If you are in business, you’ll already know that one of the cornerstones of marketing is to capture leads. Recording the contact information of any potential customers is the start of good lead marketing. Finding ways to capture more leads is how your business increases its marketing capability and, with proper follow-through, increasing revenue along with it.
Lead marketing also goes far beyond only potential customers. Businesses not only have to market to customers, but to potential employees, potential business partners, and others. You never know who might turn into your newest customer or superstar employee. Understanding why and how to capture leads – and how not to – can take your business to the next level.
“But isn’t marketing just advertising?” a few less-informed people might say. To which you’ll respond, “Heck no! Advertising is just a starting point.”
Sure, you can put an ad on the radio, in a newspaper, or on social media, and it is possible the customer might – MIGHT – call you up and just buy your product outright. However, most simply ignore advertising. Even among those that don’t, most will often find your website, browse a bit, look over your Facebook Page, and then swipe left, never to be heard from again.
Those stealthy website visitors can slip away so easily. Without lead capture, you’ll never:
The same holds true for any brick-and-mortar location. A new person who walks into a store or service location and walks back out again before even saying, “hello” is a lost opportunity. Ditto any visitors who come to a social or coworking event at the office.
Capturing leads makes an ongoing relationship possible. Just like you can’t call the attractive person you met at happy hour if you didn’t bother to get a phone number, your business can’t foster a relationship with a person you cannot contact.
Most people don’t like to just hand over the contact information. Giving out your cell phone number or email address can mean junk texts, and annoying phone calls and spam. While we all understand the importance of marketing, we often don’t like being the target of marketing, especially bad marketing.
Both getting and then following up on leads requires understanding your customers. We’re not talking basic demographics here, but rather motivations and behaviors. Demographics may play a role in those behaviors; if your target market is older, they may be less likely to pay attention to social media.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes to answer the following questions:
Once you know who your customer is, what attracts them and what their needs are, its time to focus on getting those pertinent leads.
Getting quality leads is a multi-tiered process. There is no one way to get quality leads, and using as many avenues as possible casts a wide net, resulting in more leads overall.
Lead generation means getting everyone’s contact information, everywhere, in all situations, and in as many methods as you can. It means getting as much information as you can to know how best to follow up on those leads. No matter how you do business, whether in person or online, using all the tools you have available will ensure interested people don’t fall through the cracks.
Let’s discuss some of the very valuable tools available for lead generation.
For many businesses, employees encounter new people on almost a daily basis. New vendors show up at the office door touting the latest office products. Prospective employees come for interviews. Customers and clients, family members and friends, business partners and more all enter your building for meetings, social events. Your employees will spend time outside the building at events held by other businesses, networking events, Chamber of Commerce events.
(Hate networking? Here are 9 tips to make the most of networking events -- even if you hate them!)
Even for those who primarily deal with online customers, chances are you’ll meet people in your day-to-day life who could benefit from knowing more about your company, product and services.
Quite simply, there are a plethora of lead possibilities in our daily encounters. How do we capture them?
Getting the leads of those you meet in person may be one of the most effective ways. You can start the conversation right from the beginning, learning immediately what it is they want or need and where their interests lie.
More and more, companies are turning to their online presence to reach their customers and to allow their customers to reach them. This is not a move they are making without research to back it up. In today’s world, potential customers, job candidates and business partners will research your company online before ever making a first move.
How you handle your online presence and scour the internet for leads is a vital piece of your marketing strategy.
You might remember to monitor your own social media presence, but the idea of trying to monitor what others are saying might be daunting. There are a number of tools that can help you with this overwhelming task. Monitoring allows you to reap the rewards of inviting those already in the conversation to take a closer look at your company.
Of course, lead generation can lead to all sorts of bad behavior. A few pitfalls to avoid:
In the end, getting leads is just the start of nurturing a relationship. Just like when meeting someone new at a local restaurant, you want your business efforts to be attractive enough that they will give you their phone number of their own accord, or willing to give it to you when you ask.
Once you have the contact information, it is up to you to be engaging without being overwhelming, to be interesting without information overload, and to be enticing without being overbearing. Create a customer/contact relationship that benefits both parties.