The term lead is often used in a B2B context but throughout this article we will discuss the B2C sector. First things first, we need to differentiate a lead from a client. A lead is a prospect, who has never bought something from the given company before. While a client is a person who already bought something from this company, or a lead who transformed. In other words, a lead is a potential customer. It could be more or less qualified, depending on the information you have collected about your potential customers.

Why should we collect leads?

So collecting leads is basically doing acquisition. And in terms of acquisition, the reasons why an e-commerce website wants to collect leads for its data base could be multiple. And moreover, there are also different techniques for collecting leads. We will develop these two points here under. Lead management practices are often used when the sales process is long and / or complex. And finally, the aim is to turn your prospect into a customer and maybe even better: a regular customer!

Nowadays, companies have to constantly stimulate their prospects and customers with their services and products. A proper data base is a must have for every e-commerce website. Such a base will allows the company to keep in touch with their customers. The needs for collecting leads are different. It happens that companies only want to grow their data base in general. But lead generation techniques are sometimes a cheaper way to expand your base.

In general you get the customers’ contact details when he buys something at your company. It means that you often have already done some marketing actions of any kind (display, ad-words, RTG, voucher, etc.) before he buys. While with lead generation, the prospect hasn’t bought anything yet, but you directly get the lead. Another reason is to increase the volume of your data base when you send newsletters. And last but not least, you can collect leads during the period of lower commercial activity. In this way you will be able to communicate about your best-sellers or other type of offers during the intense period of the year.

How to collect leads?

As explained before, there are different techniques to collect leads. Let’s start with a simple techniques. One of them is the lead generation through emailing and landing page. Specific landing pages have a better conversion rate than classic home pages. Of course in the case of lead generation, your landing page must contain a form with a couple of field where you can get the data (name, gender, age, email, etc.) you want to collect. And please, don’t forget to add a call-to-action button! Then you can launch your emailing campaign and start collecting leads thanks to this landing page.

Another method is the co-registration. We suggest co-registration to a potential prospect, who just completed a form, to register to an extra offer (i.e. an offer from your company). Such a type of registration is often proposed on media websites during the subscription to a newsletter, when people take part into a contest or when you subscribe to a service. The efficiency of this method resides in the dynamic of the subscription and that the fields of the form are already completed – excepted if the company needs more information about the lead. With the co-registration, we consider the lead as “opt-in”. Which means that the prospect gave his/her authorization to receive promotional emails.

A third method is the lead-influence which consists of generating leads with influencers. During such an operation you can push a special offer or a contest. And the prospect will receive the offer or validation to the contest only after he registered. This technic is interesting because most of the time the leads will be pretty qualified. This is a couple of example of lead generation, but there are even more technic.

And then?

Nowadays, most of the companies already have CRM policies. With the prospect you just got it works the same way. In order to add value to your prospect you have to set up a Prospect Relationship Management (PRM) policy. You should do the first marketing action very shortly after the collect of the lead to have a personalised contact with the prospect. At the end, a number of your prospects should become customers to cover the cost of this operation. If you just wait and do nothing with your leads, it would have cost you some money and you will have almost no return on your investment. That’s why you regularly have to get in touch with your prospects and push to them special offers and newsletters.

To sum up, a lead is a prospect for the company. There are many reasons for collecting leads and many ways of doing it. But at the end your prospects will have no value if you don’t do any actions in such a way so that your prospects become your customers.