Let's start with a short definition of what lead generation really is.
Lead generation is a marketing term that refers to the creation or generation of prospecting consumer interest or inquiry into a business' products or services.
So this means that every conceivable business would participate in some form of lead generation. After all, businesses must make sales to stay in business so they are always looking for leads/customers.
Since lead generation is such a broad subject, we will concentrate on the various forms of web marketing lead generation that are:
1. Email marketing, e-zines, newsletters
2. Search engine optimization (SEO)
3. Pay-per-click (PPC), pay-per-lead (PPL), pay-per- action (PPA), pay-per-impression (PPI) and pay-per-sale (PPS)
4. Free classifieds and Free For All (FFA's)
5. Hire a lead generation company.
6. Buy leads from a Co-Registration lead broker
Let's discuss each of the above forms of lead generation.
Advertising in e-zines or newsletters are good avenues for acquiring targeted leads. You should subscribe to various e-zines to verify that the readers would be interested in your offer. Then select those e-zines you feel are targeted to your niche and place a solo ad, as sponsor ad or a classified ad.
Usually the solo ad is more expensive as this type of ad gets a full page or a separate mailing, whereas the sponsor's ad is about a quarter page and the classified ad is only a few lines. Your best bet is with the solo ad.
Costs vary greatly among e-zines. Obviously the total circulation of the e-zine guides the price of these e-zine ads, the larger the e-zine circulation, the higher the price per ad.
Search engine optimization (SEO), is the practice of designing your website to score well with the search engines and thereby get listed in the top ten of a designated search by viewers, is a daunting task. Competition is fierce for those spots unless you have a very narrow niche with a long tail keyword phrase.
The terms pay-per-click (PPC) and cost-per-click (CPC) are sometimes used interchangeably, sometimes as distinct terms. When used as distinct terms, PPC shows payment based on click-through, while CPC shows measurement of cost on a per-click basis for contracts not based on click-through.
In a PPC agreement, the advertiser only pays for qualifying clicks to the destination website based on a pre-arranged per-click rate. Popular PPC advertising options include per-click advertising networks, Google's AdWords or Yahoo's Search Marketing, and affiliate programs.
PPC is the process of writing a short, three or four-line ad to be displayed by the search engine, that contains the keywords on which you have bid money. Each time that ad is "clicked on" by a viewer; you must pay your bid amount to the search engine.
If you manage to convert enough of your visitors into sales, your PPC campaign will be profitable.
Pay-per-action is the action defined in a cost-per-action agreement that relates directly to some type of conversion, a sale being made or a registration of some sort is the most common.
In a pay-per-lead agreement, the advertiser only pays for leads generated at their destination website. No payment is made for visitors who do not sign up.
Pay-per-impression is a typical referral link/banner ad arrangement where the website wanting to purchase advertising space pays the host's website for each time it displays the ad.
Typically, prices are set per 1000 exposures and software is added to the hosting web server to track the number of impressions displayed.
Free Classified and Free For All advertising is not really recommended. These ads are not targeted ads and you are very lucky to receive one lead out of a 1000. Search engines have started to ignore links from Free Classified and especially the ones from FFA pages. You have better ways to spend your time than fooling with these unproductive methods.
Buying leads can be very costly. You have probably seen the ads claiming to "blast your ads to a zillion leads for only 29.95." You might just as well give that 29.95 to your favorite charity because you will not be getting anything back from the so-called blaster.
However, there is one type of lead purchase that has recently seen some success and that would be Co-Registration leads.
What is a Co-Registration lead?
Co-Registration occurs when someone registers for one thing (for instance, a membership or a magazine subscription) and then is offered more information on a related topic (such as making money from home). In another case, they might be visiting a website targeted to entrepreneurs and a pop-up asks if they would like related free information by email. Those who sign on are very good targeted leads as they have opted in to receive more information.
Once you have your leads opt-in to your own list, now you can pamper them, shower them with gifts and take extra good care of them because they are now your future.
You must gain their trust and once you have that, you have to live up to that trust by being honest and above board with them at all time. They will then buy from you again and again.
This is what it's all about.