Lead generation is an integral part of building any business – big or small. Lead generation is a business term for the various methods of gathering contact information from prospective customers. In other words, if you’re a business owner – lead generation is all about finding new customers who are willing and able to buy your products and services.
A decade ago – the most common way for a B2B business to gather leads was to secure a booth at a trade show and offer some sort of a prize drawing. Trade show attendees would drop their business cards into a box in hopes of wining a prize. Meanwhile the business received the valuable contact information from members of their niche market. The manner of lead generation for the B2C business was similar. Instead of securing space at a trade show – business owners would hold similar drawings in conjunction with local media outlets (for more on how to do this for your business – pick up a copy of my book Beyond the Niche: Essential Tools You Need to Create Marketing Messages that Deliver Results) or they would run radio/television campaigns encouraging the already tightly targeted audience to take advantage of a special offer or to call for a free report.
You’ll still see B2C businesses today engaged in just such lead generation programs. Despite the ability to generate leads “for free” from the internet, various companies still run television advertising campaigns which offer a “free DVD” offer as a reliable form of lead generation.
Unfortunately, these days the basics of lead generation – and the ties it has with targeting a niche audience – seem to have gotten lost.
I supposed it’s the inherent ability of the internet to literally communicate with EVERYONE with access to an internet connection so effortlessly that has resulted in the disconnect between niche marketing and lead generation. Today, I battle regularly with clients who want to target EVERYONE as part of their lead generation campaign.
The conversations I was having with marketing consulting clients were distinctly different than the ones I have today. Convincing my clients in the “good old days” that they needed to tightly target their marketing message didn’t take a lot of persuading. Budget constraints frequently did an amazingly effective job of steering my clients away from the “target everyone” to “target someone” marketing mentality.
Because setting up an effective lead generation program – like an email marketing newsletter– costs the same whether you’ve tightly targeted your niche market or not – many business owners try to cast their net as broadly as possible.
The problem with the “broad net” approach is that when you don’t focus upon a niche – you can’t create an offer that is compelling enough to get your prospective customers to sign up for your email newsletter – a.k.a. lead generation campaign. So instead of getting 1 out of 10 new web visitors signing up for your lead generating email marketing newsletter – you’re getting 1 out of 10,000 signing up. That’s just one reason to tightly tie your niche marketing strategy with your lead generation campaign.
Sure, there may be 1500 different “niche markets” that are candidates for your product or service – so begin by selecting ONE of those niche markets before you launch your lead generation campaign. You’ll find that a frequent “symptom” of not targeting your niche market is an “epic fail” when it comes to your lead generation campaign.