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Online vs Offline Lead Generation
In this article we explore Online vs Offline Lead Generation; the differences, and how you can use them combined to create a killer lead gen strategy.
Do you own a business and you want to make it grow further? Maybe you run a service operation and you want to reach more people. Or perhaps you want to sell more products but the sales have stagnated.
In marketing, lead generation is the object of creating interest in your business, so that you can attract more customers. Potential customers are known as leads. Lead generation is the process of using effective marketing techniques to draw in more potential customers. Therefore, the more leads you attract, the more people who will turn into customers, hence the more sales you will make.
There are a number of methods of generating leads. In this article, we’ll look at online and offline lead generation and how both can benefit your business.
What is Online Lead Generation?
Online lead generation refers to the methods you can use to attract customers to your business via the internet. There are a number of options, including;
Blogging is a great way to attract and collect leads. Essentially, you are offering something of interest in return for details from your lead.
For example, you run a travel service business for couples, taking care of the holiday journey from start to finish. Therefore, you want to write about the places you go to and the things you see along the way. Maybe you could put together the top 5 tips for travelling or a gallery of photographs to accompany the blog.
Ideally, you are creating more interest in your business by telling a bit more about your story, or giving some behind the scenes information or top tips.
Then, if a potential customer reads and likes your blog, they may sign up for more. Now you have their contact information, you can nurture this lead through to a possible sale.
Furthermore, by keeping your blog current and interesting, it will attract more leads. A popular blog will then create its own interest as followers will share it with friends and so on.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing works by creating an online profile for your business and building relationships with your customers. It can also bring great business opportunities. You can grow your brand and your business through social media.
To use it well, you need to think about your customers. What platform are they likely to use, because there are many.
There’s no point working with social media, unless you do it well, so it’s worth doing your research on this.
For example, did you know that the most people who use Facebook are men in the 25-34 age range at 18.8% worldwide. Whereas for women in the same age range it’s 12.8%.
However, if your business is targeting people in the 45-54 age range, then only 5.5% of men worldwide use Facebook, and 5% of women.
These statistics can be drilled down further because the percentages could be different in terms of country and even region. However, it’s a good example to bear in mind. Furthermore, if you don’t think your customers will use Facebook, it’s probably worth looking at a different platform.
Other social media platforms include Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. With Instagram, the biggest user age demographic is 25-34, however, the 18-24 age range is also very high.
The 55 + age group do use social media, but not by large numbers, so although you need an online business presence, you may want to choose other ways to target this age group.
It’s worth bearing in mind here that using social media is an ongoing process. It’s a great way to relate to your customers and to highlight positive feedback as well as respond to any negative feedback.
But you do need to create regular posts and provide regular information in order for potential leads to be attracted to your business. A social media presence that isn’t doing a lot will not attract new customers.
Despite the ease of using social media and the vast reach it can achieve, email marketing is also extremely important in lead generation and should not be overlooked.
It’s one of the main ways you can communicate with your existing clients and gain new leads at the same time.
Firstly, you need to create an email marketing list. This could be from existing customers or from your social media business presence or from visitors to your website.
Once you have their permission to send emails, you can remind customers of your business, by putting information directly into their inboxes.
For example, you can use email marketing to launch a new product. If you have a list of existing customers, perhaps you can email them a special discount on the new product to say thank you for their loyalty.
As well as this, you can create a regular newsletter with specific information in it to attract new leads. So, if they sign up to receive your newsletter, they can get more discounts in the future. Or learn about the launch of a new product or service before the general public.
Essentially, email marketing tools are a great way to generate new leads. Furthermore, recent statistics show that more adults feel comfortable that their data is kept secure when using emails, rather than using Facebook. Hence, this could be a factor when you are considering your online lead generation strategy.
The most useful thing about online advertising is the way you can precisely target your ideal customer. You can create an online advert based on age group, gender, interests and online behaviour.
So if you already know your ideal customer, you can produce an online ad to target people like them.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
It’s one thing to have a website for your business, but can people actually find it? Does it get lost among others in the Google search?
To make your website stand out, you need a strong, consistent brand message with optimised content throughout. Hence you need keywords relating to your business throughout your website, as well as special landing pages tailored to your audience.
For example, if you own a beauty salon business in Norwich, you want to ensure that Norwich or Norfolk features in the wording on your website. If a customer searches beauty salon, it’s likely to get lost among many others.
However, if the customer searches for beauty salon in Norwich, then yours is more likely to feature if you have used this wording on your website. Therefore, the higher your website is in the search rankings, the more likely new leads will find you.
What is Offline Lead Generation?
Offline lead generation or ‘traditional’ lead generation continues to be useful. As with online lead generation, there are several methods you can use.
Have you ever received a letter through the post from a company you have never heard of.
Direct Mail is also known as advertising mail or mail shot. Some businesses, including charities, depend on direct mail to get support.
The aim of direct mail is that it lands directly in front of the customer, literally on a door mat, and the hope is that the message is read before it gets put in the bin.
But does it still work in the digital age of online marketing?
According to a recent survey, the direct mail response rate is at its highest since 2003. Furthermore, the response number is higher than results you could get from other online marketing such as social media ads and paid search.
Print advertising features in newspapers, magazines, brochures or leaflets, anything that is physically printed. The benefit is that printed ads can reach leads in ways that digital marketing can’t. You don’t need access to the internet to look at the Ad, hence you may see it a number of times and it stays in your mind.
Hosting an event is a great way to network with other people. One of the main ways to grow your business is to get customers through the door.
Say for example that you own a furniture business and you are launching a new range of outdoor furniture for the summer. You can create an event and provide food and drink or entertainment, all centered around your new product range. To gain new leads, you can create interest in the event and invite potential target customers too.
Then, collect customer details and measure the impact of the event. Did it bring any new leads or even sales to your business?
Inbound Phone Calls
Inbound phone calls are typically customers who use the number you put on your ad, website or campaign.
They call you with a specific question or issue. The customer is calling you and you need to provide an excellent service in response.
Hence it is your responsibility to provide adequate channels for customers to reach you. If you offer excellent customer service, this will build and secure your reputation and attract new leads.
Traditional methods of outbound sales can include cold calls, cold emails and door to door visits. If you have a list of existing customers and you would like to speak to similar people, put a list together and call them.
Or if you want your business to grow locally, you could even take a leaflet round door to door and introduce yourself. Perhaps if they meet you face to face, they might even buy from you.
How To Use Both Online And Offline Lead Generation: An Example
Each method of lead generation has its own benefits. As mentioned previously, it helps to consider your existing or ideal customer and how you want to reach this person.
For example, let’s say you have a pet grooming business and you want to reach more customers.
With online lead generation, you can build a website and a strong social media presence.
You can create interest in your business by offering blog tips on how to look after your pets at home.
Maybe how to bath a dog properly, or how to deal with fleas. Any information that offers something of value to the pet owner community. You can use keywords across your social media marketing that lifts your business above similar ones in your industry.
Perhaps mention a specific breed of dog, or where you are locally based, words that people will search for when looking for a pet groomer.
Using social media, you could create an online community who are interested in swapping pictures or stories of their pets. You could even create an Instagram presence for your own dog or cat if you have one and then link it to your business.
Then, you can create an online advert which specifically targets people in your local area. What’s more, you can achieve all this from the comfort of your own home or business, using a laptop. It’s as simple or creative as you want it to be.
Meanwhile, you can choose some traditional or offline methods.
For example, you could design and print a professional leaflet about your pet grooming business and post it in your local area. If you get calls coming in from people who have seen it, you know that form of marketing works for you.
Or, you could call pet shops or vets in your local area and ask them to put up a poster on their notice boards.
This could generate any number of new leads, from people who have seen your poster. If you have the budget, you could take out a newspaper advert, maybe offer a discount to the first 20 people to book with you.
Remember, that once you have new leads, don’t forget to keep their details and follow them up for next time.
In summary to this part, you may have a much larger business than this pet grooming example. However, the principles remain the same. Hopefully you can see that it can benefit your business to use both online and offline lead generation methods.
5 Top Tips For Merging Offline and Online Lead Generation Strategies
Essentially, all your offline lead generation activities should aim to point towards your website or online presence so that you can collect and analyse all the data you can. Then, you can use this data to make better informed marketing decisions including your offline ones.
Therefore, if you put together offline and online lead generation strategies, you could grow your business even further. Here are 5 top tips for merging them.
1/ An Online Call to Action for Offline Promotion
Perhaps part of your marketing strategy is to spend money on a print advert at specific times of the year. For this example, your business is a family holiday park.
You could offer a large discount to families who see something specific that you’ve put in your advert. The advert is due to be published in April.
Meanwhile, customers will only know what to look for in the advert if they sign up to your online newsletter, follow your blog or like a post.
So you give them an online call to action which means you can collect their details as new leads. Once they have done this, you tell them what to look for in the printed advert and what they have to do next in order to get the discount.
Another way to merge both strategies is to run a competition. For example, you could put a competition together in a magazine and offer a prize for anyone who shares their email address with you. Hence you are building your email list, and you can then nurture your new leads through your email marketing strategy.
3/ Online Data
Generally speaking, people who visit your website are similar to customers who visit your shop. Therefore, it makes sense to analyse and use the data that you collect online, to target any promotions you use offline or in store.
So perhaps a lot of people clicked on one of your products, but didn’t put it in the online basket. It means there is an interest in it, but for some reason, it’s not selling. You may want to put a promotion on this product or make it into a central display in your shop.
Another example is that maybe you have a product online that not many people are interested in at all.
Is it time to drop this completely and replace it with a new product that you can create interest in with an online launch? It’s worth considering all your online data and how this can improve your current business sales techniques.
4/ Word of mouth
Word of mouth can be a very effective marketing tool. If a customer has received excellent customer service, they will tell their friends. This can happen both offline and online in lead generation.
Traditionally, it could be through a potential customer seeing your product in someone’s home or garden. Or a friend using your business service and they’re really happy with it. Good client referrals will come to you if you provide a quality service for your customers. Then you can convert the referrals into sales.
Nowadays, customers can leave a review online. Positive reviews help you to build trust in your brand, particularly if you are a new business and not many people have heard about you.
Networking is another great way to meet new people and build relationships. You can choose to attend events in your local or regional area and speak to people face to face. Or, you can build connections online via a business platform like LinkedIn.
How about using both methods?
LinkedIn is a great way to network online and build connections if you can’t attend a specific event in person. However, with physical networking, you can put faces to names and build a personal rapport so you know who you are talking to next time.
Which Is Better, Offline or Online Lead Generation?
To conclude, the rise and rise of digital marketing means it is incredibly useful for lead generation. It’s now simple to gather data online which can inform and shape your advertising and sales strategies.
However, offline or traditional lead generation is not dead. In fact, some traditional methods such as direct mail appear to be working better than ever. It’s a fact that not everyone enjoys shopping online, including specific age groups. There are better ways to contact and reach certain people.
Furthermore, if you’re a business owner, it’s great to have an About Page on your website that tells people your story. Or to have an Instagram page which displays your creativity and interests.
But perhaps you have a winning sales personality and chat. If people meet you face to face, you may be able to persuade them to buy your products, more than if they just saw your website page. Hence cold calling or door to door visits could be beneficial to your particular lead generation strategy.
The key to deciding which strategy works for your business is to know your customer. What method are they likely to use to buy your product or service?
For example, if you sell retirement bungalows, is Facebook the ideal platform for you to use? Or would a mail shot advertising a bungalow sales event work better?
What if you own a chain of hotels? What is the best way to build up trust in your brand and reputation and to advertise the different locations?
Perhaps a mix of offline and online lead generation will work well here. You can offer existing customers discounts to stay another time via email marketing. Meanwhile you could pay for a printed advert to feature in a local newspaper where the hotel is based.
It’s time to get creative with your lead generation strategies, analyse what works best for your business and then build on that.
If you’re still not sure, you can always ask an expert.
Working With Lead Genera
Lead Generation, when done well, can really impact your business and take it to the next level. Essentially, generating more leads gives you the chance to turn those prospects into paying customers and clients. Hence you can increase your business revenue and even expand your business.
Lead Genera can help you achieve this.
The team at Lead Genera harness the latest technologies and strategies in the web development and digital marketing space to help your business achieve growth.
Essentially, they get to know your requirements and start to identify the leads and prospects that you want to target. Then, create ideal lead generation strategies in order to reach these specific groups.
Lead Genera services include branding, design and corporate identity, social media marketing, lead generation services and search engine optimisation among others.
Get in touch today to see how Lead Genera can help your business to grow. You can request a proposal for our services via our website or get in touch via email, live chat or messenger.