Is your business struggling to generate online sales leads? It is common knowledge that generating sales leads online can be more effective than traditional methods, not to mention more cost-effective. Given the current economy, businesses are looking to the internet in order to cut marketing costs. We are going to take a look at different methods of lead generation and how your company might use them.
Lead Generating Traffic Sources
In order to maximize sales leads, you have to maximize the traffic coming in to your website and landing pages. There are three ways to generate traffic online:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Optimizing your web pages so that your potential clients will find you when they search for your products or services.
- Paid Advertising – Paying to have your ad appear in the sponsored listings in the search engines, or in a particular location on a selected website.
- Social Media – Utilizing large web communities to generate interest and traffic for your products or services.
- Affiliate Marketing – Partnering with like minded sites to offer each others products or services.
Depending on your business and what stage of development it is in, you will utilize these methods differently. The key takeaway here is to utilize all three methods to some degree. Don’t limit your ability to reach new clients by focusing all your efforts on one method.
Lead Capture Methods
Once you are generating some quality traffic, you will want to be sure that you don’t miss out on capturing as many leads as possible. It is important to understand your target audience and their purchasing behavior. Here are some ways you can keep in touch with potential clients at different levels:
- Facebook Like Button – Including the ‘Like’ button on most pages of your site will allow visitors to ‘Like’ the content that they find helpful or amusing on your site. When a visitor clicks on the ‘Like’ button, they automatically become a fan of your business and will receive updates that you send out through your Facebook page. This is a great way to connect with people who are only on your site for a short time, or only visit a single page.
- Opt-in List – Not everyone is going to buy on their first visit, but that doesn’t mean they won’t. Give visitors the opportunity to receive quality content on a regular basis through e-mail. You will offer some sort of upfront incentive for opting in and will occasionally offer your products or services in your e-mails.
- Landing Page – Similar to the opt-in list, a landing page is specifically designed to promote a particular product or service. When a visitor fills out their information, they have the opportunity to opt-in to your list, but may also be requesting a quote or some other type of follow up.
- Registration – Having a site where users register to have access to a free service or a niche community is a great way to get visitors involved and to be able to make some quality connections.
- Contact Information – Some businesses forget about this one altogether and don’t include their contact information in an easy-to-find location on the website. If someone wants to use a more traditional means of contacting you, don’t limit them!
It is important to avoid surprises when a visitor comes to your site through any given medium. If a visitor doesn’t think your content is relevant to what they are looking for, they will leave quickly and your conversion rate will suffer.
Lead Generation Examples
Here are a couple of scenarios that will help you better understand how to utilize these advertising mediums to generate leads online:
Brand New Local Restaurant – Knowing that it can take a minimum of six months to generate adequate organic search traffic and that SEO is more cost effective than paid advertising in the long haul, you hire an SEO expert right away. You claim your local business listings with the major search engines so that local searchers can find you easier. In the meantime, you utilize Google AdWords to not only generate immediate traffic, but also to test out your organic SEO keywords in the process. As your business generates more and more organic search traffic, you rely on paid advertising less and less. However, you don’t eliminate it altogether because you have realized that running PPC campaigns alongside your SEO campaigns creates some great synergy. Your primary landing page encourages visitors to sign up for your e-mail list so they can receive special promotions and a free birthday meal. Thanks to technology, you have automated your entire annual e-mail campaign and are able to discover what social networks your members are in and can connect with them on their favorite networks. In order to promote your business to people who happen to be nearby, you utilize FourSquare. You also become active on Yelp, encouraging those that have been to your restaurant to rate their experience.
Independent Consultant – As a consultant, you show off your knowledge through a blog, which is part of the main website. This blog is great for generating organic search traffic, because you carefully optimize each post and post often. Because your are a smart consultant, you are already using PPC, but are not over-reliant on this method. You have also paid to have some banner and video ads on some of the top sites related to your industry. LinkedIn is a great social media tool for you because it is a professional network that facilitates some great business to business connections. As an added bonus, you frequently answers questions related to the industry on LinkedIn and other related forums, and you run a couple of Meetup groups for people interested in your specialty. Affiliate marketing can come into play here as you team up with other consultants that have complimentary skill sets to your own. You don’t actually sell any products online, so your landing pages focus around proprietary research and tools that you have created. Once visitors opt-in for your email list, they are automatically sent a weekly e-mail containing your latest blog posts. You also highlight a particular service each month and offer your e-mail list members a special discount. All of your lead capture forms automatically feed the captured information into Sugar, your customer relationship management (CRM) tool.
Online Digital Camera Store – Let’s assume this business targets professional photographers who are looking for high-end digital equipment. Your efforts are focused around SEO and PPC keywords related to your most profitable brands and products, because you understand that people searching for specific products are usually considering buying it. The website itself is more than just an e-commerce store, but a social network within itself. Because your business values repeat customers, you have forums where users can discuss the latest trends in photography. Every month, you hold a contest where the best submitted photo wins the latest high-tech gear. Most of your customers are quite satisfied not only to have found quality equipment, but also a great community. Your community extends beyond just your site, in the form of a Facebook Page, a YouTube channel sporting some very helpful videos and a Flickr account that grabs the attention of anyone who sees it. Your site also promotes the re-chargeable batteries of another site, which in turn promotes your high-end cameras. Since your best sales come from active members of your community, your landing pages focus on having new visitors join the community.