Thursday, December 8, 2011

Generating Leads For A Small Business

Generating qualified leads is one of the most challenging processes you can go through in sales. It can be frustrating.

here's a few ideas to mull over for generating leads for your small business ....

• Website - Keep your business website clean, working correctly, and the content fresh. Make sure your Contact Us function works well. Test it. Test it again and regularly. Your website is your business face to the world. Keep it fresh and clean.

• SEO – Make sure to stay up on Search Engine Optimization techniques, which seem to shift over time. Keep your webmaster up-to-date on the latest industry key words that might drive leads on your website. Check your web pages for position in a Google search every so often. Don’t let SEO go stale.

• Conferences – Face-to-face discussions at tradeshows can generate some of the most qualified leads possible. But this can be expensive and is limited to the people you can attract to your booth. Booth graphics, give-aways, and pre-show marketing can help drive those leads. It’s also important to pick the appropriate venue and audience for your product.

• Linked-In – LI is ripe with leads. If you link-in with the right contact in an industry his or her contacts can be just the leads you’re looking for. This requires looking through your connections’ connection lists (if its public.) Pay attention to who’s linking with whom. Occasionally go through the suggested connection list. And you can join groups on LinkedIn that share common business interests. These group notifications can get overwhelming so develop as system to use them to your advantage. There is also an Answers feature that lets you create and publish interesting questions that might develop leads. Make sure your LI profile has key words that reflect your products, services, and target markets. Always keep your profile clean, professional, and with pertinent content to attract potential leads.

• Buy Lists - Purchase an email or direct mail list in an industry. This process has many variations, because privacy is of primary concern to people on-line. Usually these vendors handle your direct or email messaging for you, so you don’t actually get to keep the list unless someone responds to your message.

• News - Pay attention to news articles related to your customers, products, market or key issues within your industry. Many of these articles will note companies or even decision makers at companies that you may want to target. Get in the habit of quickly scanning articles for key contacts.

• Search Engine - Google or use other search engines to uncover lists of names. Attendee lists, target industry group memberships, or other sources. Google key customers to determine their competitors – your future customers. Use Google Alerts to comb the web news for key business issues.

• Network – Call key players in your target industries and ask them about their business. Tell them what you doing or thinking about and take notes. Usually, if you’re gentle and respectful, they will share some key nuggets and perhaps even list some key contacts. Call or email people you know to share key pieces of information about common business issues. You end up getting more than you give. And always recommend the good service people you know because the favor will be returned. Go to social media events for b2b crowds. Bring business cards, introduce yourself, and have a conversation. Follow-up with everyone you meet with a thank you email and a LinkedIn invitation.

• Advertise – Emailing or direct mailing a list is one way. Banner ads on target industry web sites can work. Make sure you have a viable, comfortable landing page that makes lead feel like they’ve come to the right place – instantly. Collect key contact info at all costs. Print Ads may be effective, but they are very expensive and difficult, if not impossible to track.

If you have other suggestions please feel to reply as a comment ....