In between unpacking boxes and putting away belongings my home telephone rang. I reached to answer it thinking it was probably my mother. I kicked myself as I realized even she didn’t have my new number yet.
“No thank you,” I said, “I’m really not interested.” The call was, of course, from a solicitor. Despite her encouragement to support a worthwhile charity by purchasing magazine subscriptions, I refrained. I was more concerned with how this woman got my telephone number.
Cold calling is a (very annoying) marketing tool that often yields poor results for one simple reason: you’re calling an uninterested prospect.
Lead generation is a marketing term that refers to the process of generating prospective consumer interest or inquiry into products or services of a business. Quite simply, lead generation identifies the people who want to talk to you.
Used by companies large and small for a variety of reasons, lead generation is a solid and effective marketing tool. The goal of lead generation is to generate quality leads. Quality leads are determined by a prospect’s inclination to take their inquiry or interest to the next level. A quality lead expresses interest and then, due to your excellent sales technique, turns that interest into an investment or a purchase in your product, business or service.
Lead generation methods and techniques are numerous and most businesses use a combination of several methods as part of their marketing strategy. The most important lead generation methods are those that work (i.e. generate quality leads). While no best methodology or technique exists there are best practices for each method. Keep your end goal in mind when choosing lead generation techniques for your marketing campaign.
When the term lead generation is mentioned, it often brings to mind online marketing and advertising – a very commonly used method. Franchise Clique’s expertise falls under this category. Due to the fact that the Internet is like a storefront that is always open, online advertising is a cost-effective approach to lead generation. Through search engine optimization, organic search engine results, paid search engine results and a laundry list of other ways, you are able to generate leads literally in your sleep.
Common Lead Generation Methods
1. Branding – Involves the use of sponsorships, advertising, associations, newsletters and events to produce leads.
2. Public Relations – Involves the use of editorials, news releases, public speaking engagements, news coverage (radio, broadcast, print and online), article placement, and content generation to produce leads.
3. Website – Involves search engine optimization (SEO), podcasts, blogging, RSS feeds and unique URL landing pages to produce leads.
4. Phone Calls – Involves developing relationships, gaining internal referrals, identifying business shortcomings and needs, opt-in for content notification, re-engaging with previously missed opportunities, identifying and/or verifying contacts and inviting contacts to events in order to produce leads. *Please note the difference between this marketing approach and cold calling. This is about developing and not establishing relationships.
5. Email – Involves using one-to-one messages or one-to-many messages to produce leads.
6. Online Marketing – This is probably the most popular and widely known lead generation method. It involves using organic search engine results, paid search engine results, webinars, newsletter sponsorships, banners, portals and online directories to produce leads.
7. Direct Mail – Involves using postcards, personal letters, dimensional mail (this is exactly what you would imagine it to be—something other than a normally shaped piece of mail), and self-mailers to produce leads.
8. Events – Involves going to and/or hosting one or more of the following: seminars, workshops, webinars, conferences, executive briefings, and tradeshows.
9. Referrals – One of my favorite methods. Referrals work because of how much we believe the opinions and experiences of those we trust. Using referrals as a lead generation technique involves using vendors, consultants, customers and partners and their trusted experiences.
For more information, I suggest you read The B2B Refinery by Green and Saylor, Lead Generation for the Complex Sale by Carroll and Marketing for Dummies.