Nine ways to generate leads

The most important thing that a company can do for a successful financial year is engage in a strong sales strategy. Companies that do not engage in a strong sales strategy that includes generating and nurturing leads – as well as following up all leads properly – could be wasting opportunities to boost revenue.

This articles looks at nine ways that a company can generate incoming sales leads.

1. Advertising
Advertising is an effective way for generating leads, particularly when pairing advertising in a publication that is highly targeted to prospect audiences with the use of direct response advertising. The aim of direct response advertising is to get the audience to undertake a particular action as a direct result of an ad, usually by encouraging them to call a number or visit a website now through offering an incentive to do so. Not all advertising is direct response – for example, some aim to build brand awareness. But, for lead generation, the main aim should be to get them to give their details now, before they forget their intention.

2. Content marketing
Content marketing is a strong way to generate leads. By creating valuable content and housing it on a website, companies increase the chances of being found on search engines such as Google. By giving an audience the opportunity to find the company, businesses gain the opportunity to capture lead details. Additionally, a smart company will give their target audience something so valuable enough that they’re willing to subscribe for it, such as a whitepaper, eBook, publication, or e-newsletter. By doing so, the content itself can become a lead generator rather than just a method to drive prospective clients to the website.

3. Website
Once the target audience has been driven to the website, it is important that it is easy for the prospective clients to leave their details via a form which is easy to find. It is best to have the form in two locations – one form a separate page that is linked to on all pages, similar to the contact us page – and another simple and easy form on the homepage of the website. Offering useful content through e-newsletters and whitepapers will further incentivise potential customers to fill out a form and leave their details.

4. Share a presentation on Slideshare
Slideshare is a website that allows businesses and individuals to share documents, and is generally used for slideshow presentations and videos. Anyone who downloads presentations have to complete a short contact form that companies can access via LeadShare, part of the SlidesharePRO offering.

5. Hold a competition or contest
Competitions are very effective lead generators as they generally require people to provide their details in order to be able to claim their prize. And, everyone likes an opportunity to win something! Studies show that online contests often increase sales leads by 30 per cent, potentially affecting the total number of a company’s total sales.

6. Trade shows
Trade shows are a great way to generate leads through competitions, promotions and other engaging activity, providing that the trade show is targeted to the prospect audience. Companies that aim to capture the attention of recommenders and influencers that usually attend trade shows are effectively using all chains of the decision making scale. It is important for a company to be visible to, and known by, recommenders and influencers, as these groups of people research the companies that they would consider buying from and can influence decision makers based on their research.

7. Social media
Using social media to generate leads can be a balancing act and can even negatively affect a brand if done incorrectly. The key to getting this right is to provide useful information more often than providing promotional information for lead generation. A good rule is the 80/20 rule: valuable or engaging information should make up 80 per cent of posts, with actual promotional messages (such as talking about products services and directing audiences to the website) taking up only 20 per cent of posts.

8. Buy lists
Buying lists is an easy way to bring in more potential leads, although it can be costly. For this particular strategy to be successful, it is important that companies buy from a reputable or trusted source, otherwise the company could be paying for leads that simply do not exist.

9. Provide rewards
Customers like to be recognised for their loyalty, and encouraging them to sign up for a rewards program allows them to feel as if they are being rewarded for their purchases while at the same time giving companies the opportunity to collect sales information.

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