Digital Leads Are NOT the Same as Referral Leads

Regardless of the industry or the type of business you run, we are all after leads. Leads- which can also be considered potential clients- drive your business forward and allow you to keep growing. However, garnering new leads isn’t always straightforward, especially when there are different types of leads and different ways each prospect enters your ecosystem.

Here, we’re exploring the difference between digital leads and referral leads, and how to make your digital lead generation efforts successful.

The Difference Between Referral Leads and Digital Leads

It is very important to recognize that digital leads are not the same as referral leads; they are at the very early stages of their process and they require multiple touch points before consideration. “One of the common pieces of feedback we hear is that digital leads are not always the best quality…however, we have seen first-hand, that when there is a tight process in place to vet and nurture a digital lead, that conversion rates are actually pretty strong,” says David Broudie, CSO of SocialEyes Communications.

It is all about recognizing that not all leads are created equally, and we have to stop treating them as such. Let’s define:

Referral leads are from past or current clients. When a paying patron of your business gives you the name of someone they know, it means that the lead has already been vetted and qualified to some capacity by the referrer. There is a higher chance that that lead will eventually buy from you than someone window shopping your offerings.

A digital lead enters your sales funnel through one of your inbound or outbound digital marketing strategies. For example, a follower of your brand’s Facebook Page reaches out to ask a clarifying question about your offering. Or, a user on your website gives you their email address in return for an e-book. Another example could be a user who clicks one of your Google ads, lands on your website and considers buying one of your products.

Because digital leads aren’t vetted before entering your funnel like referral leads are, they need a system and process to move them through.

Digital Leads Need a System

There are several steps you need to take when you receive a digital lead. These steps are important not only to verify the quality of the lead allowing you to decide if it’s worth your time and effort pursuing but also for nurturing them through your sales funnel. Here are the four steps we highly recommend:

  1. Verify the leads are REAL

One of the downsides of marketing your business digitally is that you may occasionally garner the attention of spammers and bots. You must examine the authenticity of these leads to ensure they are coming from real human beings.

If the majority of the leads coming from your paid ads are not real people, you need to re-examine your ad strategy.

  1. Contact the lead within 12

The best time to contact a lead is actually within the first hour of submission – though we aim at the very very most, 12 hours. This is an optimal time because it is fresh!

  1. Consider the time of contact

One of the frustrations with contacting digital leads is the fact that sometimes leads will not answer their phone, even if they have given you their details. Consider that most people work during the days, so you may want to consider following up at different times, send a follow up email to ask what time is best, use SMS messaging to reach out – try different ways and methods to reach out to the lead

  1. Enter Leads into Your Database

Every business that conducts digital lead generation efforts needs a database to store their leads’ contact information and record of communication or contact with them. The leads that you determined weren’t ready to buy in the short term must also be entered into the database with reminders to check on their status at a later time.

  1. Remember that digital leads require MULTIPLE touch points

A lead is not “dead” if they have not been responsive to you. It is all about timing and making that connection at a time that is convenient for the lead. It may take several reach outs.

A process is 100% necessary in dealing with digital leads – and business owners have to realize that there is a different process and vetting system that is required in dealing with digital leads. Setting up that process and system prior to launching any digital lead generation campaign is a very important step and should not be missed.

If you have any questions, or are interested in setting up a successful digital lead generation campaign, feel free to contact us.