Lead generation

Lead generation is used by many companies to increase interest in their products or services. In the lead generation process, valuable data is collected through various databases or platforms. Often, the lead (potential customer) provides relevant information to the company and in return the lead receives something valuable in return - depending on the industry and segment, this can vary.

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What is lead generation?

The data collected on potential customers is often collected through what is called lead generation. Lead generation is the process by which a company collects contact information of relevant prospects in order to later use this information for sales and marketing purposes. In this context, customer leads are referred to as leads. There are many different ways to collect leads. 

In other words, lead generation can be defined as the part of the sales process where a person (or company) shows interest in your product or service. In fact, the moment they do this, a lead has been generated.

This can be done by actively seeking out leads, or passively and randomly. Let's say you have a clothing store and a woman happens to walk by. She goes in and looks around a bit, but ends up leaving without buying anything. Even if you didn't make a sale, you still got a lead - a customer who showed an interest in your products.

The problem with this example is that you have no obvious way to contact the woman again, nor to reach her with marketing. For example, if you had received her email, you could write to her (assuming you have consent) and make an offer on clothes that might appeal to her. Or, if you knew more about her other shopping habits, you might put up ads in places where she often went.

In reality, the woman is not a lead after all - because even if she has shown interest in your products and could be a potential buyer, you have no contact details for her.

The example here is a bit outdated in the sense that we are talking about pure physical marketing, when it comes to lead generation, it is often for online sales. And here we suddenly have much better possibilities to collect contact information about our visitors. For example, we can give away a free item in exchange for the user's email. Or we can simply retarget them through advertising.

Of course, it makes the most sense to seek out leads, for example through ads, offers or by giving away relevant free samples. In the competitive world of online commerce, you can't just put a product or service on sale and expect leads to generate themselves.

Example of popular lead generation channels:

  • Your website. For example: contact form and sign up for your newsletter. 
  • FacebookThrough your site administrator, you can set up campaigns to collect leads. Furthermore, you can easily keep track of your leads in Facebook's lead center. 
  • YouTubeOn YouTube, you can also collect leads and process them. 
  • LinkedIn Ads. LinkedIn also offers lead setup and management. 
  • Free learning. For example e-books and analyses. 
  • Freebies. For example, ptrial versions of your program.
  • WebinarAllows you to reach many people at the same time.

These are just some examples of where and how you can collect leads, but there are many options if you want to start working with lead generation.

The purpose of lead generation

The data collected may be used at a later stage, for example through a newsletter. It may be a good idea to design landing pages on your website or webshop to collect leads - the focus is not on selling the company's services or products, but on collecting data to create a customer relationship. Here, you can usefully offer the person, for example, a free e-book or guide. Because whatever industry you're in, first and foremost you need to set up an attractive barter deal! 

Depending on your company's purpose and segment, a strategy can be designed to better select one or more platforms on which to collect these leads. LThe main purpose of lead generation is usually to expand the company's customer database and increase sales or meetings, regardless of the strategy used. 

To achieve this goal, it is also important to know your lead generation sub-goals, which can be to get as much relevant information about the potential customers as possible - this can be valuable then: 

  • Knowledge of the customer can be crucial in the sales process. 
  • Knowledge of the products or services the customer is most interested in - or wants to know more about. 
  • Targeting of relevant offer or information emails.

Lead generation in B2C and B2B companies

Whether you work in B2B- or B2C-segment, you should focus on lead generation. The difference between B2B and B2C is usually how your leads are generated and how the information is used. 

Essentially, the company's lead generation objectives need to be identified, then the right lead generation placements and tools need to be found and used. It would be a shame to place a lead ad on Facebook if your target audience is not on Facebook at all - it's expensive, time-consuming and unlikely to deliver value. 

Therefore, you would do well to identify the databases and platforms to be used, as they are a fundamental part of the strategy, along with the text or content that will convince the potential customer to leave his information. Therefore, always make sure that your content and call-to-action buttons are precise so that the customer knows what to expect.

Lead generation in B2C companies

When it comes to generating leads in B2C commerce, you're dealing with a crucial part of the sales process. Generating leads is an active effort that you make to transform casual users, or casual browsers, into leads. The more knowledge you already have about your prospects, the more targeted your lead generation will be.

In B2C, where you sell to private individuals, also called end users, there are almost endless numbers of leads. That's why it's all the more important that you don't just try to turn anyone into leads. Because then you'll quickly burn through both time and budget.

So make sure you have a clear profile of your typical customer before you start generating leads. Who is this person? Gender, age, buying habits, online habits, financial status, all of these you should be able to answer because it all comes into play when you're about to generate your leads as effectively as possible.

Frequently asked questions about lead generation

What is lead generation?

Lead generation is an inbound marketing discipline where you create relevant and targeted content across channels based on the data that exists about a lead.

What is a lead?

Today, a lead is perceived as a person who has downloaded and converted to products from a website. This could be an e-book, for example. Furthermore, a distinction is made between a cold and a warm lead depending on how far the lead is in the buying process. In the past, a lead was defined as a person who exchanged information with a company so that they could get in touch with them.

How to generate leads?

If a potential customer has shown interest in a company's product or service, the company has generated a lead. This can be done, for example, by the customer signing up for the company's newsletter, free webinars or social media ads. 

How much does a lead cost?

The price of a lead varies depending on the industry your company is in and the tools your company uses to generate more leads. The price also depends on which media (e.g. Linkedin, Facebook or Google) you use to try to convert the customer.

How to get more leads?

The more insight a company has about its customers, the better it can target its marketing to potential leads.


Martino Mike d'Apuzzo

Partner & Senior Digital Advisor

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