Why is Lead Generation So Important

If you’ve set up an on-line business but don’t have a strategy for building a list of future prospects from vistors to your website you’re missing a big opportunity to grow your business.

When people visit your website some will leave straight away, some will linger and some will buy your products. It’s a well-proven fact that for most websites only a very small percentage of visitors will buy on their first visit.

If you don’t make an attempt to capture the contact details of those that linger but don’t buy you’re throwing away opportunities for future sales. Those visitors that don’t buy on their first visit could be persuaded to buy in future – if you keep in contact with them and give them reasons to come back.

The science and techniques of building a list of potential sales prospects is called lead generation. It’s objective is to build a database of quality sales leads that you can use for future sales campaigns.

A lot has been written about lead generation. It’s important for all businesses to set up lead generation campaigns, but especially important for on-line businesses.

You can read a lot more about all the different types of lead generation in this article.

Affiliate Marketing and Lead Generation

Affiliate marketing is a type of online marketing that could not exist without a robust strategy for lead generation. In the rest of this article we’ll focus on the affiliate marketer and his lead generation strategies to provide an example of the importance of lead generation.

A typical affiliate marketer will create a website designed to sell the products of a third party for a commission that is generally a substantial proportion of the cost of the product. This website will generally concentrate on creating the greatest possible sales impact in order to persuade visitors to buy a product by clicking on an affiliate link to a product sales page.

If the affiliate has carried out the right keyword research the website will attract visitors with the right sales profile (i.e. people likely to buy). The chances are that for every 100 visitors it’ll be possible to make 5 to 10 sales (4% is often considered a very good rate of conversion!)

So although the good news for the affiliate is that he or she has made some sales (and will eventually get an affiliate commission), the bad news is that the strategy used hasn’t resulted in the capture of the email addresses of the purchasers. The affiliate product supplier gets these details and can use them to set up future sales campaigns to sell more products without the involvement of the affiliate.

But that’s not all. The visitors who decide not to purchase (although they may have been interested), move on from the website. Apart from an electronic footprint which is only partially useful (for analytics purposes), they don’t leave other details that would enable them to be contacted in future email marketing.

A good lead generation strategy will enble an affiliate marketer or anyone else who sells products or services online to convert many of the 95% that didn’t buy on their first visit into customers using well-prepared and tested follow-up sales campaigns.

How to Set About Building an Online Lead Generation List

To start building your lead generation list or database you’ll need some software that enables you to set up a “web form” on your website.  You will have seen these forms before on lots of different web sites. They are generally placed at the top of a web page where they can be clearly seen.

Visitors to your site will complete this form with their name and address and then click on a button to submit their details. These details are then added to a database/list of visitors that have an interest in your products and/or services. As you might guess, your visitors will have to be persuaded to provide these details. We’ll look at how we do this later in the article.

The software for setting up the web form is generally supplied by a company called an email provider. The software isn’t difficult to set up, and the mail provider will generally provide you with help to customize and set up your form. Most email providers also supply a service for collecting and storing the names and addresses of your visitors in an online database which you can manage from your desktop.

Read our article on email auto-responders to find out more about this.

Offer Visitors to Your Website a Free Report or eBook

As we mentioned above, you’ve got to give your visitors a good reason for parting with their name and email address.  One of the best ways of achieving this is to offer a report, book or other product, free of charge in exchange for the name and address details. Yes, it’s a sort of bribe, but a very good value one.

You’ll need to make sure that the report or product you offer has some value for your visitors. They won’t think much of you if it’s got very little or limited value. A good report might contain useful “insider” or little-known information relating to things that your visitor is particularly interested in.

Here are some examples:

Video Marketing Report – “Five Mistakes to be Avoided When Creating Home Videos”.

Email Marketing Report – “Everything You Need to Know About Building Your Business Using eMail Marketing”

If the free report offered relates to the problems or interests of your visitors they’ll be very happy to provide their name and address details, possibly anticipating that you’ll be able to provide more similar free information in the future.

We’ve only provided a small amount of information on on-line lead generation. Here’s a useful video with more information:

Be Careful How You Use Your eMail Addresses

With the strategy we’ve described you’ll be able to start building your database or list of names and email addresses and planning your email marketing campaigns.  But don’t get carried away!

When someone provides you with their name and email address they have decided to trust you. If you start sending out marketing emails to them every other day your reputation will go downhill rapidly and they’ll probably decide to unsubscribe from your list. You may also find that your mail provider doesn’t like what you’re doing and decides to terminate your contract on the grounds that you’re spamming your list.

With care you can avoid these things happening by making sure that you regulate the number of emails you send, and when you do send them you make sure they’re both useful and helpful.  It’s easy to put affiliate links in your emails linking back to offers on your website. In this way you can make the most of all your sales opportunities without upsetting your customers or your mail provider.

The internet marketers who are most successful at online lead generation are very careful not to over-promote to their customers, and therefor they have very low unsubscribe rates.

As a reward for all the hard work they have put in building their lists they get an ongoing flow of additional business without too much additional hard work and effort.

Time to follow their example?

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