
It’s vital to stay in touch with your customers. Don’t just offer support — actively solicit feedback. Let them know you care about their experience with your product, even after they’ve made a purchase. The more available you are to your customers, the happier they’ll be. The happier your customers are, the more likely they are to promote your product to others.
Lead Generation Strategies
Lead generation can be very intimidating. Indeed, it’s one of the most complex parts of running sales. Don’t give up, though; there are many different ways to successfully generate leads for your business.
If you have any past customers, it’s a good idea to keep in touch with them. That way, they know you care about their experience with your product or service. It doesn’t just make them more likely to return to you next time they have a need; it also makes them more likely to refer others to your business. Word-of-mouth recommendations go much further than advertising to generate solid leads.
It’s also important not to fall out of contact with any existing leads. Maybe the first time you contacted a lead, they weren’t ready to buy, but their situation may evolve over time — especially if you keep in touch.
In all of your communications — be they individual or with a large audience — be sure to focus on developing a sense of trust and authority. Customers who view you as credible are more likely to make a purchase. Building your credibility can include hosting a blog on your website, throwing events or webinars, or live-streaming Q + A sessions about your field.
Lead Generation Challenges
Lead generation comes with a wide array of challenges. Generating qualified leads, in particular, tends to throw many businesses for a loop. Having accurate data about your customers and crafting a compelling message with an enticing CTA will get you most of the way there.
The most significant limitation here is usually creativity: try to think outside the box to generate new and exciting ideas about reaching out to your customers. Maybe there’s a blog post related to your industry that you’ve wanted to write or an idea you’ve had for a sketch that could be turned into an advertisement. If you’re excited about your campaigns, your customers are more likely to be excited, too.
Another common challenge is staffing and networking. Not having enough people on your team to help generate leads — or not having people who are excited about your product — can undermine the lead generation process before it even begins. Make sure to surround yourself with people, both staff and industry peers, who are as excited about your product as you are, and you’ll generate leads more quickly.
Many businesses also struggle with measuring and documenting lead generation. If you don’t know how and where your leads are generated, you won’t know how to invest in the future. Always keep track of your leads and where they came from to help inform your strategy.
Should You Buy Leads?
As with every business venture, it’s tempting to take a shortcut when generating leads. If someone promises to sell you leads, it may offer a marginal benefit to your business but won’t help as much as generating leads organically. One quality lead is always more valuable than a mountain of poor leads.
But a lead’s a lead, right? Why won’t buying them be as beneficial to your business as finding them yourself?
Organically generated leads are much more likely to convert than purchased leads. Any lead you purchase and attempt to engage is effectively a cold call, and you have no insight into their needs and wants. In contrast, organically generated leads have gone out of their way to click on your content, visit your website, and give you their information.
Leads who have opted-in have already conveyed an interest in your product. Focusing your attention on potential customers who’ve already expressed interest will more often result in a sale than cold-calling a purchased lead. Putting as many resources into a purchased lead as you would an organic lead — more, even, since you bought the lead to begin with — can often be a waste of time.
There are also legal concerns. Three major pieces of legislation govern how businesses may generate leads and reach out to potential customers: the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Do Not Call (DNC) registry, and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
All marketing and lead generation efforts must carefully deploy GDPR, DNC, and TCPA compliance best practices. Knowingly or unknowingly violating any one of these consumer protections can have serious legal consequences. Some communication channels even ban the use of purchased contact lists to protect themselves and their users. You may feel tempted to buy leads, but it’s very risky and, often, ineffective.
If you’ve got a plan to generate leads but aren’t sure how to keep in touch with them, Aktify can help.
Aktify uses robust data science and machine learning to delight customers with thoughtful conversations and well-curated gestures. Aktify’s solutions are invisible, integrating with CRMs and marketing automation platforms. Impersonal communications may alienate customers and leave money on the table.
Aktify converts leads into customers using AI-powered SMS conversations that simulate virtual customer service agents. With Aktify, your team can extract value from leads that may otherwise fall through the cracks, boosting revenue. Get in touch today.