Part 2: The SME Marketing Guide: Effective Lead Generation
The tactics outlined below are just a few ideas that you could consider (by no means a definitive list)!
One of the most effective ways to generate new leads is to start identifying and attending relevant sector, service and solution based events. Tap into the local/national events produced by your industry media and association partners. If you supply services to the retail sector for example, make sure you look into what events IGD and Retail Week are providing in 2012. In addition to these events, you can also do some research into what low-cost or free events are taking place i.e. Business Link and CIM.
If you have some marketing budget available, it may be worth your while looking into those key events within your sector and review the many sponsorship options available. Whilst this is a more expensive route, you can really maximise your investment by getting a great list of benefits i.e. stand space, speaking slots, showguide adverts, branding at event, VIP delegate passes for clients/prospects, online logo and profile and all delegate contact data to name but a few.
Buying a list of contacts is a simple way of getting the contact information you need for a planned sales/marketing campaign and also allows you to cost effectively define your contact profiles, so that the contacts you source are in fact the ones that you need to be speaking to. Media partners will provide this service also through their own subscription data, but this can be quite expensive and you will only be renting the data for a specific campaign.
This is a really great way of generating leads for your business and if you can develop a hot topic for presenting (then you will enjoy some great results). Whilst again doing this through a media partner can be an expensive process, you can do it quite cheaply using a simple webinar software i.e WebEx. Promoting your webinar can be easily achieved by adding the registration on your email signature, website, Twitter feed, LinkedIn company page and off course using various LinkedIn groups to promote your webinar and to boost the registrations.
The beauty about social sites, specifically LinkedIn, is that you can now communicate with your target audience at no cost. The key driver for generating new leads here is to develop some compelling content/findings that you can share with potential prospects within the groups. If people like what they read, then they may just contact you for more information.
You can generate new leads directly from your website, but only if you update it with good, fresh, compelling content which is SEO friendly. A good tactic is to frequently add a mixture of best practice guides, special reports, video content, case studies, testimonials and online polls – with a clear call to action for further information. Make sure to add contact details for your prospects to get in touch and look at a data capture tool, which allows those who visit to enter their contact details for further information. The next phase will be to again use social media as a vehicle to promote the content i.e. post on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and social bookmarking sites.
Word of Mouth
This is perhaps the strongest form of marketing available and you must make sure to maximise your existing client relationships. Get clients to give you testimonials that you can use on your website, newsletter and marketing collateral and aim to get as many great case study examples of how you have helped clients become more profitable or efficient in their own service delivery. If you do a fantastic job for a client – they will definitely recommend you to others (so make sure you continue to provide a world-class service).
Hire talented staff who don’t just meet the requirements of the job, but who bring a wealth of contacts from their previous employment. They may cost more to hire, but if you are going to get work from a global account in the future because of their reputation and relationships – it is a wise investment.
Having a strong media presence is a great way of generating new leads. Develop good editorial relationships with your core media partners and stay abreast of all forward features so that you can contribute. If this approach is sustained, and you can secure plenty of media presence – your brand will enjoy great exposure (creating new leads).
One of the most effective tactics that I have used in the past is that of doing free research. Pick a hot topic/theme/issue and leverage your editorial contacts to get it published. The extra bonus with this approach is that you can also use this strategy to directly approach prospects (before the research) to introduce what you are doing and giving them the opportunity to add a question for free. Once the report is available, you can report the full findings and recommendations to those prospects (in addition to again having great copy) to promote via social media sites.
If you would like to discuss any of the above strategies in more detail or arrange a consultation to look at developing a bespoke lead generation approach for your business, please contact me.