Online lead generation is an Internet marketing term that refers to the generation of prospective consumer interest or inquiry into a business' products or services through the Internet. Leads, also known as contacts, can be generated for a variety of purposes: list building, e-newsletter list acquisition, building out reward programs, loyalty programs or for other member acquisition programs.

Social networks are a hot spot for work-at-home danger. One company called Easy Tweet Profits claims you can make up to $873/day online. They even claim one person earned $400,000/year using their method of tweeting your way to success. The catch? By signing up for their program you agree to be charged just under $50 per month! There are a whole host of other companies with similar names (usually involving “make money” or “make profits”) that suggest social networking can be a cash cow. But their game is all the same: Whether you’re talking about something you see on Craigslist, eBay, Facebook, Twitter or whatever’s the next hot thing, you’ve got to be wary.
Franchises can cost a lot of money, but there are opportunities for less than $50,000, says Jania Bailey, CEO of FranNet, a franchise marketplace. “You might be able to get financing from the (Small Business Administration) or the lenders the brand works with. It’s a little more affordable than people think. If it takes $100,000, you might need $20,000.”

It’s sometimes hard to comprehend just how much people love t-shirts. And with the right niche, marketing and tools, you can create an online t-shirt business that makes you extra money online while you sleep. (Even Bloomberg and Forbes feature stories from entrepreneurs who’ve done just that.) Services like TeeSpring make it easier than ever to create a t-shirt drop-shipping business where they handle the sales, printing, and shipping, and you’re only responsible for design and marketing. Or you can even buy into well-established franchise businesses like Rhea Lana that sell fashionable, affordable kids clothing and get the backing of a proven organization to fuel your online sales. For more tips, check out this simple guide to launching and marketing an online clothing store by my friends over at Selz.

Many marketing agencies offer lead generation services for business that don't wish to develop their own systems. These agencies will often have a network of companies and websites that it uses to promote its client businesses. When a visitor expresses interest in one of the agency's clients, the agency passes that lead back to the client. Often agencies will promote their clients through a directory or list of providers, and when a visitor requests a quote for a specific service, the agency alerts the appropriate client. Most agencies will allow clients to specify the type of leads they would like to receive. For example, a company might choose to limit leads to a certain geographic region.


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Find your niche partners, collaborators, and champions: As you’re creating your course, look for notable people who are also creating content in the space. Look at how their businesses operate and incorporate that into your own plan. You can also reach out to any influencers and make them affiliates for your own course. This way, they’ll be incentivized to share your content with their own audiences (which can be a major way to generate your first sales—it helps if you’re using one of the best CRMs for small business—and start building your own community!)
Cost per click advertising (e.g. AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing) overcomes this problem by charging advertisers only when the consumer clicks on the advertisement. However, due to increased competition, search keywords have become very expensive. A 2007 Doubleclick Performics Search trends report shows that there were nearly six times as many keywords with a cost per click (CPC) of more than $1 in January 2007 than the prior year. The cost per keyword increased by 33% and the cost per click rose by as much as 55%.
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