Search engines also provide lead generation options. Any business with a website can appear on a search engine listing for related searches, and visitors can then click a link and be taken to that company's website. However, some search engines also offer a pay-per-click lead generation option. The search engine posts a link to the company's website at the top of the search results form, making it much more likely that prospective customers will choose to visit that website. However, when a visitor does click the link the search engine charges that company a small fee, as opposed to the free 'general' listings.
Gone are the days that a marketer only relied on outbound techniques like trade shows, cold calling, and advertisements to get leads. Today’s buyer is in control. According to Forrester, buyers seek out three pieces of content about a vendor for every one piece sent by a marketer, and for every one piece sent by sales. Because of buyer self-education, your job as a marketer is to be heard through the noise and come up with new ways for leads to find you. To be a marketer in today’s world, you need a solid grasp of inbound in order to truly amplify your lead generation impact.
As a business owner, imagine that I’m just doing a research, I don’t know exact dates of my holiday (it mostly depends on your availability) and I’m not sure how long I want to stay. I need to find out the options, consider them and talk with my partner. If we would talk on the phone, you would give me dates but what’s next? I would hang up anyway to think about these dates. And that’s not closing a deal. That’s inconvenience for me, because I need to write them down anyway.
The inbound method attracts leads using online content. You create a website, or you write a blog, and you optimize it for online search through SEO (search engine optimization) techniques. This means the content has the appropriate keywords and answers the questions your target audience is asking. When your content is easily discoverable and begins to engage your readers, they become your leads. Depending on how you interact with them from then on, they can become your customers too.
A sales qualified lead is nearly ready to make a purchase, but may have more specific questions or needs to be addressed by the sales team. At this stage, sales staff continues nurturing the relationship that marketing initiated. Because these leads have already been qualified, they are more likely to turn into sales, and the latter part of the sales cycle tends to move more quickly. Strong marketing-sales alignment can result in more effective lead generation and higher conversion rates.
Then figure out where your target customers can be found—both physically and virtually. College students who need more income can be found on campus or on online forums or websites about learning to manage your money. Athletes and people who lead healthy lifestyles can be found at gyms and online groups or websites about running, yoga, healthy eating, and more.
Cost per click advertising (e.g. AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing) overcomes this problem by charging advertisers only when the consumer clicks on the advertisement. However, due to increased competition, search keywords have become very expensive. A 2007 Doubleclick Performics Search trends report shows that there were nearly six times as many keywords with a cost per click (CPC) of more than $1 in January 2007 than the prior year. The cost per keyword increased by 33% and the cost per click rose by as much as 55%.