Small businesses are faced with uncertainties that can impact their longevity. With limited funding, it can be challenging to market products or services, and it’s tough to attract customers, let alone have them stay forever.
To stay ahead of the game, you need to generate more leads for your sales funnel. Lead generation is one of the most cost-efficient marketing techniques you could ever employ – all it takes is some time and patience. Here are some tips to help you get started.
1. Reach out to your personal network
Referrals are one of the best ways to generate qualified leads. Unlike those that you could get from somewhere else, you’re assured that all of the contacts listed are verified. Reach out to your friends, families, and colleagues to uncover new leads. Plus, because you were referred by mutual connections, you start a step ahead in proving your credibility.
Here are some lead generation strategies to help you get the most from your network:
- First things first, you have to ask them to refer you business. It’s a small world, and chances are they know someone who could benefit from your product or service.
- Have something you can show them or give them a business card that they can give to a friend of theirs.
- Ask your friends on social networks to share a post about your business with their own network.
2. Write a blog
Online lead generation is another tactic, and (added bonus!) it costs very little. You know a lot about your business and industry. Blog posts give you the opportunity to position yourself as a leader in the space and share your unique thoughts and build trust with customers and prospects.
Create content that is useful, informative and easy to read. By doing this, you can also create web traffic through search engines. In a world where content is king, blog posts help generate backlinks and increase customer engagement. Keep these things in mind when doing online lead generation through blogging:
- Post regularly and consistently until you make it a habit.
- Include a call to action on every blog post, preferably at the bottom of the content.
- Don’t forget to write your name and claim authorship for original articles.
- Encourage your readers to share your post with their networks.
3. Reach out to the prospectors who didn’t buy
As individuals, we always experience persistent salespeople trying to convince us to buy something they have already offered ten times before. They are not being stubborn or obstinate, they are just practicing what has been said to be the secret of a sales team – “a no, is not a no, but a hidden language that denotes “not yet.’”
Apply this principle to your lead generation and go through your list of past clients who didn’t use your products or services. You never know, now might be the right time for them to make a purchase. Warm leads are easier to convince since they already know who you are, and what your small business has to offer.
- Review your notes and pick up pieces from the past to revitalize conversation.
- Try to call back past clients every six months and make personalized communication.
- Keep them updated with your business by sending email marketing and promotions.
- If you are unsuccessful during the first and second try, the next one might lead to success.
4. Networking isn’t just social
Today, when you say the word “networking,” most people think of social networking sites. But the old-school, in person, face-to-face interaction still holds great value in expanding your list of potential customers. Growing your social network is an integral part of generating lead lists for your small business because it provides a human approach rather than a virtual presence.
There are many networking groups you can join but one that is buzzy right now is meetup.com. It facilitates offline gatherings of different individuals with common interests who meet online.
5. Ask your customers for referrals
Imagine this scenario: you have 10 satisfied clients and all of them refer you to someone who they know will do business with you, and 5 of those “referred by” clients recommend you to their friends and family members – overall you’ve just gained lots of prospective clients through this easy sales process. Referrals from your customers are effective, and they’re not that hard to implement.
But with lead generation through customer referrals, there is a major hindrance for most small business owners – courage. But why fret something you should be proud of? The best time to ask a customer to make a referral is when they are thanking you for your wonderful service. Here are some tips to overcome referral fear:
- Make it a part of your work routine after completed transactions or at the end of meetings.
- Send handwritten thank you notes or small gifts to the referrer, little things count the most.
- Never ask for referrals when you are presenting a bill or charging clients.