What is Lead Generation? A Beginner’s Guide

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What is lead generation? It’s the one piece of content that actually indicates whether or not your audience is willing to buy from you. 

In today’s market, consumers trust personal brands more than they trust company brands. According to Nielson, “Ninety-two percent of people trust recommendations from individuals (even if they don’t know them) over brands.” But it’s not just enough to show up. 

You have to get people to like, know, and trust you with your content first. This means blogs, social media, and video content. Then, you need to create a free offer to validate your expertise further.

An online influencer may be able to convince their followers to buy a $15 product from Amazon with a simple video review, but if you want people to buy your $500 service or course, you’re going to need to prove yourself, too. 

This where opt-ins come into play. An opt-in is a pop-up or landing page where your ideal client can give their email to download (or watch) your free tips. You need to have this type of opt-in content on top of your regular content to generate leads. Generating leads is one of the best ways to continuously and passively stimulate interest in your brand. 

If this sounds a little overwhelming, I get it. But don’t worry, because below is your complete beginner’s guide to lead generation.

What is a Lead?

lead generation marketing

When people ask me what lead generation is, I always start with the basics. 

I’m sure that you’re aware that a lead is someone interested in your product or service. They will always initiate interest first by signing up for your opt-in (usually some sort of free content). 

But before you create that freebie or even your social media tips, you need to understand exactly what your ideal client is going through and what they’re thinking. If you don’t, then you won’t be getting any qualified leads. 

That means, you guessed it, no sales.

A qualified lead is someone who enters your lead generation software that is your ideal client. Your lead generation software typically referring to your email list or the company that hosts your webinar (i.e. WebinarJam). 

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Different Types of Leads

The good news is, there are different types of qualified leads. As long as you’re doing your due diligence by consistently putting yourself out there, these leads can turn in paying clients in no time.

Let me explain the different types of leads and what you can do to nurture each of them.

  • Marketing lead: someone who engages with your content but has not made a move to buy from you. These people might sign up for your freebie, but they don’t seem interested in contacting you for your product or service… yet. This why providing tons of FREE valuable content is necessary for your business growth. After you give them a bunch of free goodies, they’ll eventually want more.
  • Product or Service Lead: people who have previously signed up for your marketing leads or have purchased from you in the past. Now, they’re interested in getting more out of their experience. This is an excellent place for your sales team to upsell.

How To Obtain Qualified Leads

Obtaining leads is a more modern practice that limits unsolicited cold calling methods that used to be the norm back in the day. Instead of forcing people to feign interest, you convince them your product or service is worth looking into with free advice. This advice is usually in the form of an eBook, webinar, or checklist.

Here are some things to consider before creating your free opt-in lead generator:

  1. What are you trying to sell?
  2. Who needs this product?
  3. How much does this person typically make?
  4. What problems do they face?
  5. How can you relate (and fix) their struggles?

The magical thing about having a personal brand is that last part. A company can’t relate to their customers’ problems. The CEO or the individual employees can, but as a whole, we all know that the company’s bottom line is making cold, hard cash. 

With a personal brand, you have the opportunity to authentically express your own opinions, emotions, and experiences. This helps a qualified lead to like you. Once you do that, they’ll want to know more. 

And how can they learn more? By signing up for your freebie offer through your lead generation software. And just like that, your ideal client has converted into a successful lead capture. 

RELATED: HOW TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS IN 6 MONTHS

What is Lead Generation? 

Lead generation is when you have a streamlined system to get your ideal client closer to purchasing. It starts with content marketing, followed by offering a freebie, and (hopefully) ends with a sale of your course, product, or service.

It looks a little something like this:

what-is-lead-generation

I’ve talked to you a lot about like, know and trust when it comes to your personal brand. So let’s look at lead generation in that hierarchy. 

Like: You’re posting on social media, running ads, and writing blogs with search engine optimization. This is the top of your lead generation funnel. If people like what they see, they’ll interact with your content, follow you, or read more of your blogs. 

Know: This is the middle of your lead generation funnel. Let people get to know you by sharing free tips or offering freebies like a How-To Checklist or webinar. 

Trust: Once your ideal client goes through the first few phases, they’ll be able to trust you enough to buy from you. Expertly written landing pages and testimonials can really help seal the deal here.

Let’s discuss how you can acquire the right leads for your business and the various steps that go into a fool-proof lead generation strategy.

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Definitive Guide For Lead Generation Strategies

Like anything else these days, content is king when it comes to lead generation. So, what type of content are you going to use to attract people to become leads? 

Here are 4 easy steps to gaining qualified leads and getting more paying clients.

Step 1. Like: Content Marketing

Let’s set the groundwork for your lead generation strategy. This means content marketing.

This is the most time-consuming and frustrating part of your personal branding. Many people get overwhelmed, overthink their posts, or simply don’t have the time to do it all.

This why many entrepreneurs hire a team. My Personal Brand Concierge Program helps high-achieving entrepreneurs, investors, founders, and executives just like you. We take the pressure off of content marketing and get your brand discovered. 

Below are some of the services we offer, but you can also choose the do it yourself route for any of these marketing options.

Social Media Options: 

Twitter: The platform for thought leaders. Share links to your YouTube videos, blogs, or simply Tweet your thoughts on your industry’s trending topics.

Instagram: The most intimidating of all the platforms. You’ll need to have graphics, video, a hashtag strategy, and show up on Stories daily.

LinkedIn: Arguably the best content marketing platform for business owners and personal branding. You can create all the same content that you do for Instagram, but it’s easier to share links to your free offers or services. 

RELATED: HOW TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO BOOST YOUR CAREER

lead generation marketing

Search Engine Options:

Blogging: Every entrepreneur should have a personal brand website. If you’re a fan of writing, then SEO blogs are going to be the best way for your ideal client to find your content (and your lead generation opt-in). 

Youtube: Video content marketing has grown by over 20% since 2016 due to the demand by consumers. If you have a personal brand, you need to produce some sort of video content. YouTube is a search engine, so, like blogging, you can strategically use keywords to determine which videos to create to get discovered.

Pinterest: Pinterest is also a search engine. This makes it an ideal platform to promote your free offers, blogs, or even your YouTube video content. 

Your best approach is to repurpose your content across a few of your favorite platforms. Turn your blogs into YouTube videos, your YouTube videos into IGTVs, and your IGTVs into multiple individual posts. 

Whether it’s through a search engine or social media, each post should have a call-to-action. But it doesn’t have to be “Sign Up For My Free Offer!” By providing fun, accessible, and valuable content consistently and across various platforms, you get people to like you. This means they might engage, follow, or they might be interested in what your lead generation offer is.

RELATED: HOW TO BUILD A PERSONAL BRAND YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Step 2. Know: Free Offer

Once you get your ideal client to like you through content marketing, you need to let them get to know you. 

This is the secret sauce that personal branding has to offer. Share your experiences, your process, and your tips to get people to see that you are an expert in your industry. 

The next step is to get your ideal client to sign up for your free offer. You’ll need to mention your offer in your call-to-action. This is usually at the end of your video (“link in description down below”), at the end of your blog (see this blog’s CTA for reference), or at the end of your social media captions.  This will lead them to the first part of lead generation: your landing page. 

What is a lead generation landing page? It’s a page dedicated to your free offer (like this one). This where you need to be convincing. It’s worth hiring a copywriter because the language here will be crucial.

Here are  freebies you can offer for your ideal client:

Step 3. Trust: Paying Customers

Now that you finally have that qualified lead, how can you turn them into paying customers?

Even if they watch your course or book a free consultation, they still might not buy the thing you’re selling.

From here, you’ll need to continue providing them free value— but in a more intimate way. Now you can contact them directly because they’ve established that first point of communication by providing their email. 

Start by making sure you’re sending them weekly or bi-weekly emails. This is a great place to link your latest blogs or YouTube videos. I would even suggest offering more freebies or discounts through these emails. 

These small slices of communication ultimately convince your ideal client that your paid product, service, or course is worth the investment. It may take some convincing, but also long as your showcasing testimonials and excellent advice, they’ll eventually trust you enough to buy from you. 

RELATED: WHAT IS THE VALUE OF YOUR PERSONAL BRAND?

Step 4. Follow Up: Repeat Customers

Now, here’s the step in lead generation marketing that some people skip. However, it’s a vital step if you want repeat customers or new referrals. 

The follow-up.

If your lead generation successfully lands you a client or customer, you still need to send emails and post testimonials. This serves as a subtle reminder for your client to refer your services to their friends. You can incentivize your current clients to send referrals by offering 10-15% off one month of service for every signed client they send your way. 

If you’re offering a course or product, send monthly emails to your ideal client to let them know about the exclusive discounts they can get on your other products as a previously paid customer. 

And lastly, even if you don’t get repeat buyers, following up is a great way to get some social proof. Send surveys to your paying clients or customers to get feedback. You can use these testimonials throughout your lead generation strategy.

RELATED: DEALING WITH IMPOSTER SYNDROME – PRACTICAL ADVICE FROM SOMEONE WHO’S BEEN THERE

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Conclusion

And that’s about it! I know it sounds like a lot, but here’s the breakdown:

Step 1: Content Marketing. Get people to like you through sharing your experiences and free advice. 

Step 2: Free Offer. Convince your ideal client to sign up for your freebie. You’ll need to know what problem this person is having and using your landing page to convince them you have the solution. 

Step 3: Paying Customers. Earn their trust and turn your ideal client into a paying customer by providing testimonials, discounts, and more exclusive free advice. 

Step 4: Follow-Up. Nurture your existing clients by following up. Offer incentives for referrals or discounts on your other paid services or products. 

Now that you know what lead generation is, you can probably see that it takes some work to set up. 

Do you want to attract more clients and boost revenue? Learn how to position yourself as an expert, grow your audience, and attract the right clients. Watch my FREE Personal Branding Masterclass today.

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About Claire
Claire Bahn is a personal brand strategist and the CEO and Co-Founder of Claire Bahn Group. She has been helping high achieving entrepreneurs, investors, founders, and executives create their best personal brand for over 10 years. She helps entrepreneurs leverage their personal brand to develop the authority, influence, and trust they need to exceed their business goals.
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