The core of any business, is generating leads, which hopefully then will convert to paying customers. To generate leads, you really just need to get the features and benefits of your products or services in front of your target market in the best possible light.
To make lead generation work, you need to know and understand the needs of your customers. Incorporating this understanding in your marketing, gives your business the best chance of generating the highest number of quality leads.
There are many ways to generate leads, both offline and online. I will touch on a few that are working:
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Referrals are the best way to generate leads for your business. Ask your happy customers to refer their friends and other business contacts who need similar services. Referred customers tend to have the lowest Cost-Per-Acquisition of all lead generation techniques.
The best referrals are from customers who are just plain thrilled with your products or service, however some existing customers might need a little incentive to get them to actively refer new business to you.
Here are some ideas:
- You can give your customers a bonus product or service for referring new business
- You can offer a cash or gift incentive
- When surveying your customers, ask for referrals in the end of the survey
- Partner with compatible businesses that offer a product or service that is complimentary to your own
2. Direct Mail
Direct mail has developed a poor reputation in some industries and a lot of marketers will say that you can expect a very low return-on-investment if you launch a Direct Mail campaign. But I have to disagree to a point…
Yes, the old, generic, same-ol’ same-ol’ direct mail campaigns are done and done. But put on your thinking hat, and work out some ways to stand out from everyone else.
Here are some tips:
- Quality not Quantity. Make sure your list is a targeted list of the kind of clients you really want. This should greatly increase your response rate.
- Bulky Object. A great way to ensure your post gets opened is to enclose a bulky object. This can be a promo item or other small gift that is lightweight and will make a positive impression on your ideal customer.
- Frequency. Most customers will need to hear from you possibly 4 or 5 times before they will consider buying from you. So have a plan to contact these prospects at least once a month with a different direct mail offer.
- Phone Call Follow Up. It may be a good idea, if you can get a contact phone number to follow up with a quick call after the mail out. This gives you a great excuse to make the call to see if they received your offer and have any questions.
3. Online Advertising
The old Yellow Pages book is dead. If your potential customers need help or are looking for your products or services, they are most likely hitting internet search engines like Google. The fastest way to get your business in front of these searchers is to buy advertising space on the search engine, in the form of a text ad or an image banner ad. This advertising is called Pay-Per-Click or PPC for short.
This means that you only pay for the ad when a person actually clicks on it. And you have full control over which website or webpage they land on once they have clicked.
Costs per click can range from a few cents, up to approx $16 for the most popular internet keywords like “Weight Loss” etc… If using Google PPC, you need to track your progress, keep a low daily budget initially, so that the costs are kept within your budget, and the return-on-investment is maximised.
You can also buy advertising space now on social network websites like Facebook, and the process is fairly similar for publishing the ad, and tracking the response.
HOT TIP: If you are running a particular special campaign through Google Adwords, you may want to consider creating a “Landing Page” or “Lead Capture Page”, which is a special webpage created just for that offer, product or service.
Fast Results Rating – 5/5
4. Social Media Marketing
Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Quora, Foursquare, Google Plus, Pinterest… Social Media is here to stay and these methods and networks are producing outstanding long term results for businesses who are embracing the tools, doing all the listening, and responding and engaging their target market as needed.
Using social media to generate leads for your business, is unlike any method that has previously existed. This method requires a long term view, and anyone hustling for a quick sale, is going to find the social media playground a sad and lonely place where no-one will want to talk to you.
Before you jump in you need to have a strategy, and various benchmarks to track your success, starting with followers, then monitoring engagement, and eventually generating new leads and new business.
This is an amazing opportunity, if done correctly, and if you doubt SMM’s amazing potential, you just need to pop over to Peter Kim’s blog to see the results he’s gathered – 101 Examples of Social Business ROI.
Here are few tips before you get started:
- Your Website or Blog. All your social media networking activity needs a home where you can funnel all your engaged potential customers to. And the best place for this, is a place where you control the content – your business website or blog. All your efforts need to feed directly here. From this place, you can let your website lead capture funnel do the rest.
- Start Small. It may be tempting to run out and sign up to ALL the networks at once, but this can cause problems, as managing all these networks can take a lot of time, and your efforts could be diluted. It is best if you work out the social network where your target market is likely to be active, and focusing your efforts there in the beginning. Once your have achieved your initial benchmarks there, you can move on to other networks.
- Get Your Brand Right. If you are going to be successful in social media marketing, you need to have a consistent image, presentation and message of your business across all the platforms. Make sure your profiles are matching – have the same message and content.
- Commit to the Long Haul. Social media marketing takes time to generate leads, and you need to be consistently updating your profiles and engaging regularly to see the best results. The good news is that the results are generally compounded, so once you have an established social presence, and you are generating leads, the hard work and effort can produce amazing results and ROI.
These lead generation techniques are producing the best results at the moment for businesses that I know. There are other hot lead generators at the moment, like Mobile Marketing, utilising the power of iPhones and Android Smartphones, but unless you have the basic lead generators and captures in play, it might be a bit tricky to move straight into mobile marketing.
What methods are providing the best results for you lately? Feel free to comment and share below.