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What is Lead Generation? And a Quick How-To

Everybody wants sales and everyone loves a hot lead. A lead, of course, is a potential customer. And lead generation encompasses all the activities you use to generate a list of leads that could become customers. It’s a worthwhile exercise if you get it right. Although you may only win over a relatively small percentage of leads, once you’ve clinched the deal, you can go all-out to delight your new customers. Achieve this, and they’ll be telling like-minded friends about you. It could be an exponential boost for your business. 

At this point, you may be thinking: “Sounds good, but it’s easier said than done!” The good news is that lead generation, meaning more contacts to target for improved sales, may not be as hard or as costly as you think. So, apart from answering the question: “What is lead generation,” we’ll also investigate lead generation marketing and how it’s done. Let’s dive in!

Lead Generation Strategies Online and Off

If you’ve been reading up on lead generation strategies, you might be pardoned for thinking that it’s mostly done online. Up to a point, that’s true, but lead generation can also be done offline. 

When you’re generating leads online, you’ll be using email marketing, your website, and your social media pages to do the job for you. But, you can also generate leads offline at expos, shows, events, or even with “cold calling.” Advertising can generate leads, too, and it can occur either on or offline. With advertising in general, you can target the right people better online, but you may have an offline publication in mind that absolutely suits your market. 

Plan your lead generation campaign to cover as many bases as you can, but be sure that whatever your approach is, you’re targeting the type of people who might be interested in your product or service. Find them, and they just need a nudge in the right direction to commit to it. Lead generation, contrary to popular belief, isn’t just a matter of collecting a bunch of names, numbers, and emails. It’s about generating a list of people who can benefit from your products or services. 

Spreading your net to capture this information means knowing your clients. It may be that “everyone” could benefit from what you do, but “everyone” is not an audience that you can effectively target. Consider the buyer persona that represents the type of client that you’d see as the ideal customer.  That’s who you want to target. Now, it’s time to find out if they’re really interested in what you do and can become “leads” and later, converted customers. 

Choose Your Lead Generation Platforms Carefully

Once you know who your ideal customers are, you can start thinking about where to find them. What are their interests? How can your business help them to fulfil their wants and needs? Where do they search for information? What “bait” can you offer them in exchange for the all-important contact details? Walk a mile in your customers’ moccasins, as it were, to find out how you can get in touch in a way that they’ll see as being helpful rather than intrusive. 

There’s no magical formula to follow here. Do your outreach as well as you can, targeting your ideal buyers, and see how they respond.  Adjust your strategies based on results. It can be a costly learning curve, so many companies outsource lead generation to communications specialists like RSVP. It keeps costs predictable, and you get the benefit of their experience in lead generation.

Lead Generation: General Principles

Nobody likes having a reputation for being a nuisance. Unsolicited contacts must be approached with a great deal of sensitivity to the customers’ perspective. Offering them something they might like sweetens the pill. Capture leads by offering discounts, entries into competitions, free information, or even just entertaining and attractive content. 

In both on and offline scenarios, charm wins the day – and that means styling the interaction so that the prospective lead feels that you understand his or her needs and may have something special to offer. Needless to say, this takes very skilled communication!

Whatever methods you use, ask yourself if you’d be willing to hand over your contact information, or agree to future contacts, in exchange for the benefits that may accrue to those who sign up. If you wouldn’t hand over your contact for the sake of whatever you’re offering to leads, then they probably won’t either!

In an ideal scenario, you can even “advertise without advertising.” Think about it. If you’re active in a social media group that bans advertising, you can still let people know about what you do by contributing to the discussion. Will it work? That depends on which groups you choose to be active in and what you say there!

Keep it Human

As a final tip, do remember to personalise. Sure, you’ve got a really great lead generation script or recipe. But just rattling it off without responding to the individual and adapting to their needs isn’t going to win you any brownie points. As another example, just setting up your mails to start with people’s names isn’t going to make your targeted leads feel that your mail’s worth having. Study the ways in which people interact with your lead generation efforts to see what kind of content and topics suit them best and what they’re likeliest to act upon. 

Never forget that your possible “leads” are people just like you. They need to feel respected, understood, and they need to feel that you’re offering something that may have value. More is not better. Quality is everything!

In-Person Contact is the Best Contact

You’ve amped up your SEO; you’ve got a stunning website; you’re advertising on and offline; and you’re still not getting the most out of lead generation. What now? The personal element may be the point you’re missing – and there’s no better way of getting that than with person-to-person contact. Be it on social media, over the phone, or via email, one-to-one interactions are the most valuable and memorable ones of all. 

Needless to say, finding the right people to handle this kind of communication isn’t always easy. That’s even supposing that you’ve targeted the ideal strategy for getting in touch with your leads. But there’s no need to feel overwhelmed, and you certainly should not miss out on the opportunities that effective lead generation can bring. 

At RSVP, Outbound Sales and Retention becomes easy – and lead generation is part of the package. Our proven results show that we outperform in-house teams time after time. So, if you’d like to take a fresh look at lead generation, it’s time you talked to us. Let’s work together to build an effective lead generation strategy for your business. Opportunity knocks! It’s time you opened the door to RSVP!

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