Ask a CEO about the #1 growth challenges they face today, and most of them will say “lead generation.” More than 40% of them say their marketing efforts are outdated, and a full third still rely on cold-calling as one of their primary lead generation activities.
The reliance on traditional methods for generating sales is preventing organizations from winning new customers and staying competitive. Most of these methods are inadequate in today’s digital world. Still, many companies have yet to adapt to the changing times. Fortunately, there are a host of cost-effective technological solutions to help organizations boost their lead generation efforts.
In this post, we’ll share what we’ve learned about how forward-thinking companies are leveraging creative lead generation ideas—including gamification and interactive lead generation—to successfully attract new leads, increase sales, and retain loyal customers.
Lead generation recap
In a recent post, we discussed what lead generation is and how it works. Here’s a brief refresher.
Lead generation uses organic (free) traffic from search engines like Google to help businesses attract more qualified leads. A good lead generation strategy should:
- Improve lead quality.
- Increase leads and conversions.
- Improve lead analytics, ROI measurability, and lead data segmentation.
Using inbound marketing techniques, digital lead generation allows you to skips traditional steps like prospecting and cold-calling and jump right into building personalized relationships with customers who are looking for your products or services.
How lead generation works
To understand how today’s consumers want to buy products and services, think about how you prefer to shop. Do you respond to flashy advertisements, aggressive sales pitches, or rapid-fire TV and radio ads? Probably not, and neither does your target audience.
It takes modern tactics to forge relationships with customers. Adopting new ways to market your goods and services is well worth the effort because the results are so impressive.
- You reach customers who are genuinely interested in what you offer.
- You can tailor campaigns to specific target audiences.
- You get to control the number of leads you want to receive per month.
Lead generation is a marketing solution that can prevent your business from being an annoying cold caller few people want to talk to. The lead generation process is made up of four simple steps:
- Your business is discovered by a reader through your website, social media account, or blog.
- The prospective lead clicks on the CTA they see on the marketing channel they’re using.
- The CTA leads them to a landing page on your website where they read an offer that has enough perceived value that they’ll exchange their email information for it.
- The visitor fills out a “lead capture form” and becomes a new qualified lead.
You can now start using various channels such as email campaigns to begin building a relationship with your leads.
While the four steps to attracting a lead are simple, it’s not an easy process. The biggest hurdle is getting people to find you in the first place!
How do you generate leads in sales?
The sales funnel is still a popular process for helping customers learn more about who you are and what you offer. Like other sales methods such as lifecycle marketing, the goal is lead conversion and increased revenue. Following a lead through the awareness, interest, decision, and purchasing phases gives you the opportunity to engage with people precisely where they are in their buying journey.
Some strategies companies use to generate leads and close sales with their online audience include:
- Focusing on creating value first, not sales.
- Adopting automated digital sales tools.
- Putting together a sales team that has a winning mindset.
- Narrowing online sales platforms to the ones their target audiences use most.
- Building online trust through good, relevant, and authentic content, including case studies and webinars.
- Taking a multi-pronged approach that includes email campaigns and paid ads.
The main focus in generating leads is to provide value that makes people identify with your brand and want to be a part of it. If you give people what they want, you can close more sales and retain more customers. Remember, people might not like being “sold to,” but they love to buy if what you’re offering addresses their pain point!
Lead generation campaign ideas
Successful lead generation requires using different methods and channels to educate, engage, and delight your audience. Some companies use their blog to double their lead generation. Others rely mainly on email campaigns to send prospects valuable downloadable offers, discounts, and buying opportunities. Social media and SEO optimization are also used to attract more leads. Two of the most popular customer engagement tools in use today are gamification and interactive lead generation.
Here are a few of our favorite creative lead generation ideas using these concepts.
- Billing themselves as a “gathering of nerds,” Hero Conf employed an attention-grabbing direct mail campaign, focusing its attention on a small customer segment that was most likely to be interested in their conference. How did they make an old-school marketing tool like a postcard work in the digital age? They embedded a small video screen in each card with featured speakers. To promote word-of-mouth, the twist was an offer for free tickets if you watched the video to the end.
- Speaking of videos, activated customer data platform Zaius created a video series as a top-of-the-funnel piece of content to engage its target audience. Instead of putting the lead capture form at the end of the video, they placed it within the video itself. The result was hundreds of net new leads. Best of all, the possibilities for new episodes are virtually unlimited, so the campaign is a great way to build and nurture relationships.
- Interactive tools are a simple idea that can deliver big returns, aka qualified leads. Companies like MobileMonkey, Clearbit, and HubSpot Marketing offer interactive tools that make it easy to capture, store, and nurture leads. They allow you to create forms, popups, and chatbots to engage leads and capture contact information. BeeLiked’s interactive promotions are designed to reward audiences and customers for their time, loyalty and data.
The gamification of lead generation has taken what’s often been a boring process and transformed it into a super-fun experience for customers (and employees). While “games” isn’t always their first thought when people think of lead generation, wedding the two concepts can be a marriage made in heaven. Potential leads have fun interacting with your brand, you increase customer engagement, and everyone wins.
Online quizzes remain one of the most successful lead generation tools. They’ve been around for years, but the customization they offer makes them a timeless lead-generating opportunity. Their power rests in how compelling they are. Who doesn’t want to know which brand of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream best represents their personality?
Quizzes work for an extremely simple reason: people like to have fun. And, done right, quizzes are a lot of fun. The secret to success with lead-generating quizzes is to make sure they’re filled with surprises that delight your audience. People who stay engaged with your quizzes tend to stick around to learn more about your product or service. As you build trust with them, they’re also more inclined to want to do business with you.
Lead Generation Ideas That Work
Lead generation increases your reach and creates more sales opportunities. It helps you target the right customers, increase brand awareness and reputation, collect valuable prospect information such as needs, wants, and preferences, and build brand loyalty.
While there’s no such thing as the “perfect” lead generation approach or tool, customizable interactive tools and gamification are a great way to engage with your audience. They’re also a terrific tool for motivating sales teams and making the workplace a more engaging and productive environment.
There will always be room for traditional lead generation methods like social media and email campaigns or eBook downloads. Gamification lets you tap into a larger audience, particularly younger consumers who grew up on gaming. Studies show people aged 36 and under are far more likely to use the internet to research brands and make purchasing decisions. A more creative solution for generating word of mouth and creating massive visibility, gamified solutions like games of chance, quizzes, and scratch cards are literally changing the game of lead generation.