Lead generation

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For the use of lead generation in drug discovery, see Hit to lead.

In marketing, lead generation is the generation of consumer interest or inquiry into products or services of a business. Leads can be created for purposes such as list building, e-newsletter list acquisition or for sales leads. The methods for generating leads typically fall under the umbrella of advertising, but may also include non-paid sources such as organic search engine results or referrals from existing customers.[1] Businesses strive to generate "quality" leads.[2] Quality is usually determined by the propensity of the inquirer to take the next action towards a purchase.

Lead generation is the process of creating sales leads which might convert into sale for the company. The leads may come from various sources or activities, for example, digitally via the Internet, through calls, through advertisement, events, and list purchase.[3] Companies may also rely on referrals, telemarketers, and advertisements to generate leads. According to a 2014 study, 78% of respondents cited email as the most used channel for generating leads followed by event marketing and finally content marketing.[4] Another 2014 study found that direct traffic, search engines, and web referrals were the three most popular online channels for lead generation accounting for 93% of leads.[5]

Lead generation is often paired with lead management to move leads through the purchase funnel.

Social media[edit]

With growth of social networking websites, social media is used by organizations and individuals to generate leads or gain business opportunities. Many companies actively participate on social networks including LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to find talent pools or market their new products and services.[6]

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