Every person you come in contact with has dozens if not hundreds of potential customers in their network. Connecting with these people is one of the oldest forms of lead generation services there is, but that doesn’t make it any less effective. Unfortunately, many people are very bad at networking; however, it is a skill that can be learned, and it’s one that’s worth the time and energy it takes to do so. Developing leads through existing relationships builds up your brand, creates trust, and lets you quickly built up your contact data.
Before social media, websites were the main way a business established an online presence, and they still play a major role in online lead generation. Websites can be used to provide information, sell products, direct visitors to a brick and mortar store, and allow customers to interact with you and each other.
Direct mailers are one of the oldest lead generators still in use today. They can be used for a number of different tasks in addition to lead generation, including informing your customers of new products, following up on questions, advertising sales, and more. You can provide customers with any information necessary both at their homes and businesses.
Referral systems, both online and offline, make use of reviews and recommendations your customers leave to generate leads. Getting customers to review and refer others to your products is one of the most important aspects of marketing because it builds trust in your brand. There are many different referral systems out there that can be used to create a long list of leads, build up your reputation, build customer loyalty, and increase your profits.
When working with lead generation companies, they can connect you with target customers through multiple channels in order to directly engage them. These channels include email, social media, direct mailings, and more. Established agents will have huge databases of potential leads they can analyze and filter with lead scoring to create a list of potential customers that matches your target demographic.
While many see telemarketing in a negative light, if used effectively it can be a powerful tool to generate more leads and increase revenue. It can be used to reach out to those identified by other lead generation methods such as direct mail to reinforce the message you’re trying to get out to potential customers. It can greatly boost your sales when used correctly by putting you in direct contact with customers in a way that no other lead generating method can. You can receive instant customer feedback, learn what needs to change, and make immediate sales, things that can normally only be done face to face.
Host Beneficiary Relationships
For business to business lead generation, you may want to form a partnership with another company that has an established list of potential customers that fit your desired profile but isn’t in direct competition with you. By forming these beneficiary relationships, you gain access to these customers and a number of other resources your host offers.
Marketing to potential leads on a qualified list is effective, while marketing to customers on an unqualified list is almost a waste of time and money. If you don’t correctly identify your prospects first, using marketing analytics, you may be marketing to many people outside of your target demographic. If someone doesn’t need your product or service, it doesn’t matter how good your marketing materials are—they simply won’t be interested. That’s why qualified lists are so vital to your business. These lists are your primary targets.
Many businesses have blogs these days—they’re not just for individuals to share their thoughts or talk about their day. Corporate blogs can be used to announce new products or strategies, review current products, discuss customer needs, and more. Because they’re often seen as more informal, blogs can help you generate leads in a different way than professional marketing materials do, although that’s not to say that your blog shouldn’t be professional. Blogs give you a chance to be more personal with your readers, something that can play a large part in building trust with potential customers.
Circle of Leverage
The key to marketing boils down to one thing: getting your products and services in front of the right audience. Without the right audience, it doesn’t matter how strong your marketing pieces are—they’re not going to be effective. You must identify your target audience and get your ads in front of them, which is what a circle of leverage does. The concept of the circle of leverage is to make use of the relationships between the people to generate leads by playing towards their needs, wants, fears, and competitiveness.
Newsletters can help you build your reputation, remain in contact with your customers, and reach potential new customers. Your newsletter may do everything from advertise new sales to provide readers with in-depth information on your industry. Most newsletters are free, although there are some that operate via a paid subscription model. Those are generally longer and more informative, although they also serve as a lead generating tool if done correctly.
Advertising has to do more than get your name out there—it has to do so in an effective manner. Advertising should do the same work that one of your top marketing professionals does, and when done right, it’s as close to a sure bet as you can get. In order to be effective, however, your advertising has to be perfectly targeted. You need to get your ad in front of a large group of potential customers who will be interested in what you offer. Advertising to those who are outside of your target demographic is simply ineffective and a waste of money.
Public Relations and Publicity
Leveraging other publications and media channels via public relations can get your name in front of potential customers that you may not otherwise reach via a platform that already has those customers’ trust. Making use of newspapers, television, radio, magazines, and websites that are connected to your industry can be a great way of generating new leads and building up your brand name. Submit press releases and articles, book guest spots on radio shows and podcasts, and connect with local television stations to discuss doing interviews.
While virtually unheard of 30 years ago, today e-commerce and the internet are absolutely vital to business and lead generation marketing. People turn to the internet daily to find information, communicate, make purchases, and much more. Without a website, social media, and email, a business will simply be seen as being out of touch with today’s world. Being online gives you access to an unending stream of potential leads who can be converted into customers.
Making profits on the “Back End”
The “back end” of a business has to do more with repeat sales than it does with generating leads, but just because it has to deal with current customers doesn’t mean you should ignore this area. If you depend on your customers purchasing from you repetitively rather than on bringing in first-time sales, you need to know how to motivate these customers to make larger purchases more often. This includes providing them with incentives to purchase more often or offering special deals on other products in addition to their regular purchase.
Become a Recognized Authority
When customers recognize you as an authority in your industry, they are much more likely to recommend you to their friends and family. There are several things you can do to quickly establish your business as an authority, including publishing articles, holding seminars, creating newsletters, and forming partnerships with other recognized authorities and experts in the field. Doing these things will help you stand out from your competitors and make it much easier to generate leads because your name will already be out there.
Advertorials and News Stories
Creating a blog and writing articles for other online publications can give your reputation a quick boost and help to establish you as an authority. This is also a good way of leveraging customers and readers from other publications because those publications will advertise your articles. Writing well-researched, well written pieces for online magazines and other blogs do more than generate leads upon publication—as long as they are available, they have the potential to generate leads.
Brochures and Corporate Literature
Brochures and other corporate literature should be one of your strongest forms of marketing and lead generation, yet most companies fail in this area. A professional brochure, company profile sheet, and any other items you decide to use need to do more than just provide dry information about your company—they need to tell your company’s story to potential customers in order to effectively generate leads. Many brochures are nothing but pages of text relaying information that customers could find anywhere. Colorful brochures that tell your story while still providing useful fact, on the other hand, are much more likely to generate leads.
Use Your Competitors Resources
If your competitors are not leveraging their relationships properly, they are leaving themselves open to losing them. You may be able to take advantage of these resources and use them to generate your own leads and convert their potential customers into your own. Once you have leveraged a number of these leads, you may find that word of mouth and reputation help you draw away even more leads from your competitors, effectively forcing them out of the market and taking on their customer list as your own.
There are many databases available through third parties that contain the contact information of thousands of leads. These databases can be filtered to create qualified lists with behavioral data, as we discussed earlier, but they can also be used to create personalized communications through mail merge. B2B email data makes personalized communications easy. Direct mailers are also better received by potential customers than form letters or items addressed to something generic such as “the current resident.”
Social Media Visibility
Today, social media can make or break a business. If you’re not visible on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any of the other popular social media site, you’re missing out on a large number of leads. These sites connect businesses to customers and potential customers in an unprecedented way that no company can afford to miss out on. You must do more than simply create a profile, too—you have to make certain you’re visible to your customers by interacting, posting regular updates, and taking full advantage of everything each social platform offers.
By making use of these 21 lead generation strategies, especially if you use them in concert, you can create powerful marketing plans that will reach out to qualified leads lists in order to effectively market your products and services and transform those leads into repeat customers.
- Lead Generation: A Beginner’s Guide – offers tips and tricks for getting started in lead generation.
- 32 Clever Lead Generation Ideas – ways of implementing some of the strategies outlined above in creative and different ways.
- The Ten Commandments of an Awesome Lead-Generating Website – tips for improving your website and other online presences to boost your lead generation.
- Lead Generation with Facebook Ads – while focused on Facebook lead generation, many of these principles can be used with other social network sites and with lead generation in general.
- The Truth About B2B Lead Gen – a look at what works and what doesn’t in business-to-business lead generation.
- 50 B2B Lead Generation Ideas from the Experts – ideas from the pros in the industry.
- How to Generate Qualified B2B Leads with Inbound Marketing, Blogs, and Social Media – some strategies for leveraging these three forms of marketing.
- 9 Proven Ways to Generate Sales Leads – experts share their tips on what has worked for them.
- How to Create a Lead Generation Strategy for your B2B Organization – how to bring many of the above strategies together into an overall plan.
- Ridiculously Effective Technique for Online Lead Generation – includes some real life examples.