In this day and age there is an absolute plethora of lead generation techniques available for businesses. Sometimes it is tough for business owners to stay focused on just a few that work for their business as they are always hearing of some guru that has built a business using the ‘next best thing’ technique. The problem that arises here is that our efforts are spread too thin for them to have any significant effect. So I am going to focus on just a few here that I have used myself and have proven successful for me.
1) Cold Calling – Many gurus out there tout that cold calling is dead. I was brought up in the business school where I was thrown a phone book on my first day and told to get to calling and visiting businesses. Whilst cold calling strategy has developed a long way since then it still forms an integral part of my lead generation efforts for my business. It helps to keep my ear close to the ground for emerging trends in my industry and the changing needs of my clients as there is no better source of information as getting out there and talking to people.
2) Google Adwords – My business career has revolved around getting small businesses off the ground and a big part of their successes and failures has been determined by the amount of traffic and leads I was able to generate from the mystical online world. Unfortunately for me this meant I was working with newly formed websites that did not have much traffic to them so the only way to get the word out there was to use paid advertising. Finding success in this medium proved to be an expensive endeavor as I made many mistakes which cost me money. So I set out on a journey to learn as much as I could about the topic and there is a huge amount of free online resources available to help you do this. Google themselves offer a wonderful introduction to the world of paid advertising for us newbies
3) Social Media – This is definitely the buzz words of today with many gurus professing tools such as Facebook LinkedIn and Twitter are the only tools that you need to drive prospects that are hungry to buy to your business. These tools have their place but with the plethora of information being published online at the moment about these tools it is easy to get lost. Having said that, LinkedIn in particular has been of benefit to me particularly for reaching out to businesses that are selling to the same people as me but not necessarily the same product. This has allowed me to form relationships and create joint marketing efforts designed to benefit both parties
4) Direct Mail Outs – Again the modern school of thought is that this is a thing of the past and do not work. To the critics, I ask them the number of direct mail pieces that they receive in their letterbox each month. Quiet often over time if you pay attention you will notice that they come from the same companies time and time again. If this was not working and providing a return on their investment, would these companies keep doing it? Of course not.
So these are the most common tools that I use to generate leads in my businesses. A word of caution however before you jump into any of these things I have two words of advice. Firstly you need to consider your ideal customer, who are they and where are they. Are they a generally a younger crowd and likely be searching on the web or are they from the baby boomer generation and more responsive to a direct mail piece. Secondly like everything that we do in terms of lead generation we need to be smart about it in order to see the maximum return on investment whether it be in terms of time investment (cold calling) or dollars spent (Google adwords). There are ton of resources available to us in all sorts of mediums whether that be blogs, videos on YouTube or podcasts. Invest the time to learn as much as you can and you will reap the benefits.
What ways do you go about generating leads for your business? Please post your comments below.
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