Online lead generation is an Internet marketing term that refers to the generation of prospective consumer interest or inquiry into a business' products or services through the Internet. Leads, also known as contacts, can be generated for a variety of purposes: list building, e-newsletter list acquisition, building out reward programs, loyalty programs or for other member acquisition programs.
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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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.
The first step of lead generation is identifying your target audience. You can't successfully reach and sell to your ideal customer if you don't know exactly who that is, so it's important to research your audience and come up with a clear picture of who they are, where they live, what they like to do, how much money they make, what their lifestyle and personality is like, etc.
Facebook has been a method for lead generation since its inception. Originally, companies could use outbound links in their posts and information in their bios to attract strangers to their websites. However, when Facebook Ads was launched in 2007, and its algorithm began to favor accounts that used paid advertising, there was a major shift in how businesses used the platform to capture leads. Facebook created Lead Ads for this purpose. Facebook also has a feature that lets you put a simple call-to-action button at the top of your Facebook Page, helping you send Facebook followers directly to your website.
Service qualified leads are contacts or customers who've indicated to your service team that they're interested in becoming a paying customer. An example of an service qualified lead is a customer who tells their customer service representative that they'd like to upgrade their product subscription; at this time, the customer service representative would up-level this customer to the appropriate sales team or representative.

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Sponsor a local non-profit organization or charity. Besides being a good thing to do, sponsorship can expose you to new audiences and new leads. If your company has the budget to be a title sponsor or cosponsor, it should consider sponsoring local organizations. It might be a dance company, baseball team, or youth mentorship program. These types of sponsorships often give you access to local business and civic leaders that can provide leads.
Everyone knows that yard signs are great for politicians, but they’re also a great way to generate gym leads (or find a kidney!) Go to your local sign shop and have them create some yard signs for your gym. You can get them for about $20 a piece, and they’ll usually print them out in a few colors as well. Get your logo on their, as well as your address and phone number. Stoplights are a great place to search for gym membership leads. People are driving home from work and when they see your gym sign at the intersection, it might be just the motivation that they need to get in shape. Think about putting your text message code on your sign to give people a super fast way to sign up. With the elections coming up, you can easily get some signs for cheap once the elections finish. These lawn signs are a perfect way to start advertising your business. Simply spray paint them white and you’ll have a clever little gym marketing tool in your hands.

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Whether you are hosting a small private function, a large-scale international tradeshow, or an executive-level webinar, event marketing needs to be an integral part of the lead generation mix. After all, events are a critical component of an outbound marketing strategy. Essentially, events offer you the chance to define your brand, clarify the solutions you provide, and establish personal connections with participants. And while they provide you with an invaluable opportunity to engage with prospects and customers, events also give attendees the chance to interact with each other. As every marketer knows, there is no better advertising than the direct words of a satisfied customer. Events also provide a venue to deliver speeches and content that convey your company’s thought leadership and raise your perception in the eyes of buyers.  Compared to other marketing tactics, events are more likely to quickly turn a prospect into a strong lead. As a lively, interactive, educational forum, events position your business as a trusted leader in a field of many.
Promote your business on news sites. Use news sites to distribute press releases concerning your business. This begins with writing a press release in which you discuss something newsworthy about your company: a new product launch, a special event, a co-branding initiative, charity work, or a high-level change in management. Use terms and language optimized for search. Also be sure to include a press contact’s name, email address, and phone number in the release.
Product qualified leads are contacts who've used your product and taken actions that indicate interest in becoming a paying customer. PQLs typically exist for companies who offer a product trial or a free or limited version of their product (like HubSpot!) with options to upgrade, which is where your sales team comes in. An example of a PQL is a customer who uses your free version but engages or asks about features that are only available upon payment.

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Lead scoring is a way to qualify leads quantitatively. Using this technique, leads are assigned a numerical value (or score) to determine where they fall on the scale from “interested” to “ready for a sale”. The criteria for these actions is completely up to you, but it must be uniform across your marketing and sales department so that everyone is working on the same scale.
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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Let's say you take an online survey to learn more about how to take care of your car. A day or so later, you receive an email from the auto company that created the survey about how they could help you take care of your car. This process would be far less intrusive than if they'd just called you out of the blue with no knowledge of whether you even care about car maintenance, right? This is what it's like to be a lead.

Offer your own expertise. When you’re experienced in your own business sector, you might want to write articles of your own for trade publications. Authorship can put you in front of new audiences. The articles you write are also excellent self-promotion just like your press hits. Promote your authored articles as well in your emails, newsletters, social media, etc.

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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.

Most successful salespeople already practice some version of solution selling. They know sales is about consulting around the prospect's problems, not closing the deal. It's about letting the prospect define the pace of the process and offering education and advice as a way to build confidence and trust. This makes it easy and safe for a client to buy. Here are a few ways you can make it scalable and efficient on your own.

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Display ads are typically highly targeted to different demographic or behavioral actions. You can select where you want the ads to be seen by choosing an online publication that you feel is a place where your leads spend time, or you can also leverage re-targeter ads that can cookie a lead that views your site. With re-targeter ads, once a person gets cookied, your ads appear on other sites that he or she visits afterwards. Through online ads you can reach more of your target audience, educate potential prospects, and drive leads. Display ads also serve a purpose at every stage in the funnel—building brand and audience at Top of Funnel, educating and helping evaluation at Mid-Funnel, and increasing conversions at Bottom of Funnel.  

Whether you are hosting a small private function, a large-scale international tradeshow, or an executive-level webinar, event marketing needs to be an integral part of the lead generation mix. After all, events are a critical component of an outbound marketing strategy. Essentially, events offer you the chance to define your brand, clarify the solutions you provide, and establish personal connections with participants. And while they provide you with an invaluable opportunity to engage with prospects and customers, events also give attendees the chance to interact with each other. As every marketer knows, there is no better advertising than the direct words of a satisfied customer. Events also provide a venue to deliver speeches and content that convey your company’s thought leadership and raise your perception in the eyes of buyers.  Compared to other marketing tactics, events are more likely to quickly turn a prospect into a strong lead. As a lively, interactive, educational forum, events position your business as a trusted leader in a field of many.
8. Social Contests – To keep things more exciting, business owners can also create social contests on their social channels that reward people for engaging in the contest (quiz, photo upload, captioning, etc.). We can then gate the contest submission process by asking for their information. The “science” behind this is that people are more willing to provide their information if the content is fun, engaging and social.
Did you know that 74% of companies that weren’t exceeding revenue goals didn't know their visitor, lead, MQL, or sales opportunities numbers? How about that over 70% of companies not achieving their revenue goals generate fewer than 100 leads per month, and only 5% generate more than 2,500 leads per month? These are just a few examples of what you’ll find in the report.

This channel has a big impact of the budget in efforts to reach out to audiences. It may include billboards, print ads, television and radio advertisements. It is generic and targets the masses. The marketing intent is clearly to sell and an apparent pitch is a part of the plan. This budget may include the purchase of lead lists. These are people you don’t know. In addition to this, these people don’t know you either. They didn’t seek you. The outbound approach with communication is one way. The business decides when and how to engage with the audience. In addition to mail, print, and media, it may include conferences and calls. This can be tough. Should you reach out to others needing what you have to offer, it can be beneficial. These cold calls can be interpreted as an interruption into people’s time. They can be viewed as disruptive and down right unwanted. In addition to this, calls could be flagged as spam. Here providers inform other providers and being placed on a blacklist could result. Should this happen, it wouldn’t benefit reputation either. Emails could become undeliverable too.
Don’t drop your customer after the sale. A happy customer who has a continued relationship with you and your company is likely to buy again.  It shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s cheaper to sell to an existing customer than to acquire a new lead. Follow-up calls are a strategic way to nurture customer relations and a great time to ask for referrals. Sometimes the most quality leads you have are actually your current customers.

Lead generation often uses digital channels, and has been undergoing substantial changes in recent years from the rise of new online and social techniques. In particular, the abundance of information readily available online has led to the rise of the “self-directed buyer” and the emergence of new techniques to develop and qualify potential leads before passing them to sales.
Content: While the download of a coupon shows an individual has a direct interest in your product or service, content (like an educational ebook or webinar) does not. Therefore, to truly understand the nature of the person's interest in your business, you'll probably need to collect more information to determine whether the person is interested in your product or service and whether they're a good fit.
This approach costs less, but takes a great deal of time. It’s for the long term though and can lead to quite a few opportunities over time. It incorporates a number of marketing skills: involving the internet, email, social media, search engines, and SEO. Graphics and design elements are integral parts of it too. You place a trail of information and incentives for others to follow towards you and your company. They seek you because you offer something of value that they are already interested in. They are your target audience. What you have to offer would benefit them. What you channel, they have an interest in it. It’s valuable. You choose your platforms carefully and add elements that will link them back to you.
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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Besides Facebook, putting your FitnessTexter code word on your website is very important. Just think of how many people are visiting your site and not contacting you about membership. Your website provides a constant lead generation medium, use it! With FitnessTexter, you can start converting website traffic into new leads. New leads become new members! It’s as simple as telling your web designer to add your codeword to home page. The bigger and bolder you make it, the more people who will see it, and the more leads you will generate. We always suggest to our clients that they include their texting promotion near the top of their website, somewhere near the logo. That way, every single person who visits the website will see their texting promotion. It’s common knowledge in web design that people are not willing to scroll that much; that said, keep your texting code towards the top for best results.
Give potential web leads something to do. When someone does arrive at your page via your SEM efforts, they should have some clear options of what to do. Make it easy for them to leave their contact information or purchase your product or service through ecommerce. Your web content management system might already have an ecommerce plugin or application, such as WordPress’ MarketPress, or you can add ecommerce capabilities through a third-party provider, such as PayPal.

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