How does online lead generation work?
Online lead generation is a cover-all term for any method of generating interest or inquiries via the internet. Whilst online lead generation can take longer to start generating results, compared to things like traditional advertising, over time the leads coming through online channels tend to be both cheaper and more effective.
To generate leads online, you’ll need a well optimised website with a strong, consistent brand message running throughout. Web visitors will rarely arrive directly on your homepage (unless they’re searching for your brand specifically), so every page on your website needs to be aligned. It should also fit with your brand identity and be as customer-centric as possible.
Special landing pages tailored to your audience are key. These are the pages that a user will ‘land’ on when first coming to your website. They need to cover a specific niche or intent. For example, if you’re a company that offers sporting gear and someone searches for bikes, you want them to land on a page specifically about that product. It will be of no use to you if they come through to a section on snorkeling.
Your entire online lead generation strategy should be focused around the customer. Why are they here? What do they want? How can we help them? How can they be contacted?
If you focus on your own goals and shouting about how great you are, then you’re far less likely to be successful down the line.
Common forms of online lead generation are:
- Content Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Social Media
- Video Content
- Free Resources (for ideas check out the free resources we offer)
Our online lead generation quick start guide is packed with even more advice on this topic.
How does offline lead generation work?
Offline lead generation refers to any method of creating interest around your product or service that doesn’t involve the internet.
Although many marketers will claim that offline marketing is dead, that is far from true.
Online marketing may be more effective in many situations, there are several areas where traditional marketing remains just as powerful. It can even reach audiences that online marketing can’t.
Some common methods of offline marketing include:
Event Marketing: different sizes and styles of events will prove more valuable for one business than another, but all capitalise on the power of getting face-to-face with leads, or even better getting them face-to-face with existing customers
Networking: never underestimate the power of having a strong network of contacts. Jump on every opportunity you can to meet new potential contacts and start building those links
Event sponsorship: most events will have a range of different packages available to suit different budgets and this can be a great way to get your name in front of a target audience
Print advertising: in the right magazine, journal or equivalent, print ads are still a viable way to reach a specific target audience
Direct mail: while this medium may have dropped in popularity, if done well it can prove very effective and more personal than an email equivalent
Outbound calls: the sales call has been the go-to tactic for generations of marketers but it’s harder than ever to make an impact, so it’s important to look at ways to make your cold calls more effective. Hitting the phone still has its place, but concentrating on only warm leads will bring far better results.
It is just as important to track results the effectiveness of offline lead generation, as it is for your online activity. Evaluate which channels have worked the best and refine what you’re doing.
How can I combine online and offline lead generation?
Customers rarely, if ever, buy after a single contact with a supplier, so it’s in your interest to be as visible as possible over as many channels as possible. Combining online and offline lead generation will help you reach a far wider audience than either could manage alone, as well as getting you in front of prospects over several mediums.
Online and offline lead generation can work together in several ways. For example: you may gather emails and contact details at a face-to-face event, then keeping in contact with those people on social media, or by sending them some content related to the interests you were discussing.
Equally, you may send leads generated online an invitation to one of your in-person events, so you get to meet them face-to-face. You could re-purpose and print some content that was originally developed for online use and issue it as a handout, or simply point anyone you meet towards your website.
All your offline lead generation activities should aim to point people towards your website. Be it letters, events or traditional PR. You should also be collecting and analyzing all the data you can. Learn from it and use it to make informed marketing decisions.
If you would like more information on how to combine online and offline marketing techniques, it can be found here.
Resources from this section:
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