Consumers won’t come running through the front door of your brick-and-mortar store or to the virtual shopping cart on your virtual e-commerce storefront. You have to hustle to attract them, get them to make a buying decision, and keep them coming back for more. This is what makes lead generation such an important everyday function of your small (yet growing) small business.
If you want to get the most out of your small business lead generation strategy, it’s essential that you:
Understand Your Ideal Customer
The first thing you need to know is your target demographic. What types of consumers are looking for the products and services your business sells? Here are a few things to consider:
- Assess your offering and consider what motivates consumers to buy your offering.
- Do market research using analytics solutions like Google Trends and Quantcast to obtain a thorough overview of the market landscape.
- Create client profiles and market segments. This will focus on demographics like age, gender, and ethnicity, and psychographics like attitudes, lifestyle, and personality.
Identifying your target market allows your business to create effective marketing communication strategies. Instead of casting out a wide net over a large area, you can be more strategic and maximize your marketing efforts by focusing on the right consumers.
Another strategy is to drill down deeper by finding an underserved market that has pain points your solution addresses. Doing so means focusing on a specific consumer segment or a niche that is traditionally under-served by your competitors. That could make sense depending on your offering and the size of the underserved target market.
Your target customers must be the driver behind the strategic marketing decisions your business makes. Doing so starts with creating a customer persona or customer profile to identify pain points and needs, and this is done by figuring out buying patterns like:
- What products and services they buy
- How they purchase what they want
- Where they buy what they want
- What their motivations for purchasing are
You’ll also want to understand the differences between a customer persona versus a customer profile. The two concepts are similar but are not synonymous.
Customer persona: A fictional client with a picture, name, and traits that represent your ideal client
Customer profile: A general description of your ideal clients
It’s also essential to understand the concept of customer segmentation since it’ll help you figure out how the customers reflecting your various customer personas interact with your brand and how best to specifically target each and every type of target customer. When looking at customer segmentation, you’ll want to consider things like: region, gender, industry, hobbies and special interests, socio-economic status, attributes relevant to your brand or offering, and more. The more detailed you are, the better.
When you’ve properly defined the various consumers that fit into relevant customer personas, your marketing team will have more success at creating highly targeted marketing campaigns that speak to your customers directly.
You can determine how different customers will interact with your brand by considering the why, who, what, when, where, and how questions:
- Why are you launching the campaign, and what do you hope to achieve?
- Who are you targeting?
- What content will appeal to the customer personas that make up your target market?
- When are the various customers most likely to respond favorably to campaigns?
- Where is the best channel for each customer so that they respond favorably?
- How often do customers want to receive marketing materials and communications?
You can gain a lot of information that helps you figure out how different customers engage with your brand. This will help when your marketing and sales teams reach out to customers.
Your small business needs to avoid jumping into the fray without knowing exactly what you’re doing. A good lead generation program needs to be based on good information. You need to know the different buyer personas that make up your ideal client profile (ICP). Once you have the answers you need, you’ll be well on your way toward launching a lead-generation strategy that attracts new clients.
Reach Out to Your Target Market
Lead generation involves reaching out to your target demographic to obtain their contact details. You’ll want to set appointments with prospects, get your sales team to reach out to prospects at the scheduled times, and persuade consumers to make purchasing decisions.
There are various ways to reach out to prospects:
One way to generate leads for your small business is to reach out to prospects via email. It’s effective because, for one, it offers an obligation-free start to the dialogue. The recipients don’t have to get back to your sales department immediately, which will afford them time to research your business. You can use the initial email to set up a phone call to secure the meeting.
Another way to contact prospects is to pick up the phone and give them a call. But your sales representative needs to prepare properly before making the call. They need to understand why customers want what your company offers, the unique value proposition, how to respond to questions, and more. You might be wondering how to decide whether to choose a phone call over an email to initiate contact. If you have an established brand and won’t spend much time familiarizing the prospect with your offering, a phone call can be an excellent way to quickly reach a sales transaction.
Another way to reach prospects and set up appointments is via LinkedIn. LinkedIn has around 875 million members spread out across 200+ countries and territories worldwide. You can bet that consumers fitting your target market are on the popular professional network. But how do you find them among hundreds of millions of people and organizations? You can search for people who fall into your target demographic, introduce yourself and your company’s offering, and set up a call.
You can learn more about identifying your company’s ideal clients and how to effectively target them and lead them to a buying decision by checking out our ICP section.
Implement an SEO Strategy
It goes without saying that search engine optimization (SEO) is essential. When done correctly, SEO will make your website more visible, resulting in more leads generated for your small business. It’ll do this by ensuring that your URL ranks high up on page one of search engine results when people use specific search terms.
As was mentioned earlier, building a website isn’t nearly enough. Consumers won’t come flocking to your online storefront just because it exists. According to one source, there are between 1.6 billion and 1.9 billion websites on the world wide web. And only a fraction of them are active. Practicing SEO allows your website to rank highly on search engines, increasing the chance your business generates new leads.
You can use different strategies as part of a successful SEO campaign. You’ll need to:
- Understand your keywords: You need to know what keywords are commonly used by people who go online to search for the types of products and services your company sells. You’ll have to do some research to find out which keywords are popular so you know which ones work.
- Produce high-quality content: It’s also essential to focus on producing high-quality content that offers value to readers. The content should provide insights and be engaging. Incorporate keywords naturally.
- Be mindful of page titles: You should also create engaging titles for your business’s web pages. They need to grab the attention of people in your target demographic immediately. Compelling page titles can encourage people to spend time consuming the content.
- Enhance the user experience: You need to ensure that your website is easy to use, whether on a computer or a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet. The website should be easy to navigate, intuitive, and streamlined so that clutter isn’t an issue.
- Consider hiring a pro: It’s essential to focus on local SEO since the goal is to find prospects who live in your region. A professional will help ensure your company’s URL features prominently in search engine results when people in the region need what you sell.
Use Social Media to Your Advantage
Leverage the power of social media through organic and paid social media marketing. Both are essential, but you need to understand both types to figure out how to weave them through your strategic marketing plans.
Organic social media refers to free content such as pictures, posts, videos, and other types of content. When you post content organically to your social media platform, you can expect three types of people will see it:
- Your followers
- Followers of your followers
- People following hashtags you use
You can successfully use organic social media marketing to establish your brand and unique value proposition, foster relationships by sharing useful and informative content, engage consumers, and offer help to customers courtesy of solid customer service.
Paid social media marketing involves paying social media networks like Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn to have your content shared with people who fit your target demographic. The social media networks will, for a fee, proactively promote your content to a targeted audience in a way that would not be done with organic social media advertising.
You can use paid social media advertising to promote your brand, attract new followers, generate fresh leads, drive conversions, and more.
While posting regularly is good for customer engagement and building brand awareness, paid social media marketing can help your small business better target its audience and reach the right decision-makers. It’s to your advantage to use both organic social media marketing and paid social media marketing as best suits your business needs.
Build Your Referral Network
At a basic level, most organizations have a set number of emails they send to their subscribers and that’s it – once they reach the end of the sequence, there’s no more communication. Organizations using advanced strategies might have anywhere between 5-10 different email sequences, with new ones being created regularly.
Here’s what an advanced email sequence strategy might look like: a new lead will be added to your general email sequence until they click on a link that indicates they’re ready to buy. This might happen at email #3 or email #14. At that point, they’ll be removed from the general sequence and dropped into another sequence specifically designed to reach them where they are in the buying journey based on the link they clicked.
This cycle is then repeated based on what leads express interest in by clicking (or buying), and the process moves them away from general email messages and drops them into email sequences with a more specific focus. The end result is more conversions.
When leads click links, where do they go? That depends on your company and what’s relevant to your customers. However, generally speaking, you’ll want to provide links that serve three purposes: links that lead to a purchase, provide value, and help you fill in the gaps in their contact record.
Links that lead to purchase basically say something like, “click here to buy this product/service.” Links that provide value are links that go to blog posts, white papers, webinars, case studies, or anything else of value. You can use these links to fill in contact record gaps.
For instance, in order for someone to access your white papers, they’ll need to provide a couple more bits of information, such as their industry and job title. This process of filling in the gaps is known as “progressive profiling.”
Consider Outsourcing Lead Generation Efforts
Would it make more sense for your business to outsource lead generation efforts? When you look at the benefits of going this route, you’ll want to consider the idea seriously. The benefits of outsourcing lead generation, rather than doing it in-house, include the following:
- Talk to decision-makers: When you outsource lead generation, you’ll talk to decision-makers since the service provider will do the heavy lifting in finding qualified leads.
- Focus on core competencies: Outsourcing lead generation means your sales department can concentrate on other priorities like planning marketing campaigns.
- Reduce costs: Outsourcing lead generation can also reduce your expenses by letting sales experts leverage their processes and procedures to get you leads.
- Better performance evaluation: The service provider will help you evaluate the success of your marketing campaigns by looking at the metrics.
- Collaborate with sales experts: You’ll have access to a high-performing sales team and different sales tools and technologies. This will allow your small business to focus on running everyday business operations.
Lead generation is a must for businesses of every size. But it’s arguably more essential for small businesses that are competing with larger enterprises for the same target demographic.
As you can see, lead generation encompasses a wide range of areas. You need to figure out your target client, know how to reach out to that demographic, implement an effective SEO strategy, leverage the power of social media both in terms of organic and paid campaigns, and build your referral network. That’s a great deal of work, which is one reason you should consider outsourcing your lead generation duties to an experienced third party helping small businesses like yours.
Abstrakt Marketing Group is a business growth company based in St. Louis, Missouri. We have 10+ years of experience providing small business owners with lead generation solutions that cause predictable growth. Do you want to find out more about how our outsourced sales and marketing services can help your small business achieve its goal? Get in touch today to learn how we can be your partner in small business lead generation!
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