Consumer behavior changes constantly, and so do opportunities for lead generation. That’s why it’s important to periodically revisit your strategies for capturing leads to take advantage of evolving consumer behavior and technical trends. That said, in addition to establishing a strong online presence, referrals, word-of-mouth recommendations, tradeshows, and networking are all still excellent sources of lead generation. But whether you’re contacting with prospective customers in person or online, you’re going to want to keep track of them digitally. We call that lead management. Let’s walk through getting your business started with it, shall we?
Visitor Tracking: Hotjar has a heatmap tool — a virtual tool which creates a color-coded representation of how a user navigates your site — that helps you understand what users want, care about, and do on your site. It records visitors and tells you where they spend the most time on your site. You can use it to gather information on your lead generation forms, feedback forms and surveys, and more.
Do you have photo skills or live in an area where images are in demand? “Stock photography websites are huge repositories of photographs, covering almost every possible subject you could imagine,” advises International Living. So how does it work? Photographers can upload their images to any one of a number of huge databases, allowing magazine editors, designers or any organization with a website to buy them. And the beauty of stock websites: Photos can be sold any number of times—so you can continue to make money without any effort. Photography sites to check out include Shutterstock, Photoshelter and Getty Images.
You don’t have to start your own online business from scratch. Instead, you can build one (very quickly) by helping out people who already have a successful business. Every service business has a long list of past clients they’re most likely not doing a good job of keeping up with—but their neglect is your opportunity. It’s up to 5x more expensive to attract a new customer than it is to keep an existing one. By helping businesses follow-up and bring back their old customers, you’re saving them money (and making your own!). A follow-up business like this can be as simple as a series of emails you write for a client to help them bring back old customers (check out this step-by-step guide for videos and example pitches). All you need is some writing skills, time to research and craft an effective outreach campaign to prospects in a profitable niche.
Coupon: Unlike the job application, you probably know very little about someone who has stumbled upon one of your online coupons. But if they find the coupon valuable enough, they may be willing to provide their name and email address in exchange for it. Although it's not a lot of information, it's enough for a business to know that someone has interest in their company.
Lead nurturing also increases lead to opportunity conversion rate, drives more revenue, and shortens the sales cycle. It is about finding the right buyers at the right time. Lead generation brings buyers into the funnel, but lead nurturing and scoring sends them to sales so that your sales team can close the deal at the right time. In fact, according to MarketingSherpa’s Lead Generation benchmark report, companies who leverage lead nurturing see a 45% lift in lead generation over those companies who do not use lead nurturing.
Now, if you don’t know people who might want your coaching services, there are a number of online tools and communities that make it incredibly easy to find clients and teach, on just about any topic area you can think of. Community driven platforms like Clarity.fm and Coach.me provide you with a network of potential clients to interact with, as well an integrated payment solution.
Cost per acquisition advertising (e.g. TalkLocal, Thumbtack) addresses the risk of CPM and CPC advertising by charging only by the lead. Like CPC, the price per lead can be bid up by demand. Also, like CPC, there are ways in which providers can commit fraud by manufacturing leads or blending one source of lead with another (example: search-driven leads with co-registration leads) to generate higher profits. For such marketers looking to pay only for specific actions/acquisition, there are two options: CPL advertising (or online lead generation) and CPA advertising (also referred to as affiliate marketing). In CPL campaigns, advertisers pay for an interested lead — i.e. the contact information of a person interested in the advertiser's product or service. CPL campaigns are suitable for brand marketers and direct response marketers looking to engage consumers at multiple touchpoints — by building a newsletter list, community site, reward program or member acquisition program. In CPA campaigns, the advertiser typically pays for a completed sale involving a credit card transaction.
And while it will take time to build up a big-enough audience to attract advertisers and other ways to make extra income from your podcast, the opportunity is there. John Lee Dumas interviews entrepreneurs seven days a week for his podcast Entrepreneur on Fire and now makes more than $200,000 a month from it. In fact, John publishes all his income online and showed that he’s made almost $13 million since launching in 2012.
Etsy: While Etsy's popularity has declined recently, it's still a great resource for selling handmade items online. No need for complex ecommerce sites or merchant accounts or any sort of automation. The company takes a commission of every sale and charges a small listing fee per item. But many still use Etsy as their primary source of income. The best part is that you can also sell digital products such as poster designs.
What It Is: Do people ask you your secret to perfect pie crust or how you made that wreath? "Everyone knows how to do something, or has a hobby they enjoy," says Kimberly Lawson, owner of OohLaLuxe.net, who has created fashion and beauty tutorial videos. "These can easily be turned into profits." Simply sign up for a free YouTube account. Then use a smartphone or digital camera to record yourself explaining and demonstrating how you work your magic. (If you're more tech-savvy or have a burgeoning teenage filmmaker in your house, you can use desktop software, such as Windows Movie Maker, to create a slicker video.) "Once you upload the video to YouTube, enroll in its partner program," Lawson says. YouTube will then place ads inside or near your video, and you will earn money from the ads themselves, video views and click-throughs. "The key is to put a unique spin on your video," says Lawson, especially if there are lots of others on the same subject.
Because lead generation is the first step in the sales process, both quality and quantity are important factors. Quality leads are leads that a salesperson has a good chance of closing, which means they must at least have the potential to become customers. Every lead list will have a number of junk leads – people who are not qualified to buy the product for some reason – but the smaller the percentage of bad leads, the less time salespeople will waste while processing that list. Quantity is also important because even a salesperson with a list of 100% good leads won't be able to close every one of them. A salesperson with 100 good leads might be able to make 10 appointments, out of which 4 will close the sale. Therefore, if a salesperson has a quota of 40 sales per month, she will need 1000 good leads per month just to make the minimum required number of sales.
If you're ready to enter the ecommerce fray, you could sell your own stuff. Of course, along with selling your own stuff on your own website comes a whole slew of both responsibilities and technical configuration and requirements. For starters, you'll need a website and a hosting account. You'll also need a merchant account like ones offered by Stripe or PayPal. Then you'll need to design that site, build a sales funnel, create a lead magnet and do some email marketing.
How to Get It: Visit companies such as DarwinsData.com, PineconeResearch.com and PaidViewpoint.com. (Search "surveys" on RealWaystoEarnMoneyOnline.com for more options.) Then sign up with as many sites as you can. The sites will contact you when surveys that fit your demographic pop up, and you take them right away. A word to the wise: Do not register anywhere that has a membership fee, asks for your Social Security number or bank information, or is vague about payment. There are many survey services out there that are fraudulent.
Lead nurturing is the process of continuously contacting the potential buyer to update information and to improve the knowledge of the customer throughout the buying process. All lead information tends to change or become obsolete as time passes. To keep the information up to date, the Lead Manager needs to continuously contact the leads' contact to update the information, to deepen the information in a are often grouped into segments to the level of qualification present within an organization.
Join a startup accelerator: Another great option is to apply to a startup accelerator like Y Combinator, 500 startups, or TechStars, where a group of investors will help coach you, connect you with potential partners, and provide startup cash in return for a small stake in your company. The competition is tough to get into these, so don’t rely on them as your only path forward.
Better yet, you can even upload your own book to one of the world’s largest book sellers: Amazon. With Amazon self-publishing, you set the price, retain the rights to your book, and get access to Amazon’s massive audience. For every sale, you keep 70% with Amazon taking the remainder as a fee. If you want to get started, check out Tara Gentile on CreativeLive as she shows you how to use your existing body of work to write an eBook within the next week. Who knows, you might just write one of the best business books of this year!
The beauty of lead management software is that it can help you capture information at a point of contact with your organization such as a landing page visit, white paper download, or email open. Based on the action, leads are scored and the next action defined. Having information about when and how your customers are interacting with your brand online allows you to create a one-to-one customer journey and helps your salespeople personally focus on well-qualified sales leads, while other leads can be automatically nurtured.
Proofreading is another lucrative online career. “Most agencies will pay around 25% of the price of a translated document to a proofreader,” advises International Living. “Agencies charge about $75 for the translation of a five-page standard business document. So proofing the same document—which takes about an hour—pays out about $18 to $20.” You can work full time, part-time or around-the-clock. Mediabistro—a site that offers resources for media professionals—has tips on how to become a proofreader.
The aspects of your lead gen campaign should mirror everything else on your website, on your blog, and within the product that you will eventually try to sell. If not, you’ll have a difficult time getting your lead to the next lifecycle stage. Your campaign should be about more than just obtaining an email address — it should be about developing a new customer.
This mainly happens through digital channels, using inbound marketing techniques and a little bit of old-school outbound marketing (more on that in a minute). Buyers today do so much online information gathering on their own, they’re not so keen on listening to traditional sales pitches. Instead, companies have to meet prospective buyers on their own turf: the internet.
What It Is: What better way to feed your travel bug than to work as a remote travel agent or consultant? Whether part- or full-time, spend your working hours dreaming up itineraries, flight plans, hotels, and activities for clients looking to travel far and wide. Then, take advantage of your discounts (hey, perks of the job) and go wherever your heart desires, whenever your heart desires.
There are many ways to get people onto your list. Lead magnets are one such resource. For example, you can build ebooks, checklists and cheat sheets. But you can also do content upgrades, such as PDF versions of an article with added resources in them, four-part video training series, and more. Think about your audience and what you can offer them to better serve them, then treat them with some respect and you'll eventually reap the rewards.
Starting a podcast, like making a YouTube channel or blog, comes down to telling interesting stories and building an engaged audience. I’m probably sounding like a broken record by now, but you need a niche that you’re interested in and there’s already a demand for. Come up with a list of topics you’d like to talk about and then search iTunes charts, Google Trends and other podcast research sites to see what’s currently out there and popular.