The first and most important step of online lead generation is to understand your customers – what do they want and how can you meet their needs? Once you have established this strong foundation, you can develop a strategy with lead generation tactics that allow you to engage with your customers at the right time and in the right way.

Know your target prospect 

Before optimizing your online lead generation strategy, it is essential to understand your leads. Developing a lead-centered strategy will not only increase your sales, but you can also discover ways to streamline your efforts. For example, understanding where your leads are most active can allow your company to transfer your efforts to those profitable outlets. Sometimes a slight tweak in content, timing, or communication platform can make the difference in a sale. You can also discover which communication strategies are most capable of boosting conversion rates. Realizing these differentiators can help your company develop a strong, results-oriented plan.

Create (and maintain) a powerful website 

A website can be much more than a page of content, thanks to the wide range of options available. Be sure to have your contact information easily visible as a call to action. Make the most of the optional features like a strategic blog, live chat, and submission forms or information requests to track website engagement and conversions. The key to an effective website is to have readily available content for users in all stages of the lead cycle, which allows them to learn about your company on their own time, easily contact you when they decide to, and find more detailed information when they’re interested in things like white paper downloads and form submissions. Use the “give to get” philosophy: you have to give content in order to receive interest to show users that you are a trusted resource. Users have to “get to give.” Sites with low content levels and many calls to action tend to look spammy and untrustworthy. Users are unlikely to fill out a form (give their personal information) until they read quality information about your company and become more interested (get information).

Leverage social media 

Social media can be a wasted effort if companies don’t develop a strategy. There are several different platforms in which companies can create accounts, making it vital to do some research on the most relevant and effective options. If your company has created an informative, sales-boosting and interactive content strategy, you should know whether your leads are actually benefiting from these efforts and that you eventually see an increase in conversions. Also, make sure to be available for conversation on social media and other online platforms so that when your leads do become ready to purchase, you’re at the top of their minds.

Dare to be different 

Consider a different perspective when you are creating an online lead generation strategy. Look at your company as if you were a lead. Think about what you would need as a potential buyer. How can your company best meet those needs? Are there any needs that your company doesn’t offer that could be of use to your leads? You can also look through your competitors’ efforts to get ideas and initiate the brainstorming process. If you’re having a hard time getting in your leads’ minds, try creating a referral program and let your leads increase sales.

There are endless possibilities when it comes to online lead generation. Instead of simply focusing on a website as the be-all-end-all of lead generation or thinking social media is the only creative option, consider the various ways to make the most of these platforms as well as new ways to access your customers online so that you can stand out and remain relevant.