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. 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.
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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First, an agency develops a website or partners with websites on which they promote and advertise your product or service. A consumer finds these directories or informational sites, then hopefully completes an online quote request form. The buyer's information is verified and matched to the appropriate providers. These matched leads, with full contact information and purchasing requirements, are then sent via email to prospectors and other people potentially in the sales process.
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Lead generation is a win-win for both the buyer and seller. Buyers can request information from several businesses that offer the product or service that they are looking for, then the seller is given the opportunity to make its pitch to people who have given their permission. These are some of the hottest leads. Conversion rates on leads received in this way generally have a much higher success rate than cold contacts.
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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.
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Cost per click advertising (e.g. AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing) overcomes this problem by charging advertisers only when the consumer clicks on the advertisement. However, due to increased competition, search keywords have become very expensive. A 2007 Doubleclick Performics Search trends report shows that there were nearly six times as many keywords with a cost per click (CPC) of more than $1 in January 2007 than the prior year. The cost per keyword increased by 33% and the cost per click rose by as much as 55%.
It's tough to figure out if your lead generation strategy is working if you aren't looking at industry data. That's why we partnered with Qualtrics to survey more than 900 marketers from all different industries in North America and Europe to create a demand generation report with data on website visitors, leads, opportunities, customers, and revenue.
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Identifying consumers that would have an interest in what you offer is important. They have the potential to become customers for your business or service. As you find people that would find value in your product, or service is one thing, obtaining their contact information is the next. It helps to accomplish this when you offer something in exchange for it, something that would benefit them. It might involve coupons, free trials, job applications, online content, or blogs.
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Remember, networking isn’t all about you. It is easier to listen carefully to others as they speak about their challenges in business. Chances are, you will find opportunities to offer solutions, whether it’s your own product or service, or a product or service from one of your contacts. Helping associates even when it means not closing a sale is not only friendly, it paves the way for referrals. As mentioned earlier, strive to be an advisor that is committed to helping customers find the right solution whenever possible.
Attend industry events and meetups. Join local, national, and even international trade organizations. Look for nearby events hosted by your local chapter. You can also find potential leads by looking at clubs with interest areas relevant to your business. Look at Meetup.com, for example, to search for clubs and meetups by industry and in your geographic location.
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.
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You know what they say: you can catch a lot of flies with honey, but you can catch more honeys being fly. Try that cliche in a bar and it might end with a drink thrown in your face, but adapting that mindset in your inbound marketing strategy could not only improve lead generation rates, but also increase the number of qualified leads your business attracts.
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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.
Successful lead generation is about referrals, in-person, and online networking, but a little creativity goes a long way in reaching potential customers. For example, David Morgan and Alex Chavez, Co-Founders of Security Dealer Marketing, helped a local security company sponsor a public service day and provided free high-resolution photos of families with Santa. The event generated 400 leads, 10 sales, local brand exposure, and lots of fun Christmas pictures.
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Instead, we have relied solely on digital marketing tools and won business from potential online leads. Inbound lead management is something we take seriously and rest assured we don’t recommend anything to our clients that we have not tested and proved ourselves first. We employ conscious and healthy lead generation marketing tactics that capture information about interested business owners who were having trouble with advertising and marketing their businesses.
Promote your business on social networking sites. These sites are where millions of people are already gathering to connect with each other. So, establishing a meaningful presence there is a good idea. You can create a page on these sites to promote your business. When a customer "friends" you or "becomes a fan," the people in her network can learn about your company as well.
Distribute your release directly to reporters. After sending out your release over the wires, you may have gotten some attention from the press already, and may now be comfortable reaching out to the press directly. Search for reporters and editors that have written stories you like about similar articles. Reach out with an email, and follow up a day or two later with an email or phone call.
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Many successful small business owners are continuously looking to expand their customer base and grow their businesses. Business growth can be a difficult and long-term process, though. One of the foundational elements of growing a business is having access to a steady stream of sales leads. A lead is a person, or business if you have a company that sells to other businesses (B2B), that has an interest in the products or services you are selling.
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.