Leads are the lifeline of every business. It is actually clients that are the real sustenance of a business; however, without leads there are no clients. Lead generation is essentially about finding the right mix of channels that will allow you to attract a high number of leads in a cost efficient manner.
Let’s start with a definition- A lead is a person who has indicated interest in your company’s product or service in some way, shape, or form. In other words, leads are those who already know about your business and with whom you have already opened communication with. They are not complete strangers. They are people who have already visited your website, seen your Facebook page, read your article in a magazine, attended your event, found you on the first page on google search and so on. For a new business, you many need to test some marketing channels that can produce more and better leads, while a more mature business will need to find ways to optimize the channels that are already working.
Lead Generation Channels
So the first trick is to look at your business today and determine your most effective channel. If most of the leads come through personal sales calls, you might be tempted to say that sales is the most important channel. However, if some of those appointments come about because people found your website on search engines, then creating content that might attract leads would be an additional effective channel.
Equally, we seem to land a significant portion of our leads through word of mouth, but most don’t even consider this a lead generation channel. The second trick is to spend more energy and effort on those channels that have already proven more effective in generating leads before jumping to a new channel. For example, if word of mouth is your greatest lead generation channel, then you should consider other tactics that would enhance word of mouth, such as speaking or public relations as a way to enhance referrals to your business.
Here are some of the lead generation channels available for most businesses:
Word of mouth
This includes the intentional word of mouth activities to spread the word about your business with your family members, friends, colleagues and strategic partners.
This includes receiving independent third party coverage in the traditional media available in our community.
This includes the use of pay-per-click platforms, social networks and display ads.
This includes flyers, lampposts, catalogs and broadcast outlets such as magazine, TV and radio.
This includes publishing and sharing educational content that builds trust and generates subscribers.
This includes building your contact lists and using targeted email campaigns.
This includes building relationships with individuals who can influence their communities to engage with you.
Search Engine Optimization
This includes optimizing your online presence to generate organic search engine traffic.
Social Media Marketing
This includes building engagement on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
This includes events such as Webinars, demonstrations on video and online workshops.
This includes events such as workshops, seminars, trade shows, exhibitions and customer appreciation events.
This includes sponsored speaking engagements at events in our specific industry.
Here are also a quick rundown of the various ways to generate leads for your business:
- During your self-hosted events, bring some of your key clients (CEOs & VIPs) to give speeches on their views on the industry, the economy, etc. This will create a long lasting impact and will keep you on top of those clients’ minds for an extended period. It will also attract more attendees to your event.
- Ask some of your existing customers to provide at least 3 referrals to get for example, a BHD100/- (or so) off their next purchase.
- During the sales process, use testimonial letters from satisfied clients and then ask the clients if they would be willing to provide a similar letter if everything works out as promised. The customer and your sales representative agree on a quoted price, the sales person completes the work and then before collecting payment, offers an additional, say, BHD20 referral fee if the client writes a letter on the spot.
- You can run contests of your clients who take pictures of themselves using your products. The picture that gets more likes on your Facebook page or Instagram account gets the prize. They will get their friends and colleagues to like their picture. You will also be able to increase your followers.
- As a follow up of the above tactic, you can print the pictures on a postcard and send them to the clients to send to referrals. The photo can generate much better referrals.
- Begin some collaboration with training institutes.This kind of PR will go a long way into showing your contribution to the community. You can run some simple workshops on the best practices and safety measures, for example.
- As part of your stationery, keep some postcards branded by the company, send handwritten notes to your clients, thanking them for something that happened during the week.
- Whenever a purchase takes place, take a picture of the client and send them a postcard of their picture with highly personalized graphics and messages (having your logo and contact details). They will definitely show this to their friends and colleagues.
- Schedule one day a year and call it “Customer Appreciation Day”. Use your imagination to the type of gift you can send to your customers. Your customers will spread the word amongst their colleagues and associates. (I remember receiving a box of chocolates on Mother’s Day from a telecom company and people were posting pictures of the chocolate box on social media, praising the company for their personal touch).
- At networking events, people would always ask how business was, you simply say,”Business is very good, but I am always looking for more clients who need this….”, then you hand them a referral card that clearly states the types of solutions you provide. Just changing your response to this seemingly automatic question can change the way you generate referrals.
Whichever of these maneuvers you think may appeal to you, give it a shot now and see great things happen for your business!