If your site is like that of most businesses, you probably have a “Contact Us” form. As you look at the responses you get from your form, like many other businesses, you see whole lot of spam. What you don’t regularly get are high quality leads. If this has been your story, then you probably have a pretty negative view of digital lead generation. Effective lead generation, on the other hand, is something that you shouldn’t be neglecting.

What is lead generation.

It’s fair to say there are different definitions of lead generation depending on context. For our purposes, lead generation can be defined as any method where you capture the name, phone number and hopefully email address of the lead along with as much information about the customer’s problem as possible.  

Effective lead generation will also have a purpose.  Your lead is giving you their information because they expect to get something in return.  It could be an e-book, a consultation, or quote for a product or service you offer.  On the website we built, themattressgurus.com, we demonstrate an effecive lead generation form. In exchange for the leads’ contact information, the form provides customers with a mattress recommendation based on their answers to the questions asked in our forum.  

Where should you generate leads?

In a previous article, I discussed the importance of engaging with leads When, Where, and How they want.  This is is especially important for local companies that are competing with either a large online store, or a local big-box store.  The ability to engage with, and generate leads from many different channels will ultimately be what sets you apart from these big-box stores.  To gain the most leads and reach a wide audience of potential customers, you should be generating leads in every channel you market in. Here are a few of the most effective lead generation streams:

Website lead Forms
This is the most popular and easiest type of lead generation to implement. And, as we touched on before, it’s also incredibly common to receive spam with, if not done properly. To avoid spam and insure successful lead generation we have a few tips: Avoid making it a simple “name, phone number, email address and message” type form. Give it some substance. 
Think of it this way; If you were helping someone in your store to find a product, what questions would you ask?  You should be asking similar questions in your lead form. Keep in mind, potential customers will only give you as much information as the value equivalent to the offer you’re making them.  If you are giving them an ebook, you probably can’t ask much from them. But, if you’re offering them a consultation or a free quote, you may be able to get more information from them  With the lead generation forum on the Mattress Gurus site, we collect a lot of lead information because, in turn, they are getting a valuable mattress recommendation.
Exit intent form

Exit intent forms are forms that pop up when someone is getting ready to leave your site.  It recognizes that the mouse has moved to an area (like the address bar) where someone is, most likely, intending to leave your site.  This gives you one last chance to pick them up as a lead.  Typically, you can’t ask for a lot of information on exit intent forms. However, it is a great time to generate soft leads for a newsletter or for monthly specials.

Website Message Bot
A message bot can be used for several different purposes like answering customer service questions, working as a first point-of-contact for customers, or generating leads.  For lead generation purposes, your bot will typically ask the same questions you would  in a lead form.  The difference is, a bot is more interactive, and therefore  gets more high-quality results.
Facebook Message Bot
There are around 260 million new conversations launched over messenger every day. With that kind of use, it’s critically important that a business take advantage of messenger. You can set up message bots like that on the Mattress Gurus website through Facebook. This allows you to communicate in a similar way with customers regardless of where they reach out for contact. 
Phone Calls
Phone calls are a great way to generate leads. But we aren’t talking about cold-calling. When customers go to your website, Facebook page, or Google My Business listing, phone calls placed to you can be used to generate leads. The key is to use a call tracking number that will allow you to port the call information into your Customer Relationship Management (CRM)  software. Or, you could choose to manually enter the lead’s contact information. This form of lead generation is often overlooked because it can seem like a lot of work while on the phone with a potential customer. But, by capturing name and phone number – along with any other pertinent information you can get while on the call, you can use business class SMS messaging to communicate with your lead. 
While effective, this form of lead generation is somewhat controversial. It is important to ensure that your lead is comfortable and willing to receive text message communications from your business before putting them on your ‘send’ list. 
In Store (in person)

With effective salespeople, a store may close a sale on an average of 50 to 60% of the traffic that comes into the store.  That still leaves at least 40% traffic to walk out.  However, it is possible to capture those leads and re-target them through email or text to get them to come back into the store. For one of our clients, we work with the salespeople to create soft-training for them to collect lead data before the customers leave the store. If you are able to collect lead data through an in-person form either via a customer survey card, kiosk, or salesperson, you will be able to re-target them later.

Why is lead generation important?

Everyone wants to take advantage of their marketing budget to make their efforts as effective as possible. By generating lead information as customers leave your site or store, you can re-target them through messenger, emails, text messages. etc.  Re-targeting customers who have left your store or online site, will help keep your business within your lead’s consideration sets. 

Lead generation is important because it enables your business and your website to create  traffic, leading to more sales and to higher conversion rates. With a quality lead generation process it will help a lot in finding the right customers for your business.

Finally, generating leads will help increase the Life Time Value of a customer.  There is no need to stop marketing to them once they have become a customer.  It should simply change what you market to them.  By re-marketing other products and services you offer, they will more likely purchase from you again.  They have already had one great purchasing experience, why not expect another?