The Lead Acquisition Lowdown: Tracing the Tactics of Gaining Qualified Leads through the Web

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How do I do it?

So now you are convinced that using the web for database building makes sense, but how do you do it? Similar to traditional direct mail, online lead acquisition involves making your target audience aware of services or information that are valuable to them and then giving them an opportunity to sign up to receive it. For some businesses that can mean having contests or sweepstakes, while for others it may be providing white papers.

For example, because our pharmaceutical client wanted to reach out to consumers diagnosed with a specific health condition, they developed an in-depth patient education kit that also included a trial offer to try a lifestyle-related service relevant to this audience. Once you have planned the offer, the tricky part is determining where to advertise in order to generate the most qualified list of leads.

There are several registration tactics that companies use to acquire qualified leads. These include your own site, search, display advertising, third party co-registration, and third party email.

1. Your own website
Most likely, if people are coming to your site, they have some potential interest in your product or service. If name acquisition is a primary marketing objective, don’t miss out on the chance to capture these visitors while they are raising their hands. Make sure to advertise the offer front and center on the home page and any other sections of the site that are relevant to the type of lead you want. Furthermore, make sure the registration page itself includes a few profiling questions to help you get a good sense of who these folks are and the best way to convert them to a customer.

2. Search
Both paid and natural search provide an ideal opportunity to present your offer to qualified leads when they are asking for information. Make sure that the pages on your site providing the offer, as well as the registration page, have been properly tagged for search engine optimization. For paid search, develop a campaign with appropriate creative and messaging that will appeal to your potential audience and generate traffic to your sign-up page by qualified targets.

3. Display advertising
A strategically planned display advertising campaign can also be a great way to generate leads. The key is buying media placement on appropriate sites that can expose your offer to the right folks at the right time by using demographic, geographic and/or behavioral targeting as discussed above. Once you have the media placement identified, make sure to follow through with the right advertising messages and call-to-action that speaks directly, quickly and clearly to your target audience.

4. Third-party site registration
There are a number of shopping and savings sites that provide visitors with offers targeted to meet their interests. When visitors opt-in to become members of these sites they complete a user profile that indicates their preferences and interests, as well as their willingness to receive offers from site partners that meet their needs. The key to working with these partners is ensuring that they are credible and follow opt-in best practices. Usually these kinds of third parties provide names on a cost-per-lead basis, making them highly cost efficient.

5. Third-party email
Like traditional direct mail, another option for finding qualified leads is to buy third party email lists. Similarly you can advertise your offer in email newsletters sent by partners who are targeting your audience.

Your advice worked. I’ve got the leads, now what?
So the good news is you developed a great offer, picked the right tactics to generate leads and now you have a collection of eager potential customers waiting to hear from you. Now, in order to convert those leads into actual customers, you must follow through as advertised. Make sure that you are keeping in touch with them on an appropriate time table, continue to manage their expectations appropriately and most importantly, make sure that your subsequent interactions provide value.

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