Lead Generation

Lead generation is something of an umbrella term that is used to describe any activity that is attempting to gather the information of a potential customer so that you can attempt to sell to them.  This is a type of marketing that has been around for generations, and is well known to be very effective.

An easy way to understand what lead generation is would be to look at an example that was quite common in the past.  When banks or mortgage companies would work with a customer to buy a new home, they would have all their information gathered together.  They could get permission to offer this information to other companies, such as home insurance agents, as a lead.

If the person getting the mortgage agreed, the bank could sell this information to an insurance company as a lead.  The insurance company would gladly buy this information because they know this person has recently purchased a home, and will likely need homeowners insurance.  This was a great way for the banks to make extra money, and the insurance company to get quality sales leads.

Online Lead Generation

Fast forward to modern times and lead generation looks much different.  Today, a significant amount of lead generation is done online by marketing experts.  You can still buy leads from other companies, but you can also generate them yourself through a website, social media platform or other options.  Depending on your business, and the amount of leads you require, it may even be beneficial to generate some yourself and buy some from other companies.

Gathering leads online is extremely effective because of the fact that people today typically turn first to the Internet when they are thinking about making any type of purchase.  When they go online, they make come to your site, or the site of another marketer, to find a product review or information about a service.  While there, they may decide to provide their contact information for a newsletter or even a direct call back, depending on the type of site they are on.

Online Leads for Offline Businesses

Many people mistakenly think that getting leads from a digital source is only good for online sites.  The reality, however, is that leads that are generated online can be extremely beneficial for offline businesses as well.  For example, many people do research online about refinancing their home.  If a marketer can gather their information, it can be used by a local mortgage company to attempt to offer their services offline.

Whether you are running an online business, an offline business, or one that operates in both areas, you need to make sure you are getting the right leads.  This will allow you to convert them into paying customers. So, think about whether you would like to buy leads, generate them yourself, or do both.

Problems with Buying Leads

One potential downside to buying leads from other marketers is that you don’t always know exactly what you are getting.  Even if they claim that they produce only top quality leads, it is very difficult to know for sure.

In addition, as with most things in life, you typically get what you pay for. This means that for the best performing leads, you will likely have to pay a significant premium.  This, of course, may be a smart investment into your business, but if the leads don’t end up converting as well as you had hoped, you can lose a lot of money very quickly.

Generating Your Own Leads

Whether you choose to buy leads from a third party company or not, you will almost certainly want to attempt to generate your own leads too.  There are many great benefits to this, including the following:

  • Cost – The cost per lead is very low compared to buying them.  This is because there is no markup from the third party company.
  • Control – You can directly control how these leads are generated.  This allows you to constantly make adjustments to your lead generation strategies that can improve the overall quality of your leads.
  • Information – Another great benefit is that you will have all the information about how your leads are generated. This allows you to identify what strategies are the most effective based on real data.

There are many other great benefits to generating your own leads, at least as part of an overall lead generating strategy.  When done properly, it can help to bring in a steady stream of potential customers who can help to make your business a success.

No matter the source of the lead, having access to a steady stream of high quality leads can help any business improve its bottom line.  If you have any questions about lead generation for your business, please contact us to speak with an account representative.