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What Is A Lead?

Of all the marketing words used today, “lead” is probably the most overused and the least understood. Terminology can obviously change over time, but for marketers “lead” has become an interchangeable word used to describe any of the following:

  • A name found on a paid for data list or social media ad
  • Someone asking a question about a product via Facebook
  • Someone who has read a specific landing page on your website but taken no further action
  • Someone whose profile and lifestyle fit the exact consumer persona’s you’ve developed for your client

In short, a “lead” is the description we identify anything with that could possibly indicate the opportunity for a conversion or sale.

But, let’s stop and really consider what “lead” should mean. First off, a “lead” should be someone who has taken an action on your website or through your sales team that you have previously identified as one leading to a purchase or desired conversion. Secondly, a “lead” doesn’t mean that person is a customer or that he or she will buy anything.

In order for a purchase or conversion to occur, the “lead” must be a strong one satisfying all the criteria in your typical “purchaser” persona. They must meet the following criteria to be considered a strong lead:

  • They must have a NEED for your product or service
  • They must have the FINANCIAL ABILITY to purchase your product or service
  • They must have previously INTERACTED with you in someway before
  • They must be in the later stage of the BUYING PROCESS

A “strong” lead is one that’s worth pursuing or engage with via re-marketing strategies such as Facebook re-marketing ads created using unique pixels. See Facebook Business for more information.

Marketing consultant Peter Baynes’ “Do you know what a lead is?” article on LinkedIn is a great resource for helping you to define what constitutes a good lead. He offers some great questions for helping you to identify this “lead” and also offers some suggested reading for beginners.

In short, not every inquiry or action on your website or via your social media pages should be considered a lead. If you pursue that path, you will waste valuable time and resources trying to attract customers with the appropriate interests but not the optimal buying stage qualities.

Another tip? Review your customer’s’ buying cycle and activity before designing lead generation plans. This will help you identify where, when and why they are taking action and what and who is ultimately making the purchase or conversion you’d like to see.

Have questions? Contact us today and we’d be happy to talk lead generation with you!

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