There is certainly no doubt about the fact that social media has helped us in a lot of ways. Not only has it made possible for us to communicate with people from all over the world but it has also made sure that businesses online get the right audiences and promotions that they need. Businesses can also appreciate lead generation from social media and enjoy great conversions.
With the new buyer it is important to note that your marketing efforts don’t end once a new lead comes into your system – what we call Top of the Funnel (TOFU) marketing.  Many companies do a good job at generating leads, but the problem is that most new leads are not ready to buy yet.  And if a sales rep does engage and the lead isn’t ready to talk with them, it reinforces the notion that marketing sourced leads are not great. As a result leads get lost, ignored, or snatched up by your competitors.

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Lead generation can be an easy way to increase your return on investment and greatly expand your client base. Approach it just like you would any other advertising endeavor: set aside a reasonable budget to test it and see if it works for your business. The key to being successful in lead generation is to brush up on your sales and marketing skills so that the leads you receive convert at a high sales rate. Do not try to approach this method of marketing without the ability to follow through and close the sale. 
"The number of Cyberchondriacs has jumped to 175 million from 154 million last year, possibly as a result of the health care reform debate. Furthermore, frequency of usage has also increased. Fully 32% of all adults who online says they look for health information "often," compared to 22% last year." said Harris Interactive in a study completed and reported in August 2010 with demographics based in the United States of America.[5]
Once you know who you are targeting and have determined how best to reach them, you need to have a plan for collecting contact information. The first part of the process involves funneling all prospects to a standard form or landing page that encourages them to share their contact information, generally in return for a free gift, a coupon, a sample or some other value-added incentive.
Develop your leadership leads. Try to build on the leads you find through your thought leadership efforts, particularly if your initial interaction is online. Schedule a meeting or make a phone call. A phone call is a more personal form of communication, and it is not a generic or mass media message. Plus, it shows your potential lead that you and your company are real, and that she’d be doing business with a real person.
Another huge asset to your business when trying to convert visitors into leads are landing pages. This can be any page that someone lands on after clicking on an advertisement or other online marketing elements. It is also important to note that landing pages exist separately from your company's website, and typically are used as a tool for a single marketing campaign.

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Happy customers are often happy to give referrals. Let your customers do the talking for you by asking for referrals and empowering them to gather their own leads. Nothing boosts your company’s credibility more than a happy customer telling their friends and family about you. Referrals are the best lead generation strategy out there. When closing a sale, be sure to ask your buyer if they know anyone who might appreciate your product or service. This takes very little time and may be a way to quickly generate leads.

In summary, lead generation is not easy but it is a must have process for any business to survive.  Some companies survive on inbound alone. However, for many B2B companies and start-ups this is not an option. I liken lead generation to mining for gold.  You should never depend solely on one source of leads but have multiple sources for lead generation in case one vein dries up.
Focus your teams efforts on nurturing better quality leads that will have a greater impact on your sales since these leads are already interested in your content and services, closer to converting to a customer than other leads with a lower score. Analyze the rise and fall of your lead’s score to better understand what stage in the process most leads begin to fall off and how can this be corrected, as well as when most leads are ready to be passed off to sales.
Spend time understanding your different customer types and the specifics of that they are aiming to achieve. Are they novices or professional buyers? Are they buying for themselves or making a recommendation? Is it an emotional or a rational purchase? Clarity on these points will help guide you in creating content that is effective at addressing your lead's needs.
Look for trends and patterns. Are there particular times of the day, week, or month that you experience more or less travel? What about the geographic regions your visitors come from? Try to figure out why. Determine which ad words give you the best bang for your buck. Also identify weaknesses. Maybe you don’t have that many followers on social media, or maybe your online sales are sluggish. This is all information you can use.

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Given LinkedIn’s tremendous value in converting leads, publishing articles or sponsoring updates on the site is an important strategy. Adding advice and expertise can gain you a following and help to put you and your company in the spotlight as a trusted expert in your field. You might include a call-to-action button on social media or blog pieces to quickly generate a pool of interested people and to drive leads.
Sales leads are generated on the basis of demographic criteria such as FICO score (United States), income, age, household income, psychographic, etc. These leads are resold to multiple advertisers. Sales leads are typically followed up through phone calls by the sales force. Sales leads are commonly found in the mortgage, insurance and finance industries.
By producing authoritative content, you build credibility within the marketplace. In time, customers view you and your company as knowledgeable and helpful. You create and offer content for a distinct audience, your targeted one that is driven by choice and perhaps interactivity. Consumers embark on a journey when attempting to find solutions to their problems. They generally seek information for each part of that journey. In the beginning, they are familiar with their problem and solutions that have potential. Mid way they begin comparing some possible solutions. In the end of this journey, they give their due diligence to make a final decision. It isn’t uncommon for consumers to conduct twelve searches before being on your specific brand’s site. Generally, eighty-one percent will research online before making that purchase or that appointment. In multiple forms, your quality content makes all the difference.

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