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However, this does not mean that you should sign up every blogger who looks to be even remotely interested in food to your weekly email about organic apples. That’s just silly (and it also violates the CAN-SPAM Act!). Instead, if you see someone mention on Twitter that they’re having a hard time locating organic apples in their area, consider tweeting back to ask if they’ve seen your online shop. Or drop them a short, polite email asking if you can help them.
For example, if your company offers business-grade networking systems, you may know that it takes an average of six months for an IT administrator to research solutions, seek approval, and have a final budget granted for a purchase. You would be wasting time—and probably annoying a potential customer—if you sent a "buy now!" message at the end of their first month on the list. Instead, start them off with what they’re likely to need the most: product information. Then, move into messages about special features, or anything that might convince them that your solution is the best on the market. Finally, when you’re nearing that six month mark, offer them a way to get in touch with you. Timely emails like this are a great way to give potential customers what they need exactly when they need it.
Leads may come from various sources or activities, for example, digitally via the Internet, through personal referrals, through telephone calls either by the company or telemarketers, through advertisements, and events. A 2015 study found that 89% of respondents cited email as the most-used channel for generating leads, followed by content marketing, search engine, and finally events. A study from 2014 found that direct traffic, search engines, and web referrals were the three most popular online channels for lead generation, accounting for 93% of leads.