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Lead Generation vs Lead Nurturing: What's the Difference?

by Darrell Evans . July 10, 2020
Learning the difference between lead generation and lead nurturing could make your marketing efforts smarter and more valuable.

Is your company good at identifying leads for your products or services, but not so great at turning those leads into actual clients? Or are you good at maintaining a small number of loyal customers, but wish you could reach more people for a larger client pool and more sales? Lead generation, the process of finding new potential customers for a business, is not as easy as it might seem. Similarly, taking potential buyers and turning them into actual customers, a process called lead nurturing, may stymie others. Read on to learn the differences between lead generation vs lead nurturing, as well as how to develop your lead generation and lead nurturing skills so you can build your customer base with brand fans who appreciate your business and products.

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Take Your Potential Customers on a Journey

A lead is a potential new customer who has shown an interest in your company’s product, service, or brand. Capitalizing on this interest is how a business builds their client base – through these leads. But what are the best ways to develop leads and cultivate their interest? One of the best methods is through inbound marketing.

Businesses have found that inbound marketing, a business approach where you attract the attention of your leads through the creation of content that is tailored to them, can get more potential customers to become actual clients. These businesses know that today’s buyers are savvy about items and services they wish to purchase. They like to do research and get information to ensure they are buying the product that will best serve their needs. To assist these potential customers in determining their company’s product will be the best fit, businesses are learning to use inbound marketing tools like content marketing, social media, blogs, events, and others to attract attention for their brand.

Through the use of inbound marketing techniques, businesses are able to take their potential clients on a journey that starts with recognizing a brand and ends with the customer making a purchase. This more customized way of connecting with leads has proven much more successful than bombarding interested parties with tons of information. A personalized approach, where the brand manages to speak to exactly what the customer is looking for works much better. This method can help a business with lead generation that can turn into more lead nurturing as inbound marketing tools convert interested visitors to your blog, social media, or other marketing device into true customers and promoters of your brand and business.

What is Lead Generation?

Lead generation is the marketing process of stimulating interest in your business’s product or service with the goal of converting that interest into a sale. Companies use inbound marketing strategies, such as email marketing, content marketing, and online advertising to help them generate leads that are considering purchasing their products or services. Online web forms are a popular way to collect a lead’s contact information, so that the sales department can reach out to the lead and work to make a sale.

Some of the benefits of lead generation include:

  • Generate awareness – Lead generation shares information about your products or services and helps to build your brand. Once your brand is well-known, it will be stronger and more popular in your target markets.
  • Target desired customers – Lead generation helps brands narrow down the correct audience for a product or service. It reduces the number of people you are trying to market to and directs your efforts to the ones most likely to make a purchase.
  • Collect information on prospective clients – Lead generation gives you a way to collect important information on potential customers. It tells you what the lead is interested in and allows you to tailor your marketing approach to meet the buyer’s needs.

Get More Leads with These Lead Generation Tactics

Using some tried and true lead generation tactics will definitely help your company build a list of potential clients. A few of these methods include:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – SEO is a very powerful inbound marketing tool for helping with lead generation. It is a digital marketing strategy that boosts your brand’s website for online search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and others. It will help put your company’s site at the top of search results and help your brand’s reputation grow.

Content Marketing – Content marketing is creating valuable content that your company places on its blog, website, or social media channels to catch the attention of your target audience. This content is tailored to topics that your potential customers would find interesting and informative. It is also optimized for search engines (SEO), so it can be easily found by leads performing online searches.

Social Media Marketing – This tactic focuses on using your company’s social media channels to help build your brand and interact with potential clients. Creating posts and content that can attract interested buyers and replying to comments made by visitors to your accounts, you can start to build a relationship with potential customers and share information about your brand.

Social Media Advertising – Just like social media marketing, advertising on social media platforms can attract new leads. Users may just be browsing their Facebook (FB) news feed when they see an ad your company placed with FB. When they move to Instagram, you could have another advertisement on that application, reminding a user about your products and services, and generating more interest for your brand.

Email Marketing – Email marketing is just what it sounds like – emails to potential leads. But, it is not just an email message. It is content, offers, product updates, and more. Emails can be easily tailored to specific target groups, so this is a great way to send more specific information to particular sets of people.

Related: 8 Ways How to Generate Leads Without Cold Calling

What is Lead Nurturing?

Lead nurturing is the process of building a relationship with potential buyers. Companies use this process to turn interested prospects into loyal customers. Lead nurturing occurs with help from automated workflows and marketing campaigns that focus on the needs or interests of the possible clients and thus gaining the leads’ attention and trust.

Some of the benefits of lead nurturing include:

  • Build your reputation as a trusted leader in your field – By answering a prospect’s questions during the process of lead nurturing, you position your business as one that understands its industry and specific consumers, building leads’ trust. The more trust you build, the more you become known as a subject matter expert and an industry leader.
  • Identify needs – Communicating with your target audience will help you understand what they want and need. You can find out if there is a product or service lacking that your audience would purchase.
  • Easily obtain feedback – Sending out surveys through your inbound marketing channels can help you get feedback on your current products and services from leads and customers.

Push Leads Down the Sales Funnel with These Lead Nurturing Tactics

Lead nurturing techniques that have worked for numerous businesses include:

Social Media Outreach – Monitoring social media channels for mentions of your brand is a good method for lead nurturing. If someone is asking others for advice on one of your products, you can step in and share information on your brand or reach out directly to discuss your company and the benefits of your services.

Personalization – Be personal when reaching out to leads. Use the potential buyer’s name or location and tailor your communications to their market, industry, and potential uses for your products or services. People like to know you are paying attention and that you care about them – it can really help sway them to your brand if they are on the fence!

Educate – Use your marketing tools (such as email marketing or automated workflows) to share information on your company, brand, products, and anything else you deem important. By educating potential buyers on what your business has to offer, they will learn if your product is the best fit for their current need – or a future need. Also, they will appreciate you for sharing your knowledge and may direct colleagues to your company so they can gain information as well.

Content Creation – Through getting to know your leads, you will get to know their pain points and where they need help. You can take this information and develop content that directly targets these areas. Include links to this content in your communications, and leads will appreciate you sharing ideas and tips.

Multi-Channel Marketing – While email marketing reaches a good deal of potential customers, it is not the only way to go. By using a variety of channels – social media, blogs, podcasts – you will ensure that you are being seen by a wide range of audiences.

Test, Analyze, and Improve

Lead generation and lead nurturing processes are on-going efforts that will be used long-term to help your business continually find potential customers and convert them to clients. The best way to maximize the effectiveness of your techniques is to test and optimize your methods. Through something as simple as an A/B Test, where you measure the effectiveness of two different versions of a component, like an email subject line, you can mold your strategies to be more effective. The results of your tests should be analyzed, and your strategies and processes updated and improved to maximize the return you get for your efforts.

Make Sure Your Business Implements Both Lead Generation and Lead Nurturing Strategies

Lead generation and lead nurturing are both important processes businesses need to use to identify potential customers and turn those potentials into loyal, paying clients. Through the methods we have discussed here, your company can build a solid customer base and relationships with those customers that will keep them coming back for your products and services for years to come. If you are still wondering how lead generation and nurturing could work for your brand, contact Yokel Local for assistance with strategies that can strengthen your sales and marketing teams.

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