[Back To The Basics] What Is Lead Generation?

Lead generation is one of the first crucial steps in creating a marketing campaign for your business’ goods or services. It is the practices and strategies used in order to generate “leads”. Leads are potential customers that you must entice one way or another through either inbound or outbound lead generation techniques.

Once a lead is determined viable for the business the marketing department goes through multiple sales stages before a sale is made and the lead becomes a customer. A business must choose which lead generation technique to specialize in to best fit their budget, time and available resources. Choosing the lead generation best for your business will assure more leads and in turn more profits for businesses either big and small.

To better understand the concept of Lead Generation, we divide lead generation int the following types.

Inbound Lead Generation

Inbound lead generation is done through advertising such as magazine print, commercials, mass mailings, social media, etc. With the inception of game changing informational excess brought to us through the modern marvels of the internet, social media and the search engine some marketers have switched to a more inbound oriented approach. There is such an overabundance of information we are subjected to daily that it is too overwhelming for one to take in. Some companies have used the internet this to their advantage by letting leads come to them through inbound lead generation marketing strategies.

If you want to create an interest for your product it is a good idea to create a social media division to handle writing for your blog or handle social media accounts such as Facebook or Twitter. Customers like to have a relationship with their company so having a way to connect with them on their level and building public relations is a good way to generate leads.  What is unique about inbound lead generation is that the sales department can be confident that these leads are at the point in their buying process that they are considering their options. This is definitely true with SEO optimization. While a lead is using one of the most common sources of information-the search engine, they can be presented with your website, blog, social media profile, etc just through the intentional press of a button. This is one of the best as it is in no way intrusive or generally dependent on your lead’s habits. All they need to do is the normal Google and your business is in the top results. Inbound is a good choice as it catches consumers in a vital stage that guarantees quantifiable interest in your business.

Outbound Lead Generation

This is contrary to the more contemporary inbound lead generation. These marketing strategies were used in a time of information scarcity when people had to often get information straight from companies. Outbound lead generation includes cold calling, knocking on doors or attending events. This strategy often puts your business at an disadvantage if attempted without prior interest in your business or it’s related goods or services. Warm calling for example can be much more successful instead of cold calling; warm calling is when a lead was given through a referral and is much less intrusive and provides much more successful leads. You may also try to schedule a meet up to get your lead in a more intimate setting. Since you are the initiator in this arrangement you must be wary to not be too pushy as to overestimate a leads interest in your product. Your sales representatives must measure their interest and expand upon with appropriate measures.

As discussed earlier, having a relationship with your leads creates much better opportunities for you to generate successful leads. This is called lead nurturing, which is important in any lead generation process in order for a lead to maintain interest in your business.

Overall lead generation is a vital aspect of marketing and will help your business acquire new customers to grow your consumer base and profits.

Direct Mail, Email Marketing, Cold Calls.. Which is better?

When businesses look to choose their preferred strategy of lead generation they have to be sure to choose the best one to invest their time, money and resources into for the most return possible. The three that we will be looking at is direct mail, email marketing and cold calls.

All three of these lead generation strategies have their perks and disadvantages but your businesses cannot afford to settle for second or third best in order to succeed in this increasingly competitive marketplace. In this article we will explore the aspects to each of these lead generation strategies and find which is the best for your business.

If You Make Cold Calls Watch This Video

In consideration of the  of the three I will weigh out the pros and cons of each of theses lead generation strategies.

Direct mail is the simple advertisement through the mail. The lead gets a physical copy of your ad along with their important documents like letters, bills and news or magazines. This tends to put your ad and the lead in a more intimate setting allowing the lead to at least glance over your adallowing for a higher likelihood of interacting with it. This is opposed to email marketing which often get deleted after reading the subject, and that’s counting on it not going into a lead’s spam folder to be ignored or immediately deleted before even being given a second or even first glance.

This study: (http://www.dmnews.com/direct-mail/dma-direct-mail-response-rates-beat-digital/article/245780/) shows that while email marketing is cheaper, it has a much lower response rate then direct mail marketing. Your company could possibly benefit from using email marketing from a cost, resource, and time perspective but in the long run keep in mind that other businesses are doing this as well. As business becomes more and more digital the potential lead’s email inbox is being filled with offers. These countless emails are competing for the recipient’s time and attention and the response rate keeps going down with the inception of more offers. So while email marketing is a good choice from a strictly resource based perspective, it is not going to get you the results you need for a solid customer base.

Cold calling is another option as well, it allows a lead and the sales representative to talk over what your business offers. This allows for human interaction and the possibility to shift your sales pitch for that person’s needs. Cold calling however is an arduous and costly lead generation technique that will often lead to many annoyed “nos” from potential leads who have felt their day has been interrupted by a sales call. This will also be the most expensive assuming you have a marketing department employed for the purpose of making often unsuccessful calls. The direct mail marketing again takes the cake for the most cost efficient and successful strategy for generating leads for your business. A cold call is often a nuisance costly for the business but with a mailing all you do is send and forget. If a lead wants your business they contact you on their terms ready for your assistance. An added benefit is they have a physical advertisement that can be reminder in the future in case they require your services.

In summary, I believe direct mail marketing is the best for your business in terms of resource efficiency and response rate. Direct mail is the strategy to invest in to get customers coming to YOU asking for your time as opposed to the other way around. This strategy in the end will lead to happier customers and businesses.