A customer of mine just completed a successful initiative that not only drove traffic to her website but also captured sales leads into her database. She researched and found venues that included targeted audiences. She didn’t spread her message to the masses (although if it wasn’t going to cost her anything she could have done that, too), but instead she emailed a highly targeted audience with information about and a special offer for one particular product that she was trying to sell to this particular segment. In the first 48 hours, the inquiries came pouring in. Now here’s where she made the difference in converting those leads into sales. She answered each sales inquiry personally. Yes, it took more time. Yes, she had to craft a specific message for each lead based on that one person’s particular needs. But she ended up not just hitting a home run – it was a grand slam! Many of her competitors had done similar campaigns, but instead of personal, individual follow-up, they had created an auto-responder for a reply instead. The sales lead arrived at the sign-up form, took the appropriate steps, and then hit “Send”. Almost instantaneously, that lead received an automated, generic, boring response with standard information that could apply to anyone. The reply was cold. And it certainly was impersonal. By communicating directly with each lead, my customer was able to find out what each inquiry really needed in order to be successful in their own businesses. Then she could tailor the “goods” to that lead. With the speed and drive that exists in the business world today, sometimes it takes getting back to the basics to be successful.