We’ve all had this experience. You’re standing at the cash register, card in hand with a million other things on your mind when the cashier asks if you’d like to provide your email address and join their mailing list. Prior to this very second, joining this store’s email list had not even occurred to you. You politely decline, knowing that you don’t need yet another email to clutter up your inbox. This same scenario occurs online as well. You’re visiting a site and suddenly, bam a pop-up jumps in front of what you’re doing and asks if you’d like to join their mailing list. (As an aside I have seen these pop-ups make a site unusable on a mobile device.) After clicking the window closed you continue with you prior task. The reason both of these attempts to collect user information fails is because there has been no real attempt to engage this person on a human level. People need to see a direct benefit for them to take an action. Here’s the paradox: Companies want customers’ personal information and yet they are asking for it in an impersonal way and providing generic one size-fits-all mailings. If companies want a customer’s information they should try to make a connection with that customer that feels personal and tailored just for them.
Andrew Pitre over at Hubspot has a great article on 25 Clever Ways to Grow Your Email Marketing List and we’re going to highlight and expand on a few of the points he made. One of the best ways to build solid and dependable leads is in person. These connections can happen at trade shows or product demonstrations or simply from the people who walk through your doors. If you are at a trade show drawings are a great tool to gather new leads, their fun, they get people to your table and more importantly they provide an opportunity to make a personal connection with a new customer. Of course, on the drawing forms you ask for their name and email address. This is not a new tactic for gathering new contacts, but it is a successful one.
Here’s how take a simple email gathering campaign and make a customer for life. After each interaction try to jot down the person’s name and what you talked about. After the show is over write up a quick personal email thanking them for stopping by your table, referencing your discussion. This should not be a sales pitch, this is just a thank you with maybe a link to what you were discussing with the promise to answer any questions they may have. This is especially powerful if the person they spoke to was the CEO or a Vice-President.
Another technique for collecting leads is to provide something of value for your visitors. This could be a white paper or a webinar, either way it should be something that would be of a direct benefit to people who visit your site. Very simply, if someone would like to read your white paper or attend your webinar they need to provide their name and email address. There are many different types of webinars, but the most powerful are those where you are teaching people something. This type of webinar can help establish your company as an authority on a given subject and if the people who attend it find the information valuable they will return to with all their questions on this topic.
One other technique that can be used to build leads is to actively reach out to your customers through your social media presence. One method to gain through is to actively reach out to your customers. There are lots of ways that this can be done including asking for feedback or questions about a product or experience. If you can get people to respond to this request, this is potentially a very rich source of leads.
Beyond these techniques simply allowing people to receive updates about a specific product or service can be an invaluable way to allow your customers to determine what information they are receiving from your company. This ability to customize their interactions with your company gives a personal feel to those interactions when they occur.
It is possible to use pop-ups or even simply buy email lists, but this results in groups of people that may or may not have any particular loyalty to you brand. Companies that focus on building their client lists through personal and meaningful connections will find that they have built more than just a list of email addresses. Instead they will have created a list of individuals who feel a direct connection with a company and will likely return several times in the future.
Social tagging: Engagement > Lead Capture > Mobile > Mobile Marketing > Mobile Search > Provide Value > Smartphones