In the latest IAB/PwC adspend study, online lead generation registered an impressive 20% growth rate over the year which shows the continuing interest in lead generation.

However, while spend is certainly increasing, there is still a lack of understanding about the industry.

The title of this post could have been 100 lead generation tips, but with the help of a few other lead generation experts I have managed to narrow the list down to the top 20 most important. 

At a recent online marketing event, I was lucky enough to be
invited to speak on a panel about lead generation which covered everything from
the state of the current market, the issues faced by lead buyers and sellers
and a sneak peak into what the future holds for the fledgling UK industry.

As part of the panel we were tasked to come up with a series
of lead generation tips for the audience and myself, Andy Purbrick from Dennis
Publishing and Sean Sewell from Performance Horizon Group put our heads
together to come up with a top 20.

1. Validate as many data
fields as possible in real-time

The more accurate the lead data, the higher the contact and
conversion rates. There are lots of available technologies that allow you to
improve the accuracy of data such as checking consumer phone numbers in
real-time, validating post codes and verifying email addresses are genuine.

2. Understand the
consumer journey

If you know how the consumer “becomes a lead” you can refine
your follow up processes to increase return on investment. This is especially
relevant for call centre follow ups where agents are paid by the hour.

example, if the consumer is expecting a free quote for an insurance product
then this needs to be factored into the scripting of the call.

3. Test and optimise

Rome wasn’t built in a day and nor are lead generation
campaigns. Just like any marketing spend, there is always room for improvement
and it takes time to maximise the ROI potential of any campaign.

This means you
need to do lots of testing and optimisation.

4. Understand the
value of your leads

Every lead has value but depending on the marketing messaging
and origination method there can be significant variation between leads for the
same campaign. There is a place for leads at different ends of the value scale
but you need to know which is which in order to optimise your spend.

5. Have a relevant conversion strategy

It might seem like an obvious point but I am always
surprised by how many times companies get this wrong. If you tell the consumer
you are going to call them then make sure you call them.

If you don’t, then not
only will the campaign not perform well, it can give your brand a bad name.

6. Don’t

There is nothing inherently wrong with an incentive but you
need to find the balance between the consumer just wanting the incentive versus
wanting to engage with your brand.

For example, if you are running a lead
generation campaign to get subscriptions to a magazine, then giving away a free
subscription of the magazine is fine but if you offer a free iPad giveaway then
you will probably just get people that want to win an iPad.

7. Clear opt-in and
privacy policy

This is important not just for regulatory reasons but also
for lead quality as well. Ultimately, if the consumer doesn’t know what they
are signing up for (or signing up at all) then they won’t be responsive to any
further communications which will impact on the performance of the campaign .

 8. Don’t make the consumer jump through too
many hoops

Naturally you want to know as much information as possible
about each consumer but you get to a point where every extra field of data you
capture or information you present to the consumer before they reach the lead
form reduces lead volumes and doesn’t improve quality.

The amount of data you
want to capture is something to test and optimise over the life of the campaign.

9. Leave your
preconceptions at the door

Quite simply, the best lead generation campaigns are the
ones that work. If the campaign looks ugly then it doesn’t necessarily mean it
will generate poor leads and if the creative execution looks amazing it might
not generate any leads at all!

The point is that only once the campaign is live
can you tell whether it performs or not, so leave your preconceptions at the
door and let the data do the talking.

10. Dedupe your leads

Why would you pay for the same lead twice? It is a waste of
time and money. Luckily there are a handful of lead platforms that enable you
to dedupe your lead supply in real-time so you only ever pay for each lead
once. When leads can cost as much as £50 per lead in some verticals, even with a
small duplication rate the potential savings are substantial.

Keep a look out for tips 11 -20…