Lead generation is the ongoing activity of creating relevant enquiries.
The art of lead generation is in being a good listener, showing genuine interest and concern for helping people. This fuels the process of creating ongoing ideas to generate responses.
This requires a reliable process to ensure it continues to work. Automation and tracking technologies play an important role in maximising efficiency and monitoring results for the sales and marketing team.
Lead generating activities usually fall into three main categories:
- Information marketing
This is about demonstrating your expertise or product in a way that helps build credibility and confidence. Articles, case studies and instructional videos are useful vehicles for this type of message. The emphasis is on being helpful rather than trying to sell. Encouraging readers to ask questions and request more information is important for continued engagement.
- Events: exhibitions, conferences and networking meetings
This is an important area because it puts you in front of people interested in finding out more about your products and services. Many of the informational marketing activities can be used in an events marketing project.
- Sales-driven initiatives
Such as cold calling and email marketing campaigns.
While cold calling is less popular these days, it is still a quick and effective method for generating leads when handled by an experienced sales professional.
Lead generation campaigns are often multi-layered using banner ads, trade journal ads, landing pages, informational marketing, events and sales presentations.
The process of finding and testing new lead generation methods is an ongoing process and varies according to the client industry.
Regular reviews and tweaking are necessary, but once something is working be careful not to change it.
Avoid the distractions of inbound and outbound marketing
Mainstream marketing uses the terms inbound and outbound marketing in relation to lead generation.
Inbound marketing is concerned with activities centred around creating articles, case studies and videos to draw people to (inbound) the website and request more information.
Outbound marketing is concerned with activities such cold calling and email marketing campaigns (outbound) to establish a direct response.
In both cases we are dealing with people who have particular interests and concerns. Understanding what they are and how to help them is the most important task.
Inbound and outbound marketing are distracting terms because they preoccupy marketers with the mechanical process rather than the psychological process of understanding people’s issues and concerns.
Inbound marketing uses outbound activities in order to generate a response, which is inbound.
Online marketing or internet marketing is a better all-embracing term.