I ran into an old friend on Facebook who just started a small-scale professional services firm. After I told him the line of business I was in, a light bulb went off and he exclaimed that he needed to figure out the best ways to generate more sales leads.
I started to ask what B2B lead gen techniques he had put into effect. My curiosity grew as he answered my query because I knew that inefficient lead generation techniques were often a hitch that hold a new burgeoning business back, not letting them make a positive step towards sales pipeline stability.
As expected, I was told that his company used some sophisticated techniques but only half-heartedly, such as pushing e-mails, making a flurry of calls, the occasional newsletter, and networking using social media - "just to get it out there." His follow-up activity was minimal, at best.
As a bit of useful advice, I made him aware of other lead gen techniques custom-made for SMBs that could improve dramatically what the current lead gen techniques are doing. Actually, I had a lot of things run through my mind as I was quite cautious about discussing only those lead generation techniques that an SMB had the leverage to employ.
"You gotta start in a frenzy," I said, "and really fill the top line of your funnel." I continued and shared some of my years of experience in lead generation with him. Our discussion had a nice flow and I jotted notes as we spoke. Here are some of the quick tidbits I shared about all those useful techniques that no SMB could leave unexplored.
1. Link Building for SEO Lead Generation
Quite a lot of chatter about link exchanging as "gray-hat" SEO. For now, it serves a purpose. There is organic "white-hat" SEO where you can find some partners, friends, or networking contacts to exchange links with being sure to choose those with a synergistic market. Rely on people you know. Cranking out online directory submissions is more black-hat but has some benefits. Tread carefully.
2. Build a Mailing List
Find a list through various list resources - here we suggest a few good ones. Also, I suggest having multiple contact forms on your website tailoring to various calls-to-action (ie. whitepapers, downloads, articles, etc.)
3. The word “Free” still carries weight
Offer something they get for free. Getting website visitors to take note of your call-to-action is just one step of a series in converting visitors to leads. You need them to fill out the form. Free information is great so don't underplay the word "free" as it plays into all business psychology.
4. What about a “newsletter” now?
It is good that people show a favorable reaction to the content you offer. But what is the next step that you must take to cash in on this response? You must take the effort to send a good newsletter (sample) providing rich information, useful pointers and authoritative columns to incite their interest towards your company.
What if they are not buying your product sometime soon? It is not a concern as what you need them to do is to make use of your product/service whenever a need arises. So, use a newsletter as a silent nurturing tool, then wait till they have a need and hopefully you'll be at the front of the line. Send you're newsletter, at least quarterly, and more often if possible, keeping a strict schedule. People will come to expect it.
5. It’s the Era of Auto-Responders
Nurture, nurture, nurture. I always advise setting up a schedule of nurture emails to stay close to those who fill out a contact form. You can automate using auto-responders, or do it the old fashioned way with a reminder to email Bob. Either way, stay at the tip of their tongue.
My friend appreciated the advice. I hope you do too.