You need a steady stream of prospects to be successful in any business.

Without consistent traffic, online or off, your business is doomed.

[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]In marketing, lead generation is getting the customer interested in your products or services. There are various ways to get leads which then can be used to build your lists, add to your following, create sales leads and more. [/tweet_box]

The following 8 methods have been proven to generate leads both online and off.

1. Embrace social media

Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn have billions of monthly users. Online and off-line companies should adopt a “be everywhere” mindset where social media is concerned. Social networking for lead generation also means attending local, regional, national, and possibly even international social gatherings relevant to your business.

2. Give something away

This is the classic lead generation technique. Provide prospects with something valuable that solves a problem for them. This can be as simple as delivering an e-book or digital report, or handing out free samples and trial offers.

3. Capture emails

You have probably heard that “the money is in the list”. This is true, yet some business owners fail to capture email addresses from their prospects. With a brick-and-mortar business or a virtual offering, building an email list allows you to communicate with all of your prospects in a few keystrokes.

4. Narrow your focus

A laser-targeted market focus qualifies your prospects before you ever communicate with them. Stop trying to appeal to everyone, and go after your ideal customer.

5. Ask instead of offer

If you are having a problem generating leads, why not ask your marketplace what they are looking for? Instead of the same old lead generation offer, ask your prospects what you can do for them. When you then offer the solution, you’ll have a ready supply of warm leads from the people who gave feedback.

6. Fish where the fish are

Any good fisherman knows that to put fish in the boat, you have to go where they are. Find out where your ideal prospects hang out, congregate and mingle, online and off, and establish a presence there.

7. Engage your prospects

Live chats, webinars, and conferences let you interact with your prospects in a person-to-person manner. A static landing page, piece of direct mail, or television ad is impersonal, “one-way”, and indirect.

8. Ask for referrals

One of the most effective leads is a happy customer referral. You have probably eaten at a restaurant or seen a movie because you heard someone raving about those experiences. This is the power of a referral from a satisfied customer. Ask your customers to spread the message about your business. You can even incentivize this marketing tactic to motivate past purchasers to generate interested leads.