There are countless ways to generate leads, but nearly every successful method follows the same four steps in converting an uninformed consumer into a paying customer. Those key components of a lead-gen strategy are brand awareness, relationship development, sampling, and conversion.

Understanding how a potential customer flows through this process will help you optimize your lead-gen efforts and ensure you are reaching the consumer at every stage.

1) Brand Awareness

The first step is making people aware of your brand and what you have to offer. This can involve networking events, PR events, email marketing campaigns, and even social media and content marketing. It’s best to clearly define what your brand stands for and how you want to be perceived prior to contacting potential customers. A consumer’s initial interaction with your company will have a significant impact on their likelihood of working with you or buying from you down the line.

2) Relationship Development

Once a customer knows about your brand, its up to you to maintain interest. Consistently reaching out to your audience through different marketing channels will gradually establish rapport. Customers want to deal with brands they can trust rather than companies that only care about closing the sale. This period is very sensitive because it can make or break your chances of acquiring loyal customers.  Testing out different advertising tactics and developing a cohesive message will help you get to the next step with potential leads.

3) Sampling

Sampling is not always a necessary step, but has gradually become a normal expectation for today’s consumer. Customers like knowing they’re making a good buying decision prior to purchase. An easy way to reassure them is by letting them sample the product or service you offer. Obviously, not every business model is set up to provide this free of charge; however, even in situations where a free sample is impractical, testimonials, demos, and prototypes can all give potential customers a preview of what they’d receive by choosing your brand. Make them count!

4) Conversion

If all goes well, the final step is conversion. In today’s society, this can be defined in several different ways. Whether it’s a purchase, a sign up or an enrollment, converting new customers is the overall goal for a company. Increased conversion rates signify that the marketing approaches and brand development strategies are working. After a customer converts, very little selling remains. On the other hand, it’s the start of the retention process during which companies need to be mindful of maintaining the relationship. When executed correctly, customers will remain loyal and be repeat buyers if they’re satisfied with the value received. In the best cases, they will become brand advocates and will help bring brand awareness to their friends and families, feeding stage one of your now constant lead generation cycle.

These four steps offer the framework for lead generation, but final results will depend on your efforts and messaging. If you’re looking to acquire new customers and maximize brand exposure, reach out to Madrivo today – we can help.