The answer to this is easy. Everyone who is running a business needs leads in one form or another. Whether you are a contractor, realtor, professional, or retailer, you need a way to generate more business. “Leads” is simply another way to say “new customers”. So when we are discussing lead generation, we are really talking about new customer generation, and any business who tells you they don’t want new customers is in trouble.
Ways to Generate Leads
Getting new customers can be a lot easier than you might expect, and is best accomplished through a multi-pronged approach. Based on your type of business, some of these will be more relevant to you than others. Find the ones that work for you and spend your time in those areas. A targeted, intensive approach is better than spreading your efforts (and funds) across multiple platforms and not really giving any of them the time and attention that they require for success.
Forums- Many forums are happy to have subject matter experts active on their boards. There are forums and discussion boards for pretty much any topic that exists, and even some that are targeted to local areas. By being an active participant in these type of panels, you are building your reputation as an expert, and ultimately proving your worth to any potential new customers that may find you there.
Guest Article Writing- Many popular news sources are constantly looking for guest writers who are experienced and knowledgeable about the topics they are discussing. These can be found by contacting bloggers in relevant areas, or by using a resource such as HARO, which sends out daily emails regarding opportunities for guest writing and speaking.
Social Media- By building and maintaining your social media presence, you are creating a great resource for new customers to find you through their social connections. The more you post on your social media accounts, the more followers you will acquire, and the more people your message will reach. There are also Facebook ads that you can use to target desired demographics. This can help you market directly to the customers who are most likely to need/want your products or services.
Review Sites- There are two ways that review sites can help you to get more customers. First is by making sure that the information about your business is complete and correct. There are more businesses out there than you would expect that do not have their information accurate on these sites, leading to missed sales. The second way is by being active on these sites, responding to both positive and negative reviews. The more active you are in your business, the more a customer will be drawn to you.
Listing Sites- Many business niches have an opportunity to advertise their services for free on popular listing sites such as craigslist, kijiji, and other local advertising sites. This is a great way to attract new customers who are looking for something right away.
Directories- One resource that gets a lot of traffic is directories. These typically list different businesses either in specific niches or across niches. Some of these will list you free of charge, but most require some sort of association membership. If you have to pay to be included in a directory, pick one that will also have other benefits to your business, such as knowledge seminars, trade shows, or special offers that are relevant to you.
Online Ads- Another great way to get in front of potential new customers is to purchase online ad space. There are many different types of ads, and many different ways you can buy them. Many bloggers and content creators sell ad space directly to businesses. Others use Google Ads to fill their ad space. Depending on your niche, one of these may be more suitable, or you may find it is in your best interest to do both.
Referrals & Partnering- Know another business that would have similar clientele without being a direct competitor? This is a great resource! Partnering with other local businesses can help grow both of your businesses. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your current customers for referrals, they are your best resource!
Traditional Marketing- There are many traditional media types that still work in many niches. Billboards, radio and tv ads, magazine ads, and more can still help to bring in new customers to new businesses. However, with the world shifting to a more online heavy focus, dollars spent in this arena need to be spent wisely and with careful consideration as to who is going to be the end recipient of the marketing. Some ad purchasing may allow you to buy both print and digital ads for their hard copy and online versions. This type of purchasing can allow you to market to two different demographics with one expenditure.
Website- Above all else, you have to have a website. This is no longer an option for any business that wants to find new customers. However, having a poorly done website can do you more harm than good. A website that is intended for lead generation needs to be clean, professional, and make it easy for the customer to take the action that you want them to take, whether it be to purchase a product, schedule an appointment, or contact you for a quote or consultation.
Converting Leads to Sales
Regardless of how the lead finds you, your website needs to be there to back you up. By presenting a professional image with an easy to find and complete a contact form or buying option, you can help convert more of those leads into actual sales. Your customers want to be wooed by you- they want to know that they are important enough to you that you are willing to spend money to make them happy. By not only investing in a performing website, but by updating the content and information as needed, you are showing your customers that you are invested in your business, and that they should be too.
If your website is currently not performing for you, or doesn’t exist at all, then this needs to be your very first step in your new customer acquisition plan. We have been working online with lead generation clients for almost 2 decades now, delivering quality websites that are proven to work. We are constantly performing extensive testing, training, and research to stay on top of what works for our customers. If you need assistance in lead generation in any way, please contact us immediately at (800) 243-2077. We are always happy to help.