Lead generation vs lead nurturing is a recurring topic of discussion in inbound marketing. Many new marketers and brands make the mistake of using lead generation and nurturing as interchangeable terms. While both these marketing strategies aim to establish loyal customers, their planning and execution are entirely different.
Businesses that fail to understand the difference between lead generation vs lead nurturing have longer sales cycles and lower growth rates. To expand your customer base, you need lead generation. And to convert high-value prospects, you need lead nurturing.
All this together can sound confusing.
So in this blog, I will discuss the major differences between lead generation and lead nurturing and how you can use them to build a successful sales funnel.
Understanding Lead Generation vs Lead Nurturing Through Definitions
Inbound marketing is the process of outreaching the target audience through personalized content. It educates and creates journeys for potential buyers that present your services as an ultimate solution to consumer problems.
You need to use the right strategies to build a robust inbound marketing campaign. Marketers primarily use lead generation and lead nurturing to attract and engage consumers with brands.
Let’s understand them one by one.
(i) Lead Generation
What is Lead Generation?
Lead generation focuses on capturing and converting a prospect's interest in a product or service into sales. It is a process that establishes a brand and promotes it as an expert in the market by sharing valuable content that solves simple consumer roadblocks.
As the prospect moves further in the buyer journey, they develop brand affinity and become closer to making the final call. Such qualified leads get further shared with your sales team.
Benefits of Lead Generation
- Allows Targeted Marketing
Under lead generation, marketers create targeted content that reaches a specific audience. Such an approach attracts visitors with a problem your products or services can solve. It results in acquiring the list of leads with a high intent to buy.
- Eliminates Cold Calling
As a marketing tactic, lead generation spreads brand awareness and eliminates cold calling. It allows you to share high-potential clients with your sales team and saves time.
- Collects Crucial Information
Marketers collect valuable information about their prospects with the help of lead-generation methods like landing pages, surveys, etc. It assists them in creating tailored buyers’ journeys for the targeted audience and providing a better user experience.
(ii) Lead Nurturing
What is Lead Nurturing?
After a lead enters your sales funnel, you should start engaging them with content that directly resonates with their specific problems. Lead nurturing does this for you. It is the process of actively interacting with leads to build a trustworthy relationship.
By focusing on a lead's attributes like demographics, job titles, online behavior, etc., lead nurturing helps deliver personalized content to potential customers.
Benefits of Lead Nurturing
- Supports Automation
Lead nurturing requires you to stay in constant touch with your prospects. But repeating the same process for every client can become tedious. Marketers have solved this problem by building marketing automation software like ActiveCampaign, Hubspot, Plezi, etc., that make lead nurturing easier. With just one click, you can set up email sequences, workflows, and monitor your nurturing campaigns.
- Increases Credibility
When you deliver content that tackles consumer pain points and provides them with valuable information, you are bound to get recognition as a market leader. With the help of lead nurturing strategies like lead segmentation and lead scoring, it becomes easier to understand your target audience and create compelling content.
- Boosts Recall Rate
You can repeatedly deliver your brand's message via various means like social media, email nurturing sequences, etc. It keeps your brand at the top of the customer's mind whenever they think of their pain point or makes a purchase.
Related: Top 5 B2B Lead Nurturing Strategies
How Lead Generation and Lead Nurturing are Related?
If you try to choose one from lead generation vs lead nurturing, your marketing will not be as effective as others who choose both. A deep understanding of the sales funnel makes it easier to acknowledge the relationship between lead generation and lead nurturing.
Marketers divide the sales funnel into three stages, which are:
- Top of the Funnel: It deals with making the target audience aware of a brand and turning them into leads.
- Middle of the Funnel: This stage aims to educate the leads about your products or services as the solution to their problems.
- Bottom of the Funnel: Leads present at this stage get shared with the sales team for direct pitching. The leads who turn into paying clients are further shared relevant content that increases their brand retention and loyalty.
Such division makes it easier to create targeted strategies for various leads depending on their brand awareness.
Lead generation and lead nurturing are relevant to all the sales funnel stages. Businesses use it to attract, engage, and convert prospects into clients.
Let’s take the example of the middle of the funnel and see how marketers implement lead generation and nurturing at this stage. Remember, at this part of the sales cycle, the prospect has already shown some interest in the company.
- Here lead generation uses strategies like landing pages, paid campaigns, etc., to educate potential buyers about a brand and its services. But a prospect only interacts with the company when they visit its web pages intentionally.
- In contrast, lead nurturing utilises tactics like welcome email nurturing series that shares personalised content with the audience via a sequence of emails. It consists of blog recommendations, microblogs, free webinar invitations, etc. As the emails get shared with the prospects in a timely manner, the leads become well aware of the brand and its offerings.
From the above example, we can deduce that lead generation allows you to be present on the search results whenever a user looks up a topic related to you. But, lead nurturing will enable you to communicate with the prospect regularly and form a relationship with them.
Now a question that can pop is, “What about customer retention? Who looks after that?”
The answer is lead nurturing. With the help of email sequences created specifically for established clients containing special offers, referral codes, and feedback forms, the client is always kept in touch with the brand. Lead generation ends when a lead turns into a customer, but lead nurturing is never-ending.
All the aspects discussed are crucial for establishing a credible and profitable business. So, when it comes to lead generation vs lead nurturing, the best option is to implement them together.
Tips To Plan A Lead Generation And Lead Nurturing Campaign
Now that the difference and relation between lead generation and lead nurturing are clear let’s understand how you should use them together.
1. Keep Your Goals Aligned
Goal setting is essential before executing any successful marketing campaign. But because lead nurturing and lead generation are two different processes, they do not imply that their goals have to be different. Setting the same lead generation and nurturing goals can create less confusing workflows and more streamlined functions.
2. Always Be Ready With Content
You should be ready to share content as a lead enters your funnel. New leads have a very short attention span. It is crucial to capture it with effective and efficient communication through content. The key to creating a great content strategy is to plan the buyer’s journey in advance.
Assemble your content according to your buyer personas and target their problems. Blogs, white papers, checklists, webinars, etc., and all other lead generation and lead nurturing content should create an amazing user experience.
3. Link Your Strategies
Aligning your lead generation vs lead nurturing goals is not enough. It would be best if you linked both strategies together as well. Let’s understand this with an example, say a lead has entered your sales funnel through a landing page and shares their email.
It is the perfect opportunity to add them to your booking email nurturing series and encourage them to solve their problems by a direct one-on-one session. Such linking of lead generation and nurturing will help you build better campaigns.
If you want to know more about email nurturing campaigns, then check out this blog:
A Simple Guide For Email Nurturing Campaigns With Examples
The debate around lead generation vs lead nurturing is long over. You have to accurately employ lead generation and nurturing at every point of your sales funnel to get the best results. Whether you want more traffic, generate high-quality leads, or increase credibility, you can build vital promotional campaigns by utilizing both.
While lead generation is a common term in marketing, many businesses still do not understand the intricacies of lead nurturing. Without lead nurturing in their marketing workflow, they might generate leads but not loyal customers.
That’s why I have created the ultimate lead nurturing guide that can help companies of all types to understand and implement lead nurturing effortlessly.
Click here to download the lead generation landing page template and swipe files to boost your lead generation efforts
You can check it out here: B2B Lead Nurturing: The Ultimate Guide
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