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Lead generation, simply put, is a combination of marketing activities that target each stage of a buyer’s journey to create awareness, spike their interest and eventually forge a customer relationship with them, thereby, converting their initial interest to a sale. The priority of marketing departments in most companies is to find, groom, and convert good leads into customers. Traditionally, lead gathering depended on brick-and-mortar methods such as door-to-door calls and open call advertisements in mass media but today it has evolved to become more specific and targeted, thanks to digital marketing and branding.

Digital marketing is one of the most rewarding lead generation strategies that B2B enterprises have at their disposal. It is a large pie that has many, many slices to it. At its core, it is about being present at the start of a customer’s buying journey and providing them with relevant content, information, and specifics to lead them into ultimately choosing your business. What differentiates your brand from another are the methods and means you employ to guide them through their customer journey.

A big slice of the digital marketing pie and a very pertinent way to generate leads online is through content marketing. Content, in digital marketing, is a valuable yet underrated asset of any organization. The more relevant information you put out about your brand, the higher the chances are of getting leads. Every potential customer will trawl the internet for information, features, prices, reviews, and more, and it is up to you to ensure that your brand is among the first, if not the first, to greet them. The real challenge, however, is to guarantee that your brand stays alive in their minds right through their research phase almost becoming an unconscious standard against which other similar products are being measured. In case of B2B enterprises, content may be the biggest decider. Easy step-by-step guides, infographics, well-structured and functional answers to FAQs are all determining factors that will help convince your lead that your product is indeed the best one for them. We are psychologically wired to trust products that we know the most about, and that is how content influences choice. So a good place to start off will be to build a great, strong and reliable repository of content for your brand.

Branding is another slice of the pie, one that cannot be separated from content exclusively but is still a powerful tool on its own. Leveraging social media for your content will not only connect you to a pool of potential customers but will also double as a brand building tool. Brand building itself is akin to human beings building social reputation. You are more likely to follow the advice given to you by a reputed subject matter expert rather than one you have never heard of. Social media will help you build a community of customers who know you well and can vouch for you. The stronger this community the more likely a new customer is to trust and rely on you. Think of this simple exercise – if you hear an unverified piece of information from a stranger you are likely to discard it as hearsay, gossip even, but when that information is relayed to you by a trusted acquaintance you are more likely to pay attention to it. Branding is as simple as that, building credibility as a domain and subject matter expert to position your company as a leader in the industry.

Leads are great but great leads are better. It is important to define your target market very specifically. A mistake brands make in digital marketing is, defining the target audience loosely. It dilutes your prospects and it makes it difficult to create effective communication to interest the audience. It makes more sense to have many audience segments based on a pool of common traits. Most digital marketing firms now depend on micro-targeting, where their target audiences are grouped into tiny segments based on a set of commonalities and the communication for each set is different, making it specific and personalized. And this is where digital marketing is different from traditional marketing, in the fact that you can make marketing as specific as you want.

It is for this precise reason that I call it an art. It is up to you as the marketer, to really understand your brand well enough to know how to market it and to know your audience well enough to know exactly whom to market to. It is a fine combination of product demand, consumer behaviour, knowing when to be present, where to be present and how to be present to attract business. Digital marketing and building brand awareness to generate leads is a game of patience but when you succeed the fruit of your efforts is most sweet.

– Vinay Rao, VP, Marketing & Communications