How To Find Qualified Leads
The top question many businesses ask is how to find qualified leads. In today’s marketplace, having a website, and expecting the dollars to roll in is a fool’s errand. There is more competition than ever before, and business owners are less likely to seek out new ways to spend money. You need to put yourself in front of them.
What is a Qualified Lead for Your Business?
A qualified lead is a potential customer who has actively sought out your business and freely provided contact information to you, allowing you to follow up with them. While using purchased email lists and cold calling can generate leads, they are not qualified leads. They could be vetted, in fact, they should be vetted first, but that’s the distinction. A lead can only qualify themselves, and qualification occurs when they decide to contact you directly and of their own accord.
When considering a marketing strategy to develop leads, inbound marketing should be at the top of the list. Inbound marketing is designed to generate qualified leads and is key to drawing in your desired audience.
What Makes a Lead Qualified?
For a lead to be qualified, they should fit within the following criteria:
- Opted-In: A qualified lead will request to receive communications from you. In other words, they will convert.
- Decision Maker: Your message attracts the attention of people who are or are able to influence the decision-makers or, better yet, actually sign the checks.
- Proven Interest: They read and subscribe to your blog or follow you on social media. They are doing their research.
The main driver of qualified leads will be your content. Your content should showcase your services or your ability to solve the problems which are holding their business back. SEO and content marketing can leverage your content and generate qualified leads; however, they are a long-term process and can take some time to gain traction. Social media can utilize the same content and generate qualified leads at a faster rate.
How to Use Social Media to Find Qualified Leads
Qualified leads can be obtained by taking advantage of your social media platforms, specifically LinkedIn. The most effective method to use would be to join groups that contain the types of leads you're interested in cultivating.
Some tips for using social media to generate leads are:
- Make sure the group is a good fit for your business
- Become genuinely involved with the group
- Provide content that is of value
- Learn what type of marketing the group is posting and responding to
- This step is critical because no one wants to be 'marketed' to, and if you use a heavy hand, you may alienate your peers and hinder your ability to obtain leads.
What about Facebook? Facebook is a valuable resource for lead generation; we primarily focus on Facebook for our business' social media marketing. Fortunately, once you have your content, it doesn't take much to share it on your other social media platforms, you may have to adjust your messaging due to differences in demographics, but the hard part is over.
Moreover, while you're focused on serving content to an audience most likely to convert, you never know where those sources may lie. We've spoken about the ability for off-brand content to generate qualified leads, so don't be afraid to 'think outside the box' from time to time.
Lastly, using content to generate leads requires more than posting a blog or a tweet and forgetting it. For your content to be effective, you must have a well-developed SEO and content marketing plan in place to promote it. Moreover, when using content to generate leads, your audience must find your content and be willing to read it, and go the extra step to complete your contact form.
How to Get Leads to Complete a Form
Lead generation often occurs in stages. Very rarely will a business benefit from an impulse buyer interested in them. The reality is, most leads are at first consideration-stage buyers who will need convincing. These potential leads benefit from learning more about your services and are positioned between the first stage of content consumption and the final stage of form completion of your funnel.
To turn consideration-stage buyers into qualified leads, you must give them the information they need to make a decision. Moreover, you must 'sweeten' the pot, giving them a reason to share their information. People understand that their contact information has value, and they simply won't give it away without receiving something of value in return. The best way to sweeten the pot is to offer a quality deliverable.
Quality deliverables can include case and success studies, white papers, and product demos. These deliverables provide tangible proof and help sell yourself to potential leads. This confirmation of your expertise is crucial to assisting consideration-stage buyers in getting to 'yes.'
Tips to Increase Your Qualified Leads
However, while many leads may be technically qualified, they may not be a good fit. Before your sales team makes contact, you should try and filter out as many disqualified leads as you can. Your contact form is the perfect tool to apply those filters.
When designing your contact form, instead of generic questions, use this opportunity to gain as much information as possible about the lead. This will allow you to not only determine whether or not the lead is qualified but tailor your response to their specific needs when you contact them. Some questions to ask are:
- Would you like more information about our services? A yes or no checkbox keeps it simple but also indicates a level of interest for your sales team to work with.
- What is your current budget? This can help you determine whether or not the lead has an understanding of what type of resources they will have to commit to having their needs met or if they are just too big or too small for you.
- What are your most significant issues or challenges? This will help you determine whether or not your services can help them.
By 'pre-qualifying' your leads, you increase your sales team's ability to be successful and productive because they aren't chasing leads with a low chance of a conversion.