Lead generation used to be the domain of late-night television, newspaper inserts and direct mail. The growth of the internet has changed perspectives as tools for targeting and tracking results are readily available and fairly easy to use.
A number of marketing and advertising initiatives fall under the category of lead generation today. Traditional lead generation for purposes including selling a service (i.e., carpet cleaning) or a product (i.e., windows or life insurance) is occurring in legacy media and online. Lead generation is also used to build email lists, fan bases on social media sites, and communities on sites such as LinkedIn.com.
Consumer lead generation is enjoying success in radio, television and print. Television 30-, 60- and 120-second spots direct people to toll-free numbers and websites to complete transactions or request information. The infomercial is bigger than ever as we have more channels to choose from on cable and satellite TV feeds, and direct mail is still a multi-billion dollar business.
But it’s the internet that has really fueled the growth in lead generation. The ability to place an ad in front of someone when they are searching specifically for your product or service through search engine marketing is an advertiser’s dream. Processes are available to track every step of a lead generation program. Testing of the offer, message and medium is used to maximize returns.
Business-to-Business Lead Generation
The business-to-business sale is typically larger and often has a longer sales cycle. Lead generation in this realm may require a nurturing program to guide the lead through the sales funnel. Content that establishes the business as a thought leader is important to the process of engaging and keeping the prospect’s attention.
Lead programs may be simple and straightforward, i.e., the lead is given to a salesperson that calls the prospect. Or they may require automated responses based on the prospect’s behavior that develop the relationship until it’s far enough down the pipeline that a sale might be made.
Legacy Media vs. New Media
Legacy media is the old guard. Television, radio, direct mail, free standing inserts, print ads. If it can produce leads at the desired lead cost, it’s still relevant.
The internet is the shiny new toy that everyone wants to play with. It’s cool, it’s sexy, it’s mysterious, and there are people becoming billionaires overnight.
As it happens, the same basic rules we used for successful lead generation in legacy media apply to new media. You need to have a product or service people want, need and are willing to pay for. Your selling message needs to include a call to action and a trackable method for the lead to reach you. This might be a tracking phone number or a dedicated website landing page. Ease of use is very important, as is prompt customer service.
Our most successful lead generation campaigns in the last several years have involved a combination of old and new media working together. Consumers may be using two or three media sources at one time. It’s common to be watching TV and texting or working a tablet or notebook computer all at the same time. A television spot may not generate a phone call right now, but the viewer might go to your website to investigate further.
We recently redesigned a client’s website to include a contact form on every page. Previous to the redesign the contact form was only on the Contact page, and it was rarely used. We advertise on the radio, television and the internet for this client and a tracking system is in place. The website now consistently generates leads when radio and TV is airing. These are people who didn’t respond to the ad initially, but took the time to go to the client’s website and learn more.
Lead generation is a learning and testing process to discover the most efficient means of driving qualified leads to your business. Winfield & Associates Marketing + Advertising has been developing successful lead generation programs for over a decade. Contact us if you would like to learn more.