“Leads are the lifeblood of selling” – Jeffrey J.Fox, bestselling author of Secrets of Great Rainmakers.
Back in 1763, Josiah Wedgewood, of Wedgewood Pottery fame, was generating leads for his pottery business based on “word of mouth” referrals. He had convinced Queen Charlotte to let him name the line of pottery she purchased “Queens Ware”.
That was enough for him to set up one of the most effective lead generation campaigns in history via his own paperwork and stationery. Now Josiah would have shuddered at the term “Lead Generation” back in those days – but that is exactly what it was.
Fast forward to 2007
NEWSFLASH: ” The New York Times is to axe 500 staff members as a result of falling circulation and a slump in ad revenue as more readers turn to the Internet for news”
” For the first time the consumer is boss, which is fascinating, scary and terrifying because everything we used to know will no longer work.” - Kevin Roberts, CEO Saatchi and Saatchi
“I believe today’s marketing model is broken. We’re applying antiquated thinking to a new world of possibilities” – Jim Stengel, Proctor and Gamble
But the one thing that has not changed is the insatiable demand of the business world for quality leads. There is no doubt that Small/Medium Enterprises, in particular, are willing to spend money on lead generation. They are not so sure about “branding”…and who could blame them?
How does a small business measure the ROI on brand recognition – but that is a bigger discussion for another day.
So, just how does the small/medium business of 2008 generate leads?
It’s not so hard really. One powerful model, that few businesses have cottoned onto, is to combine the proven muscle of traditional media (e.g Radio/TV/Newspapers) with the proven conversion power of a lead generation website (or more accurately a “Minisite”)
The trick is to drive massive traffic (via either traditional media or search engines) to a website that does nothing but build a database of prospective customers. The job of the website is NOT to sell a product (at least not in the first instance) – but rather to sell the consumer on the value of exchanging his contact details (usually first name and email address) for information that will go some way towards solving his problem.
Done properly, that “exchange of value” will give the business owner the right to maintain contact (via email or even snail email) and build a relationship with the consumer. The sale comes later.
Just like Josiah Wedgewood did with his paperwork and stationery in 1763, the business owner of today can build up a relationship with the prospective customer – leading eventually to a sale.
That is the essence of Lead Generation in 2008.
Wouldn’t Josiah have loved to have had these tools at his fingertips?
In Part 2 (tomorrow) we will have a look at some effective lead generation websites.