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A primary outcome objective for many promotional marketing programs is lead generation. But what is lead generation? Basically, it means that you are trying to capture potential customers contact information that may be interested in purchasing your product or service.
Having a viable lead is the key for many businesses successful sales efforts. You know what a cold lead is. It’s when someone calls you out of the blue and asks if you want to sign up for a new credit card or some other service. We’ve all hung up on these people I’m sure!
Leads Come from Multiple Channels
A warm lead is someone that has shown some interest in what you have to offer. They’ve stopped by a trade show booth and talked to someone, is following you on social media, signed up for an email newsletter or expressed some other interest. You know (or should know) that they are at least a little familiar with you and your company and may be open to learning more.
Years ago there was a great advertisement from McGraw Hill that sums it up quite well:
I don’t know who you are.
I don’t know your company.
I don’t know your company’s product.
I don’t know what your company stands for.
I don’t know your company’s customers.
I don’t know your company’s record.
I don’t know your company’s reputation.
Now, what is it you wanted to sell me?
I’ve used this example many times because I do feel it hits home with the importance of having some awareness of your product or service before you ask for the sale, hence the importance of a qualified lead.
Need an Incentive to Give Information
As you know, sales promotion’s primary job is to change buying behavior to sooner rather than later. However, it is also used to generate an immediate action and that action could be signing up for more information. Of course, most people aren’t just going to sign up. Typically, they need/want some sort of incentive or reason for signing up for more information.
Maybe you are running a special and they have to sign up to get the code for the special
price (generating interest, giving reason for immediate sale and getting lead information for later follow-up – a win, win, win style promotion).
Many Tactics Available for Lead Generation
That’s just one example of why sales promotion can be such an effective lead generator. There are many tactics available for lead generation. Some include:
- Social Media: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn are your most popular sites for lead generation right now. Of course, that could change any minute. If you are engaged with your customers they should be following you. To get them more engaged you can run a promotion to get them to follow you and like you. This could be a discount code for an order, or an offer of a free newsletter or running a contest for best picture or video of them using your product, or best short story about working with your company. These have all proven to be very effective.
- Do a webinar or Podcast or offer a white paper. If you feel you are technologically
challenged there are many step by step instructions on the internet to help you. When you’re ready you get people to sign up – hence they become a great lead generator. Why wouldn’t someone participating in a webinar now have an interest in purchasing your product or service?
- Hold a contest or giveaway. These can be done through social media, at a trade show, on your website, in traditional advertising, at events or all of the above. The entrance into the contest or to get the giveaway requires them to give you their contact information. You could also qualify the contact with a couple of key questions that would help you to determine if they are a good lead or not.
- Develop a product video. First of all if they are looking for more information about a product or service you are offering, they are already qualified. So why not offer a video with more information and request their contact information or a follow when they view. You can also sweeten the request with an offer of a discount or other giveaway for viewing and providing feedback.
- Offer a free trial. If it’s something that’s easy for you to do, why not? They have to give you contact information to get the trial.
- Buy a lead list. There are many lists available for purchase. You can break down the list in any number of ways; demographics, geography, buying patterns, psychographics and so much more. You can get names, addresses, email addresses and phone numbers and more depending on what you need. Some companies have been successful leads lists users. Others have horror stories of old data. So when looking at purchasing a list, do your homework on exactly what you want and how the list was developed and how is it kept up to date.
So, you’ve decided you want to develop your own lists using some of the tactics above, but how do you make sure you capture useful data? One of the most effective ways today is through using lead generation software. Most of the software is designed to automate much of the process. It will capture, segment and assign the leads so you can improve your communications and shorten your sales cycle.
Need Lead Generation Management Strategy
Most companies today are also using lead generation software to keep up with the multi-channel buyers. No longer do you get a lead from just one source as we’ve detailed above, leads are coming from a broad spectrum of sources and to stay on top of it a good lead generation management strategy is necessary.
So start there. Work with your team to determine what is a good lead and how you are going to capture them. Then determine what the best type of lead generation software is for your program. And of course, be prepared for the follow-up. What’s the point of having a great promotional program to secure leads if takes weeks to reach out to them.