One of the greatest challenges in marketing is finding the right leads to pursue. This is compounded when marketing online because there is less of a direct connection with prospects. As such it is often difficult to properly identify leads and even more difficult to follow up with them.
Lead generation is the process of creating interest amongst consumers and driving them to inquire further about a product or service. This is most commonly associated with selling but also can for practices such as list building or getting subscribers for a newsletter. There are a variety of ways to generate leads, and the internet continues to provide more and more.
You are probably already familiar with this method of lead generation even if you do not know it. Organic searches are when a browser uses a search engine to look for something. Specifically, it is the case when the link they navigate to is not paid for, but is one of the search engine’s normal, or organic, results. Organic search leads are difficult to generate, especially for small businesses. There is a lot of competition on the internet, and as such it can be very challenging to stand out on search engines. However, when they do come they are extremely valuable because organic search leads are actively seeking information about your product or service. They are essentially pre-qualified because they inherently have some interest in what you have to offer.
Although organic leads are not technically paid for, do not mistake them for being free. Developing an effective strategy to optimize search engine ranking and drive organic traffic is a difficult and time consuming process. That being said, it is definitely a worthwhile investment for any business.
If you have ever used a search engine and seen a sponsored or paid link, you have seen a pay per click advertisement. These also appear on many websites and mobile applications. Pay per click advertising is exactly what it sounds like, an ad that the marketer pays for each time a browser clicks on it.
Pay per click advertising is a much faster way to gain visibility on search engines and around the web than organic search traffic. This makes it a great way for small businesses and startups to develop traction rapidly. Additionally, pay per click advertising is a great way to test keywords and optimize a campaign before a complete deployment. Most providers offer significant metrics which can be useful for fine tuning an initiative. Of course, pay per click advertising can become very expensive, especially when bidding on competitive and untargeted keywords. The secret to pay per click advertising is finding the right search terms that will consistently lead to conversions.
Another effective method of online lead generation is through social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. These are an interesting form of leads because they are by nature bi-directional from the start. This means that even your newest leads are able to directly communicate with your brand. Social media marketing can be a valuable investment for many brands. However, much like organic searches, it is not as simple as it may seem. Due to the competitiveness of the internet, a strong social media presence requires a cohesive strategy that will not only results in clicks and audience but also conversion. Online marketing is a challenging arena. However, developing a strategy that uses the right lead generation techniques for your business can give you the competitive edge.