Online lead generation more generous to your budget

Online lead generation more generous to your budget
24 Nov 2011

Pretend you are new in town and your car won’t start. It’s Monday morning and you’re late for work. How do you find a good mechanic?

The phone book is a start. Maybe the classifieds. Or you could call the number you have memorized from the local AM radio station.

Chances are, though, by now you’ve already Googled it on your smartphone and clicked on at least two mechanics in your neighbourhood. Chances are, you’ll not only find which mechanics are close and affordable but you’ll learn about their reputation, what cars they specialize on and what kind of experiences customers had with them.

Thanks Google. Moreover, thanks online lead generation.

Now get to work.

Why is online lead generation so cost effective?

Your new mechanic gained you as a customer because they have taken full advantage of the potential in online lead generation.

More accurately, your new mechanic used inbound marketing to generate leads online.  Basically they made an effort to ‘be found by you’ instead of trying to ‘find you’ through traditional outbound marketing techniques.

What gives your new mechanic their competitive edge however is that generating customer leads online is very cost effective. They can now afford competitive salaries for quality labour and client services — spending on stuff that makes them good at what THEY do instead of expensive advertising and traditional marketing.

A recent report from HubSpot shows that “inbound marketing-dominated organizations experience a cost per lead 62% lower than outbound marketing-dominated organizations.”

The report is not only a testament to the hard work businesses are focusing on to generate leads online, but it separates the budget savvy from the those spending too much on traditional marketing campaigns.

Much success from inbound marketing comes from the energy put into quality content like blogs, social media channels and consistent online activity. The kicker is that all that stuff is free. FREE. All you have to do is put in the work.

In his book Unleashing the Idea Virus, entrepreneur and author Seth Godin says it’s all about building consumer networks and getting them talking.

“Marketing by interrupting people isn’t cost-effective anymore. You can’t afford to seek out people and send them unwanted marketing messages, in large groups, and hope that some will send you money. Instead, the future belongs to marketers who establish a foundation and process where interested people can market to each other. Ignite consumer networks and then get out of the way and let them talk.”

Where are they talking? Online.

You’re not saving, you’re just being smart about business

Results from HubSpot’s inbound marketing study showed that in 2010 the average cost per lead for outbound-marketing dominated businesses was $332. Conversely, inbound-marketing dominated businesses spent an average of $134 on average per lead. (Now you know why Canopy Media pays anyone $101 for a referral that becomes a client!)

It’s no wonder that businesses are now in the minority if they do not blog regularly. Over the past two years the percentage of businesses with a blog grew from 48% to 65%, reports HubSpot, with 27% of organizations surveyed rating their company blog as “critical” to their business.

How do you become a better inbound marketer?

Start slow and spend energy on the things you know will work. It’s no secret social media, if taken advantage of with care and patience, will turn over results for your business.

It won’t happen over night, but it will happen.

Money spent on radio ads, newspaper postings even a clever billboard or two is smart money if you’re looking to get elected and need people to show up to the voting booth on a certain day. Or maybe you’re having a sale and want to attract customers to a discount opportunity. Outbound marketing has its time and place.

However, if you’re looking to build a community, a group of repeat customers or a solid reputation in your field, it starts by looking in and building slowly online.

Not only is it cost efficient, but it’s all under your control.

By focusing your efforts online, you control how you message looks, who it reaches and you can fix something if there is a mistake. (Ever tried to correct a newspaper ad in the paper? Not fun.)

Through your company blog you have direct communication with your customers. There is opportunity to personalize your message and engage in the things that are important to them — carry on a conversation, even. (Ever tried talking to the radio? Not too effective).

In the social media world, your brand has infinite reach. By utilizing channels like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook you can integrate your business into the conversation of the day. These platforms give you the chance to make your message relevant and insightful to the people and potential customers talking about things related to your business. (Ever been rudely interrupted by someone handing out a totally uninteresting flyer? Not pleasant.)

These are just a handful of examples how generating leads online is not only cost effective, but also a smart investment in the people and customers who are going to make your business successful in the long run.

At Canopy Media, we’ve seen how awesome it can be when executed properly and we can show you how.

So, when your next door neighbour calls you up in a panic because their car won’t start,  give them the name of your amazing mechanic. Just remember it was online lead generation that helped make you the best neighbour on the block.

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