David Scott

The Magnificent Seven: Top Lead Generation Tactics

By: David Scott | July 11, 2013 | 

Top 7 Lead Gen Tactics

By David Scott

When it comes to lead generation, many marketers aren’t sure which tactics they should use to provide their company with qualified leads.

In fact, many marketers aren’t even sure which marketing tactics should be used as lead generation tactics.

A successful lead generation tactic has to meet several criteria:

  1. It should generate large numbers of qualified leads for your company;
  2. You can use the tactic to reach a specific audience of your target customers;
  3. You can measure the number of leads you get each time you use the tactic; and
  4. You can measure the costs and ROI you get from using that tactic.

There are seven marketing tactics that meet these criteria. I call them the “Magnificent Seven,” because they are the best tactics for providing companies with large numbers of actionable leads.

The Online Lead Generation Tactics

First, there are the “online lead generation advertising” tactics. These tactics involve reaching out to your customers by placing pay-per-click ads on various online venues.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) involves setting up ad campaigns on Google and Bing. When your target customer searches for certain search terms (i.e. “durable golf shoes”), your SEM ad will appear at the top of their search results. It only takes a few minutes to set up an SEM ad campaign, and the results are easier to measure than SEO, thanks to the analytics tools.

With Social Media Advertising, you use banner ads on Facebook and LinkedIn to target social media users who may have an interest in your products (i.e. a “honeymoon cruises” ad will appear on the Facebook pages of people with “engaged” as their marital status).

Even Twitter now offers advertising through “Promoted Tweets,” where you can send out special offers to the Twitter feeds of people who might be interested in your products.

Display Ads (also called banner ads) continue to be an effective lead generation tactic when used on websites. But they are also enjoying a resurgence on mobile devices, as marketers are using video and animation elements in mobile ads to create interactive experiences on the customer’s iPhone or iPad. Some mobile ads now receive click-through rates as high as 15 percent.

Email Marketing is another effective online lead generation tactic. Many marketers are reluctant to try it, afraid their marketing emails will be mistaken for spam. But studies show email marketing works, if done well.

I recommend using targeted permission-based mailing lists, where you send marketing emails to people who have signed up to receive special offers. Also, when creating your marketing emails, you should follow the 2003 CAN-SPAM Act guidelines for legitimacy. Using these guidelines can help to ensure your emails won’t be blocked as spam.

The “Tried-and-True” Tactics

Some marketers argue the “tried and true” lead generation tactics are obsolete. But these three tactics still bring in thousands of legitimate leads for companies using them effectively.

Direct mail is a great tactic to use if you need to explain the features and benefits of a product or service in detail, or if the customer needs time to think seriously about your offer. But it’s an expensive tactic, so it’s best to use direct mail only if you’re selling something with a high return on the cost. Either you’re selling a high-priced item, like a car, or your customer has a lifetime value. Insurance companies still use direct mail, because the customers who accept the offer will pay monthly premiums that provide a long-term return on marketing investment.

Cold calling works best today if you’re selling B2B products to other businesses. Cold calling is different from telemarketing, in that you’re using a targeted calling list of customers (i.e. business executives) who might have a need for your products or services.

Finally, trade shows are still a great way to collect leads, because they bring you face-to-face with customers who may be looking to buy your products or services.

Which of these tactics should you be using? As many as will work successfully for your type of business.

Ideally, you should test all seven lead generation tactics, and then use the tactics that work best and are the most cost effective for your business.

P.S. Join DJ Waldow on July 25 at 11 a.m. CT for the Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing. Register – for free – here!

About David Scott

David T. Scott is the CEO of Marketfish, Inc., and a former VP/Director of Marketing for Fortune 500 companies. In his book, The New Rules of Lead Generation (now available on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com), David provides proven strategies to help marketers maximize their ROMI through successful lead generation marketing. Dave can be reached at his web site, www.the-new-rules.com.

  • Hey David! Really looking forward to picking up your book. I think it’s interesting you have cold calling on the list. Most of our clients complain it no longer works. Can you tell me more?

  • I’ve heard others here say they have success with cold calling. I really can’t imagine it. And as a client to various vendors, I’d be mighty annoyed to receive one. With LinkedIn you can always find a way “in” with someone — a relationship to leverage — so reaching out first by email to lay the groundwork seems the smarter way to go. Calls to me are so disruptive and I think it’s really hard to lay down a smooth pitch in that environment.
    I think direct mail has a great future. People don’t get mail anymore, so a really smart, customized piece can stand out. A few years back I did a small-scale direct mail effort targeting law firm marketing people and it got a great, great return, resulting in some big-ticket work.

    • RobBiesenbach I agree about mail. I tried something similar when trying to grow my freelance clients. I didn’t have much luck, but it was very small scale. It was directed mainly at nonprofit, which I have since moved away from simply b/c other types of clients came through. But I will try more in the future. Mail has almost become a novelty, and I find it less intrusive…I get emails all the time from sales people and rarely answer. The letters took time, because I customized each to some extent and hand-addressed them. Glad you had luck with it. I haven’t tried much cold calling, David, but am also interested in more details about that. I’ve heard people talk about getting some work out of 300+ calls. I wonder how much work. Thanks for the post!

    • KateNolan

      RobBiesenbach Yes! Mail! Please, mail something! Disclosure: I work for an envelope printing company and several of our biggest clients are mail-houses or statement services firms. Yes, unfortunately, it’s not necessarily cheap. So I might be biased, but mail something! 😉 In our experience cold-calling works… eventually, but after two, three, four calls is it even a cold-call or more of a warm-ish “yeah, I remember you and somebody just flaked on/disappointed me, can you help” call?
      I guess I’m in agreement with many of the other commenters in Mr. Scott’s opinion on cold-calling and when it is effective.
      Regarding trade-shows, we rarely see new business out of them, they generally lean towards business “tending” where we catch up with customers we can’t necessarily see in person often. (And, also to spy on the competition.)

  • PattiRoseKnight1

    For some reason I am craving pumpkin pie 😉

  • I’d be interested to hear more about cold calls too – the other two tried and true practices are great for lead generation, but like you said – direct mail is expensive!! I’ve also been reading a lot about search marketing integration so just wondering if you think about it as far as lead generation goes???

  • JesiJekson
  • deanjackson331

    Here’s a tip I’m using for my local biz its called day-parting. we saved a lot of money but scheduling our ads to appear during only business hours of the day. I guess there’s a report (under the dimensions tab if I remember correctly) that allows you to analyze CPC and cost per conversion by hour of the day so you can just advertise during peak hours. We actually started a process of increasing our bids during those peak hours to push out our competitors during that time and we ended up reducing overall costs by doing this as well since its more targeted. I’m actually having my friend simon manage our adwords account, if you want to speak with him just email him at simon.b@resultsdriven.org or 302-401-4478. Tell him your friends with Dean Jackson.

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