It is not uncommon for a business to only have one main process in place at a time for lead gen. For example, we may be focused primarily on cold calling, or on direct mail, or on search engine optimization. And while it is good to just be doing at least something for lead generation, it can be advantageous to incorporate a bidirectional strategy when focused on improving results.
A bidirectional lead generation strategy is one that focuses on using methods to produce leads from both outbound and inbound directions. Outbound refers to activities that proactively reach out to prospects to generate leads. Inbound refers to activities that create an environment where prospects are drawn in and end up contacting you.
Outbound Lead Generation
There are many different ways to proactively reach out to prospects to attempt to trigger interest and create leads. Below are some of the most common examples:
- Cold calling: One of the most common forms of lead generation activities is cold calling. This is typically having sales resources call a cold list of target prospects with a process of working along a script and trying to schedule a meeting or appointment.
- Cold walking: Cold walking is similar to cold calling except it takes place in person. This would involve stopping by an office and trying to contact the prospect in person. This is one of the more underutilized lead generation techniques.
- Email marketing: Email marketing is the strategy to blast emails to prospects to both stay in contact and generate leads. This is being used more and more every year and is a very cost effective form of outbound lead generation, but it can have a fairly low response rate.
- Direct mail: Direct mail is the traditional form of email marketing where physical mail is sent to prospects through the mail system. This is more costly than email marketing and the response rate is not much different.
Inbound Lead Generation
Inbound lead generation activities are where you are putting systems and information in place so that prospects come to you. There are two main methods that can be used for this:
- Search engine optimization (SEO): SEO is the method of improving, or optimizing, your business’ website so that search engines know that your are out there and send traffic regularly to your site. By investing time and money into getting the search engines on your side, you can create an environment where prospects find you and this can establish an inbound channel for lead generation. Successful execution in the area of search engine optimization can generate tremendous results and returns in the area of generating leads and business.
- Social Media: Social media is a collection of different web-based and mobile applications that enable networking and communications between individuals and businesses. And while these tools can be used for outbound lead gen activities, they can also create inbound traffic as they provide great platforms for connecting and sharing information with potential prospects.
By creating a bidirectional strategy, we can diversify our lead generation efforts to improve overall results and decrease risk at the same time.