2021 is set to be the year in which businesses look to adapt to the ‘new normal’ marketing landscape. With all industries affected in some way by the impact of COVID, lead generation tactics will come under the spotlight more than ever before.
Global lockdowns have pushed more people away from brick and mortar shopping and into the catchment area of online marketing. With more digital content being consumed, it’s fair to expect emerging trends for the year to focus on businesses attempting to adapt to audiences who are constantly online.
As we can see from the table above, the vast majority of marketers still believe that lead generation is the most challenging part of their job. However, 2021 may offer businesses a chance to reset and review their processes when it comes to winning customers.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at how you can use the changing consumer behaviour of 2020 to optimise your funnels for lead generation in 2021
Defining lead generation
In a nutshell, lead generation is the process of identifying potential customers to purchase goods or services from your business. This process is integral to marketing because it involves correctly identifying your market and audience while optimising your sales funnels to welcome potential customers who are more likely to make a purchase with your company.
Lead generation helps to prevent businesses from spending their resources on cold calling or emailing and instead on streamlining their efforts to appeal directly to the optimal audience.
This requires a complex and diverse strategy that taps into various marketing methods to develop an interest in your business. Lead generation strategies can include various tactics like content marketing, social media sales and email marketing.
The majority of businesses understand the value of lead generation and allocate the majority of their marketing budgets to help win over new customers. However, due to the drastic changes we’ve seen in 2020, lead generation has perhaps changed more significantly in such a short space of time than ever before.
Due to the significant ramifications of COVID, lead generation techniques have been forced to adapt. Let’s take a deeper look into how your sales funnels can be better optimised for lead generation in 2021:
Ramping up video content
Even before the pandemic, the trend of video marketing has been rocketing for businesses. In fact, as much as 81% of businesses used video as a marketing tool back in 2019 – an 18% rise on estimates for the year before.
As the stats above show, video content is significantly more effective than text-based content in many cases – especially when it comes to emailing leads or boosting organic search ranking.
Content like webinars, webcasts, demos, live streams and short informational videos on websites and social media are steadily rising. The reason for this shift is simply that many consumers prefer to digest video content over reading. In a post-COVID landscape where many more workers are operating from home, there’s plenty more time to enjoy watching videos online.
Businesses are much more likely to engage, impress and convert leads through the use of creative videos that can appeal to customers on more of a psychological level.
By anticipating the sorts of things users are searching for within your industry, your video content could not only become more discoverable on search engines, but it could also help to build up your trust and authority. However, it’s important to remember to configure a lead generation form to make sure you benefit from the people viewing.
The rise and rise of the influencer
More brands than ever are turning to influencers to help generate leads for them. This has been part of a set of marketing trends for some time now. In a nutshell, influencers are individuals, brands or digital entities that have authority in their digital niches – usually social media platforms. Influencers can come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from podcasters to celebrity endorsers.
According to Influencer Marketing Hub, the influencer market took its biggest-ever leap in 2020 to nearly $10 billion US dollars – a rise of $3.2bn.
Businesses can use relationships with micro-influencers to help boost their reach and engagement in a more cost-effective manner. These micro-influencers typically have around 1,000 to 1,000,000 followers, however, they habitually engage more with their followers and peers as a result – providing brands with the potential to generate more trust among prospective customers along the way.
The key reason why influencer marketing will continue to grow in 2021 is that consumers are continuing to become weary of company voices. Across Europe and the US, over three-quarters of adults agree that ‘it has become harder to trust what companies say and do.’
There are many benefits to influencer marketing too. Businesses can tap into the endorsements of someone who is already influential in their niche market and use performance-based marketing schemes to pay them based on the results they bring. Influencer marketing platforms like Grin and Upfluence can be useful in setting up automated performance tracking to ensure businesses pay for the leads they generate.
Another significant perk of influencer marketing is that influencers tend to use analytics and data to better understand their niche. By utilising an influencer that monitors their own reach, you may have a chance of better understanding your own niches.
For 2021, if you’re looking to expand your presence across various social platforms, it may be worth tapping into influencer marketing to help generate interest and trust in your product in a way that may not otherwise be possible.
Turn to (quality) content
We’re used to seeing the phrase ‘content is king,’ and while this may certainly still be the case, it might be worth adding ‘quality’ as a prefix, because in 2021, there’s little room for shoddy work in the world of lead generation.
Content can be a driving force for B2B lead generation in particular, but to ensure its success, you’ll need to conduct more planning and research to produce something that’s truly engaging.
High-quality case studies, infographics, eBooks and whitepapers can take a number of weeks to piece together when including the time it takes to research your subject, find analytical insights and write it all up – and that’s just for text-based content. The process of creating audio or video insights may be too much for a small or medium-sized marketing team to handle.
While the process of committing more time to create lead-generating content may sound daunting, its benefits could be vast. One of the most rewarding ways in which you can reach your audience is by finding some internal data that you have within your business and conducting a deep-dive analysis on it.
Just remember, in lead generation, customers are always looking for something that’s worthy enough to give up their personal information to find out more. The internet is filled with content, but very little of it can truly be regarded as ‘high quality.’
With more consumers working from home, there’s more time for high-quality content to be digested. While this means more time spent on creating content, you don’t have to fear not having the right amount of staff for the job. There’s always an option to reach out and find an external agency to create quality content on your behalf.
The power of a referral
No matter how effective lead generation can be, there are very few strategies out there that can beat good old fashioned word of mouth.
If your quality of service is high-quality, your customers will be much more likely to recommend you to their friends, family and colleagues. Endorsements like that can play an invaluable role in optimising your sales funnels for more attention and growth.
Be sure to constantly work on optimising your quality of customer service to ensure satisfaction. It may even be worth incentivising referrals for current customers by offering them some form of bonus or discount for each person they convert for you.
It’s also worth making the referrals and reviews of happy customers visible to your targets by utilising user-generated content online through emails and social media posts. By using user-generated content, you can turn your customers into the biggest brand advocates online and build a social-proof that shows you’re a trustworthy brand.
Trial and improvement
Another key facet of optimising your funnels for lead generation in the uncertain climate of 2021 is to continually monitor your performance and progress.
If you’re looking to build leads with new forms of content, always look at how you’re performing in terms of how your new traffic interacts with your website. Turn to analytical platforms like Google Analytics and Finteza to look into where traffic is arriving from and how they’re using your pages. If your video content is winning more email conversions but your webinars are failing to convert, review the structure of your webinars and the type of audience it’s attracting.
The COVID pandemic has propelled plenty of businesses towards financial uncertainty. Due to this, it’s more important than ever that you look to care for your bottom line and avoid wasting time and resources on lead generation tactics that aren’t pulling their weight.
By tapping into the right analytics platforms you can monitor your progress and decide to take action wherever you feel like you’re coming up short.
2021 is set to be another year that’s going to pose new challenges for businesses as we slowly emerge from the pandemic, and with an adaptive, forward-thinking lead generation strategy, you could outmanoeuvre your competitors in winning new conversions at a faster rate.