A major challenge we see many businesses face is not having enough leads. As a small business owner you have to create an active plan for helping customers find you and provide them with incentives for trying you out. This is what we refer to as capturing and generating leads.
Lead generation should be a continual process, not a one-time quick fix. Here are some strategies to bringing in new clients:
1. Create a process for lead generation
It is important that if you don’t have a system to capture client or potential client data that you implement one ASAP. As relationships are the most important part of business it is difficult to develop the relationship or let them know special offers etc. if you don’t have their information.
There are many systems that you can use to do this. From a simple excel spreadsheet to a fully integrated Customer Relationship Management System (CRM).
It is important that your method to capture data makes it easy to keep in contact. One of the easiest is capturing an email address by requesting prospects sign up for a free newsletter etc. This was they can be aware what is happening with your business and products that may be of interest to them.
Having this information will also help to target where to put your energy. Who is sending you clients, who isn’t, what type of marketing is working.
2. Establish Yourself As An Expert
It’s a well-known fact that people buy from people they trust, and people usually trust anyone who they perceive to be an ‘expert’ in their industry.
Each time somebody hears your name and connects it with your industry, you build a reputation as an authority on that subject and gain the ears of potential customers.
Some simple ways to gain credibility could include:
· Writing blogs on industry specifics for your business
· Guest blogging for other businesses
· Speaking at community events.
3. Social Media
From my business experience social media is not something to be ignored but likewise it is not the only strategy you can use. It needs to be used in conjunction with other strategies.
The keys I have found is that you need to:
1. Post interesting and relevant content on a regular basis
2. Including sales-related content some of the time.
As with most marketing strategies you need to give to get. Social media is no different. You need to make sure that you are posting information that is of interest to your target market not just selling in every post. Many experts advise that 20% selling or 1 in 5 posts are the sweet spot.
In our business we use a program called Hootsuite to have posts set up ready to go periodically.
Why do everything yourself when you can collaborate? Think of businesses in your area that offer complementary products or services, and see if you could add value to their customers somehow.
Perhaps you could present a seminar together or provide a free assessment?
Remember, the key thing is to make lead generation an active, not passive process, and to take small steps towards this consistently. Spending even an hour a week consistently on lead generation activities will have big benefits if you stick with it.