Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting strangers and prospects into those leads we just talked about.
Whenever someone outside the marketing world asks me what I do, I can't simply say, "I create content for lead generation." It'd be totally lost on them, and I'd get some really confused looks.
So instead, I say, "I work on finding unique ways to attract people to my business. I want to provide them with enough goodies to get them naturally interested in my company so they eventually warm up to the brand enough to want to hear from us!"
That usually resonates better, and that's exactly what lead generation is: It's a way of warming up potential customers to your business and getting them on the path to eventually buying.
Lead generation describes the marketing process of stimulating and capturing interest in a product or service for the purpose of developing sales pipeline.
Lead generation often uses digital channels, and has been undergoing substantial changes in recent years from the rise of new online and social techniques. In particular, the abundance of information readily available online has led to the rise of the “self-directed buyer” and the emergence of new techniques to develop and qualify potential leads before passing them to sales.
Why Do You Need Lead Generation?
By showing an organic interest in your business, it's those strangers and prospects that are initiating the relationship with you -- versus you, the business, initiating the relationship with them. This makes it easier and more natural for them to want to buy from you somewhere down the line.
Within the larger inbound marketing methodology, lead generation falls in the second stage. It occurs after you've attracted an audience and are ready to actually convert those visitors into leads for your sales team. As you can see in the diagram below, generating leads is a fundamental point in an individual's journey to becoming a delighted customer of your business.
Why is Lead Generation Important?
The buying process has changed, and marketers need to find new ways to reach buyers and get heard through the noise. Instead of finding customers with mass advertising and email blasts, marketers must now focus on being found and learn to build continuous relationships with buyers.