Online lead generation is one of the most important aspects of growing your business online. There are six critical factors you should consider when evaluating the many ways to generate leads online – time, cost, leverage, quantity, speed, and lost opportunity.

1. Time – Time is money, and for many people it is their most precious commodity.  There are many free online lead generation strategies, but manyof them require a significant time investment to implement. Conversely, there are many paid online lead generation strategies that can be implemented and maintained with a small time committment.

2. Cost – How much money is it going to cost to implement the online lead generation strategy?  There are many free online lead generation methods such as blogging, social networking, article marketing, press releases, traffic exchanges, online classified ads, forum posting, etc.  Others such as banner ads, ezine ads, and pay-per-click have a relatively high cost.

Online Lead Generation

3. Leverage – Do your online leads come to a screeching halt if you stop your daily lead generation actions?  Or does your strategy allow you to do the work once and then the leads continue to come in over a long period of time?

Can you leverage the work in various distribution channels and formats?   For example, can you write one piece of content in your blog, make some changes to it and submit it to online article directories, then make a PowerPoint presentation on the content and turn it into a video and podcast?

I love online article marketing, but there is a significant amount of work required to write a large number of articles and post them to article directories. But, after the article is published on the article sites, it can continue to generate online leads for many months or even years.  On the other hand, free classified ads, only tend to be effective for a day or two and then they stop generating leads. You then need to remove the old posts and submit new posts.

Decide whether you want to do some work upfront and then let the strategy do the work for you for a significant amount of time, or whether you want to have to continually take action to keep generating online leads.

4. Quantity – Do you want to generate 100 leads a month or 100 leads a day?  This is a very important question and will impact your choice of a lead generation strategy.

If you only need 100 leads a month, or roughly 3 leads per day, forum postings may do the job. If you need 100 leads per day or more, then you need to consider strategies such as banner ads, a well funded PPC campaign, ezine ads in large publications or  partnering with large JV’s.

5. Speed –  How quickly do you need to generate leads?   Some strategies, like pay-per-click, can generate a consistent flow of online leads almost instantaneously. Certainly in the first day. Other strategies such as blogging and article directory posting take time to generate a consistent flow of leads.

6. Lost opportunity – This is an important but often overlooked factor.  If you select a method that generates a small number of leads, or takes a long time to generate online leads, your business will grow slower.  This may allow competitors to jump in and grab some of your marketshare and impact your growth in the future.

This principle is especially important to network marketers. The faster your business grows, the faster your compounding makes a significant difference on the size of your team and your income.

When you are evaluating online lead generation strategies, make sure you look at all 6 of these factors – time, cost, leverage, quantity, speed, and opportunity cost, as well as your skills and interests.

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