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Every product has a specific target audience. Reaching that specific group and convincing them that your product is the best on the rack, is what marketing is all about. Such potential customers who are interested enough in your product, that they don't mind sharing some of their personal information with you are called Leads, and identifying these leads is big task. Renting a stall at a local fair and hoping your target audience will stop by for more info, is a stale method. Engaging with them via social media platforms and websites, is what works today. Lead Generation is the art of bringing leads to your product and using sensible marketing tactics to ensure they buy your product or use your service. This makes Lead Generation one of the most key parts of the Marketing Cycle.
The three important Steps in Lead Generation are:

Put your Content Marketing skills to the utmost test. Create a sponsored ad or a post on social media that reaches your target audience. ATTRACT their attention with an appealing visual and an enticing caption. Draw your potential lead to your page or website with the promise of a Special Offer such as access to a free e-book or webinar. Once you've got their attention, retain it with a meaningful INTERACTION. If your caption and offer is good enough, they will want to hear more. Here's where you insert a form that collects the basic contact information. It is at this step that an anonymous user gets converted into a Lead. An assurance that the collected info will be kept confidential builds trust further. REWARD the Lead with the promised offer immediately. Do not digress and do not delay. Your Lead could eventually turn buyer or even better, a Micro Influencer.

Some tried and tested ideas for Lead Generation:

Blogs are an important means of Content Marketing. It gives the service provider or seller the opportunity to talk about his product/ service. Excite readers with promising opinions/registration amongst their peers or bait them with a 'Limited Offer upon Registration'. The idea is that if they have spent time to read your blog, it implies they are interested with what you have for sale. 'Registration' will help you file in their details and reach out to them later via emailers and newsletters.

If your blog or article promises 15 free tips on a certain relevant topic, hold back two. If they have gotten to Tip #13, it is most likely they will want to read the whole article, which means if you prompt them to register with you, they are most likely to do so just to finish the article. Snippets from an e-book or making a downloadable PDF available only to registered users, are other ways to boost Lead Generation

Engaging users with interesting and informative visuals is always a welcome approach. If you have the time, create a Webinar to educate your prospective clients on your product or services. However, in order to view the webinar, users need to sign-up – that's the catch. If your content leading up to the webinar is compelling, and you have targeted your audience correctly, your pop-up form will get filled out. It has been studied that adding a 'counter' or indicating that time is running out to sign-up, instills a sense of urgency with the user, who ends up quickly signing up for the webinar then and there.

If a user has arrived at your website and has engaged with it for a minimum of 15 seconds, it can be inferred that he or she is genuinely interested in what you have to say. However, before they can 'read more' a quick form to fill-up should not be a problem.

Social Media is where all the excitement is. Everyone spends at least one hour a day on at least one social media platform. Social Media gives people the opportunity to voice their opinions on everything under the sun. The smart marketer pays close attention to what his target audience is indulging in. Engaging with prospective clients via simple contests, is a great way to find leads.

Creating articles with lists and tracking users who read the article and downloaded it, gives us valuable information about the user's preferences. For instance if you run a Travel and Tour Agency you could carry lists such as Top Ten Places to Visit This Summer, Fifteen of the world's cheapest travel destinations, and so on. People who download these lists after feeding in their personal info are potential travelers. Add them to your mailing list and shoot out an emailer with more details and links.

Customers expect service around the clock. Sometime your social media response time may not live up to customer expectation. That's where an efficient chatbot can work some magic. The chatbot does not merely render troubleshooting services, but it can also serve as a means of lead generation by collecting relevant data from users such as contact details and their specific requirements.

While on the surface Lead Generation might seem simple enough, it is not the case. Targeting your message to the right audience and gleaning info only from those who promise to do business with you, is an acquired skill. Stay abreast with competitors, collaborate with complimentary businesses, communicate continuously with your audience and treasure every new lead like it is the only one you have, to stay ahead of the game  

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