A simple guide to generate leads and boost your sales.
Have you ever wondered how some companies are able to maintain their place in the market while others fade away? One of the primary reasons is that they have mastered the art of lead generation for their business. As a business owner, one of your responsibilities is to create opportunities for your company to attain growth and success.
Lead generation is a marketing strategy that can be used to increase your sales conversion rate. If utilized properly, it can greatly reduce the time and money spent on other marketing strategies such as direct mail or telemarketing. Despite its effectiveness, lead generation still remains an underutilized tool for a majority of businesses.
Traditional Lead Generation Strategies
There are various lead generation strategies that can be used for your business and these include:
Referral Marketing Strategy – This is probably the most common form of lead generation in use today. It simply involves encouraging current customers to share information about your business with their friends or relatives who have similar needs as themselves. Word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective method and can easily generate sales leads for your business.
The problem with this strategy is that it only serves as a supplement to other strategies and doesn’t replace them entirely. The best way to utilize referral marketing is by combining it with lead generation through direct mail or telemarketing.
Telemarketing Lead Generation – This strategy has been used for many years and is still one of the most effective ways to generate a large number of sales leads for your business. The main advantage of telemarketing is that it allows you to contact massive amounts of customers at once.
However, telemarketing also has its share of disadvantages. For example, it requires more effort and time compared to other lead generation strategies which can be quite costly. It is also one of the less preferred strategies by some customers as many have had unpleasant experiences with persistent salesmen in the past.
A cold call is usually associated with companies that use telemarketing as their primary lead generation strategy. This is where a salesperson calls a potential customer without having any prior information about them. While it might be the most effective way of generating leads, most people are only willing to give you 10 to 15 minutes of their time before they will cut off your call.
The best way to make a call more effective is by using the telephone as a follow-up to your other marketing strategies. This allows you to gather information about your potential customers such as their name, phone number and email address before making the actual telemarketing call.
Direct Mail Lead Generation – Direct mail refers to any form of advertising that is delivered to a specific person or address. This method is usually used in conjunction with other lead generation strategies that you are using in your business as it gives you more chances to make contact with your potential customers. It can also be a good alternative to telemarketing for those who don’t necessarily like talking on the phone all of the time.
For this strategy to be most effective, you must ensure that your business name is clearly visible on all of the envelopes or postcards that you are using. It is also essential for you to have an autoresponder so you can gather more information about your customers before making contact with them.
Direct mail campaigns usually contain a sales letter with a free product sample, or a gift offer that is designed to pique the interest of your customers. While this method does require more effort and resources compared to other lead generation strategies, it can be very effective if done right.
If you are sending out direct mail flyers or postcards, make sure that there is a clear call to action that will encourage your potential customers to buy your product or service. You should also aim to make a personal connection with the person who you are sending out the direct mail materials to by saying something like, “You may remember me from such and such event.”
Press Release Lead Generation – Press release is a marketing document that provides information about your business, a new product/service that you are offering or another similar subject. The release can be distributed through email and print media such as newspapers and magazines to generate interest in your business.
The main advantage of using press releases for lead generation is that it allows you to target the mass market with very little effort on your part.
Online Lead Generation Strategies
Internet marketing has provided businesses with a large number of opportunities to generate leads for their business. This strategy is highly recommended as it allows companies to target potential customers from specific geographical locations. It also helps eliminate the problem of competitors accessing your customer base.
The two most common types of online lead generation are email and pay-per click advertising. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Email marketing allows you to have direct contact with your customers through email, thus creating a more personal connection. However, you need to invest in an autoresponder for it to be most effective.
On the other hand, pay-per-click advertising requires much less effort on the part of the business owner but doesn’t allow you to have direct interaction with your customers.
The third most effective online lead generation method is social media marketing. Social media provides businesses with a medium to reach out and connect to their target audience and potential customers. If done right, social media can be used for market research, brand awareness promotion, reputation management and customer retention.
It helps if you create accounts on different social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. However, focus on the one that is most relevant to your business.
To be successful with lead generation via social media platforms you need to invest time in building relationships with potential customers by interacting with them and sharing valuable content. By doing so, they will trust you more and when the time comes for them to buy a product or service, they will choose your company over others.
Another effective way to generate leads for your business is through pay-per-click advertising, which allows you to have direct interaction with the target audience. Pay per click ads are usually placed on sites that receive a high number of visits per month and allow advertisers to reach out directly to their target audience.
To be successful with pay-per-click advertising you need to focus on what works for your business. You should look for websites that allow you to focus on specific demographics and provide you with information that will help determine the amount of money which you are willing to spend on ads. However, do not forget to keep an eye out for websites that look like they are scams.
The good thing about pay-per-click advertising is that it helps you generate leads while at the same time showing your potential customers that your company is active and successful. It also allows you to search for prospects, which means that you will have an easier time targeting them in the future with other forms of lead generation.
Lead generation through Email marketing:
Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to create and nurture leads. It allows you to have direct contact with your customers and in turn creates a more personal connection with them.
E-mail lead generation works because it helps you build trust and credibility with prospective clients. You can also use an auto responder for email marketing, which will help you nurture leads by sending out regular email campaigns.
The advantage of email marketing is that it allows you to build a list with your prospects and customers, which makes it easier for you to target them in the future. It also helps you send customized promotional messages to specific lists or segments. You can understand more about building an effective email campaign here.
Using Social Media for Lead Generation:
You may be using social media for business purposes whether you are aware of it or not. If on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn or other networks you are posting about your network of friends and family then obviously you’re there to let them know about the status of your life. But if you have an online store or blog, or are conducting your business as a freelancer, blogger, photographer, small-business owner or independent contractor then you are there to let them know about what you’re doing in the present and what you can do for them.
Social media marketing is a great way to promote yourself and get new business through word of mouth recommendations. Many online marketing specialists suggest that social media marketing can lead to a lot of business for you. There are several types of businesses that flourish in the social media world. These
businesses include B2C (business to consumer) and B2B (business to business).
To understand social media marketing is critical. It would be a mistake for business owners, either new or established, not to take an active role in their companies’ presence on social media. Marketing through social media has proven particularly effective for small businesses. Being able to share ideas, information and marketing data in online communities can be tremendously helpful.
Twitter for Lead Generation:
Twitter is an excellent way to market for various business purposes such as lead generation. Twitter allows you to create short messages with a brief description that will get your point across quickly. With Twitter each message is limited to 140 characters which prevents you from rambling.
If you’re using Twitter to generate leads, then the purpose of every message you send should be to gain a follower. Your message should always include your website or contact details for those that want more information about your product or services. These messages are quick and easy to read through so you can easily let your followers know where they can find more information. You can also use Twitter to collect emails which will greatly enhance your chances of getting leads.
Once you have developed an initial following, liking and interacting with users on the world’s top social media platform is important. Offer enhanced value to followers by sharing great content, be helpful online and connect frequently with influencers or potential customers. Follow the 80/20 rule for your tweets – 80 percent of your tweets should be informational and 20 percent should include a link to your website. Monitoring the number of people viewing your Twitter timeline will give you an indication about how many followers are interested in what you are saying or tweeting about.
If you’re using Twitter as a promotional tool, don’t hesitate to let everyone know how much you appreciate them. Offer your Twitter followers a product, content or service once they reach certain milestones. You can also offer rewards for following, retweeting and other actions.
Facebook for Lead Generation:
Facebook is another great platform for business. You can share information, videos and images on your timeline that will keep your fans interested in what you have to say or offer them.
You may be wondering why promoting a business through Facebook is important. If so, consider this – Facebook has more than one billion active users every month. These numbers are too great not to take advantage of. Facebook can be a personal or professional platform that is used to connect with other people online.
Facebook allows you to build and grow your brand and reach more customers while reducing expenses. It has successfully made social networking easy, fun and affordable for everyone. Your business can benefit from one or even all of the following features.
Facebook community pages allow you to highlight your business and post news, photos, videos and events that will keep your customers informed of the latest happenings.
Members can become friends with one another or groups they belong to where they can share information with their connections. This is a great opportunity to build relationships through Facebook’s networking feature.
LinkedIn for Lead Generation:
Social media is a big part of business today. LinkedIn is one of the most important social platforms for professionals who want to expand their network or market their products and services to potential customers.
You will be able to share ideas, articles and videos directly with your connections on various topics that you are interested in which will help build your profile as an expert. As an entrepreneur, you know that it’s not enough to just sell your products or services.
LinkedIn is a great way to share valuable information with customers which will establish you as a trusted source of information on subjects within your area of expertise. You can add extra value by sharing links to related articles that provide deeper insight into the subject matter.
Other ways to build your professional network through LinkedIn are by becoming a group member or joining an elite group of professionals who share the same interests that you do. You can also follow other business leaders and keep up with what they have to say or offer. By using this social tool, you will be able to connect with qualified prospects who may need your products or services.
LinkedIn allows you to create an online business card that will allow you to share your information with specific connections and the public. You can add a photo, link to various social media sites, website URL and list any certifications or awards that may validate your skills.
Why is Lead Generation Important?
Generating quality leads for your business is important because it helps you attract customers who can help fund your company’s growth. However, some businesses may get into the habit of generating as many leads as possible to meet their lead generation quota without thinking about whether or not they will be effective in converting future customers.
Lead generation is not a numbers game because companies that generate hundreds of leads but do not have the right strategy to close them are wasting their time and money. If you want to be successful with lead generation, your first priority should be finding ways to make sure that your target audience interacts with your business enough for you to know if they are interested in what you have to offer.
Lead generation is a very important and integral part of the marketing process. Without leads you cannot make sales for your business to grow. Therefore, it is best to invest in lead generation so that you can have more than enough quality leads with which to connect with potential customers and turn them into paying ones.