There’s a good chance that business owners today have either learned a lot about generating leads offline or generating leads online. However, in order to be competitive, small businesses need to understand the advantages of each and to then determine which one of is the best fit for their respective industries. Here’s a look at how offline and online lead generation methods compare:
Generating Leads Offline
It’s a little harder to research a potential customer without a social media profile or website to reference when you’re meeting for the first time over the phone or at an event. In addition, no matter how good your sales pitch may be, an in-person or over the phone meeting will most likely not lead to an immediate sale. Having said that, a personal contact with a customer could be far more important for the long term health of your business relationship.
If you’re concerned that generating your own sales, such as working through a call list, could take too much time, you can always hire a sales lead generation company to sift through potential customers and then send only the best leads your way. This helps you maximize your time connecting with the best customers for your business.
Referrals are another tried and true way of generating high quality sales leads. By partnering with businesses related to but not competing with your own, you can either swap referrals or pay a finder’s fee for new clients.
Generating Leads Online
An online lead generation strategy offers some different advantages from in-person meet ups. While online connections may not be as personal, you can still maintain relationships through social media and email. In addition, as you connect with new customers, many of whom have short attention spans, an online lead generation effort allows you to make sales quickly and directly with potential customers before they forget about you.
Another fantastic advantage for online lead generation is the ability to use video in order to demonstrate a product or service. While you could carry around a tablet at industry events, posting videos online lets customers learn about your company at their own pace and explore whether your products are ideal for them. Videos also give you opportunities to add landing page links.
And speaking of landing pages, online lead generation really is simple when you can link to websites and blogs. By adding an email address form on your website where potential customers can sign up for coupons, newsletter, or a free eBook you’ll gain immediate access to a customer’s inbox. Keep in mind that the down side of this is that the quality of these leads will be suspect. So while you can collect a lot of them easily, you’ll need a large number in order to make a small number of sales.
Perhaps the best part of generating leads online is that you can do it from just about anywhere and easily reach potential customers through social media networks such as Facebook or Twitter. By linking to your best online content, product videos, or landing page, you’ll be able to make quick and easy conversions or sales, depending on your marketing goals. Social media allows you to spread your net wide and to also conduct quick and accurate follow up research to review whether your latest leads are good fits for your company.
You shouldn’t have to choose between online and offline lead generation for your small business. Both have their advantages and pitfalls, and each will help you make unique connections with customers that may not happen any other way.
This article was written by Ed Quinn.