Lead Generation Archives -
Whether you’re operating on a shoestring marketing budget or not, stretching your marketing dollars and getting the most ROI for your business is always important. Here are 7 easy ways you can improve your marketing in 2012 without spending anything more than time.
1. Update or Start a Blog
If you already have a content-managed website, schedule an appointment with yourself to update it regularly by adding to your blog or news section. Be realistic. If you haven’t added anything in 6 months, you’re probably not going to become a daily or weekly blogger overnight. Shoot for once or twice a month. Dry on ideas? Bullet point a few ideas in a document you keep on your desktop, and add to it as you come across ideas; this will help prevent “blank page blues.”
If you don’t have a blog, there are many free blogging platforms that you can use and link to from your website. Take the time to tweak a layout enough so that users find it somewhat consistent with your website.
2. Get on LinkedIn
LinkedIn brings a lot of bang for the buck by allowing you to put up a profile and a company page. Free. LinkedIn also has a nifty WordPress App that will show your latest blog posts if you use WordPress as your blogging or website platform. Install and configure the app on LinkedIn, and then simply use “linkedin” as one of your tags when you post.
** Update, December 2012 : LinkedIn has recently eliminated the WordPress app. A bad move, in my opinion, but there’s nothing that says you can’t still get some mileage from your blog posts on LinkedIn. Simply post a link and a few lines about what your new post is about to LinkedIn, and consider adding a second website link to your LinkedIn profile that goes directly to your blog or news section.
3. Put Up a Fan Page on Facebook
Depending on the type of business you do, Facebook can be a great way to engage and attract new clients. Avoid the hard-sell and provide interesting, engaging and valuable posts.If you can figure out how to post a graphic or photo, you’ll get noticed in feeds more easily. Even if you don’t believe Facebook is the best fit for your business (and it’s not for many), then consider the fact that it’s free and provides an inbound link to your company website.
4. Google+ For Better SEO
Yes, it’s another social media platform. Yes, it’s a little more time spent. While there are no guarantees that you will get better page ranking by being on Google+, I personally noted a huge jump in my ranking in Google searches within a few months of putting up a personal profile that I optimized for my business. Now that Google+ is open for business pages as well, it makes sense to have one.
5. Double Up For Referrals
How many people do you hand your business card to in the course of a year? Double that number by never handing out less than two cards. An extra card is a referral waiting to happen, and you don’t have to come off as pushy to encourage it. Simply hand over two cards and say, “Here’s an extra card in case you or someone else may need it.” Seed planted. Okay, this one isn’t totally free, but depending on how many business cards you order at a time, you’re creating opportunities for referrals for about 5 cents apiece. Keep in mind that the person who receives your card from someone else doesn’t know anything about you or your business, so make use of the back of your card to describe your business with some effective bullet points.
6. Do Someone a Favor
The world is full of people who only think about themselves and their business. Want to stand out in the crowd? Find a way to connect someone to a colleague, make a referral, write a recommendation or do something free, whether it’s for a charity or a customer. Expect nothing in return. Don’t you like to do business with nice people? So does everyone else.
7. Speak Up
If you want to create buzz about your expertise, look for opportunities to speak: business networking groups, conferences, etc. This isn’t a free commercial for your company; it’s about bringing value by sharing some of your expertise. Give some great insight or advice, and you get to be recognized as an expert, thought leader or resource. Hint: a nice PowerPoint to keep your topic organized and on track is really helpful and easy to create.
There you go! There are a lot of things you can do that don’t cost much or anything, and if you do them effectively and consistently, I promise you will see results!
How to improve the performance of the hardest working tool in your arsenal!
Your business card should be quality stuff.
It does NOT have to cost you an arm and a leg. Cards printed on your computer on sheet-fed stock are too thin. Every attempt I have made in the past ended up with cards that are warped just from peeling them off of the backing paper. This will not do. Quality cards, printed on quality stock, bought in bulk (500 or more) cost less in the long run.
The same goes for the free cards offered by companies that print their logo on the back. Do you really want your customers and prospects thinking you can’t afford to buy decent business cards? The quality of the card you hand out reflects directly on you.
Your card should contain your contact information.
This sounds pretty obvious, but you and I both have cards that don’t contain enough contact information. I have a card passed on as a referral that only contains a company name, a phone number, and a website address. I would like to have the name of the person I am contactingat the very least. In this case, my philosophy of “Less is More” just doesn’t cut it.
In the same breath, I will also tell you that you don’t have to list every single way of contacting you if it isn’t relevant. For instance, if you work from a home office and you don’t see clients there, don’t list your address. If you are the kind of person that checks your email once a week whether you need to or not, either join the computer age, or don’t list an email address. You don’t want to be thought of as unresponsive if it takes you a week to read and respond.
Your card should clearly represent what you sell, provide, do, or are capable of.
This is your mini-brochure! Whether you are networking for a job or new clients, if someone can’t tell what you do, you are not going to get a call. It is easier and faster to find another person or company than to find out if you are a good fit. Provide a tool that works effectively.
This is vitally important if your card is passed along to someone else. The information on your card is all they have.
Don’t try to cram everything into a few inches.
Business cards have two sides, and many printers don’t charge a penny more to print on both. Use the extra real estate, keep it concise, and provide links to fuller information, like a website or a LinkedIn profile.
If a logo is applicable, include it!
This is your first brand impression, so integrate it. If your company is fully branded, use the fonts, colors, and wording that communicates your brand.
Handing out more than one card is a referral waiting to happen.
Make referrals easy!
By Karri Hill
On 26, Mar 2010 | In Lead Generation | By Karri Hill
If you’re like me, you probably get several emails a week offering lists of leads you can purchase. Lists of hundreds or thousands of people and companies you can presumably add to your email and phone campaigns. Tempting?
I may take some heat for this, but I have to tell you to just say “no” to the list. Why?
The quality of the contacts may not be all it’s cracked up to be. It may be years out of date, it may contain hundreds of dead ends, and it may even be crammed with decent contacts that are good for someone, but not for your business. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard my customers tell me that they purchased a list, created an email campaign and got zero response.
I’m never surprised.
You must realize that direct mail and email have low response rates to begin with. Maybe you do, and maybe that’s why you purchased the list of thousands of names in the first place, playing the numbers game. You’re hoping to generate some instant responses and jumpstart your marketing efforts. Unless you stop to think about a few things, your success is going to be very limited.
First things first:
The first thing you absolutely must do when generating leads is to define who your best customers are. Who is an ideal fit for what you provide? Who pays on time and is a dream to work for? Who do you want to work for? Why?
You can’t and shouldn’t be all things to all people. Targeting your products and services to meet a narrower audience, while seeming counter-productive, actually gives you an edge with the market you seek. It’s called niche marketing, and it works. It is better to be an expert and a perfect fit for a few hundred than to be one of the many who promise something for everyone.
A perfect example of this concept is a young man I met at a networking event a few months ago. He is a disc jockey: weddings, private parties, graduations, etc. So are a lot of other people. His hook? He specializes in Indian music. As he said to me, “I may have a smaller pool of prospects, but there are plenty of people who want Indian music for their special events. It is hard to find someone who has what they want. I not only have it, but I understand what they want. I am a perfect fit for them, and I can actually charge more because I specialize. A lot of my jobs are referrals.”
This young man has a bright future.
Second things second:
Not only did my young friend define a niche market, he understood their needs and wants. Do you understand what your best customers want? Are you tailoring your products and services to meet their needs? If so, you’ll be more successful. Effective marketing and sales is always about them, not you. Even if you don’t change anything that you offer, you must learn to market what you offer so that it speaks to your customer’s needs that aren’t met elsewhere. Find their pain, meet it, speak to it.
Good things come in threes:
Now that you’ve defined your best customer and figured out how to best meet their needs or tailored your marketing to speak to them, how do you go about building the list you wanted in the first place?
Find out where your prospects are, of course!
Where to they go, where do they network, what do they have in common? Who else provides services to them? Network with those people too! Sure, it takes a little longer than sending off an email or a direct mail campaign to thousands with the click of a button, but you’ll enjoy more actual warm leads by employing this process.
Happy, effective marketing!