Lead Generation: Customer-Initiated Marketing

By: Kathryn Beach


Here's four solid tips you can use today to boost your marketing results:

1. Build a database of the right prospects.

The trick is to identify your target market and find out where they hang out. Find websites, forums, seminars, and ezines whose members appear to have a need for what you're selling, are receptive to working with your kind of products, and have the ability to buy when the time's right. Then aim your marketing at them.

2. Use direct marketing to regularly reach all your marketing database contacts.

No matter how long your initial ad campaign lasts, lead generation lets marketers continue to contact consumers for weeks, months and years to come. Marketers can tailor their marketing strategies to their database's preferences.

You should use your database to drive regular direct marketing campaigns via e-mail. I recommend you plan to use direct marketing to touch prospects at least once a month.

Research shows that the short-term buyers -- those who buy within six months -- represent only a quarter of the sales that will happen. The other three out of four sales occur between six months and two years later.

3. Include multiple offers or calls-to-action for different sales cycle stages.

I recommend you always make more than one offer; each designed to appeal to people at different stages of the sales cycle. For example, offer general information and statistical studies for those early in their consideration/buying process. Offer checklists, more detailed instructions, and web seminars for those a bit further along. Offer "if you buy now ..." offers for those who are ready to move forward with their buying decision.

4. Organize your Web site to help move prospects from awareness to consideration to inquiry to sales.

Instead of scaring prospective customers away with confusing or out-of-date information on your Web site, consider re-focusing its content to help your prospects determine that your company is their best choice.

Consumers are increasingly picky about marketing messages. They are opening fewer emails, muting or avoiding television ads, click fewer Web ads and, in general, respond to advertisers less often. The beauty of online lead generation is that it's the customer who initiates the relationship, and marketers know that consumers requested and expect to receive communications from them.

© 2006. Kathryn Beach. All rights reserved. Permission to publish online or in print granted provided the article and byline are printed intact with live links.