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the basics of lead generation

Mar 1, 2008
It's no secret really - every business needs a strong lead generation plan. If you've got services to sell, you need leads to sell them to. That's why any marketing you do should be to generate leads. Period.

Some marketing is geared more toward building a brand name. That's all well and good, but it's still lead generation. Building your brand name brings top of mind awareness to consumers. That means the next time they need a product you provide, your name pops into their head. They naturally come to you in search of a solution to their problem, handing you a lead that's an easy conversion.

There are many forms of lead generation. The 'power-media' of the past such as commercials, print ads, billboards and radio commercials may be all well and good for brand recognition building, but leave much to be desired in the lead generating category. You just can't target your audience specifically.

Telemarketing and direct mail are at least more traditional tactics that allow you to target your audience better. That way, instead of blasting your message to every household in America, you can call or mail the areas you actually want - like if you were selling office copiers, you'd really want to contact offices.

Internet marketing is probably the best marketing medium when it comes to targeting your audience. Lead generation is at it's best when done through the Internet. By utilizing search marketing programs (or pay per click advertising) you can make sure your ads come up for anyone searching particular keywords relating to your product or service. Hopefully, they click on your ad, are sent to your website, where your enticing offer makes them leave their contact information, capturing them as a lead.

In order to get an online consumer to leave you their information, you've got to give them something in return - it's the game of lead generation. Your offer must be either enticing, creative, or something too good to pass up - people don't like to give out their information for just anything. Your 'hook' or offer could be something as simple as having them signup for email updates to your blog or to join a forum, or an offer for a free coupon to one of your products.

Informational packets are always a big thing as well - for instance, if you were an event planner looking to get business for the holidays, you may offer a free Holiday Office Party Planning Guide, complete with location and catering ideas, free invitations, coupons and discounts for various services and more. Information is power - if you've got information your prospective customers can use, don't be greedy with it, share it in exchange for their contact information. The old adage 'you catch more flies with honey than vinegar' definitely applies.

The bottom line when it comes to lead generation is identifying your target audience down to the tiniest demographic, and than coming up with creative ways to target that audience to get your brand name in front of them OR to collect their contact information. Once you get their information, you move from lead generation to lead follow-up, and that well that is a whole new ball game!
About the Author
Author Ashley Lichty specializes in lead generation, content development and search engine optimization at ProsepctMX.com. You can learn more about her at ProspectMX.
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