Leads may come from various sources or activities, for example, digitally via the Internet, through personal referrals, through telephone calls either by the company or telemarketers, through advertisements, and events. A 2015 study found that 89% of respondents cited email as the most-used channel for generating leads, followed by content marketing, search engine, and finally events.[2] A study from 2014 found that direct traffic, search engines, and web referrals were the three most popular online channels for lead generation, accounting for 93% of leads.[3]

Don’t use a simple word processing document. You might be more familiar with using a word processing platform or spreadsheet, but a dedicated survey tool is better. Consider using one such as Constant Contact or SurveyMonkey that aggregates results for you.[5] These tools also have helpful features and types of surveys and questions that you might not have thought about.

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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Use different modes of social media. You might start with a general site like Facebook, a business networking site such as LinkedIn, or a microblogging and all-purpose site like Twitter. However, consider expanding to picture-based sites like Pinterest or Instagram. Also look for any types of social networking platforms specific to your industry, like Glozal for real estate, Lawyrs for law, or Architizer for architects and designers.[2]

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.
Form-Scraping Tool: A form scraping tool that collects submissions on your website's existing forms helps you automatically consolidate all your leads into your contact database, regardless of which form visitors submitted on your website. HubSpot customers can create and embed forms using HubSpot, which automatically populate into your CMS. Non-HubSpot customers can use a form creation tool like Contact Form 7, JetPack, or Google Forms, and then use HubSpot's free collected forms feature to automatically capture form submissions and input them to a contact database.

LinkedIn is a business-centric platform, so if you do pitch something to an executive, it will be accepted. In some cases, other platforms such as Email, WhatsApp Web, or Facebook might work, but you run the risk of upsetting the person you contact. If you are going to use these platforms to communicate with potential leads, then its best you do your homework first by finding out more about the person you are contacting.

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In many cases, outbound techniques can get someone to think about you even if they haven’t thought about you yet, since many of the methods you use should have more of a “wow” factor to make your company stand out. Outbound communication is often highly targeted, with a call-to-action that is very obvious. As a result, good outbound marketing can push someone through the funnel at a faster rate, assuming they are closer to being ready to buy.  Inbound alone often does not drive someone to buy. Outbound gives them that extra nudge they need to drive a lead down the funnel.
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. 

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Become active on listservs and message boards. Listservs are applications that manage email discussion groups,[3] and message boards are online discussion areas where people discuss specific subjects and troubleshoot. Find some lists and boards that are relevant to your business. Keep track of who is active there and learn more about them and their businesses. Ask questions, and if you know the answers to someone else’s question, answer it.
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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Landing pages have one call-to-action in mind. Instead of overwhelming visitors with information regarding your business and all the products and services you offer, it is essential that you narrow the focus down to one specific goal in mind. Be sure to cut out any excess information that isn't essential to the campaign, and be sure to include only one form or call-to-action link for them to utilize.

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He is the owner of jeffbullas.com. Forbes calls him a top influencer of Chief Marketing Officers and the world's top social marketing talent. Entrepreneur lists him among 50 online marketing influencers to watch. Inc.com has him on the list of 20 digital marketing experts to follow on Twitter. Oanalytica named him #1 Global Content Marketing Influencer. BizHUMM ranks him as the world's #1 business blogger. Learn More

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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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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.

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New technology sets the trend in the market. For example, smartphones are trending all over the world. Subsequently, most people access their mail or browse websites through smartphones or tablets; this shows that the you should invest in making your marketing efforts compatible with these devices, allowing you to reach the maximum amount of customers.
You can capture leads by asking those that are interested to add their email addresses to your list or fill out a postcard. Even better, leave out a fishbowl into which visitors can drop their business cards. Hold a drawing at the end of the tradeshow to give free prizes that relate to your company, like gift certificates. Be sure to have plenty of business cards of your own handy to hand out as well.

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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.

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Because search engines equate high-quality content with a high-quality website, creating content with value is very important. Conduct a content audit to see how many of your assets fall into the thought leadership vs. promotional category. That means making sure that your thought leadership content has substance to it. Lots of companies are jumping on the content bandwagon, so do it right: focus on quality over quantity, and on providing useful – not promotional – information.

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