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Keeping Prospects Flowing
Constantly generating new leads for a business is imperative for a company wanting to grow and prosper. Generating leads means creating a pipeline of prospects being cultivated while you cater to the needs of existing customers. A business owner or salesman never knows when existing customers will stop working with the company, for whatever reason. Some reasons include a bad experience, moving or economic hardship. Even if customers don't leave, creating new relationships and bringing in new prospects helps move a business into the next level. The only way to do this is to use traditional and creative means to bring in new leads for a business.
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Traditional Methods of Lead Generation
- Newspaper Advertisements
- Television and Radio
Referrals are thought of as the best advertising you can possibly get. If you have happy customers, a referral should be filled with positive stories and experiences. This lowers the resistance of potential clients, with a certain level of trust already established.
Newspaper ads are a cost effective method to let a community at-large know about your company. Whether you sell cars or offer tax preparation services, an advertisement lends a bit of respectability to your company. Different size papers target different markets with different ad rates, making advertising possible for most businesses.
Networking involves attending community functions and being a positive part of the area you live and work in. It's more than just going to a chamber of commerce meeting. Networking is attending church or religious functions regularly, sponsoring your child's soccer team or helping at a local school. When people see you in the community, they trust your character.
Mailers are a cost effective way to get a coupon or sale out to any surrounding community. You can include a mailer as part of a mailer package or send out weekly alerts to your mailing list or phone book. Regular mailers help create brand recognition.
Television and radio ads are something many business owners think is extremely expensive. The truth is rates vary and with cable channels fighting for advertisers, you may be able to get something within your budget. Call local stations and ask what rates are at different times of the day and what the viewer or listener ratios are.
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21st Century Methods of Lead Generation
Just as technology has changed they way we conduct our lives, it has changed the way businesses find draw leads for a business. New and creative methods of lead generation include:
- Social Networking
- Qualified Lead Purchases
- Book Publishing
Social networking uses Internet social media networks to connect a business with other businesses and customers. The most popular social media sites are Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. However, other sites are refined for specific business purposes. These sites include LinkedIn and Ryze. The goal of social networking is to help one group find similarly-minded other groups. This may work as a business posts new products, sales or events or can happen when one group of networkers begins giving updates about a new product, service or event they are attending.
To a purist, purchasing leads may seem like cheating. Lead generation companies have banks of telemarketers or thousands of direct-response mailers where they contact consumers to determine if there is there is interest in a particular product. Qualified leads tend to me more expensive than non-qualified leads. Qualified leads come with the assertion that someone gave specific interest and is willing to take a call from a representative. Financial qualification may be determined by questionnaire or by region demographics.
Blogging can be used in conjunction with social networking but is a separate entity. Blogging consists of a website with someone who has something to say. Think of a free-form newspaper columnist who has leeway to say whatever he wants without reprise. Blogging works similarly thus the quality of writing and information is all over the place. Homeopaths blog about latest herbal supplements. Physical trainers provide motivation and workout insights. Whatever your business is, there is a way to blog about it giving you exposure and hopefully designating you as an expert.
Holding seminars is something very common with financial consultants and insurance agents. However, seminars have expanded into writing, graphic design and many other industries where one business seeks to educate the public on a new trend or insight. This method is more expensive than blogging with a more targeted market as leads are generated.
In the age of self-publishing, anyone can have a book. This may explain your business philosophies or pull you from every other competitor in your field and raise your professional clout. Some books are used in conjunction with seminars or websites, but can also be used to generate leads via book signing tours.
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Social Networking: http://www.whatissocialnetworking.com/
Interactive Marketing Inc: http://www.interactivemarketinginc.com/lead-generation.html
Photo Credit: Rock Lodge Library, Rock Lodge Club, Stockholm, NJ (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:AGA_Rock_Lodge_Newspaper_Ad_1940s.jpeg)