In online marketing, lead generation means the prompt generation of prospective consumer interest or inquiry about a specific product or service of an organization. Leads can also be generated for more conventional purposes like e-mail list acquisition, direct mail list penetration or for targeted sales leads. This article is all about the importance of lead generation in online marketing.

The primary aim of lead generation strategies in online marketing is to obtain new customers or clients for an existing customer organization. By acquiring new contacts through various channels like social media marketing, online advertising and traditional marketing, an organization increases its profit margin significantly. Lead generation by professionals does not only help an organization in achieving its short-term targets but also helps it to achieve long term objectives. The professionals involved in lead generation processes are able to help their clients improve their product or service quality and at the same time gain important business leads and hence, increase their sales. It is important for companies to hire professional lead generating agencies for effective lead generation strategies for improved business performance.

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Before outsourcing your inbound or outbound marketing requirements to a lead generation company, make sure that you have analyzed the kind of prospects you are dealing with. If you are looking for direct selling, then it is a must for you to collect as many details about your potential customers so as to convert them into actual customers. Gathering information on potential customers is called as a “raw lead” and this refers to the contact information that is already present in your database or the one which has been registered on your opt-in form. If you are opting for traditional direct marketing strategy, then collecting a “dry” lead is not a tough task; the hard part is extracting useful information from it. For inbound marketing strategy, it is absolutely imperative that you get a “dry” lead because a dry lead is simply an email address or contact number which you might have received through junk mails. A good lead will contain more detailed information such as address, phone number and date of birth; and if you have a good relationship with the lead, then he might even share his real name along with other personal details like his occupation and his email id too.

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One popular way of generating leads is called the “funnel” method where the lead is first sent to a qualified sales agent who handles the lead capture process. In general, this type of lead generation process works best for people who have some amount of experience in sales or those who have already built up a strong network of contacts. Usually, people who have built a network of contacts tend to generate more leads themselves. The “funnel” also works well for inbound marketing because there are limited numbers of people who can be attracted towards a particular product. For outbound marketing, by contrast, the number of prospects you are interested in will be greater since there are more targeted leads available for you.

On the other hand, an inbound lead generation company may use different techniques to generate leads which are more effective than the traditional techniques. This method usually includes creating online ads; hiring telemarketers; conducting focus groups; and cold calling. There are many advantages associated with this form of lead generation and it has been found to be more effective than any other techniques so far developed. However, since the process involves placing advertisements on various websites, most online marketers find it expensive.

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On the other hand, a more affordable way of generating leads is through contact information marketing (CIM). This involves building a list of targeted leads through the use of creative marketing strategies like designing and distributing brochures; and creating websites where interested people can subscribe to newsletters. The cost involved in CIM is generally lower than employing other strategies such as cold calling and hiring sales agents. A qualified sales professional will usually charge higher fees than a person who does not have much experience in this type of marketing but who is willing to invest the time and money necessary to build a strong and responsive list of leads.