Quite often we’ll hear from a business that their website just doesn’t work for lead generation. Either it doesn’t generate leads or if it does they are just plain bad. They tell me they’d rather stick to referrals, or cold calls. They also usually complain that growing their sales is difficult.

The truth is the problem here is not the medium but the execution. Your website should be your BEST driver for generating quality leads. If it’s not there is usually something wrong.

An ideal and fully optimized system will use valuable content and lead capture forms to turn anonymous web visitors into leads. A well crafted nurture drip will engage those leads and turn them into fully qualified sales opportunities. The best part is that anybody can build this nowadays, and easy-to-use tools exist that make it a breeze. Non-marketers should not feel overwhelmed about trying to make this happen.

Below is NorthIQ’s 3 step process for creating a functioning lead generation program.

Step 1: Create Valuable Content in PDF Format

I know I know, I’ve heard it all before. Why would we give something away for free? It costs money to create content!

The fact is to generate leads, engage them with your business, and ensure they are ready to buy you need to offer them some value for very little in return. The idea here is to generate some content in the form of a download, or webinar that will offer some value without giving them all the value of your product/service. Let me give you an example – if your business sells hot pepper seeds, you might offer planting instructions, or a hot pepper scale.

Put that valuable content behind a small gated form that captures the information you need to be able to market to them further, like email, first name etc. Once they are in your database they are in your world. If you aren’t sure how to build a lead capture form and store them this we have a step by step guide here.

Ensure that you make creating this content and using it as a lead generation tool a priority.

Try this:

  1. Create a PDF that offers value, solves a challenge, or is generally interesting to potential customers
  2. If you’re worried about getting a really professional design our suggestion is not to. Use Powerpoint to design it, and get it out there. You can always make it better later. The most important thing is to ensure the content is valuable, not that it wins design awards.
  3. If this applies to your business there are other potential types of content pieces you could use – Webinars, Free Trials, Training videos. It’s up to you.

Step 2: Put a Lead Capture Gate on your Content

Once you have a valuable content that your potential customers would be excited to get you need to begin capturing their information in your CRM. Your lead capture form should initially ask very little in return and will deliver the valuable PDF that you created in the above step. Remember the goal here is to add value to your prospects, not to financially benefit from the initial engagement. NorthIQ recommends that you require only their name and email address. Don’t worry, you’ll learn more about them later as we begin to improve upon the work we’ve done.

Once a lead is in your database you gain a valuable resource that can be carefully engaged and nurtured. You can add value for them, answer questions they may have, talk about your organization and your product or service. Collecting the right data also provides your sales team with valuable insight about who that prospect is and what motivates them.

Putting a carefully crafted lead capture form on your website that delivers a very valuable PDF file that you created will help you generate leads to the traffic that is already coming to your site and allow you to generate leads immediately.

Try this:

  1. If you are already using a marketing automation tool it will be easy for you to create a page with a lead capture form and embed that onto your site. It’s also easy to create an email which will send that download. Go ahead and create that and publish it.
  2. If you aren’t using any marketing automation tool it might be more difficult to create these pieces but rest assured you can definitely still do this. Create a Lead Capture Form in Mailchimp. You can also learn more about what a marketing automation service has to offer to see if it’s right for you.

Step 3: Carefully Engage Your Leads With Email Content

A lot of marketing organizations wash their hands of a lead once it comes in the door. They fire it off to sales and congratulate themselves on a job well done. The reality is the journey of that lead to a potential buying decision has only just begun. The most important tactic to develop a lead into a qualified sales opportunity now is to carefully engage them with email content.

By using the automation or campaign functionality of your marketing automation tool you can begin sending automated email content that engages your leads. If you have an automation tool it’s fairly easy to get this started. Don’t overload them with content, understand from their point in the sales cycle what might be useful and in what volume, craft that content, and send it.

If you don’t have the luxury of a marketing automation tool there is cheaper or free software out there that can still perform this functionality quite easily. And you don’t need to be a designer or coder to make it happen!

Try this:

  1. If you don’t have a marketing automation tool you should consider investing in an affordable solution like Mailchimp that still gets the job done.
  2. Write down in paper the content you think your brand new leads should be getting, and in what volume. Keep in mind this is not the time to SPAM leads, it’s the time to treat them like little nuggets of gold.
  3. Use your software to create beautiful emails, and schedule them to go out. You can use this guide to get started on how to accomplish this.

What’s Next? Scaling Your Lead Generation

Now that you have a functioning lead generation system you need to begin thinking about how to advance it and scale your lead volume. One of the ways NorthIQ has accomplished this is using a 2 or 3 tiered approach to lead capture forms where the more complex the free download, the more questions are asked on the form. We start slowly with the small forms, and then email followup content that requires slightly more information about the lead. The lead has happily given you additional information about themselves because you’ve proven you enjoy helping them.

Begin thinking about the types of content that you might be able to provide a lead to further engage them. Perhaps it’s a piece of software that answers their questions, or a webinar that provide deep insight. Additionally you’ll need to consider what other pieces of information will help you understand the buying intent of a lead.  – perhaps about their budget.

Now that you’re familiar with how to build a simple program, adding complexity on to it should be easier to understand and execute upon.