WHAT IS A LEAD?
A lead is a person who has expressed interest in the product or service that a company offers. When you contact a lead, you use the information collected to personalize the sales outreach efforts so that the sales call is as personal and enjoyable for the client as possible.
WHAT IS LEAD GENERATION?
Lead generation is one of those marketing practices that gets talked about quite often, but defined a lot less. In my experience many marketers don’t actively understand what lead generation is and often struggle to come up with tangible lead generation strategies and programs. However funnily enough, most marketers would have an aspect of lead generation in their strategies, without often recognizing it as such.
The key is to define what lead generation is – in a very simplistic way:
Lead generation is the marketing practice of using a number of marketing programs, tools and strategies to capture user data in order to sell them a service, product or advertise to.
The most misconception in marketing I find is that lead generation is primarily a data capture exercise for the sole purpose of selling the end user a particular product or service. This just isn’t true in today’s world. Leads have a number of purposes, and although the end goal may be commercial (for businesses at the least), not all leads are collected for the purpose of selling to.
WHY IS LEAD GENERATION IMPORTANT?
Lead generation is very important for the growth of a business. The buying process has changed and marketeers need to rethink and refocus their efforts in order to stay relevant. If people demonstrate to you that they are interested in your business, when you go to contact them about your offering they are no longer a stranger– but rather a true sales prospect who has “told” you they are interested in your product or service.
TRADITIONAL VS. ONLINE LEAD GENERATION
In the past, marketers have often relied on offline or “traditional” marketing channels to acquire leads, some of these will be explored later on in the guide. Of late the move to online media has been championed by the fact that not only can online offer better ROI (Return On Investment), its flexibility as a medium means that a campaign can be turned off, improved, or accelerated and amplified should metrics support or contrast the original targets set at the onset of the campaign.
In addition, digital media has evolved drastically and the development of new marketing platforms such as social media, and the re-emergence of email allows new channels to be added to the mix, where data selection can be narrowed down to user interests rather than generally targeting a larger base “in the wild”. This allows for better collection of “qualified” or high quality leads and increases the efficiency of limited marketing budgets.
DEFINING LEAD PROSPECTS
In the numerous lead generation guides, articles and content, it seems that the definitions of types of prospects are more often than not, left out. Interestingly many marketers use the phraseology in their day to day work, though how many people using the terminology actually understand the difference between prospect types is debatable, although I would concede most would know the difference. The key is not knowing, but understanding the different types.
There are many different types of lead prospects, depending on your niche and industry, however the four main ones used in a sales funnel are:
- Cold Prospects
Typically people that have had no interaction with your brand or company ever and may not even be aware of its services or products.
- Warm Prospects
Warm prospects tend to have two different descriptions, depending on who you speak to. A warm prospect could be identified as someone that knows about your brand or company, and potentially has a positive view of the business. On the other hand a warm prospect could be defined as someone who started out as a cold prospect but was “warmed” by moving down your sales or communications funnel so that they know about your company and might be receptive to moving even further down the sales funnel.
- Hot Prospects
Although not ideally the best way to describe them, “hot” prospects are those that have moved to the end of the funnel, and are highly responsive or active, and are predisposed to carry out an action should the conditions be right for them to convert.
Here is a quick overview of some of the highly effective strategies you can use to generate many more qualified leads and clients for your business. They are all simple and cost effective to implement once you know what to do and how to do it.
By bridging the gaps in your knowledge we can show you how to get the most out of any of these approaches, no matter how large or small your business.
- Effective Advertising
Advertising should be nothing less than ”salesmanship in print,” i.e. it should do the same job that a top sales person would do face to face. If you approach advertising in a scientific manner, following proven principles and facts, it no longer has to be a gamble. There are many extremely effective ways of using advertising in a highly targeted manner, that can’t help but grow your business.This includes:
1) Advertising only in media that reaches a sufficiently large number of the kind of people you’re trying to reach
2) Focusing the entire thrust of your communication on your prospect’s interests, not your own
3) Giving your prospects enough information and education and
4) Offering them something appealing that’ll get them to respond now.
- Word-of-Mouth Marketing This is the most powerful, persuasive marketing weapon available to any business. It drives customers to try products or services more than any other marketing technique … more than advertising, salespeople, direct response, and public relations combined! And contrary to what you might expect word-of-mouth is not out of your control. There are dozens of techniques for launching your own highly successful word of mouth campaigns, based on an all-important Decision Matrix and a proven seven-step process.
- Qualified Lists The quality of your prospect list is the single most important influencing factor in your marketing success because it can eliminate virtually all marketing waste. A list of well qualified prospects can be a priceless gem because if you exploit it properly it will produce tremendous amount of revenue for you from people who have a proven interest in your product or service. Thousands of properly qualified lists are readily available for virtually any marketing purpose and can give you many times more sales. These lists identify the specific businesses, key decision makers and demographic characteristics you desire, within the geographic areas you specify. You can focus only on prospects who are more likely than not your primary target audience for your product or service.
- Networking Most people you meet have hundreds of contacts, which means that virtually anyone you might want to contact or meet is only four to five people away from you. Effective networking is therefore vital to your success. Most people are poor networkers, but you can quickly learn how to get out; meet people; make new contacts; develop quality business relationships based on trust; polish your communication skills; educate the people you meet about what you do and the benefits offered by your product or service; create a lasting impression; quickly build your network, use your contacts database effectively, enjoy your new contacts …and maximize your chances of success.
- Become a Recognized Authority You can take a number of simple steps to rapidly establish yourself as a recognized authority in your field. These include writing articles and books, creating newsletters and information products, speaking and delivering seminars. These can keep you very busy and in demand virtually all the time, giving you a tremendous edge over your competitors who struggle to get by. Customers will normally flock to you, while your competitors wonder why and have to settle for picking up the leftovers.
- Public Relations and Publicity Most of what you read, see, and hear in the media got there with the help of PR. The media are insatiably hungry for factual, interesting, and newsworthy or entertaining information they can share with their customers, members, employees, listeners, viewers or readers. PR, approached correctly, will give you free coverage on radio, television, in magazines, newspapers, trade journals, newsletters, e-zines, and via Web sites who serve the marketplace you’re trying to reach.
- Special Events and Promotions
One of the best methods of making your business more successful is to make doing business with you a special, memorable experience. The more exciting, enjoyable, fascinating, informative, valuable or educational you can make the experience, the more business you will do, and the stronger and more meaningful the bond you will form with your customers. Events are a very powerful way of offering people who have an excellent probability of turning into customers a chance to be educated about the benefits and results of your product or service. They can also be used to recognize your existing customers as being very special.