You’ll hear many marketing jargons when your small business goes live, including “leads” and “customers.” The latter is hardly jargon, but when marketing, “customer” must refer to a specific person and their traits. They can’t be anyone who buys your products. Though any consumer might take an interest in your product, they’re not necessarily one of your customers.
On the other hand, a lead, or sales lead, is often mentioned in many sales and marketing articles. It is sometimes called “prospect.” As its name suggests, a prospect is someone who might become a customer. A lead means the same thing, but it also has a few differences from a prospect.
First, let’s distinguish between attracting leads and attracting customers:
Generating Sales Lead
A lead is a prospect that hasn’t been qualified as a customer yet. Therefore, generating leads is the entry point of a sales funnel. Leads are within your target market, but you don’t know much about them yet.
There are two types of leads: “cold leads” and “warm leads.” A cold lead is a person with minimal data to suggest turning into a customer. On the contrary, a warm lead has done something that indicates that they might be interested in your product or service. For example, they signed up for your newsletter, shared your social media content, or activated their email alerts for your special promos.
A warm lead can turn into a prospect. Again, a prospect refers to someone who might become a customer. But in their case, they are already qualified. They’ve shown all the characteristics and actions that identify them as customers. For instance, they showed up at a brand event. Or if you are a B2B business, they responded to your emails.
You might also come across the terms “sales qualified leads (SQL)” and “marketing qualified leads (MQL).” They also refer to prospects, but they have distinct definitions. An SQL has been qualified by marketing and sales, while an MQL has been qualified through marketing analytics tools. Hence, the SQL is more likely to become the customer between the two.
Generating leads isn’t the same as attracting customers because the two have different objectives. You’re not yet looking to sell a product when you increase your leads. On the other hand, you’re already stressing sales when increasing your customer base.
That said, here are some ways to generate leads:
Identify Your Target Audience
You can’t reach out to a lead without a target audience in mind. So, identify the characteristics of your ideal customer, and find leads who possess those qualities.
Choose Promotional Methods Wisely
To bait leads successfully, promote through the channels they use. For instance, if they use Instagram, post your promotional media there, not on Twitter.
Create a Sales Funnel
A sales funnel is a process that gathers all leads in one place, like a landing page of a link. For instance, send your website’s latest articles to your leads’ emails. But omit the article’s body in the email copy. Instead, let your leads click a link that will take them to your website so that they can read the full article. The leads who read the full article and engage with your website in other ways go down the funnel until they become customers.
Use Social Media
Using social media is the easiest and cheapest way to generate leads. Advertise or post your website’s content on your social media pages. Integrate Kentico on your website to do this. Kentico is a headless content management system (CMS) that can help you to optimize your website’s content for all platforms and devices.
Generating leads is one way to attract customers. But if you want to grow your customer base, these are the strategies you should use:
Define Your Target Market
If you need more customers, it means your current target isn’t enough to meet your goals. Hence, you can broaden your definition or find another market niche. Find new leads based on your current target market.
Improve Your Offers
In some cases, you don’t need a new market, just an improvement in your offers. Consider enhancing the quality of your products or services to attract as many of your current customers as you can.
Increase Your Offers
Maybe your customers are getting bored with your offers already. If that’s the case, add new products or services to your offers, ensuring that they suit your customers’ needs.
Develop a customer loyalty program to encourage your customers to transact with you again and stay loyal to your business.
As you have seen, generating leads and attracting customers consist of entirely different strategies. Don’t confuse the two as you run your small business. Doing one strategy with the wrong goal can be a recipe for disaster.