I talk with a lot of business owners and the #1 challenge most of them mention is getting more customers. (The #2 challenge is turning customers into clients and loyal fans who wouldn’t dream of going anywhere else or buying a different brand – but that’s a subject for another post!)
Question: Would you rather buy from ‘the first google listing for … [insert service you are looking for]’ – or from someone who clearly has a unique position and perspective?
I know that I want to work with someone who is an expert in their field and has a unique position and perspective, not the person with the lowest priced service, and the same goes for the products I buy … I want the product that works best for me and then I’ll find a way to pay for it.
If your business blends in with the crowd then you will always have trouble attracting enough leads, and you’ll have an even harder time turning those leads into sales. But … when your business is in a category of ONE, and it appeals to the emotional triggers of your ideal client profile, then you won’t merely generate leads, you’ll generate qualified leads. And that will make all the difference to your outcomes!
Online & Offline Lead Generation
I love online lead generation – it’s cost-effective, split testing is a breeze, and you can experiment and change direction easily. I believe that any business which claims that they can’t generate leads and sales online hasn’t invested appropriately in their website and online presence – and yes, this does include the copy on their website.
At the same time I believe even more strongly in the power of offline lead generation. It costs more, so you need to manage your lists and expenses carefully, but it also converts a higher percentage of leads, and those leads are usually better qualified, so they are more likely to turn into repeat customers and loyal fans.
Your ideal lead generation campaign should involve a combination of online and offline streams for maximum effectiveness: –
- Attract leads online;
- Lure them offline (phone, mail, face-to-face meeting);
- Make a sale (online or offline depending on your business);
- Stay in contact – both online and offline.
- Attract leads offline;
- Send them online (Sales Page);
- Make sale or arrange meeting (online or offline);
- Stay in contact – both online and offline.
Why Not Just Stick to Online Lead Generation?
There are four main reasons why just focusing on online lead generation is not a great idea.
- You Will Get Lost in The Crowd: Your audience may not all be ADHD, but when they get online most people act as though they are. They have several tabs or windows open, they are bombarded by notifications, and they bounce between websites at a frantic pace that confuses them.
- Data Shows That Offline Leads Feel Greater Loyalty and Spend More: When all is said and done, people are basically visual and tactile to some degree. Ebooks and virtual products are convenient, easy to cart around and store, but they don’t have the ‘grab value’ of a real life, 3-dimensional product. This is just human nature.
- More Touch Points and More Variety Makes You More Memorable: When you mix up online and offline lead generation you get the best of both worlds. You get the economy and reach of online lead generation, and you add the memorability and exclusiveness of offline contact as well.
- Google, Microsoft and Yahoo Go Offline to Generate Leads: If anyone could make 100% online lead generation work it would be these three behemoths. The fact that they don’t rely exclusively on online lead generation should make you pause. Every company would love to rely 100% on online techniques to attract new business because it is cheaper … but the number also show that it is less effective. If these names don’t make you think twice about taking some of your lead generation offline, then nothing will.
One More Issue to Consider
In conclusion, here’s one more reason why you should seriously consider how much you can afford to rely on online and virtual lead generation. I believe that it is just a matter of time before people find a way to charge for sending emails. That will seriously disturb many online marketer’s model of business. In some ways it will also be a good thing as it will reduce the competition in your inbox. What that would really mean is that the price differential between the two media will diminish. If you are already mixing offline marketing with online, you will have physical addresses as well as emails, and you will be poised to ride the wave at the outset.