Online lead generation – Part II

What is a lead?

What is online lead generation?

“Accumulate a vast amount of leads and qualified leads, quickly, efficiently, proficiently and inexpensively, through purely electronic and virtual means.”

Before we begin this trek into generating leads online, let us first define a lead.

What is a lead?

This may sound elementary, yet it is important to know exactly what you will be searching for on the Internet.  There is a big difference between raw data, a suspect, a lead, a qualified lead and a prospect.  Of course, depending on what you sell, maybe everyone and anyone can be a lead or a prospect for you.  However, in most professions you are going to need to narrow or filter the data to produce usable information.  You must eliminate wasting time chasing people or businesses that are not qualified to do business with you or simply are out of your target market.  You want to spend your time with and trying to reach those who can do business with you.

What you will find while searching to generate leads online

  1. 1. Raw Data – Is data, which may or may not include correct contact information on consumers or businesses.  It is just a bunch of names and addresses.  Often raw data is just a list of business names.  You have no idea if any of these names are even capable of doing business with you or if they have any need for your product or service.
  2. 2. Suspected Lead – You have some credible information to this raw data.  For instance, you may know that they may meet your basic demographics and target market requirements.  You can assume that most are probably capable of doing business with you, though you do not know about need or level of interest.
  3. 3. Lead – A lead is a suspected lead qualified to a level where it meets your basic demographic and geographic specifications and at least some of your basic psychographic, technical and motivational targets.  With this data, you are not only certain that most are at least capable of doing business with you, but there is a reasonable chance that they will.  This lead, at least to this point, seems to fit into the categories and posses the traits of customers who frequently buy your products or services.
  4. 4. Qualified Lead – Is a lead with details such as logistical and financial qualifiers, laser-targeted decision maker information, etc.  Now you have filtered the data to those whom you know fit all the technical aspects of doing business with you and you have targeted the true decision maker.
  5. 5. Prospect – A prospect is a lead qualified to every degree possible, including level of interest.  A prospect should be a model of your ultimate target customer.

Unfortunately, most sales people spend too much of their time on the Internet gathering raw data–names and numbers.  Although, this appears to be incredibly cheap, the time they spend filtering through and qualifying that data, usually by telemarketing, to produce real leads, makes the whole process cost prohibitive.  The average sales person is also blind to the true cost of generating leads online in this manner because they are not actually spending any money—cash.

However, when you factor in the amount of time and energy invested, the cost of those leads is significantly higher than buying leads online.  Additional, this long time filtering by cold calling, email, and snail-mail, makes it nearly impossible to quantify the overall quality or return on investment.

Best R.O.I.

The best return on your investment will be in generating good, solid leads online that fit most of your target demographics and have some psychographic data and assumed level of interest.

Part III – Organic Search vs. Paid Search

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