Small Business Lead Generation and Why It Works So Well

Small business lead generation is one of those things every small business owner talks about but doesn’t really know how to do properly. This is a shame, because using lead generation for a small business is one of the easiest ways to increase revenue and make more profits. It does take some work, but the concepts are so simple any business can start the process right now and begin to see more sales in a matter of months.

Effective Small Business Lead Generation

Here is why using the lead generation approach is such a powerful strategy and why every small business should use it.

1. It sets your business apart from all the others in the same market. Being different to your competitors is essential if you want to be a success, and concentrating on the lead-generation approach will do just that. Most business don’t actually concentrate on getting leads, even if they say they do. They actually concentrate on making sales, which means trying to sell to a prospect immediately. Effective lead-generation means getting a lead, and then building a relationship with that prospect over time. This could be weeks or months, but it almost always leads to more sales in the long term.

2. To follow on from the point above, this strategy of looking at the long term is one of the best things you can do, because your prospects often don’t want to buy from you just yet, and when you try to make the sale immediately, they tend to walk away. Building a relationship means your prospects don’t buy from you when you want then to, but when they want to, and that makes the whole process smoother and more pleasant for everyone.

3. You have more chances to close the sale. This is something most small business owners never understand, but by concentrating on building a relationship you actually get many more chances of actually selling something.

So how do you start to build a relationship with your prospects? You simply give away something for free (a free report with good information, or perhaps an entry to a competition) in return for the prospect’s contact details. These should include email, postal address, phone and even fax. Email is the best of these, because it’s so quick and personal.

Be The Expert

In most cases the free report is the best way of collecting prospect’s details, because it has the added advantage of making you appear the expert in your market as well as starting to build the relationship. Once you have the contact details, you simply keep in touch with your prospects, giving them more information and sometimes telling them about the stuff you have for sale. Essentially it’s a numbers game, and a large percentage of people will buy from you when they’re ready. The great thing about this method of making sales is that most small businesses won’t try it, and that puts you right at the front when it comes to making more sales in the long term.

As I said, it does take a bit of work to put into practice, but the rewards are huge.

Small Business Lead Nurturing Success Case Study

If you’re an entrepreneur, part of a small marketing department, or a one-man marketing department, then you know it can be tough to get everything you need to get done accomplished.

Your experience, current thought, and even marketing experts will tell you that small companies, with limited budgets and resources, can be challenged to keep up. Prevalent thinking is that they can’t, and in fact shouldn’t even try. But keep reading – because we’re dispelling that myth once and for all!

If you’re interested in driving revenue, and using the internet to help, then you’re doubly challenged to figure out WHAT among all of the different tactics, are the RIGHT ones for you. Because if you don’t get it right, then you’re just going to waste your time, and still not get the results you’re after. And that supports what the “experts” are saying, and leading you to believe.

Meet Margaret Johnson, a one-woman marketing department for a $10 million dollar-a-year consulting company, and learn how she has solved the problem of keeping her company top-of-mind with customers and prospects, funneling sales-ready leads to her sales force. Learn how they landed one of the largest companies in her geography, and are delighting them and staying top-of-mind.

Here’s the part you’ll really love: She spends only ONE DAY A WEEK managing it all!

And you could too…

There were two critical things that were causing Margaret’s organization pain – not knowing whether her in-person events would have anyone attending them, and how to stay top-of-mind when prospects weren’t ready for a sales conversation when someone from Sales contacted them.

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s not good enough to meet with someone who’s not currently interested in what you’re selling, and putting a tickle in your system to contact them again in 6 months. Even if that’s what they tell you. It’s likely that their situation could change on a moments notice, and if you’re not in their thinking, you will not get the deal.

After being bombarded with media, emails, and news about how you’ve got to be present in social media, Margaret set up a Facebook Fan page and a Twitter account. She already had a blog, and the company website to also manage. She found herself trying to remember where she needed to post content and update things.

Margaret was quickly getting overwhelmed. How could she really implement effective marketing efforts that would generate leads, nurture them well, and contribute to the bottom line growth goals of her organization?

Margaret started to map out everything. She had a blog, and that had an RSS Feed. She found a way to update her Twitter account based on the RSS feed from her blog. She also hooked up that RSS feed to her Facebook Fan page. But now, how could she generate more leads, and stay top-of-mind? That only relieved her from figuring out how to manage two of the social media aspects of things.

She realized that she could segment her RSS feeds and publish them to her website, effectively adding content to her critical pages that needed to be refreshed on a regular basis. And people could subscribe to her RSS feeds and get updates via email. There were some tools, that provide this specific ability – but then the people who sign up through those vehicles are kept in that system, with the opt-out and bad email information, rather than in her lead database where she could see how they are responding to the emails and also trigger appropriate event invitations. So using a point-tool like that wasn’t a solution – it only added more work.

Margaret was using a marketing automation toolset, and she realized that she could use an RSS feed capability from her marketing automation system to define her blog feed, and then publish them to her website. She could also set up emails, within that same toolset that pulled from those RSS feeds, so she could send emails to the contacts that wanted email updates, if there was any new content available from the feeds. If there wasn’t, then no emails would be sent. She realized she could set up her emails one time, set them to go out every 14 days, and they’d automatically pull fresh content from the feeds she identified for each email.

Best of all, implementing her “system” in this way, ensured that ALL the leads, and their responses to her marketing, were all in one place – so she could score the leads as well as segment them even further based on how they responded, not only to the emails, but on what materials they have downloaded from her website, which pages they have viewed, and which events they’ve attended. She set up nurturing sequences (a set of timed emails) that trigger based on a lead’s response to any number of specific lead activities. She now has emails going out every 14 days to her leads, plus other nurturing sequences that can be triggered based upon a lead’s activity.

The value of keeping her leads in a single database, and tracking their activities — and then having the tools available that allowed her to automate her marketing efforts, has literally saved her from adding another full time marketing person to her staff to help implement and manage their marketing efforts.

How’s it going? She is getting positive feedback from customers and her sales folks – because her company is top-of-mind, and closing more business! She is able to quantify her contribution to her company’s growth.

Prospecting Tips For Your Small Business

Are you in the dark about how to start small business? The very first item on your to do list should be prospecting leads.

With the dozens of details to consider-finding a location, appealing to investors, choosing the right suppliers, and hunting for employees-it can be easy to lose sight of what should be your most important focus: the customer.

After all, without customers, you haven’t any business.

You might have the best product or service anywhere, but if you have not drawn up a marketing plan outline for prospecting leads that can benefit from your new business idea, you’ll be struggling with how to start your small business.

The good news is, lead generation doesn’t have to be rocket science. With the right combination of research, planning, and execution, you can increase your market presence and make yourself known to your target demographic.

Top 8 Prospecting Tips

1. Create a concrete plan. Before you start prospecting leads, spend some time formulating a realistic, workable plan of attack.

For example, if you’re marketing a product or service to businesses, create a list of target companies along with the name of the department and person you need to reach. Determine how you’ll attempt to contact them (phone, email, or a face-to-face visit at their office or at a networking function).

2. Become an event junkie. Conferences, trade shows, and seminars can be gold mines for prospective customers. Look in newspapers and online for event calendars.

If you run a wedding planning business, invest in booth space at a bridal show. If you sell landscaping services, contact the coordinator of an upcoming home and garden show and offer to give away a free lawn treatment in exchange for prime advertising placement. Attending industry events is also a great way to build a network of professional associates in the industry.

3. Peruse the papers. Take a few minutes each day to scan the local headlines. Be on the lookout for new businesses opening up, awards or promotions that have been bestowed, and any developments related to your product or service. Drop an email to the people mentioned in the articles letting them know you saw the piece and subtly upselling your offering.

4. Watch your competitors. While you’ll want to develop your own unique approach, studying the competition can help you stay up to speed on the latest industry trends and developments. If your biggest rival is offering free shipping during the holidays, you may want to follow suit to remain competitive. It’s also a good idea to place advertisements in the same publications and venues as your competitors.

5. Don’t be afraid to follow up. One of the biggest mistakes small business owners make is pay a single visit to a prospect and then sit back and wait for them to come knocking. After the initial contact, it’s essential to follow up to gauge their level of interest, answer any remaining questions, and attempt to close the deal. If they aren’t ready to buy, ask if they know anyone who may have a need for your product or service.

6. Use the power of referral marketing. One delighted customer can lead to dozens more. Why wait for word-of-mouth advertising to happen on its own? Don’t be afraid to ask satisfied customers to spread the word to their friends and colleagues. Chances are they’ll be delighted to see their associates reaping the same benefits they’ve enjoyed.

7. Sample your way to success. Who doesn’t love a freebie? Giving away a complimentary sample of your product or service is a great way to demonstrate its benefits and encourage future sales. If you sell bath and body products, include a small packet of lotion with your marketing postcards. If you’re an IT consultant, offer businesses a free technology assessment.

8. Partner with other businesses. Nearly every industry has parallel providers that cater to the same group but offer different products or services. Forming an alliance with people in the same market can be mutually beneficial. If you sell custom stationery, contact a local bridal gown boutique and ask if you can drop off some business cards. If you provide consulting services for small businesses, ask a local office furniture seller if you can post a flier. Offer reciprocal exposure in exchange.

Remember, prospecting leads isn’t a one-time excursion. To sustain the profitability and branding identity of your business, you’ll need to devote time and resources to ongoing prospecting campaigns.

Lead Generation for Small Business: A Simple and Effective Strategy to Follow

Lead generation for small business is one of the simplest and quickest ways to increase the number of customers and generate more revenue. That may sound like a bold claim, but in fact it’s borne out by facts from the real world – numbers of sales.

Here is why

Lead generation for Small Business

is such an effective strategy, and why you should certainly use it in your business.

Market differentiation. It sounds like a complex and difficult concept, but all this means is that generating leads makes you stand out in the market and appear different from your competitors, and that can only be a good thing. Most businesses – and that includes your competitors – will focus on making sales (for the most part a completely ineffective strategy) and will appear the same to your prospects.

It looks at the long term. Your prospects want to buy stuff, but they might not want to buy it just yet. If you concentrate on lead generation instead of making sales there and then, you accept this fact, and concentrate on getting your prospects to get to know you first.

More chances to sell. Funnily enough, by not concentrating on sales, lead generation gives you more chances to sell. In effect, you concentrate on building a relationship with your prospects, and selling over time.

Once you understand the importance of these three points, you can start to put a system together to get your lead generation moving. The first thing you need is a way to collect contact details, and as many as possible. This can include emails, postal addresses, phone and even old-fashioned fax (yes, some people still use them). But of all these, email is the best, simply because it’s cheap and convenient, and the strange thing is that most businesses are not taking advantage of it at all.

One of the best ways to collect email addresses is to advertise a page on your website that gives something away for free, especially some free information. A great method is to write a small report about how to choose a provider of your service. Titles can be things like: “Seven Things You Need to Know Before You Choose A…” then insert your business-type (electrician, plumber, house decorator etc.)

The great thing is that this makes you appear the expert, and probably nobody else in your market is doing this. In short, you’re starting a relationship by giving something for free, and also increasing the perception of your business as the best one to go to.

Once you have your prospects’ details, you can email them regularly, giving even more valuable information, and sell to them over time. This almost always leads to an increase in business, and great conversion rates to any offers or promotions you run. Even better, most other small businesses won’t have the courage to do this, or simply won’t be bothered to try, and that puts anyone who does do it at a great advantage.

All you have to do is simply put it into practice, and reap the rewards.

So what are you waiting for?