Web Scraping for Lead Generation
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Leads data is an important element for the success of any business. Leads are often defined as potential buyers that you could profit from. As the name implies, lead generation is defined as finding such people for leads.
However, finding the right customers, influencers, and even evangelists is not an easy job. Gaining leads through the web is tough and competitive since most of people don’t know how to write a code. Luckily, with the help of web scraping, this could be much easier. Below I will show you the three stages to execute a search effectively with web scraping.
The first thing for gathering lead generation is to identify what sources you will be using. For this, you need to define your target customer and where they are on the Internet. Therefore, you have to keep asking yourself who you are trying to reach out to. Do you want customers or do you want to reach out to influencers to help grow your business? By clearly defining these information, you could make the process more focused to avoid wasting resources on low quality leads.
To make everything work, you could scrape the information from your competitors’ websites for the customer demographics first with web scraping tools. For example, you could gather information from their public forums to figure out what their customers are like and what they are talking about.
This process is all about gathering data. You do need to know where to find the target leads, don’t you?
Data extraction is a process of retrieving data (usually unstructured) for further processing. Usually there are three different methods to get such kind of information.
- Writing your own code. This would take time but it would be available to those developers.
- Using scraping software. It’s available to most people as most of web scraping tools are developed for newbie without coding. It would take little time to learn how to use the web scraping tool and it would cost little.
- Data as a service. Partner with a third party to give you customized data that is specific to your business needs is another way for data extraction. This is more expensive than using a software but the data is more detailed and more specific.
(Note: You could check out Web Scraping Service vs. Automatic Web Scraper: Which is the best option for web scraping? for more information.)
No matter the method you choose, your web bots will go through your targeted sites and gather the data you need. Unlike in other lead generation methods that usually take days, web scraping can pull thousands of actionable leads in minutes.
Cleansing and Structuring
As the name implies, here the collected data needs to be cleansed and structuring. Cleansing is the process of detection and correction of corrupt or inaccurate records. Structuring is the process of re-fomating and reorganizing the data. In simple words, in this stage, you need to organize and format your data correctly by replacing, modifying, or deleting some captured data.
Some web scraping software provide customized tools for you to re-format the captured data. For example, Octoparse has 8 different functions(replace, replace with regular expression, match with regular expression, trim spaces, add prefix, add suffix, re-format extracted date/time and Html transcoding) to re-format the data in the form you want (refer to Use Regular Expression to Reformat Captured Data for more information). Also, some web scraping services will provide the data in the form you want directly so that you don’t have to do it yourself.
Now, once you get the leads list, you can go ahead and use a mail merge tool to reach out to potential leads by creating personalized message template. Furthermore, you can also load the collected information into a CRM software such as Salesforce. Overall, with web scraping, you can generate leads for your business in a cost-efficient way. So, just have a try!
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