Ask any marketer worth their salt what the most important aspect of their business is and they’ll likely tell you it’s their List. Thanks to the relationship that has been cultivated with a list of subscribers and/or customers that they’ve created and built up trust with over time, if he or she were to lose everything except that list, they could recoup the loss simply by using it in any number of ways.

Which begs the question,

“If having a list is so vital to my business, then what’s the best way to either start building one or adding to the one I already have?”

That can be answered in two words: Lead generation. The key to building any list is to create ways to generate leads, or a list of people who are interested in what you have to offer. The best lead generation methods are those that drive traffic consistently on their own without requiring any additional effort.

So, knowing that leads are people who show an interest in what you have to offer them, there are a few questions that you must ask yourself when considering lead generation.

The first question that must be answered is: “What do I have to offer them?” You’ve got to come up with a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) that defines who you are and what you can do for your target market.

Once you’ve determined your USP, the next question is: “Why would people come to your site?” There’s just ONE right answer: “Radio Station Y-FM: ‘What’s In It For Me?’ (WIIFM).”

They want to know what you’re going to do to help them with (problem) XYZ. (That’s where your USP comes into play). If you’ve taken the time to differentiate yourself with it, then you’ve already gotten part of the answer.

Now you’ve solved the first part of a successful lead generation . The next part was hinted at in the discussion of the best lead generation methods. Referrals, or “word of mouth advertising”, is by far the best lead generation method there is! But wait; there’s still at least one more question you need to answer: “Why would this new lead want to refer others to my site?”

You see once you’ve gotten the lead, then you need to offer something of value to them–that they would like–in exchange for voluntarily referring one of their friends to your site. (Once again, it’s WIIFM.)

So how do you determine just what that “something” is?

One of the best ways is to study others who in your target market. Research what kinds of incentives those offering similar products or services are using. Then create an offer for something better—or at least as good—as your referral incentive. Another way to do this is by asking your leads what they want using a brief survey. A third suggestion is to follow the Golden Rule by asking yourself, “If I were one of my leads, what would I want as a referral incentive?”

For example, if your solution was something that is high quality, and that offers a specific benefit like free exposure through a rebranded item (or potential profits with a Resale Rights product), you might be surprised at just how effective your lead generation campaign could be!