Lead generation. Customer acquisition. Competitive advantage. Six words. Who knew they could be so powerful?
Good business isn’t complicated, or so they say. It’s just a question of giving people what they want at a price they are willing to pay. But as humans, we over-complicate everything, from dinner party menus to marketing and business strategies. Possibly because we equate complexity with sophistication. It can’t be sophisticated if it’s not complicated, right? And how we all love to feel sophisticated.
But mostly, the best way to cut through the noise is not to over-complicate things. It’s with direct, simple messages that resonate with your audience. And that is where these six words hold their power.
Lead generation. Customer acquisition. Competitive advantage.
After all, who doesn’t want more of these? Who doesn’t want more leads? Better quality leads? More customers? A competitive advantage?
It’s a no-brainer, really.
The great news is that lead generation, customer acquisition and competitive advantage are the core results on which inbound marketing is based. Inbound is the science and art of generating these; of attracting high-quality visitors to your website, converting those into leads, nurturing them into customers and delighting them with your services so they, in turn, promote and recommend your company.
It’s a virtuous circle neatly summed by the Hubspot Inbound flywheel:
Strangers become prospects, prospects become customers and customers become promoters. Attract, engage, delight. Lead generation, customer acquisition, competitive advantage. It’s a simple but highly effective progression that is the foundation of growth. But what does it mean in practice?
Be honest, what function does your website serve? Is it a lead-generating machine or a brochure site differentiating your business on how much you ‘care’, your service levels and expertise? (the same tired USPs everyone else lists). Was it meant to the former but has lapsed into the latter?
And what is your strongest call to action? Contact us? A form? Does anyone fill it in?
If the answer to that is ‘not many’ don’t worry, you’re in good company. Just 2 per cent of first-time visitors to a website do go on to contact that company. And those who do are prospects that are already in the final stages of the buying process. They’ve done their research, they know what they want. They’re getting in touch to find out if you can deliver it.
That means 98 per cent of your first-time web traffic ignores your ‘contact us’ call to action and goes elsewhere, possibly to convert on a competitor’s website.
You can’t scale a company by missing out on up to 98 per cent of the prospects coming to your site, particularly if not many people are visiting it in the first place. To scale, you need capture those prospects early in their journey. When you do that, the chances of turning them into customers becomes exponentially higher. More quality leads means more quality customers. It’s a simple equation.
Lead generation is the first stage of Inbound. It employs tried and tested techniques to attract more visitors to your website and converts them at a much earlier stage in their buying journey – long before they are ready to contact you. It’s your first step to growth.
So, when you’ve generated all these leads, what do you do with them? Ignore them and hope they turn into customers by magic? Or guide and nurture them through the buying decision by being helpful, giving them value and building trust? In our experience, the latter is by far the most effective option.
The right lead generation techniques will capture leads in the early part of their journey. But they aren’t ready to make a decision at this point. They’re in research mode and there’s a whole world of information on the internet they can access to inform their journey. To stand a chance of taking them from lead to customer, your valuable, helpful content needs to play a leading role in that process.
Thankfully, this is the second step in Inbound. And it is helping, not selling. It is serving up the right information in the right way at the right time. It builds trust, demonstrates expertise, and crucially, it frames you as the solution to the issue they’re wanting to solve. In essence, the process breaks down any objections they have, one-by-one, until they are left with the only conclusion they can draw – your company is the best solution to their problem.
It sounds complicated and laborious, but it really isn’t. But it must be tailored and consistent. When it is in place, customer acquisition becomes a predictable and regular occurrence, and that is the cornerstone of growth.
Inbound delivers competitive advantage in two ways. Firstly, effective lead generation and nurturing through to customer acquisition means you will naturally have an advantage over other businesses in your vertical. The way inbound facilitates marketing team and sales team integration adds a whole new dimension to this too, because when these two are really aligned, the result is business development rocket fuel.
But inbound doesn’t stop at your sales and marketing. Inbound enables you to extend your competitive advantage to your customers, making their businesses more efficient, attractive and successful. It is by doing this that your customers become your promoters, and word of mouth spreads.
Lead generation, customer acquisition and competitive advantage. Six simple words that have the power to transform your business development strategy and therefore your business. Master these and there’s no need to over-complicate anything.
Find out how you can generate and capture more leads by downloading our free eBook The 30 Greatest Lead Generation Tricks, Tips & Ideas below.