Online Lead Generation – Best Practices

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Online Lead Generation – Best Practices

Lead generation is a marketing process to find and nurture consumer prospects until they become paying customers. To find their ideal consumer demographics, businesses can use media channels such as email, banners, social media, search (pay-per-click & search engine optimization), and co-registrations (sharing registration information with another site). Once potential customers click on these offers and opt in by providing contact details, the merchant is allowed to develop a relationship with them by communicating via phone, direct mail and/or email. Over time, trust is established and a percentage of leads turn into customers. The greatest results from a lead generation program stems from the following best practices.

Top 6 Best Practices

1. Collect Accurate, Relevant and Unique Information

Verification: The Internet is an anonymous environment, so it is easy for people to enter false information into a form. Data verification tools are necessary to ensure the data you collect is accurate. If the data is not truthful, it is worthless. Some third-party verifiers also triangulate data to ensure that the phone number, postal address and email address actually belongs to the user that entered the information.

Validation: It is also imperative to ask qualification questions to ensure you reach your target demographic. For example, if only males are desired, a validation question may be “What is your gender?” The business should only receive leads that answered “male.”

Exclusivity: The ideal lead generation campaign will generate leads exclusively for your business. That is, leads are generated for your business only and you own the leads to follow up with in any way you wish. Watch out for providers that resell data as part of their provisions. Although some verticals such as insurance and mortgage lend themselves well to multiple buyers, not all lead types do for all situations. If leads are sold multiple times, the value of the leads to the buyer may diminish.

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2. Create Clear and Compelling Offers Opt-In (Not Forced)

Striking a balance between generating a high volume of leads and ensuring top quality is a tricky task. Creative text and imaging is important, but so is a clear message. Using an opt-in offer that requires that a person actively check a box or answer “yes” to participate is the best way to ensure that you achieve a return on your investment. When a person is not tricked, incentivized or forced to join, the leads you generate are from people who are truly interested in receiving more information from your company. These leads have the greatest potential to convert into sales.

Creative Content: You only have a few seconds to convince a site visitor to engage in your product or service. To maximize conversion rates, the graphics should be clean and the copy should be compelling. Be sure to capture the consumer’s attention and be clear and honest about the initial offering. For example, if a shipping and handling cost is required, this should be noted.

3. Receive Leads in Real Time

Real time Integration: Leads are exponentially more effective if you work them within 5 minutes of receipt. This is why receiving the leads immediately is important. Batch files, or data sent via spreadsheets at various times throughout the day, are no longer good enough to assess the value of the lead generation program.

Real time Reporting: Measuring conversion rates at various points throughout the lead generation process until a sale is made is crucial in determining the effectiveness of a campaign. The faster you can do this, the easier it is to make corrections to the process to increase effectiveness and minimize losses. To do this, real time reporting is ideal. In addition, be sure to capture important lead details such as source, time, date, and where the lead originates from (e.g. URL & IP address) to quickly optimize data generators and control overall lead pricing, volume and quality.

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4. Develop Clear Follow-up Processes

Auto-responder Emails: Once a user signs up for an offer, follow-up emails allow you to remain in contact with your potential customers throughout the lead generation process. The content of your emails, as well as, the timing, and delivery rates affect overall response. Employ a professional copywriter and/or marketer to write and analyze the results of your email campaign.
Call Center: If a sale is complex, it can be beneficial to have a phone conversation with a potential customer. This approach gives you an opportunity to answer questions and explain the product or service in more detail. Conversion rates from qualified lead to sale from this approach are typically higher than those without human interaction.
Direct Mail: You own the database generated from your lead generation program, so if the postal address is collected and validated, you can use it to send catalogs, coupons and special offers. This is a great way to build a relationship and keep your brand top of mind. 5. Measure Results Conversion rates the goal of lead generation campaigns is to collect qualified leads that convert into sales. It is impossible to judge the quality of a lead generation campaign purely by the number of leads generated or their cost. Measure conversion rates at various points during the lead to sale process and effective cost per acquisition rates to ensure profitable, repeatable results.

5. Measure Results

Conversion Rates: The goal of lead generation campaigns is to collect qualified leads that convert into sales. It is impossible to judge the quality of a lead generation campaign purely by the number of leads generated or their cost. Measure conversion rates at various points during the lead to sale process and effective cost per acquisition rates to ensure profitable, repeatable results.
Lead cost: Don’t be fooled by the “cheaper is better” mentality. You get what you pay for. More expensive leads are usually exclusive, verified and validated. Your decision to stop, continue or expand your lead generation program should be based, on your profitability. Shop, test, measure, and repeat the cycle until your volume, quality and profitability goals are met.
Metrics: It can take up to six or more touches to convert a lead into a customer, so it is very important to define and analyze metrics for each stage of the lead generation and follow-up process. By examining each stage, you can quickly and easily identify areas that can be improved in order to optimize performance. Lead generation campaigns are not always successful with the first attempt. It takes time to master the process. Put aside a reasonable budget, at least $5000, for testing and learning.

6. Don’t go it Alone

Now that you know what it takes to implement a successful lead generation campaign, you’ll need to make sure you have the tools you need to execute. If you don’t have the time, money or resources to build your own technology, consider outsourcing. Hire an experienced marketing company or consultant to lead you through a process that will provide you with maximum value and minimum risk. Experienced Internet marketing companies can provide you with the tools and technology you need to make a substantial impact to your bottom line.





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  1. Pingback: A Way To Use Social Media To Supercharge Your Inbound Advertising And Marketing Approach

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