In any organisation it’s important to have a consistent focus on lead generation, but for small businesses this can be a daunting challenge. There are numerous lead generation strategies to choose from and the right channels need to be selected to make your business stand out from the crowd. The campaigns you create also need to be measured for effectiveness and learnings need to be incorporated into future campaigns to ensure you keep reaching the right decision makers.
In this blog we look at some key tips to achieving successful lead generation for small businesses.
1. Content is King
No matter what method you use to generate leads, your content is THE most important factor in any campaign. Your content needs to be relevant to your target audience, provide answers to potential customer’s issues and give insights into your industry or a particular topic. It should position you as an expert in your field, making you the ‘go to’ place for anyone looking for information. Once your audience discovers your content, you can then start the journey of building a relationship with them.
For part of your content plan you may also choose to make some content more exclusive by only making it available via email sign up. This tactic of lead generation through email marketing will help to expand your audience and develop your relationship with future prospects.
2. Choose the lead generation sources which suit your company
There are a number of lead generations strategies available and which you choose can depend on available resources, budget and of course your target audience. Below we’ve outlined just a handful:
Make use of free publicity: A great way of generating interest and leads for small businesses is Public Relations (PR). If you have a newsworthy story it is likely that there will be a publication that would be interested in publishing it. This allows you to get your products and services in front of a number of people within the target market you are trying to reach. PR may not directly produce leads but it will generate interest and start to get your name and offerings noticed and recognised.
Social media: Again another cost effective way of generating interest and leads. There are a number of ways you can present your content via social media including blogs, infographics, videos, audio recordings, eBooks, white papers and images. Different methods are appropriate for different audiences, types of information and how and where you plan to share it.
Advertising: As with PR, Advertising gets your brand and your offering in front of a number of people within your target market, raising awareness and generating interest. Advertising should focus entirely on your prospects’ interests to draw them in. Ensure you include a call to action as it’s responses that count with advertising – it could be asking them to get in touch to request a brochure, or signing up to your website for further information – whatever it is, make it appealing.
Marketing Lists: Commercially available, well qualified lists, when used in conjunction with direct mail or telemarketing, can be a great way of increasing your prospects. It is possible to obtain lists for most industries, marketing purposes, types of decision maker and demographic characteristics and geographic area you require, allowing you to focus on prospects that are likely to be interested in your offerings.
Direct Mail/Email: A perfect way to reach prospects without the ‘noise’ of competing organisations crowding in on your message. Direct mail can be used to send prospects information about your products and services, invite people to events, introduce existing customers to new products or services and much more. Any direct mail campaign should have a call to action, be it ‘visit our website’ or ‘sign up to our newsletter’, to encourage engagement. It’s also important that you get the right message and offer to the right audience.
Telemarketing: Telemarketing can be a successful tool for following up other types of lead generation. It can take up to 8 ‘touches’ with an organisation before someone decides to do business, so including telemarketing within a lead generation campaign helps with one of those touches. It is a great way to establish if you have the right contact details within an organisation, what your prospective customers want, and what they do and don’t like whilst building a relationship which gradually takes them closer to becoming a lead. If you can’t accommodate this within your own business you could also consider using virtual assistant telemarketing services instead.
Referral programmes: It’s well recognised that word of mouth in the form of recommendations is the most powerful form of marketing. People much prefer learning about products or services from a trustworthy friend or business acquaintance that can vouch for them. So put a referral lead generation system in place which allows you to manage referrals, ensuring that you are a) getting them and b) making the most of them.
Networking: The ‘six degrees of separation’ theory is a powerful one in lead generation terms. Everyone you know or meet has hundreds of their own contacts, which if you apply the theory means you are only 5 contacts away from anyone in the world. Effective networking not only allows you to make new contacts, but also to build relationships which may eventually give you access to their contacts and network.
3. Manage your leads once you’ve generated them
Just as important as generating leads is managing them through the entire marketing and sales life cycle. Effective management of incoming and existing leads enables you to:
- assess your leads in terms of their demographics, needs and behaviours
- tailor your marketing campaigns to them based upon these needs and behaviours
- record their response to campaigns which helps you collate further information about them and tailor future communications
- assess when a lead is most likely to mature so that it can be developed at the appropriate pace
- recycle leads which aren’t yet ready for a sale so they don’t fall by the wayside.
A good management system will result in a higher sales conversion rate and increased revenues so it might be worth considering some virtual assistant lead generation support to help get the most out of each lead.
We hope you’ve found these lead generation tips for small business helpful. If you are looking to outsource sales lead generation or would like to know more about our other virtual assistant services feel free to call us on 0800 994 9016 or use our contact form in the menu above.