Building up a list of leads is an important part of marketing. Whether you capture them through your website, incoming phone calls, speaking engagements, or simply a business card, leads are what eventually bring in sales. These tips will help you build a great list of prospects that will accept
your marketing messages and hopefully buy your products/services.
ORGANIZATION—CONTACT MANAGEMENT | Total time: 1–4 hours
No matter how you get your leads, you need to have a way to organize them. Organization is the key to effectively marketing to these leads in the future. Your lead organization can be done in a variety of ways. You can use a spreadsheet, such as Excel, to list your leads and include a few vital pieces of information. You might choose to use an organizational tool like Outlook or Gmail’s Contact Manager. Whatever you choose, you’ll want to keep your leads organized and accessible.
WEBFORMS | Total time: 1–3 hours
Once you have a system in place for organizing your leads, it’s time to start capturing some more leads. The best way to capture a lead from the Internet is through a webform. These forms, which usually ask for a visitor’s name and email address, allow you to build up a list of leads who have given you permission to market your product or service to them.
Your webform should be placed “above the fold” of your website. If the webform is hidden or hard to get to, site visitors will not be compelled to fill it out. The webform should also contain as few fields as possible. Typically, “first name,” “last name,” and “email address” are sufficient. When a visitor sees a webform with fields like “home address,” “phone number,” or “mother’s maiden name,” they start to get suspicious. Keep it simple and relevant to your purposes.
You should also be sure to set the expectations for your marketing practices and explain that you will honor their privacy. If you are clear about what will happen, they will be more willing to give their
So it is time to get a webform on your site. If you don’t want to consult webmaster, you can make one yourself at a free site such as www.wufoo.com or www.emailmeform.com. You will be able to
customize fields and receive reports of new leads that you can then import into your database.
You can use a webform for event registration, newsletter sign-ups, contests, surveys, polls, refer-a-friend programs, comments, or anything else that will help you gather information. And webforms shouldn’t be confined to your home page. You can also put a webform on your Facebook Fan Page to capture leads.
LEAD-GENERATION INCENTIVE PIECES | Total time: 2–8 hours
Now that you have a webform in place, you need to offer something in exchange for your leads’ information. An incentive piece is something of value that you offer website visitors, but only if they fill out a webform. This piece can be many things: an exclusive video, an ebook, a white paper, or a free consultation. But it must have value. Take your time in creating a piece that will really appeal to your target market.
Here are a few ideas for lead-generation pieces that you could offer:
• Free pricing quote
• Free webinar (use a site like www.gotomeeting.com to host a great webinar)
• Free trial
• Special discounts
Make your lead-generation piece so appealing and your webform so easy to fill out that visitors can’t (and won’t) pass up the opportunity. Your list will be bursting at the seams in no time.
REFER-A-FRIEND PROGRAMS | Total time: 2–5 hours
A great way to build your list is through refer-a-friend programs. Getting others to promote your product or services greatly expands your reach. Plus, when your current customers recommend you, you gain instant credibility.
A good referral program must make it worthwhile for the person doing the referring. Offering incentives, such as free products, monetary “commissions,” or other rewards will give them a little extra motivation. You should also give them collateral to use when they “sell” your product, such as brochures, special landing pages, or other advertising pieces.
You will also need a system in place to track the new leads coming in and to pay those who made the referral. You can create a special field in your organizational system, whether it be a spreadsheet or another contact management tool. When your affiliate program gains traction, you should consider using a more robust affiliate module.
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