When it comes to lead generation, where do you spend your time?
Are you busy polishing your Facebook page? Do you have a blog that you update regularly? Are you expanding the subscriber list for your email newsletter?
These are valuable activities, but don't neglect your offline options. In the 2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Report from MarketingSherpa, nearly half of the people surveyed said the importance of offline lead generation has decreased in the past three to five years.
Before you write off old-school marketing tactics completely, consider these two very good reasons you should maintain offline lead generation channels.
Online Traffic from Offline Sources
Want to drive more prospects to your website? While banner ads can be effective, don’t forget something as basic as your business cards. Research from marketing firm iProspect found that information from offline sources drives 67 percent of people who search online.
In addition to mining leads from your offline channels, be sure that your Web information is highly visible on your marketing materials. Review the information you include on:
- Business cards
Do they include an email address, your Web site address and any applicable social media links? If not, it is time for a revision.
Missing Part of Your Target Audience
Online lead generation can effectively drive qualified prospects to your establishment. But you can't easily target every type of customer online. Certain people who may need your products or services may not spend a lot of time on computers. Ads in the local paper, direct mail flyers or community expos can complement your online efforts and reinforce your brand with local customers.
And don’t forget the value of meeting people face-to-face. For example, let's say you offer services such as landscaping or Web design that may be of interest to small, local governments. The public works director may be likely to send a personal invitation to bid on his next project if he has had the chance to meet you at a vendor show during an association conference.
While online lead generation offers inexpensive access to a virtually unlimited number of potential customers, the old-school, offline methods deserve a place in your small business marketing portfolio, too. Not only can these strategies support your online efforts, they're instrumental in driving traffic to your Web and social media sites. Together, online and offline lead generation work in tandem to create the pipeline of customers every business needs to sustain its growth.
Maryalene LaPonsie has been writing professionally for more than a decade on topics including education, insurance and personal finance. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from Western Michigan University.
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