Targeted rich content, branded communications, competitions and promotions can generate new business leads and customers

By Tim Penton

Identifying and finding new customers is an art. You know people need your product and service, but unless you successfully connect with the right people they are never going to discover it and interact with you. Online lead generation is an ideal way to achieve this and grow your database quickly. And if used to its full capabilities, can be a powerful marketing tool for customer acquisition, enhancing ROI.

However, before you start planning a successful lead generation campaign it’s really important that you understand the basics. The true meaning of a qualified lead is when a user signs up and gives you their contact details, correct profile, and permission for you to contact them. The consumer should give their express consent to be contacted e.g. by clicking on an opt-in checkbox. It is really important that you don’t mislead consumers during this process in order to get them to complete a registration form to an unrelated subject, service or offer. If you do then you risk creating negative relationships further down the line.

In order for you to support your in-house team you need to make sure you partner with a third party lead generation provider who can run the campaign and collect all the leads on your behalf. These campaigns are usually run on a cost per lead (CPL) basis. This can be known as a co-registration campaign because a person is opting in to receive information from you without having to visit your website. In this case your third party partner can either be a lead generation company or a partner who offers a complementary product or service.

For example an online travel company may offer sign-ups for holiday insurance or a health spa may offer the chance to sign up to a health care product. If you establish a clever lead generation campaign it provides you with the ability to increase your prospect list as well as expanding your customer base. To improve targeting, your lead generation supplier should allow you to obtain certain customer attributes such as their age, gender, location and perhaps more importantly – their interests.

Lead generation campaigns can be used in many ways. To build your database with similar profiles as your existing users, break into new markets, help promote a new product or event, kick start your social media campaign and gain customer insight through surveys.

Ultimately, whilst there are many benefits which result from online lead generation the highest advantage by far is cost effectiveness.

A great way to build your prospect database is through the use of highly targeted, lead generation websites. Essentially these encourage consumers to opt in to receive branded communications by offering value – whether through interesting content, special offers or competitions. Clients can sponsor questions or promotions on the site with the sole aim of attracting consumers and encouraging them to opt-in to receive communications.

The core strength of websites like these is that they are non-incentivised. This is to assure sponsors that they will only receive high quality, fully opted-in leads, from consumers who have explicitly stated their interest in the selected product or service. It is also performance based, so that companies only pay for the leads that have fulfilled the required attributes when completing the form.

Here are our six top rules when conducting a lead generation campaign

    1. Know your boundaries: a lead should not be asked to give away personal information that is not relevant for your product or service.

    2. Be transparent: be clear about what the user is signing up for, and how they will be contacted e.g. email, phone call or direct mail.

    3. Opt-out is key: the lead should be able to unsubscribe from any further marketing communications at any time he or she desires and you must agree to deactivate or delete the user in accordance with legislation.

    4. Stick to your incentives: the incentives to encourage the generation of leads should always be clear and terms and conditions should be in place to avoid any legal disputes.

    5. Obtaining your leads: when using a lead generation supplier, there are several options to obtain your generated leads. Real-time data transfer is the best option as it will enable you to start your marketing programme as soon as the lead completes the form. This is normally done through a live feed. Batch delivery is another option and files should be transferred securely via a password protected FTP or SFTP. Remember to clarify the frequency your supplier delivers the leads and create a receipt of confirmation after each delivery.

    6. Act while the lead is hot: It is important to start communication while the consumer has engaged with your brand.

About the author

Tim Penton is Senior Business Development Manager at eCircle UK. A 10 year media veteran, incubated at Haymarket Publishing and honing his digital skills for the last 5 years with tech start-ups, Tim joined eCircle in 2011 working in Business Development in the Media team. Tim’s role at eCircle means he has to consistently produce successful customer acquisition and branding campaigns for his clients across all sectors, and he is also an avid blogger and Tweeter, focusing on digital generally and email marketing specifically (with a bit of music and sport thrown in for good measure).

eCircle bio

eCircle, a Teradata company, is one of the leading full-service digital marketing providers in Europe. The company provides cloud-based solutions for email, mobile and social media marketing and offers opt-in lead generation and email media solutions. Since 1999 eCircle has stood for innovative and efficient digital marketing for customer acquisition and retention. The company became part of Teradata (NYSE:TDC) in 2012 and its digital marketing solutions are being integrated with Aprimo’s marketing automation offerings to create a global leader in Integrated Marketing Management. The company has headquarters in Munich and additional locations across Europe, and global reach through the Teradata network of offices. For more information please visit  

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