As a small-business owner, lead generation is crucial to your success. Leads are people who are members of your target market, want what you offer, and have the ability to pay for your products and services. Here are five primary lead generation techniques small businesses use.
- Online Lead Generation – Setting up a lead generating website is one of the most effective ways small business owners can find new leads. Capturing leads through your website usually involves visitors filling out their contact information in exchange for free information, like your newsletter, a special report, a white paper, or an audio recording. Usually, you tell visitors that they will receive updates from you when they subscribe.
- Networking – People do business with those they know, like and trust. To build rapport with prospects, you have to first meet them. Each city has its own business networking groups, like your local Chamber of Commerce, local trade association branches, or informal groups that gather through websites like Meetup.com. You can also look for networking opportunities in your local newspapers.
- Referrals – Most small-business owners would ideally like all their clients to come from referrals. Referrals are easier to sell to and usually are more profitable because a trusted third party has already vouched for your products and services. To build a referral-based business, you must actively solicit referrals. Tell your friends, family members, and business contacts that you have started a company and if they know anyone who might need your services, you would appreciate the referrals.
- Print advertising – Which local publications does your target audience read? Consider advertising your services there. Local advertising can be an affordable way to reach prospects and generate leads.
- Soliciting business – If there are a handful of companies you want to do business with, you can focus your efforts on meeting people within that organization, uncovering their needs, and building rapport. Figure out which networking groups they attend. Read their blogs. See if they have Twitter or Facebook accounts. Then, get to know key contacts over time.
When you give anything away for free, you will get some people who enter false names or email addresses. To counter this, you can require visitors to double opt-in to your contact list. This means visitors will receive an email asking them to confirm their subscription. They only receive the free information after they confirm.
To build a successful company, always be on the lookout for people to add to your marketing and sales pipeline. Marketing and lead generation should be your top priority.