List building is an important part of marketing. Whether you capture them through your website, incoming phone calls, speaking engagements or simply a business card, leads are what eventually bring in sales. These tips will help you build a great list of prospects that will accept your marketing messages and hopefully buy your products/services. Here is how you can become a list building specialist
No matter how you get your leads, you need to have a way to organize them. An organization is a key to effectively marketing to these leads in the future. Your lead organization can be done a variety of ways. You can use a spreadsheet, such as Excel, to list your leads and include a few vital pieces of information. You might choose to use an organizational tool like Outlook or Gmail’s Contact Manager. Whatever you choose, you’ll want to keep your leads organized and accessible.
Once you have a system in place for organizing your leads, it’s time to start capturing some more leads. The best way to capture a lead from the Internet is through a web form. These forms, which usually ask for a visitor’s name and email address, allow you to build up a list of leads who have given you permission to market your product or service to them. Your web form should be placed “above the fold” of your blog. If the web form is hidden or hard to get to, site visitors will not be compelled to fill it out. The web form should also contain as few fields as possible.
Typically, “first name”, “last name” and “email address” are sufficient. When a visitor sees a web form with fields like “home address”, “phone number” or “mother’s maiden name” they start to get suspicious. Keep it simple and relevant to your purposes. You should also be sure to set the expectations for your marketing practices and explain that you will honor their privacy. If you are clear about what will happen, they will be more willing to give their information.
So it is time to get a web form on your site. You can go with MadMimi or Aweber or GetResponse. You will be able to customize fields and receive reports of new leads that you can then import to your database. You can use a web form for event registration, newsletter sign-ups, contests, surveys, polls, refer-a-friend programs, comments or anything else that will help you gather information. Web forms shouldn’t be confined to your home page. You can also put a web form on your Facebook Fan Page to capture leads.
Now that you have a web form in place, you need to offer something in exchange for your leads’ information. An incentive piece is something of value that you offer website visitors, but only if they fill out a web form. This piece can be many things: an exclusive video, an e-book, a white paper or a free consultation. But it must have value. Take your time in creating a piece that will really appeal to your target market.
Here are a few ideas for lead generation pieces that you could offer:
• Free pricing quote
• Free webinar (use a site like www.gotomeeting.com to host a great webinar)
• Free trial
• Special discounts
Make your lead generation piece so appealing and your web form so easy to fill out that visitors can’t (and won’t) pass up the opportunity. Your list will be bursting at the seams in no time. A great way to build your list is through refer-a-friend programs. Getting others to promote your product or services greatly expands your reach. Plus, when your current customers recommend you, you gain instant credibility. A good referral program must make it worthwhile for the person doing the referring. Offering incentives, such as free products, monetary “commissions” or other rewards will give them a little extra motivation.
You should also give them collateral to use when they “sell” your product, such as brochures, special landing pages or other advertising pieces. You will also need a system in place to track the new leads coming in and to pay those who made the referral. You can create a special field in your organizational system, whether it be a spreadsheet or another contact management tool. When your affiliate program gains traction, you should consider using a more robust affiliate module.
Lead capture and list building can require a lot of work and a lot of different systems. But there are companies who can do the work for you – and it will eliminate the “multi-system chaos” that comes from running a bunch of separate applications. You should get a system you need to manage your list. With any of these systems, you’ll be able to capture and organize your leads, create customized web forms and start targeting your prospects with the right message. With the system, you will become a specialist in list building.