Some of your content should be short form, like blog posts, tweets, photos and short video clips, that requires no barrier to read, view or consume, while some of your content should be longer form that requires a sign up form to access like an eBook, free course, whitepaper, infographic or an instructional video. Once a lead has made it to the point of interest in viewing a long form piece of content, they fill out a sign up form becoming a part of your contact management system, email list or both. This visitor is now a newly acquired lead.

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Most customers begin researching their purchase long before they ever talk with a company representative. David Edelman and Marc Singer described the customer-led sales experience as a “journey” and emphasize the importance of being part of that journey. By creating customized, relevant, interactive, and engaging content for each step of the research process, products and companies can be a guide to customers before they are ready to engage with sales staff. “Today, winning brands owe their success not just to the quality and value of what they sell, but to the superiority of the journeys they create,” Edelman and Singer have argued.  Paying attention to the customer’s journey creates a significant opportunity for online lead generation.
Once you’ve connected with potential customers, nurture those connections. Don’t limit yourself to one social site — expand on to relevant ones whenever possible. Social selling expert Jill Rowley counsels people to read what your prospective clients read and then tweet or post about it. Regularly posting valuable content increases your ability to be a trusted source for customers as they research their purchase.
Lead nurturing also increases lead to opportunity conversion rate, drives more revenue, and shortens the sales cycle. It is about finding the right buyers at the right time. Lead generation brings buyers into the funnel, but lead nurturing and scoring sends them to sales so that your sales team can close the deal at the right time. In fact, according to MarketingSherpa’s Lead Generation benchmark report, companies who leverage lead nurturing see a 45% lift in lead generation over those companies who do not use lead nurturing.

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While inbound marketing is getting a lot of buzz, a well-rounded marketing mix should include both inbound and outbound marketing strategies. Inbound works for broad lead generation activities, but outbound is good to amplify your inbound efforts, and target specific opportunities. So what exactly is outbound marketing? It’s using outbound channels to introduce your message and content to your prospects, typically through rented attention, rather than making your content and messages availableon your own properties.
With Pay-per-Click (PPC ) ads you pay for each click on your ad which is displayed on a search engine such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing, or on a website. For PPC on search engines, your ads show up as sponsored results on the top and side of the organic search terms. PPC ads are a terrific way to draw attention to your latest content or service offerings. They are also highly targeted so they can generate very high quality leads.  Advertisers bid on keyword phrases relevant to their target markets and your ads will display when a keyword query matches your chosen keyword list.
Use direct mail to entice customers. Direct mail still works for a variety of businesses. You can purchase a mailing list that fits certain specifications, such as neighborhood or income level, and send your mailing to these people. Be sure to target demographics that fit your product. The more targeted your mailing is, the greater likelihood you will receive interested leads.

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