The biggest problem every small business owner faces after establishing a business venture is getting qualified and ready to buy prospects. This can be either due to low marketing budget for developing a series of lead generation systems, or they are overwhelmed by the number of options available.
Whatever the case may be, below are six effective methods of generating leads for your business with some brief tips and advice about each of them.
1. Lead Generation Companies
This is one of the fastest ways of building a database of buyer leads. Lead generation companies are set up exclusively to gather leads and sift them into different categories according to their industrial interests.
Allocating a portion of your marketing budget for generating leads through companies like this can be one of the wisest business decisions you’ll make.
The truth is, it’s really difficult to know which lead generation firm will be competent. But when you finally make up your mind to contract a company, emphasis on the following points before you sign any agreement, so that you can get value for every dime you spend.
- Find out more about your chosen company. Check their reputation and proven track records from their previous clients. You’ll find this on the testimonial page on their websites. Any testimonial without the contact address or website of the one giving it is not legitimate. A company should allow potential clients to contact their previous customers for inquiries about their products or services.
- Let your chosen company know much about your product or service to identify the information they will require to provide you with the perfect leads. Remember, there are two different types of leads, one is called B2C meaning business to consumer, and the other is known as B2B meaning business to business leads. Knowing the type of product or service will help the lead generation firm determine which category you fall into.
- Don’t spend so much time on one company alone. Get a list of 2-5 companies and compare their services, prices, customer relationship policies, performance tracking tools and any other relevant information that will help you track the efficiency and performance of their services.
- Be wary of companies that promise you quantity of leads over quality. These types of companies don’t focus on highly targeted leads. Quantity doesn’t guarantee more sales or profits. It is the quality of leads that matters most. If you have a few number of responsive and buyer leads, it’s better than hundreds of leads that hardly respond to any marketing offer that you send them.
- Ensure that companies use legal and ethical means for generating leads without violating the anti-spam law.
2. Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising
This revolves around keyword research, search engines and the search terms potential clients may use to find your products or services when seeking information about their needs. PPC ads drive targeted traffic to a website and have higher chances of converting them into buyers.
This is because it targets potential search terms that your prospective clients are likely going to use for searching for your products or services. It’s so effective that it increases your business visibility and brings it to the limelight of your target audience.
One of the factors that makes this method different from the rest is that you only pay per a click by a potential client, instead of making an upfront payment for a service and waiting for a while before seeing any result.
You can use a variety of keywords for a single website thereby increasing your chances of driving massive qualified traffic to your site. And it’s very easy to measure its performance using web analytic tools.
Like lead generation firms, some companies specialize in PPC and have excellent skills for managing advertising campaigns for clients.
To get started, set aside a percentage of your marketing budget for this type of lead generation. Target a handful of keywords that are relevant to your products or services. Track the performance of the targeted keywords, leverage on those that prove effective and discard those that perform poorly.
Check the useful resources below to educate yourself more about PPC Advertising –
3. Classified Ads
Classified advertising is another great way to generate buyer leads for your business. The keys to success in using this method are: Placing your ads on the right medium for the right products or services in the right category. And how compelling and persuasive the ads are.
The ads text must capture the interest of your potential clients immediately they set their eyes on it. The main aim is not to sell on the platform but to entice people to visit your website for more information about your offers.
People have their preferences when it comes to the type of content, websites, news papers and magazines they read. Leveraging this phenomenon to diversify your classified ads placement will help you reach many of your potential clients.
Below are some websites where you can place your ads for free. This is meant to help you grasp how things are done on these sites so that you can expand your reach on more competent ones.
This is the oldest method of marketing. It may be less effective these days as before but it may still drive substantial amount of traffic to your business, and convert them into buyer leads. A lot of buying decisions are motivated by powerful advertising messages on the Internet. Also, it can be used to build brand recognition.
Tips for a good advertising initiative: place your ads on highly targeted platforms such as blogs, social networking outlets and publications where your target audience frequents. Contact website owners with email subscribers that comprise your prospective customers for ads placement in their newsletters, with a few links pointing back to your website.
5. Referrals – Leverage Your Existing Customers
This is simply a recommendation of your products or services to new clients by your satisfied customers. It can be done freely, or with an incentive attached to it. Either way can be used to achieve the same goal.
If implemented effectively, this strategy can serve as a steady stream of customers. Referred clients are very easy to market and sell to. They are cost-efficient and loyal. Also, they have the tendency of buying in larger quantities, negotiate less and refer more potential customers to you.
Don’t be afraid to ask your present clients to refer your products or services to their associates. It doesn’t hurt to politely ask a customer for referrals.
If you decide to reward clients for any referral, the incentive can be anything from gift certificates, shopping vouchers, discounts on any or a number of products, free tickets to special events or programs.
Communicate about your referral program to create more awareness, and encourage your current customer base to participate. Include this in the package of products or services you offer new customers to make it an ongoing marketing system instead of doing it occasionally.
Another powerful way to take full advantage of referrals is to identify and team up with a non-competitive business or company who are targeting the same audience as you, and encourage them to refer you to their customers. Offer them incentives for this if possible and you will be amazed at the rate of conversion.
6. Content Marketing
This is the creation of valuable content tailored to helping your potential clients solve their pressing problems or meet their needs, and subtly introduce your products or services without sounding too pushy. Content marketing does not only help generate leads but also helps to sustain clients through the quality of information that you produce on a regular basis.
The type of content mostly used in this strategy include blog posts (articles), videos, ebooks, white papers, inforgraphics, case studies, podcasts, webinars, newsletters or email marketing. The content can also be distributed on various platforms and directories, and consequently, increase your brand awareness.
If you optimize every piece of content that you create, it will rank appropriately on search results, drive organic traffic to your website and convert them into subscribers or followers depending on the quality of your information.
3 Short Tips to Keep in Mind When Setting Up a Lead Generation System
Any of your chosen method of generating buyer leads should meet the following criteria:
- Ability to capture names and email addresses of your target audience, so that you can send them helpful marketing offers occasionally. People who give out their information are simply giving you permission to market your products or services to them. So be professional about this. Don’t abuse their permissions by bombarding them with irrelevant messages.
- Trackable. This will help you determine which tactic works best so that you can leverage it and avoid wasting time on the inefficient ones.
- Must be easy to segment and put into categories – buyers, loyalty and responders – to help you design specific marketing campaigns for each category.
There you have it. Six methods of generating buyer leads to increase sales and income. Remember, don’t underestimate the power of any method above. Who knows? the one you think is irrelevant might be the source of your loyal and long term customers. Give them a try and stick to those that give provide good return on your investment.
Your Turn …
What methods have you used to generate leads for your business? Have you tried any of the above systems before? Share your thoughts in the comment box below. I’ll appreciate it a lot.