Lead generation is a marketing technique that focuses on capturing leads (personal information) of a group of people or demographic that are prospects for your product or service. Once your leads are defined, the next step is to follow up and successfully convert your website visitors into customers through the use of either an automated follow up system (autoresponder) or customer relationship manager (CRM) to directly contact your prospects to close the sale. The direct contact approach works best for large ticket items or items that are traditionally more complicated to sell and requires more information that the visitor might glean from one visit to your website.
The key to this strategy is to attract visitors first to your target website through SEO or other traffic generation techniques, and then, pique their interest in the product or service that your business is offering! Visitors can often be motivated to contact you, providing their email and name by offering an incentive such as a white paper, ebook, download or trial offer.
Let’s outline a basic lead generation plan!
1. Zero in on your target market with a plan for building traffic to your website. It would be a fundamental mistake to assume that your potential target market even knows you exist. There is too much competition out there, both offline and online. The mistake that many business owners make is that they wait for customers to trickle in and find them. A successful business owner needs to utilize time-proven strategies that actually reach their target market and that are able to convert them into customers.
2. Understand that not all leads are going to turn into sales. You may be getting tons of visitors on your site, but let’s face it, not all of these people will become your customers. This is why it is important to keep focused on your primary target audience. Don’t switch every advertising and marketing campaign you may have to suit all your visitors. Instead, focus your plan on that group that will be most willing to buy. In short, trying to chase down every potential sale will only cost you time and money.
3. Recognize your target market. Many business owners think they know their target market, but they really don’t, and this is why they fall into that trap. A great starting point to this is to actually understand what a lead means. A lead is simply someone who may be interested in what you are offering. This is completely different than a prospect, which is a person that has expressed an interest in your product or service through a certain action that he himself took.
4. A mailing list is extremely important. While there are many ways to generate leads, one of the easiest, and most effective is to offer your visitors the opportunity to be part of your mailing list. A person who opts to be in your mailing list is assumed to have read and understood what you are offering. Their interest in your product is illustrated through the fact that they want to receive updates, coupons and special promotions about it. Do not waste this interest by not giving them a constant reminder and resource to turn to. Always offer your visitors a monthly newsletter in exchange for their name and email. In this manner, you will already have a growing list of interested people that can be converted to customers at any time!
5. Test your strategies. In your quest for effective lead generation strategies, you will actually stumble upon many different ideas. Before implementing any of them, take time to research them, and see what will fit with your type of business best. Pick more than one strategy to test, this way you can pit them up against each other. Testing is critical to long term success. Once you’ve found a winning strategy, test them against other random successful ones. Carefully monitor how these strategies affect your business. And of course, use your common sense and stick with the strategy that ultimately works best for you.
6. Be open to change. As times change, successful strategies may change too. This is why you, as a business owner, should always keep your eyes and ears open for new opportunities. Keep a lookout for up and coming lead gen strategies that are making waves. Be open to giving them a try in your own company. This is the only way your leads will continue to develop and grow!