Lead generation funnel
Families rely heavily on their breadwinners, while B2B businesses depend on a consistent supply of leads. Like households struggling to maintain a steady income to pay bills, mortgages, children’s education, and insurance fees, B2B businesses require a consistent source of leads to operate.
However, generating leads can be challenging if you don’t have a reliable system for collecting potential clients’ contact information.
But how would one go about putting such a system in place? Setting up a landing page on the website to collect lead information or launching a few marketing campaigns mixed with endless social media posts rarely close deals. Each customer has their own needs, and unstructured activities may not address their pain points.
Should you give up? Not at all! Instead of waving a white flag, focus on building your lead generation funnel. Here are a couple of hacks you can use to make your lead generation journey less stressful and more satisfying in terms of conversions.
What is a lead generation funnel?
A lead generation funnel is all about guiding potential customers through a journey that will eventually lead to a sale.
Imagine a funnel. At the top, you have all your potential leads, and as you guide them through the different stages of the funnel, some will drop off along the way. The ones who make it to the end are your most qualified leads, and they’re the ones who are ready to buy from you.
Now, lead generation funnels can come in all shapes and sizes, depending on factors like your company size, the complexity of your sales cycle, and the types of products you’re selling.
But regardless of these variations, most lead generation funnels typically have three main stages that you need to focus on.
Let’s take a closer look at each stage and how you can optimize them to create a successful lead generation funnel.
What are the stages of the lead generation funnel?
Stage 1: Raising awareness (TOFU)
Your potential clients must first become aware of your brand to engage with it. That’s why discovery and awareness make the top of the funnel (TOFU), where you get the opportunity to introduce yourself to a potential buyer.
But how do you make them aware of your brand?
Well, it all starts with grabbing their attention. To do this, you need to provide relevant content that will tempt them to learn more about your brand. This is where indirect marketing strategies like search engine optimization, content marketing, social media marketing, and paid advertising come in handy.
Once they’re on your website, your content should be as problem-solving as possible. By providing valuable solutions, you can spark keen interest and build credibility. Your blog posts, reviews, and social media posts should all have the same goal: to provide your leads with the necessary answers.
At Snov.io, we follow these same principles to drive traffic to our website and engage with our audience:
Stage 2: Building trust (MOFU)
The middle of the lead generation funnel (MOFU) is where things start to get exciting. Visitors start slowly engaging with your brand, exploring the solutions your product has to offer them. Your main priority at this stage is to prove to leads that they’re on the right track by considering your product. You want to give them a strong impression of a pain reliever so they can finally trust you.
Keep in mind that 54% of users are willing to share their emails with brands, but they also want to feel a connection with your company first. This is where lead nurturing comes in. You need to provide your leads with something handy that they can use right away to find solutions to their queries. This could be anything from ebooks, whitepapers, and case studies, to industry-specific guides.
Here at Snov.io, we have a whole website section called SalesCheats where our current and potential customers can find first-aid solutions to the most common sales pains.
All you need to do is click the problem you’re experiencing, and voila! The solution will pop right up. And the best part? It’s fully available on a free sign-up basis.
Stage 3: Identifying leads (BOFU)
Congratulations! You’ve reached the bottom of the lead generation funnel (BOFU). This is where the rubber meets the road, and you get to find out if your hard work has paid off. But before you start popping the champagne, there’s one last hurdle to overcome – identifying which of your leads are genuinely interested in buying your product.
While you’ve successfully established a rapport with your visitors and turned them into leads, not all will be a good fit for your company. Some may simply be window-shopping, while others need that final push to become paying customers.
It’s important to sift through your leads and identify the high-value prospects most likely to convert by analyzing their reaction to your BOFU content, such as trial extensions, demos, consultations, free trials, and discount offers. After identifying high-value prospects, reach out and create a relationship to move them toward conversion.
Okay, that was about transforming strangers into paying customers, but how do you actually build a lead generation funnel? Well, let’s see!
How to build a lead generation funnel?
Whether you’re making your baby steps in lead generation or are already in the pro league, take a moment to learn or refresh your knowledge on the basics of building a lead generation funnel. It’s easier than you might think, and the payoff can be huge.
1. Define your buyer persona
The first step in building your lead generation funnel is figuring out who your ideal buyer persona is, as it will help you:
- Put yourself in the shoes of your customer
- Determine their needs, both now and in the future
- Get an understanding of the thought processes that drive their purchasing decisions
By defining your buyer persona, you can produce content that will resonate with your target audience and tailor your funnel to generate high-quality leads.
2. Create a customer journey map
Mapping out your customer’s journey is the next step to building a successful lead generation funnel. A customer journey map visually represents your customer’s interaction with your brand. It helps you understand their pain points and motivations and provides insights into improving their customer experience, resulting in higher customer retention and conversion rates.
Including pain points in your customer journey map, you can identify areas where your customers are experiencing negative emotions and work to improve them. Conversely, by pinpointing areas where your customers feel positive emotions, such as excitement or relief, you can ensure that your product or service is received positively.
Keep in mind that every industry has its own unique customer journey map. For instance, a healthcare company might focus on providing patients with clear and easy-to-understand information, while a retail store will prioritize creating a seamless in-store and online purchasing experience. Whatever your business, take the time to map out a customer journey tailored to your specific audience.
3. Expand brand awareness
After you’ve created your buyer persona and mapped out your customer’s journey, the next step is to get people to know about your brand. Let’s look at how you can use the following strategies to get your name out there.
Content marketing for brand awareness
Want to increase brand recognition? Content marketing is the way to go. By creating personalized content that speaks to your target audience, you can attract, nurture, and convert leads. But not all content is created equal. Make sure you’re tailoring your content to each stage of the lead generation funnel.
Need ideas? Blog posts, social media posts, videos, and infographics work great at the TOFU. For the MOFU, consider downloadable content like eBooks, special reports, and case studies. And for those at the BOFU, free trials and discount offers can encourage them to become loyal customers.
Pro-tip: Take a look at what your competitors are doing and see what you can learn from it. Then, make something even better.
Social media for brand awareness
Social media is a powerful tool for expanding brand awareness. In fact, 90% of businesses rely on it to achieve this goal. So, how can you use it to your advantage?
Here are a few pointers:
- Choose the right platforms. Figure out where your audience is most active and focus on those channels.
- Optimize your social media profiles to make it easier for people to connect with your brand.
- Use popular hashtags to make it easier for people to find relevant posts and discover your brand.
- Engage with your followers and other brands, participate in popular discussions, and speak up!
- Tag a lot! Tag influencers, partners, and current clients to extend your online presence.
- Don’t forget about newsjacking! Create posts around trending news to stay relevant and top of mind
- Consider hosting live events to interact with potential customers on a more personal level.
4. Bring in traffic to your lead generation funnel
Now that you’ve laid the foundation for your lead generation funnel, it’s time to start driving traffic to it. There are two main ways to bring in visitors: inbound and outbound methods. Here’s how you can approach both of them.
Inbound lead generation
Creating digital assets that appeal to your website visitors is a necessary step in the inbound lead generation process. The key is to ensure the content you produce is geared toward the audience you want to attract.
Leverage organic traffic
Organic search refers to people finding your product online without you paying for it. To drive organic traffic to your lead generation funnel, create search engine-friendly content and use common SEO practices:
- Add keywords to your content
- Build backlinks to your blog posts
- Make sure your content reflects user intent
- Work on your website UX to create a positive image of your business
These tips will work great at the TOFU stage.
Paying to advertise your content to your target audience is another way to drive leads to your lead generation funnel. You can promote your content through search engines (Google Ads, Bing Ads), social media platforms (Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads), or other websites. However, you’ll need to conduct keyword research to ensure you bid on the right keywords and reach the right audience.
Social media has become a powerful platform for both B2B and B2C businesses to attract potential customers and build relationships. When used correctly, it can make your content go viral. But this can only happen if you write posts your target audience finds interesting.
An email list is one of the most valuable assets you can have as a business. If you have a list of contacts, you can send your leads emails with links to content that moves them down your sales funnel. Since you’ve already talked to your subscribers, they are more likely to trust and click your links. If you haven’t contacted your email list in a while, start with an email campaign that reminds them how they joined your list.
Outbound lead generation
Outbound lead generation tactics are another great way to drive traffic to your funnel. This is how you can reach out to people who are not yet familiar with your product and bring them into your leads generation funnel. Some common approaches you can use include:
Cold email outreach
If you’re emailing people or businesses you’ve never worked with before, be sure to follow the best practices for cold emailing:
- Learn as much as possible about your target audience
- Create catchy subject lines
- Make your cold emails more personal
- Keep your emails brief and to the point
When done correctly, cold emailing can give you incredible results and increase the flow of leads into your sales process.
Social media outreach
In addition to producing and promoting content on social media, you can also drive leads to your lead generation funnel by directly contacting them. This involves sending direct messages on their preferred social media networks.
Below are some basic tips you can use to optimize your social media outreach:
- Make the relationship public. This entails responding to and engaging with your prospects’ posts, so they become acquainted with you.
- Bring value before asking your leads for something. Make sure your first communication doesn’t turn off your prospect by demanding anything of them right away.
- Personalize! Another mistake many people make when sending direct messages is sending pre-written texts. Altering the names is the only attempt they make at personalization. Adding personalized photos to your direct messages is an excellent way to take a personal approach to your leads to the next level.
5. Create a database and convert your leads
At this point in your lead-generation process, you should be getting a good number of leads. But what do you do with all those email addresses?
A good customer relationship management (CRM) system can help. Not only does it serve as a database for your list of contacts, but it also helps you:
- Segment your list
- Score your leads
- Manage your leads and the sales pipeline from one platform
- Simplify all sales processes
Using a CRM is also a game-changer when converting leads into paying clients. Why? Because of how well CRMs work at making customers happy! Automating the lead nurturing process with a CRM system guarantees that each lead receives the appropriate (customized) material at the ideal time. This way, they can easily progress through your sales funnel.
One of the great tools available to link up your sales processes is Snov.io CRM. With it, you can find, verify, manage, reach out, and convert leads within one single platform. And the best part? You can access the CRM functionality for free just by signing up!
So why wait? Start building your lead generation funnel today!
The growth of your business and sales depends on your ability to identify interested individuals who could benefit from your product and guide them through the journey from initial interest to making a purchase. The higher this number, the greater your chances of success.
This is what a lead generation funnel is all about. It serves as your roadmap for guiding potential customers from their first encounter with your brand to their final decision to buy from you. By building an accurate lead generation funnel, you can gain more control over your leads and their potential behaviors, ultimately directing them toward the outcome YOU desire.