Online B2B Lead Generation
From the warm climbs of Mexico City, Mexico to the cooler lands of Calgary, Alberta businesses are using the Internet to advance their business models and successes. The Internet is a unique resource for creation of sales leads and connecting with customers, called B2C sales, and other businesses, B2B sales, all around the world. As an owner, or web developer, for a company there are many things that can be done on your website to help generate business leads and bring customers and business to your site and through the site to your company. Some of these methods are as follows:
• Use of auto responders
• Generation of free reports
• Offerings included in, or just after, registration forms
• Creation of opt in mailing lists
• Business to business referrals
Many of these methods tie closely together as can be seen by taking each in more detail.
Autoresponders are software packages that are created to automatically respond to input from any customer, fellow business owner or otherwise. The job of the autoresponder can be as simple as acknowledging receipt of information from the user and providing future contact information, or can be as complex as monthly mailings. Once a customer has show interest in your business it is critical that they are kept returning to the website, whether it is for information, offers or contests. An autoresponder can help you to keep track of leads automatically in a much more efficient way than manual tracking.
The offering of free services is a powerful marketing tool for bringing customers to your company website. Many sites use offerings of credit reports, personal profiles, horoscopes and such to encourage users to come to their site. The initial report is free, but then can be used to link into services and products that the company stands to make a profit on. In order to best use this type of lead generator you must determine what on your site can be appropriately connected to a free offer. What is your base product and therefore what branches can spring from it. Don't be tempted to use a free report that is completely unrelated to your product as this will more likely result in the user clicking away from the site once they have the report they want, instead of looking more deeply into your offerings.
These leads generally tie into a sign up or registration form. This form may be a registration for a forum or in order to receive a report, catalog or other company service. At the end of the registration form offerings can be made for other services or products that the user can opt in for, sometimes at a much decreased price, as part of registration. For example a site on photography might use a registration offering to give users a year's subscription to their photography magazine with a 15% discount if it is signed up for as part of the registration process. Like the free report these offerings need to tie into your company's product or services so that a connection between the product and the company is maintained, bringing the customer, no matter if it is an individual or a company, back for future references or purchases.
Opt In Mailing Lists
Mailing lists are a well prove and very valuable way to keep in touch with other businesses and customers and to quickly get word out to interested parties about promotions, sales, new product lines and changes in business. The temptation with such lists is to purchase lists from other businesses and flood businesses and individuals with your company information. This is a danger as such mailings are often classified as junk mail or spam mail and can result in your site being blocked by various ISPs at the request of their users. Better than purchasing unfocused lists is to allow for users to opt in to the mailing list. Provided a link where users can register for a newsletter or other company mailing list and then focus your efforts to these parties, who have already shown interest in you and your product.
Business to Business Referrals
Of all leads you can generate, none hold the sway as positive word of mouth and referrals from other trusted businesses in similar or related fields. Many businesses are willing to exchange referral links or articles in exchange for the same kind of reference from your site back to theirs. These links can create a powerful symbiotic relationship between companies in order to exchange goods and services both between businesses, and in bringing in outside customers to both. Often these referrals are not difficult to obtain, as other businesses are just as eager as you are. Be sure that any company you give a referral to is a company that is reputable and will keep your customers as happy as you keep them as your referral ties you to this alternate company in the mind of your customers and other businesses and you wish to keep the impression of your business as positive as possible.
While these methods are by far not the only ways to generate online leads they are some of the most frequently used, and, by far, the most effective in the current online community. The online market space is only going to increase and companies that wish to work strongly with other businesses and their consumer base must take advantage of this space if they wish to succeed!
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