The field of Internet Marketing has grown to be a professional arena for all types of businesses, including the ones that are solely making money online. Furthermore, it is not only corporate giants who benefit from online marketing and promotions. In fact, you would find countless success stories of small businesses all over the world that are exploiting their maximum performance potential because of their online presence.
With a plethora of benefits and business implications, Internet Marketing is a great source of lead generation. Basically, online lead generation is an identical concept of generating sales lead except that the process is done on electronic platforms. In layman’s terms, “offline” lead generation involves traditional methods like cold calling, customer referrals, TV and radio advertisements, etc. On the other hand, there are various Internet Marketing tools which provide access to small businesses to their individuals who are interested in what the companies offer. These individuals are considered to be prospective buyers for a business. Some of the common techniques of online lead generation include:
- Social Media Marketing
- Article or Content Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising
- Online Video Marketing
- Blogs, EBooks, Newsletters
Despite the ability of online advertising to generate leads, there are several small businesses which find it difficult to acquire its wonderful benefits in its true sense. Generally, online lead generation challenges refer to inefficient generation of potential contacts or customers. Keeping focus of discussion on small businesses, a few common online lead generation challenges are explained below in the following section.
Online Lead Generation Challenges Faced by Small Businesses
Key Online Lead Generation Challenges for Small Businesses
Most online lead generation challenges are specific to the methods integrated in an online marketing campaign which aim at attracting prospective readers and customers. However, there are several online lead generation challenges which are generic in nature and commonly faced by small businesses.
1. The Myopic Content-Target Mismatch
This is one of the online lead generation challenges faced by small business owners when they miss the bull’s eye. This means that the lead generation methods which they use do not cover areas or content which are preferred by the target audience. On the other hand, these business owners develop techniques which they deem appropriate or attractive for the target readers. In short, this is one of the online lead generation challenges which are a result of an entrepreneurial miscalculation.
In order to generate productive leads, small business owners must synergize their offering with the needs and wants of the target audience. This is only possible when you would stop imposing your ideas of appealing content on the readers. Secondly, small businesses should exploit all possible resources to gather insight on what their prospective customers are interested in.
Remember that this is one of the common online lead generation challenges which can result in fewer leads and a larger number of disconcerted readers or viewers.
2. The Quantity & Quality Dilemma
When we speak of small businesses, it is important to consider the fewer number and types of resources available to them. As a result, their marketing and promotion budgets are also limited in nature. However, these facts are not the main online lead generation challenges for small business owners. The complex issue is that of budget allocation on either quality or quantity of content. In addition to the content used for lead generation, quality and quantity of the leads themselves is also a part of the online lead generation challenges. Every small business, rightfully enough, aims at sufficient and large number of leads. However, there are many instances when small businesses allow this aim to overshadow the importance of and focus on quality of leads. This way, small businesses become unable to convert generated leads into sales.
3. Follow Up Framework: The Small Business Weak Point
Among other complexities, following up on prospects seems to be one of the continuous online lead generation challenges. As discussed earlier, issues with allocation of budget and resources can make it daunting for small business owners to incorporate a systematic follow up system. However, the absence or inefficiency of a follow up arrangement for online leads can be a costly blunder. While many small business owners may argue that they always follow up on their leads, it is often overlooked that the process should be as swift as under the span of 24 hours. For example, it is usually required to set up automated systems for phone call returns, email auto-responders, etc. Although it is challenging and costly to establish and implement a mechanism for speedy follow up on leads, it is an essential requirement for the process of converting leads into sales.
4. Effective but Heavy on the Pocket
There are some successful lead generation techniques, like Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC), which are becoming increasingly expensive for small businesses to afford. Incidentally, PPC is an effective advertising tool to drive traffic to a website but then an amount is to be paid every time the advertisement is clicked on. Apart from the expenses incurred through this form of advertising, it also brings another type of online lead generation challenges in the picture. Basically, if a small business invests an ample amount in PPC then it must also invest further on the quality of what it has to offer. If this is not done, then the business would find a low or insufficient conversion rate in the generated leads.
5. Surviving Against Competition
Competitor practices also impose online lead generation challenges for many small businesses. One of the reasons why this is among the list of main online lead generation challenges is the better financial resources of some direct competitors. Secondly, technological inclination of competitors along with their available resources further adds to the pressure faced by small businesses.
The objective is not to feel perplexed that on one hand, Internet Marketing is a beneficial tool for attracting potential customers while it also involves a variety of online lead generation challenges for small businesses. In fact, small business owners should understand the possible online lead generation challenges so they are able to create a balanced approach towards their online advertising techniques, response mechanism, track of conversion, and so on. The key to overcome online lead generation challenges is to hit the spot with a balanced budget allocation as well as a balanced ratio between quality and quantity of content and leads alike.
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