During the past couple of years, lead generation best practices have undergone significant changes. The days of lead generation consisting primarily of a sales staff cold calling a potential list of buyers and a marketing team focusing on awareness and brand-building are a thing of the past. While these tasks still have their place in lead generation, they have become smaller components in a much more extensive pursuit. With multiple new, proven lead generation best practices out there, such as content marketing and marketing automation, the entire practice has changed quite a bit.

Research and testing

The first step in research is identifying a target audience. Consider both demographic data and psychographic information. What type of message platforms and calls to action are appropriate for this audience? When you learn the needs and preferences of your potential customers, you can create tailored campaigns that deliver a higher return on investment for your money.

In order to keep improving your performance, you must have testing aspects in your lead generation programs. For a large target audience, take a small sample and run a campaign or a part of a campaign with them. For a small target audience, split the group in half and run direct split testing to view side-by-side performance.

Focusing on the entire sales life cycle

The modern lead generation process begins considerably earlier in the buying cycle than it ever has in the past. Marketers can use webinars, social media, and article sharing to determine what type of information their prospective customers need. Eventually this education process moves into lead nurturing, which pushes customers to consider making purchases. It is critical for marketers to select lead nurturing software that focuses on management of the entire lead life cycle from initial engagement to the sale.

Increased focus on social media and content marketing

As lead generation practices have changed over the last couple years, there has been an increased focus on social media and content marketing.

  • Social media. The two most important aspects of social media for lead generation best practices are to integrate your social networks and get to know your prospects. You should only spend about 20 percent of your time on social media advertising and promoting products and services. The remaining 80 percent should be spent on offering valuable content and conversing with customers.
  • Content marketing. The bottom line is that marketers use content marketing because it improves customer engagement. The content should suit the needs of the customers and help them be more productive with their jobs. Once you have engaged your customers, encourage them to leave feedback and share the content. Provide regular content to keep customers around.