Lead generation is the number one item on every small business marketing plan. What strategies and tactics will you use to attract customers? Many small business owners and CEOs say they can’t get enough good leads. Really, they just aren’t capturing the leads that are all around them.
1. Specify and profile who your ideal lead is. This may seem obvious, but it’s the main reason lead generation strategies often fall flat. Describe your ideal leads in a way that makes them clearly observable. Start with basic demographics such as gender, age, education, occupation, industry, etc. I recommend that you focus on people and not companies.
2. What are your lead’s behaviors? Where do they go? What do they do? Where do they spend their time and money? A good way to get this information is by going to the LinkedIn profiles of potential costumers. Ask them these questions and see what you find out. Armed with this information, create a list on Twitter.
3. Make your website an oasis of information. Your business is not just looking for leads: these leads are looking for businesses to solve specific problems, too. If your website isn’t speaking to the specific elements that your leads are looking for, then they won't find you.
4. Give them a taste or sample of your solution. Imagine if your leads were able to sample or observe a demonstrated solution in exchange for their email. How could they resist? You actually have a couple of choices here. You can use an email marketing service such as aWeber or Constant Contact to collect their contact information, and in exchange they'll receive a demonstration, report or video series on how other people with the same problem have benefited from your product. Another service is vADz, which creates amazing video ads or demonstrations of your product.
5. Greet and nurture your leads. Would you ever invite anyone to a meeting or dinner party and then ignore them? Today’s email marketing system has made it easy to stay connected with leads and provide them with educational information that helps them choose you.
6. Track and Measure. The really terrific thing about today’s technology is the ability to track and measure results. Google Analytics has a feature called “goals” that allows you to tell Google what you expect your website visitors to do and then Google will measure the degree to which they actually do that.
7. Test and Change. What looks nice doesn’t always attract the right leads. Test different versions of your website to see which version attracts and converts your audience into a lead. This type of testing is called split testing. Google AdWords does this effortlessly, as do almost all the email marketing programs such as Mail Chimp, aWeber, InfusionSoft, iContact or Constant Contact. Google Web Optimizer is a great tool to use to split test your website.
Decide who your target leads are; set goals around how many leads you want and what you want them to do when they interact with your website/marketing materials; and most importantly, be clear about what information you can provide leads so that they can choose you over the competition.
Ivana Taylor is CEO of Third Force, a strategic firm that helps small businesses get and keep their ideal customer. She’s the co-author of the book “Excel for Marketing Managers” and proprietor of DIYMarketers a site for in-house marketers. Her blog is Strategy Stew.