Lead generation, which focuses on sourcing prospects, is the very first step in the sales funnel. It helps you obtain contact information from your audience members so you can nurture them through the buying process. But if you’re not speaking to leads in a way they expect – in other words, if you’re not following the latest trends – they’re likely to turn away and seek your competitors instead.

Lead Generation: 8 Important Trends for 2021

1. Conversational Marketing

The use of chatbots that can provide conversational marketing is one of 2021’s most important lead generation trends. Chatbots are powered by artificial intelligence and can interact with customers in real-time. This satisfies the craving most people have for quick responses to their questions.

Data shows that responding to a lead within five minutes is crucial to moving them through the sales funnel. But data also shows that less than 10% of companies engage within this critical time frame. Chatbots make this incredibly simple and can also capture names, contact numbers, and email addresses from leads. You can then use this info for future touch points.

Proceed with Caution

Chatbots come with a catch, however. Companies that do use them often annoy leads. To illustrate, website bots are known for bombarding visitors with notifications the moment they land on a page. This can instantly turn away a visitor. Remember that the goal is to be helpful, not spammy.

2. Voice Search Functions

Around 133 million people around the world own a smart speaker, and of that number, 66.4 million are in the U.S. alone. With this in mind, we can safely say voice search is now one of the top search methods available. Business owners have taken notice and are now scrambling to optimize their content to respond to speech searches.

What does this mean? That you want to go for long-tail keywords that closely mimic the speech patterns people use in daily language. Instead of simply saying, “best face cream dry skin,” customers are more likely to ask conversational questions like, “Alexa, what is the best face cream for dry and sensitive skin in the winter?” Web content should therefore reflect a more conversational nature. Also, use phrases that match your target audience’s language.

3. Video Content

Video marketing may have started as a trend but is today a mainstay. It skyrocketed in 2019 as over 80% of businesses began using video to attract leads, teach customers, and improve brand awareness.

Before you think that video content isn’t right for your brand, we urge you to think again. It’s multi-functional in nature and can be used to create live streams, demos, webcasts, webinars, and short informational videos. You can then post these to your website and social media platforms. Video can even be incorporated into email messages.

Explaining the Shift

Most consumers prefer to watch videos rather than read. This means that with a concise message and interesting graphics, you can easily increase client engagement and convert leads. What you can’t do is replace all your website content with videos. Instead, you need a nice blend of words and visuals to give your audience all the information they want, exactly how they want it.

4. Facebook Ad Marketing

Speculation continues to surround social media, with some naysayers claiming certain platforms are losing viability. But statistics tell us a different story, especially where Facebook is concerned. People’s addiction to scrolling, reading, and watching shows no signs of waning. In fact, around 2.5 billion active users flood Facebook every month.

From a business perspective, Facebook ads are integral to any social media marketing strategy. They bring qualified leads to your door and, as mentioned earlier, improve brand awareness. They can also be customized in a number of ways thanks to their immense targeting capabilities. If you’ve been thinking Facebook ads are things of the past, we’re here to assure you they’re not.

5. Partnering with Influencers

Businesses are increasingly pairing with influencers in respective niches to extend their marketing reach. It makes sense to incorporate this strategy – you can team with a social celebrity whose core audience is likely to be teeming with potential leads. The key is in finding those influencers who share your brand’s values.

Partnering with an influencer is a two-way street. The social celebrity must actively mention or link back to your website, and you must boldly feature their testimonial on your website. This serves as an endorsement that increases trust in your brand.

First Things First

To connect with an influencer, it’s important you tailor your approach specifically to them. Join their community, build your credibility, and then make contact. You can later connect with other social celebrities using these same steps.

6. Mobile-Friendly Marketing

It’s often preached but rarely followed: a mobile-friendly website is a must-have in today’s fast-paced climate. Regardless of who your target market is, they are likely using mobile devices to search for brands just like yours. To truly understand what we’re saying, consider this statistic: in 2020, 4.28 billion people used their mobile devices to go online. That’s over 90% of the global Internet population.

If you haven’t yet done so, look at your marketing and ensure it’s mobile-friendly. Do the case studies and white papers posted to your website convert to small screens? Is your website easy to click through with a thumb, and does it quickly scan? You’re doing yourself a real disservice by assuming leads find you by only using a personal PC. They’re more likely to browse their phones as they wait for the kids or enjoy quiet time after dinner.

7. The Trusty Telephone

Many people forget that old marketing techniques can beautifully complement those that are new. The telephone remains one of the most effective – albeit underrated – tools for lead generation. This is especially true in B2B marketing. When you speak to a prospect on the phone, you directly learn their pain points and unstated problems. With this information, you can then build a solution that ideally suits them.

A phone conversation also allows you to assess where a lead is in the purchase process. Maybe they’re just browsing right now, or perhaps they’re fully committed and ready to purchase. Direct communication additionally allows you to ask further questions and correct misconceptions. Armed with this information, you can begin to build a personal and trusting relationship.

8. Account-Based Marketing

Account-based marketing (ABM) continues to earn recognition as a great way to secure clients. It’s a strategy that focuses resources on specific target accounts. Brands then develop personalized campaigns for each of those accounts. ABM is so important that many companies employ staff dedicated solely to its tasks.
You might ask what makes ABM such a valuable strategy, and here’s the bottom line: it consistently delivers results. Rather than cast a wide and unfocused net, you identify high-value customers that ideally suit your brand. And going for a smaller number of accounts allows you to more easily track efforts and measure success.

Converting leads into customers is a little like climbing a mountain. You can’t stop with just one tactic, and it requires ongoing attention. Meanwhile, trends come and go, and you must constantly optimize the interactions you have with your audience. But rest assured you don’t have to do this alone. We’re here to help, starting with a free digital marketing snapshot report for your business. To learn more about our services, contact Life Improvement Media today.