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Cold calling and spam emails are a thing of the past. Today's businesses rely on lead generation to find interest in a product or service and to help convert that interest into customers and clients. The challenge with creating leads online, however, is that many business owners don't even know what is meant by these leads, much less how they're generated and why their company needs this service!
Lead Generation refers to creating interest in a company's product or service, often by talking about its benefits to the potential customer or client, or by offering discounts, coupons, rebates, and other special offers. This process starts before someone even shows initial interest in a purchase or in that company in particular.
Unlike cold calling or sending spam emails, creating leads with these techniques is much less bothersome to your potential clients and customers, so this process is more likely to get interest and response. There are also many avenues used today for this type of lead gen, and employing all of them can mean more attention, more purchases, and more profits for your company!
Understanding Lead Creation Techniques
The first thing a company needs to do to attract potential clients and customers is to generate interest in their particular service or product. However, unlike cold calling, spamming, and even soft selling someone on the benefits of what you're selling, creating sales leads today is much more subtle, and may not include an outright mention of a particular business:
- Blogging about products or services related to what you're offering is a popular method of generating leads. A blog about maintaining the exterior of a home might include a small section on the benefits of professional window washing, for instance.
- Newsletters about a particular industry can also include small sections about a product or service. A newsletter about how to maintain a home and property can be used to generate leads for many interior and exterior services, homeowner's insurance, and so on.
- Live events such as webinars are a favorite way to generate leads. A webinar with tips on maintaining a home's exterior might include time dedicated to window washing, or there might be a concluding comment from the homeowner's insurance company that created the webinar.
- Free services can also create interest in your company. An insurance company might offer a quick walk-through of a property to note areas where the security could be improved, or a window washing company might volunteer their services for a neighborhood cleanup.
- Offers on websites, such as a free eBook, template or form a visitor can download, or private course they alone can access, given in exchange for an email or other contact information, can also generate leads.
When people respond to these tactics and take an interest in your company, either through filling out a form, clicking through specific pages on your site, or making a phone call, they have now gone from a stranger to a visitor, and a potential customer or client.
What Is Lead Generation?
Generating sales leads starts with drumming up interest in your company, but much more work needs to be done to convert that interest into actual sales! After a visitor has shown interest in your company, you need to present your product or service during that first connection, and ensure that they will continuously see that offer in front of them even after they leave your website, after the conclusion of a demonstration, and so on.
Presenting your product or service during this part of the process doesn't mean a hard sell, as a visitor is not stepping foot inside a retail store, purposely looking to shop. Instead, your visitor is still merely a potential lead and should continuously see the advantages of your product or service.
How Visitors Are Converted to Customers and Clients
To convert your visitors into customers and clients while avoiding a hard sell approach, note a few techniques you might consider:
- On-page blogs are recurring, informative articles that appear on your website. These blogs can extol the benefits of your services or products in particular, or they can discuss related topics that might interest your visitors and which keep them returning to your website for more information.
- Product trials or samples can be an excellent way to create sales. You might send a small sample of a particular product to someone after they've sat through a webinar or have signed up for a newsletter. For those selling a service, you might offer a free consultation, in person or over the phone.
- Encouraging visitors to follow your social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube can keep your product or service in front of potential customers.
- Visitors can sign up for email alerts from your company, so they can be encouraged to purchase when you're running a sale or offering any discount.
Why Every Company Needs to Generate Leads
There are many reasons why every company needs to generate leads proactively, but note a few of the most important advantages that this entire process can offer to a business today:
- As more consumers shop online for a variety of products, and more companies advertise online, competition for potential customers is extremely tight. A company that is not proactively generating leads for themselves will lose potential business to a competitor that is keeping up with social media trends and posting, or who is keeping their contact information in front of potential customers by way of newsletters and other such methods.
- While not a means of hard selling, lead generation can still convert visitors and even those with no interest in a product or service into a customer or client. Blogs and web content, product demonstrations, or any demonstration of the benefits of your product or service can bring visitors to your company and then also convert those visitors into consumers.
- Generating leads in a way that keeps your company's name in front of consumers, such as a newsletter, social media platform, or regular blog, can ensure that you have as many repeat customers as possible. Reminding consumers of the advantages of your product, or of a service such as a window cleaning or reviewing a family's financial plans, for example, can compel your customers to hire you again, buy a new product, and the like.
The Advantages of Lead Generation Companies
Creating potential leads through marketing, event planning, and other such techniques may seem like a simple task, but there are many advantages to leaving this work to companies experienced in finding and then converting leads to customers and clients. Note a few of those advantages:
- Tracking the cost of leads is vitally important, so you can determine if you should choose a less expensive means of finding potential customers and clients, or if it might be good to invest in more expensive but better quality lead generating techniques. A company that handles the creation of leads can track your return on investment, and advise on needed adjustments accordingly.
- Lead generation companies that specialize in tracking leads can note which social media channels convert the most followers to visitors and then to customers and clients, so you can concentrate on the content you release through that channel in particular.
- Hunting for leads online often involves using popular keywords that relate to your business and industry, and keeping current with the methods search engines use to rank various websites. A company that finds online leads will know how to find and use those popular keywords and how to ensure a site is ranked as high as possible in search engine results.
Mistakes to Avoid When Generating New Leads
Even with a company that specializes in generating leads for your business, you might note some common mistakes to avoid so that you don't lose any of those potential customers and clients throughout this process:
- Remember that visitors sign up for offers that provide them something of value, and are not merely interested in hearing about your company again and again. Avoid turning your newsletters, social media pages, and other such outlets into simple sales tools; instead, talk about current events in the area or offer useful tips your visitors will appreciate and which will keep them interested in your message and your offer.
- Don't bury your call to action in your website, newsletter, and the like. On a site, for example, you want to ensure that a special offer or signup form is clearly visible and easily distinguished from the rest of the writing. A big red button that takes visitors to a signup sheet or other web page is also a must!
- Don't give visitors too many options when it comes to anything you are offering. You might assume that producing a menu of options for visitors will get more people to sign up, follow through, leave their contact information, and so on, but too many choices can be confusing and overwhelming. In turn, potential customers and clients might avoid signing up for any of your offers and might even click away from your website altogether.
- Note where your customers are and be sure you use those platforms for generating leads. For instance, you might be very comfortable with sending out emails or with creating posts on Facebook, but your potential leads might never open their email and might be following hashtags on Twitter instead. Don't assume that your leads will find you, but stay updated on the trends that will attract visitors and quality leads to your company.
If you avoid these mistakes and hire the best company to assist, your lead generation techniques are sure to result in increased sales for your business.