Lead Generation for Small Business Made (REALLY) Easy

Lead generation for small business is the best business-generating tool, method or strategy I know of, bar none. Properly executed it can lead to an increase in sales-conversions of 1,134% – and that’s a real number from the trenches.

So here are 3 reasons…

Lead generation for Small Business

Is so powerful and here’s how YOU can easily put it to work for you in your business.

First, it completely differentiates you from your competitors. Almost without exception, your competitors are focused on sales. Their ads, their websites, their whole attitude is based on the idea they must make the sale. As a consequence their only marketing strategy is to try to sell “off the page”, and so they get (if they’re lucky) a 1% conversion rate and an appalling ROI on their marketing and advertising efforts.

Secondly, it changes the whole dynamic you have with your prospective customers and clients. See, they have the advantage in that they have money in their pockets you want in yours… and you have to get them to give it to you instead of to your competitors. By doing lead generation the right way, small businesses can get that valuable “foot in the door“.

And thirdly, it means you have several bites of the cherry, so to speak, and get the chance to form a relationship with your prospective buyer… meaning you’ll not only sell more but also, generally, be able to sell at a higher price.

So, how do you put it to work for you?

The first thing you need is a way of collecting names and contact details — and these days the easiest and most convenient details to collect are email addresses. The explosion of the Internet’s popularity has been a real windfall for small business marketing, even if most small business owners don’t realise this yet.

Why?

Because the low cost and simplicity of getting local people online to visit their website and exchange their contact details for some small but valuable item of information (e.g. a special report or guide to choosing, say, the best electrician, house painter and decorator, butcher, baker, and candlestick maker) represents a remarkable opportunity. Imagine… how many electricians in YOUR local area are giving away a free report about how to choose an electrician, or plumber or car mechanic without being ripped off?

None, I bet.

So the ones who do it will be perceived very differently from (and better than) their competitors.

The key to this can be summed up as “begin your relationship by giving“, which is the exact opposite of the traditional method of doing business. And once you have their details, you can market to them by email and other means at your leisure, taking the softly-softly approach to things rather than the hard-sell.

Fact is, though, almost no small business has the courage to do this – but those who do… well, they reap the benefits.

And they reap them to the tune of an increase in conversions of 1134% or more — that’s more than TEN TIMES as many sales just by switching from an immediate-sale model of marketing to a lead-generation model.

And that’s got to be worth it, hasn’t it?

Small Business Lead Generation Web Sites

Everyone is familiar with e-commerce web sites where people can make purchases through a shopping cart and a check out area. There is another style of site that might be useful for local small businesses. These are called lead generation or business development web sites, and it is particularly effective if the product or service offered has a high ticket price, like real estate sales, for example. Also, if the long term value of the customer is high because the customer needs to use the product or service many times over a long period, then this type of business would benefit from having one of these as well. Examples of this case would be a local chiropractor or dentist.

These sites can work in conjunction with the small business owner’s regular site, which might feature the name of the business the URL in many cases. So having a lead generation web site is not an either-or situation, and the small business owner can have a couple of web sites working for him. The lead generation site might have a URL that is general in nature, like “San Diego Dentist” for example rather than name of the business.

Many small business owners are intimidated, however, with the price of having a web site built for them. This can easily cost from $2,000 to $8,000. Unless your enterprise is gushing money, that can be a hard pill to swallow for an individual real estate agent or other small business person.

Pay-per-click advertising can be used to bring in web traffic, but these types of sites work best with generic traffic that comes from search engines which is of course free, if you know how to get this traffic. So this means that the web site developer needs to really know something about search engine optimization. A lot of site developers will say they know what needs to be done, but most have little experience with actually getting onto the first page of search engine results.

If you do succeed in generating traffic then bona fide leads and real prospects need to be developed. The technique here is to interest visitors in the offer such that they will sign up on an email list to get more information about the products or services. A series of automatic emails is then sent to the prospect giving solid and useful information that the prospect can actually use. This helps build trust and a relationship between the prospect and the small business person, hopefully leading to sales.

Prospecting Tips For Your Small Business

Are you in the dark about how to start small business? The very first item on your to do list should be prospecting leads.

With the dozens of details to consider-finding a location, appealing to investors, choosing the right suppliers, and hunting for employees-it can be easy to lose sight of what should be your most important focus: the customer.

After all, without customers, you haven’t any business.

You might have the best product or service anywhere, but if you have not drawn up a marketing plan outline for prospecting leads that can benefit from your new business idea, you’ll be struggling with how to start your small business.

The good news is, lead generation doesn’t have to be rocket science. With the right combination of research, planning, and execution, you can increase your market presence and make yourself known to your target demographic.

Top 8 Prospecting Tips

1. Create a concrete plan. Before you start prospecting leads, spend some time formulating a realistic, workable plan of attack.

For example, if you’re marketing a product or service to businesses, create a list of target companies along with the name of the department and person you need to reach. Determine how you’ll attempt to contact them (phone, email, or a face-to-face visit at their office or at a networking function).

2. Become an event junkie. Conferences, trade shows, and seminars can be gold mines for prospective customers. Look in newspapers and online for event calendars.

If you run a wedding planning business, invest in booth space at a bridal show. If you sell landscaping services, contact the coordinator of an upcoming home and garden show and offer to give away a free lawn treatment in exchange for prime advertising placement. Attending industry events is also a great way to build a network of professional associates in the industry.

3. Peruse the papers. Take a few minutes each day to scan the local headlines. Be on the lookout for new businesses opening up, awards or promotions that have been bestowed, and any developments related to your product or service. Drop an email to the people mentioned in the articles letting them know you saw the piece and subtly upselling your offering.

4. Watch your competitors. While you’ll want to develop your own unique approach, studying the competition can help you stay up to speed on the latest industry trends and developments. If your biggest rival is offering free shipping during the holidays, you may want to follow suit to remain competitive. It’s also a good idea to place advertisements in the same publications and venues as your competitors.

5. Don’t be afraid to follow up. One of the biggest mistakes small business owners make is pay a single visit to a prospect and then sit back and wait for them to come knocking. After the initial contact, it’s essential to follow up to gauge their level of interest, answer any remaining questions, and attempt to close the deal. If they aren’t ready to buy, ask if they know anyone who may have a need for your product or service.

6. Use the power of referral marketing. One delighted customer can lead to dozens more. Why wait for word-of-mouth advertising to happen on its own? Don’t be afraid to ask satisfied customers to spread the word to their friends and colleagues. Chances are they’ll be delighted to see their associates reaping the same benefits they’ve enjoyed.

7. Sample your way to success. Who doesn’t love a freebie? Giving away a complimentary sample of your product or service is a great way to demonstrate its benefits and encourage future sales. If you sell bath and body products, include a small packet of lotion with your marketing postcards. If you’re an IT consultant, offer businesses a free technology assessment.

8. Partner with other businesses. Nearly every industry has parallel providers that cater to the same group but offer different products or services. Forming an alliance with people in the same market can be mutually beneficial. If you sell custom stationery, contact a local bridal gown boutique and ask if you can drop off some business cards. If you provide consulting services for small businesses, ask a local office furniture seller if you can post a flier. Offer reciprocal exposure in exchange.

Remember, prospecting leads isn’t a one-time excursion. To sustain the profitability and branding identity of your business, you’ll need to devote time and resources to ongoing prospecting campaigns.

Small Business Lead Generation – Why Online Is In!

More and more people are avoiding yellow pages and directory inquiries and going directly on the internet to search for whatever they need. This presents a never-before opportunity for small business lead generation, with an exponentially high number of organizations understanding the need for taking their business to the next level by giving it the right kind of exposure online.

Essentially, there are two kinds of routes that businesses can take for small business lead generation to be successful. The first among these is via Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which is essentially a long term objective to ensure sustainable growth in traffic. Irrespective of the stature and reputation of an organization, if the SEO activity is not done properly, it can take years to be featured among the top searches on popular search engines. And even if it’s done properly and aggressively, it takes at least a couple of months for the efforts to bear fruit. Sure, there are certain tricks that one can use to get better results, but they can only go so far. Businesses also have a great opportunity in the form of submission directories, which also help quite significantly in search engine optimization at virtually no cost.

Another great alternative for sound small business lead generation is pay per click advertising, which is also known as PPC. This is more of an ‘instant result’ kind of proposition, which gives results on the spot! However, the costs incurred for this activity are also significantly high. Many advocates of its long term gains state that once a website is popular, traffic flows in automatically. However, there are many arguments regarding this theory.

In the end, it’s up to the business as to which route it wishes to take to achieve the desired objective. However, going online is definitely the only route to succeed in today’s times.

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.