In marketing speak, a lead generation funnel describes a systematic approach to generating leads. A lead is not quite the same as a customer but more a potential customer who exists within your market space.

Guiding potential customers towards a place where they’re ready to part with their time or money is a multi-stage funneling process where each stage brings your target audience closer to making a purchase.

This article covers four simple steps you can follow to create a structured lead generation funnel that will work for your business.

1. Map out the customer journey for your business

When creating a lead generation funnel, it’s best to start by thinking through what a typical journey for your customer looks like.

The most common way people will first discover your website is through paid advertisements or organic search results. In order to maximize visibility from searches, many companies now have detailed search engine optimization (SEO) strategies in place.

In marketing, a modern communications platform could be an element of communicating an effective SEO content strategy. Target keywords and popular search phrases that are likely to be used can easily be shared among your team with the use of such tools.

This type of connectivity to how people are talking or searching can give SEO teams leverage when it comes to detecting shifts in trends and search intent.

Alongside advertising, SEO makes up the top of the lead generation funnel. It’s the first point of contact with potential customers. In this case, it’s assumed that people using the internet to research phrases like “what is a hunt group”, for example, will have an interest in corporate telecommunications software. They may even be in a position to make purchase decisions for their business.

For customer journeys that start with a web search, landing on your company’s home page may not occur until later in the customer journey. The first contact for your company may arise at a point in the customer journey preceded by several stages of search and research.

Understanding this emphasizes the importance of good SEO.

Once the first contact is made, the typical customer journey may still involve more research, product comparisons, further exploration of what you have on offer and doing a cost/benefit analysis that considers the value for money of the product in question. 

2. Design an effective landing page

No matter how a lead first hears about your company, the fact is that landing on your website can be a pivotal moment in the customer journey. First impressions count and in the digital age, a company’s website is one of the most important factors in how a brand is presented.

A landing page is the first page someone sees when they visit a website, and it’s likely that most site traffic will flow through it. 

The best landing pages employ a fairly minimalist design yet still make it easy to navigate to different pages. If your landing page looks busy or cluttered, try using heat maps to single out elements that people are ignoring.

Once you’ve identified these, consider whether they need to be there, and if not, remove them.

While your landing page should be simplistic, it’s also important that it effectively channels leads towards sales pages. Your main sales pages should therefore be no more than one click away from the landing page. In some cases, your landing page may also serve as an initial sales qualification point.

Use invitingly designed buttons to encourage people to further explore the website. In telecoms software for example, rather than just the names of products, a tagline such as “how to record a phone call” pulls people in and refers them to important product features.

3. Devise lead magnets

A lead magnet is a device used to turn traffic into leads. Some marketers will argue that lead magnets come above landing pages in a lead generation funnel and include advertised offers that draw people to your page. 

Others offer a more precise definition that distinguishes a lead as someone who has done more than simply visit your website. The most common metric of conversion is the number of website visitors who enter their contact details.

These visitors can then be targeted with further promotional material if they don’t fully convert into customers.

You’ll probably be familiar with the kinds of offers e-commerce websites use to entice a potential customer to provide websites with their email address. These have the benefit of making a purchase more attractive as the lead is informed of getting a better deal. But they also give you the opportunity to follow up if they don’t make a purchase on their first visit.

Other lead magnets include freebies such as PDFs, e-books, articles, webinars, and other limited, exclusive content.

Pop-up entry forms are a common way to ask for someone’s contact details but live web chat with an online ticketing system is another option to consider.

By putting website visitors in touch with a customer support agent, you have the option to mobilize multiple dynamic magnets according to the individual case.

4. Create an omnichannel lead generation strategy

It’s not uncommon for customers to come into contact with many different faces of a company before they commit to making a purchase. They may check out your social media, read reviews posted online, or get in touch with any questions they have.

Whether you are using an in-house customer support team or have contracted a CCaaS platform to deal with inquiries, your late-stage points of contact have a huge impact on turning leads into customers. 

The agents you employ to deal with inquiries also play a crucial role at the bottom of the lead generation funnel.

They will often oversee a lead’s final interaction with your company before they make a purchase and as such should be thought of as just as important as your business development team in terms of making sales.

Make sure to implement a comprehensive contact center quality monitoring program to maximize your lead conversion rate and ensure you don’t lose potential customers at the final hurdle.

The best of the rest

Besides contact center staff, other points of contact to consider are social media accounts, in-store encounters and routine communications with pre-existing customers. 

Try to create a seamless brand experience across all channels and encourage leads to step from one to the other. There’s no reason why lead magnets can’t operate across channels too—collecting email addresses in-store, or using marketing emails to promote visits to bricks-and-mortar retail facilities.