Small Business Lead Nurturing Success Case Study

If you’re an entrepreneur, part of a small marketing department, or a one-man marketing department, then you know it can be tough to get everything you need to get done accomplished.

Your experience, current thought, and even marketing experts will tell you that small companies, with limited budgets and resources, can be challenged to keep up. Prevalent thinking is that they can’t, and in fact shouldn’t even try. But keep reading – because we’re dispelling that myth once and for all!

If you’re interested in driving revenue, and using the internet to help, then you’re doubly challenged to figure out WHAT among all of the different tactics, are the RIGHT ones for you. Because if you don’t get it right, then you’re just going to waste your time, and still not get the results you’re after. And that supports what the “experts” are saying, and leading you to believe.

Meet Margaret Johnson, a one-woman marketing department for a $10 million dollar-a-year consulting company, and learn how she has solved the problem of keeping her company top-of-mind with customers and prospects, funneling sales-ready leads to her sales force. Learn how they landed one of the largest companies in her geography, and are delighting them and staying top-of-mind.

Here’s the part you’ll really love: She spends only ONE DAY A WEEK managing it all!

And you could too…

There were two critical things that were causing Margaret’s organization pain – not knowing whether her in-person events would have anyone attending them, and how to stay top-of-mind when prospects weren’t ready for a sales conversation when someone from Sales contacted them.

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s not good enough to meet with someone who’s not currently interested in what you’re selling, and putting a tickle in your system to contact them again in 6 months. Even if that’s what they tell you. It’s likely that their situation could change on a moments notice, and if you’re not in their thinking, you will not get the deal.

After being bombarded with media, emails, and news about how you’ve got to be present in social media, Margaret set up a Facebook Fan page and a Twitter account. She already had a blog, and the company website to also manage. She found herself trying to remember where she needed to post content and update things.

Margaret was quickly getting overwhelmed. How could she really implement effective marketing efforts that would generate leads, nurture them well, and contribute to the bottom line growth goals of her organization?

Margaret started to map out everything. She had a blog, and that had an RSS Feed. She found a way to update her Twitter account based on the RSS feed from her blog. She also hooked up that RSS feed to her Facebook Fan page. But now, how could she generate more leads, and stay top-of-mind? That only relieved her from figuring out how to manage two of the social media aspects of things.

She realized that she could segment her RSS feeds and publish them to her website, effectively adding content to her critical pages that needed to be refreshed on a regular basis. And people could subscribe to her RSS feeds and get updates via email. There were some tools, that provide this specific ability – but then the people who sign up through those vehicles are kept in that system, with the opt-out and bad email information, rather than in her lead database where she could see how they are responding to the emails and also trigger appropriate event invitations. So using a point-tool like that wasn’t a solution – it only added more work.

Margaret was using a marketing automation toolset, and she realized that she could use an RSS feed capability from her marketing automation system to define her blog feed, and then publish them to her website. She could also set up emails, within that same toolset that pulled from those RSS feeds, so she could send emails to the contacts that wanted email updates, if there was any new content available from the feeds. If there wasn’t, then no emails would be sent. She realized she could set up her emails one time, set them to go out every 14 days, and they’d automatically pull fresh content from the feeds she identified for each email.

Best of all, implementing her “system” in this way, ensured that ALL the leads, and their responses to her marketing, were all in one place – so she could score the leads as well as segment them even further based on how they responded, not only to the emails, but on what materials they have downloaded from her website, which pages they have viewed, and which events they’ve attended. She set up nurturing sequences (a set of timed emails) that trigger based on a lead’s response to any number of specific lead activities. She now has emails going out every 14 days to her leads, plus other nurturing sequences that can be triggered based upon a lead’s activity.

The value of keeping her leads in a single database, and tracking their activities — and then having the tools available that allowed her to automate her marketing efforts, has literally saved her from adding another full time marketing person to her staff to help implement and manage their marketing efforts.

How’s it going? She is getting positive feedback from customers and her sales folks – because her company is top-of-mind, and closing more business! She is able to quantify her contribution to her company’s growth.

Small Business Lead Generation Made Easy Online

With people giving Yellow Pages and directory inquiries a miss and going straight to the internet to search for local businesses, it is essential for small businesses to both have an online presence and a small business lead generation system in place. There are two roads to go down to get more business prospects – SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (Pay Per Click).

SEO is more of a long term goal, as it can take months to get high up on the search engines for the keywords people are typing in to find your type of small business. Of course, if you do know some tricks of the trade you can get more exposure faster and your small business marketing will pay off a lot quicker than that. The major search engines do cater for the local small business.

Google offers a free local listing, which all small businesses should take advantage of. Google ‘Google Local Business Center’ and you will find where to sign up. You will need a free Google account to set up this listing, and then you can enter in your business details and your business classification. Google will then mail you a postcard with a confirmation pin number on, which you will need to enter to activate the local listing. Once you are live, people performing searches in your local area for your type of business are likely to see your business listing and a map at the top of the Google search page. It’s a great start to online lead generation, as people find your business quickly and easily.

Yahoo offers a similar service. Do a search for ‘Yahoo Local Listing’ and take a look at what they have to offer. They do have a free basic listing, but the monthly paid “enhanced listing” option is worth considering, as you can enter in a detailed business description, more photos and offer online coupons to encourage your visitors to pick you over your competitors. These online coupons are great for both B2B and B2C lead generation.

Having these listings in place give you a good head start in getting your website found when people search online for your business type. They are just a small fraction of the many ways that SEO can get your website noticed by your business prospects. Other ways include finding sites with high PR (page ranking) and getting backlinks from them, as well as entering your business details on online directories. Your customers need to be able to find you for small business lead generation to be successful.

Now, if you are looking for a quick and worthwhile use of your business resources to generate leads, then the way forward is to use PPC. Unlike using SEO, you can often see results and traffic on your first day using this method of B2C and B2B lead generation. Google AdWords is the most popular and most effective PPC program used.

As small business marketing using PPC is fairly new and local keywords still relatively cheap, it is an ideal method for small business lead generation. You sign up for an AdWords account, enter the local keywords that you would like to bid on, and depending on the competition and how much you bid, you are on the first page of Google straight away and people can find you. You only get charged when people click on your ad, and you can track and test what keywords are most effective.

In conclusion, you can see that SEO is important in the long term for getting your site ranked high in the organic listings, but in the meantime, while you are achieving those high rankings you should use PPC for your small business lead generation.

How Can Small Business Lead Generation Help Your Business

Marketing a business is quite a task, and it’s not possible for everyone to be an expert at it. And when it comes to small business lead generation, the proposition gets even more complicated, since the organization is not known, and probably has to take head-on competition from established brands. In this regard, a majority of the organizations choose to take the assistance of specialist agencies that have proficiency in these operations.

These agencies help companies achieve their desired objective, and there are many benefits of this kind of an initiative, the first one being the fact that the organization can stay assured that experts are working on its campaign. This obviates the need for hiring specialized staff, which is more often than not, quite expensive. On the other hand, doing small business lead generation via outsourcing helps in getting an estimate cost for every lead, which is the best possible proposition for a small enterprise, as it gives an accurate figure of how much needs to be spent to achieve the desired business objective. Thus, the business does not have to go on a wild goose chase, and can instead focus on bettering its offering.

Also, the organization can sort its leads in a better manner, since specialist agencies provide accurate and detailed statistics, segregating the leads into hot, warm or cold leads. In this regard, half of the job is already done, and businesses just need to act upon the leads that are most likely to be converted. Also, small business lead generation via a specialist agency helps in finding out which kind of media is delivering better results than the next, so that the business knows where it has to pump in more investment to get better results. All in all, partnering with a reliable firm is an extremely beneficial step for all kinds of small enterprises.

However, just because qualifying the call is a very important aspect of the process does not mean that one should jump directly into it. It’s essential to understand the stage at which one should attempt the same. Ideally, the first stage of a sales call is about introducing oneself and talking about the product. Once that has been taken care of, the salesperson needs to begin probing the prospect, with regards to checking how much interest has been generated. The introduction stage during small business lead generation is essentially all about telling the other person why the call was made, and it is very important that the prospect is made to feel that he/she was handpicked from a list simply because the product or service being offered caters to his/her needs.

Direct Response and Web Sites-Small Business Lead Generation

One of the most important elements to small business success is lead generation because without leads you can’t increase sales. So where do you concentrate your lead generation efforts?

Get Qualified Leads One at a Time with Direct Response

I’m going to make a bold statement: Direct response is the most effective and affordable ways to generate leads on a one-on-one basis. Let me qualify that statement. Direct response is the most effective and affordable way to reach clients one-to-one if you:

  • know your target market
  • attach benefits to your features
  • understand your competition
  • identify your competitive advantage
  • can write your direct response package in a clear and convincing way

Understanding all that means you can have an effective direct response campaign. No doubt, knowing a few tips about direct response copywriting will help by boosting your response rate. For instance, your heading makes or breaks your campaign. It’s the biggest predictor on whether your prospect ill read it or toss it in the garbage.

Forget about where you’re located or how many year’s you’ve been in business, or describing every detail about your product. Yes, your potential consumer clients want to know a little about the features, but for every feature your product or service has, they want to know far more about the benefit. They consistently and continuously ask themselves, “What’s in it for me?”

A specific call to action, and creating a sense of urgency helps too. It seems most of us are basic procrastinators. If you don’t tell us what to do, and you don’t make us believe we need to do it today (with specials, limited-time or quantity discounts, etc.) we probably won’t do anything at all.

And by the way, a P.S. increases response rates too. It’s the second most-read line in your direct response copy. It should restate your main benefits, call to action and special offer.

Generate Masses of Leads with a Small Business Web Site

But direct response isn’t the only effective way to reach clients affordably. It may be the best way to reach potential clients on a one-on-one basis, but did you know a small business web site is one of the best ways to reach masses of potential clients?

Affordable? That depends. Some small business owners I know personally have paid lots of $$ for their web site. It may be a mistake to pay big bucks for a small business web site when a simple 5 page static site will do. After all, it’s not the design that produces results but rather the copywriting.

Copy for your web site follows the same basic rules as direct response copywriting, but with a few important differences:

  • web site copy is shorter because internet readers are generally impatient
  • include lots of free information because readers are searching for information
  • avoid the hard sell–it doesn’t work online
  • write with your readers in mind, but take search engines into account as well
  • include a way to capture email addresses as lead generation

Effective? That depends too. A web site is only effective if it can be found. And to make sure it’s found you need to know a little about search engine marketing (SEM). A good discussion about SEM is beyond the scope of this short article. But, here’s a few tips:

  • write web site copy around keywords, including headings and titles
  • promote your web site online by publishing articles, joining forums, and listing in business directories
  • try Google AdWords
  • promote your web site offline
  • content, content and even more content
  • update content often

Increase Their Interest Level with Direct Response Pointing to Your Web Site

So, direct response generates leads one-to-one, and a web site reaches the masses. What if you combine them?

Direct response and web sites work very well together to generate leads and close sales. You could create your direct response with a call to action to visit your web site rather than asking directly for a purchase. Your web site includes copy that is different from, but related to your direct response package.

Your web site call to action could be any of a number of things. You could use it simply to generate more leads through capturing email addresses. Or you could be the “information guru” on some subject your direct mail recipients would be interested in. Or your web site call to action could be directly asking for sales.

The point is that the purpose of both is to generate leads and to have some way to convert those leads to sales. There are many different ways to close sales. Follow up brochures can be very effective for instance. But possibly using both direct response and your web site solely to generate leads is less effective than using one to supplement the other as a sales tool.