Lead Generation

Small Business Lead Generation Ideas & Tips

Charlie Cook


I Bet Most Of Your Prospects Don’t Know What You Do Or Why They Should Buy From You

Charlie Cook

Last week I got calls from two people at Wall Street financial firms, who both had the same question. How to explain what they do in 15 seconds or less? Why were these professionals from prominent firms with large marketing departments looking for a better way to talk about what they do?

One, I’ll call George, had been stockbroker, a profession everyone knew and thought they understood. You may remember stockbrokers got a bad name selling stocks on commission as the last market bubble burst. Now when people ask George what he does, he doesn’t want to say he is a stockbroker, and in fact it no longer applies.

Recently some of the larger investment firms restructured brokers’ jobs, changing both pay structures and responsibilities to provide more comprehensive financial services. George isn’t a stockbroker anymore and is having a tough time describing all he now does to prospects in a sentence or two. When you can’t describe what you do in a 15 second marketing statement, it is difficult to spread the word about your services.

Learn how to find the right words to explain exactly how you help prospects. With a brilliant small business marketing message you’ll attract more clients right away. Use the ’15 Second Marketing’ guide to create more business opportunities.

If you have trouble explaining what you do, take these steps to develop your marketing message.

1. Identify your target market
– Who specifically are your clients?
– Who are the people you’d like to become your clients?

2. Clarify your prospects’ problems and concerns.
– What are they worried about?
– How are they wasting time and money?
– What do they want?

3. Define the benefit you offer
– What do they get from your products or services?

4. Put the above together into a single sentence

Whether you offer one type of service or ten, the objective is to use your succinct marketing message to get the conversation going. Then you can ask questions to clarify your prospect’s specific needs and describe the solutions you provide.

Don’t get stuck like George without a way of explaining what you do. Get your small business marketing message working and see your business grow.

Learn how to find the right words to explain exactly how you help prospects. With a brilliant business marketing message and elevator speech you’ll attract more clients right away.


Who’s Responsible For Your Sales – Your Customer or You?

Charlie Cook

” Even though I have a number of satisfied clients I get very few referrals. I provide top quality service and get lots of praise but hardly any of my clients send new business my way.”

“What am I doing wrong?”

Shelby was telling me one of her small business marketing problems. She’s working hard to provide a great service, but not getting enough new lead generation.

Does your firm have the same problem?

Discover how to find the right words to explain exactly how you help prospects. With a brilliant elevator speech and small business marketing message you’ll attract more clients right away. Use the ’15 Second Marketing’ guide to create more business opportunities.

Let me ask you a couple of questions:
1. Is it your client’s job to know that your business depends on having a steady stream of referrals?

2. Do you expect your clients to remember the full range of services you offer and problems you solve?

3. Is it your client’s job to know how to describe your services to attract new clients?

4. Do you expect your clients to identify new prospects for you?

5. Is it your job to regularly remind clients of the services you provide, help them identify referrals and coach them in which words to use?

If you answered yes to #1, 2, 3 or 4, you gave the wrong answer.

Somehow we’ve developed unrealistic expectations regarding referrals. We think that because we’ve done a great job or provided a great product, our clients and customers will become our best sales people. Its not so. Your satisfied clients are likely to thank and then unless prompted; they won’t think of you again.

Take Shelby, for example. She provides high-end catering to corporations in New York City. Last year, she catered events for many Fortune 500 companies including one with attendance of over a thousand people. Letters of thanks and praise followed, but not one referral. What was she doing wrong?

Shelby didn’t have a plan for lead generation. She didn’t know that it was her job to help her satisfied clients provide referrals or how to do it.

Discover how to position yourself and your business for success and learn where to start and how to focus your business marketing to attract more clients and increase sales >>

Use your articles to establish yourself as an expert and increase credibility. Find out how to write your articles and where to distribute them >>

Understand that it is your job to help clients generate referrals. Don’t expect them to remember that your business depends on referrals or to know the range of problems you solve or the best way to talk about what you do.

Develop a plan for generating referrals. Be proactive in establishing expectations so clients know that you are continually looking for referrals.

Learn how to ask for referrals. Just asking, “Do you know anyone who can use my services?” won’t get you very far. Use specific questions to help clients identify potential prospects.

If you’ve been in business for a year or more, you should have many satisfied clients. Learn how to generate referrals and you’ll see your business grow.

Discover how you can prompt your prospects to contact you >>


5 Proven Lead Generation Strategies For Small Businesses

Charlie Cook

If you are an independent professional or small business owner, building the list of prospects you market to should be one of your core marketing activities. The more people who are interested in your products and services, the better your chances of growing your sales.

Wouldn’t you like to have the contact information for another thousand or ten thousand prospects for your products and services?

Obviously you want to choose promotional strategies that pay for themselves. If an ad costs a thousand dollars and brings in fifteen hundred dollars of business, you’ve made money. On the other hand if you pay a hundred dollars for a mi1lion email addresses and they don’t generate any business you’ve lost money. In addition you’ll be stuck dealing with all those people whose email address you’ll need to delete from your system.

Learn how to find the right words to explain exactly how you help prospects. With a brilliant marketing message and elevator speech you’ll attract more clients right away.

How should you spend your time and money to build a list of highly qualified leads? Here’s an overview of common online lead generation strategies.

MAILING LISTS: Email, Fax and Snail Mail

You can buy hundreds or millions of names to email, fax to or mail to for just pennies per name. Yes, ten thousand or a million people could get your marketing message, but if they are not your target market, it won’t help you a bit and instead could create a negative impression.

Some services like PostmasterDirect.com sell one-time use of lists they’ve built through opt in sign-ups. These lists are composed of people who’ve chosen to receive emails on selected topics. When you have PostmasterDirect.com send your mailing to this list, you won’t be spamming anyone and there is an increased likelihood the recipients will read your email.

The problem is that just because people on the list signed up for free information doesn’t mean they are interested in your particular service or product. You may get a response from use of these third party opt in lists, but in my experience it may not be worth the expense. Give it a try but watch your ROI (return on investment).

Discover how to increase your online lead generation here >>

Co-registration Services

Identifying people who are interested in the problems you solve and your services and products is the key to increasing sales. Co-registration services offer the promise of helping you do this in a cost efficient manner.

The way these work is that you provide a brief description of your business, and the co-registration service then distributes your “mini ad” on their web sites or ezine sign-up pages so people can opt in to your newsletter. You pay for leads when someone signs up and you are provided with the contact information. Some services let you target your market by country. Your “mini ad” might read something like this.

A few services like Hiplists.com and Leadfactory.com actually provide you with what you pay for. They send you qualified contacts for fifteen cents or less per lead. Many other lead generation services and co-registration services just send you junk email addresses. If you’re not careful about who you use for lead generation, your subscriber list will fill up with people who don’t speak English and obviously didn’t sign up, children’s email addresses and invented email addresses such as 123456789@yahoo.com.

If the co-registration service says they can provide you with a thousand opt in names in a day or so for pennies a name, be careful. The services that deliver quality leads charge more and take longer. Once you get the names, track your sales to see if your purchase paid off.

Advertising

Advertising allows you to reach thousands of people who normally wouldn’t find out about your services and products. But you may be spending thousands of dollars to put your message in front of people who have no interest. How should you allocate your advertising dollars?

Radio, newspaper, search engine and newsletter advertising can all work. The results will depend on how many people who want your services are exposed to your ad, whether the words you use in your message actually attract clients, and the cost of the advertising campaign relative to income generated.

Radio and newspaper ads deliver your message to hundreds or hundreds of thousands of people, but only a fraction of a percent will be in your target market. Search engines and newsletters offer you the opportunity to target your ads based on interests and geographic regions.

Free Publicity

Thousands of on-line and off-line publishers are constantly looking for content they can use to attract and keep readers. Use your expertise to write articles that demonstrate your knowledge and ability to solve problems. Include a free offer at the end of your article, get it published, and you’ll find prospects contacting you without spending lots of money on advertising.

Learn how to position yourself and your business for success >>

Unlike advertising, this strategy helps you build credibility and, overtime, a steady stream of highly qualified prospects. If you’re not using your knowledge to share a few solid ideas and attract prospects for free, you should be.

Don’t Waste Your Leads

Once you have a lead make sure your marketing communication addresses the problems they want solved. Plan to contact your leads a minimum of six to eight times. Use the lead generation strategies that work for you, and, produce more income than they cost and you’ll see your business and your profits grow.


How To Get Press and Get Known For Free

Charlie Cook

Want to promote yourself, your firm and get attention to grow your business. Writing articles that provide useful ideas to your target market can be the ticket. Without making a phone call or a request in the last two weeks my articles were published in dozens of publications. In addition I received the following requests.

Emily from Money ‘n Profits, based in New York contacted me, asking if I’d be willing to provide content for a regular column for their one hundred and seventy-five thousand subscribers. Ashley contacted me from Utah for permission to run six of my articles in Sales and Marketing Excellence magazine, along with articles by gurus like Tom Peters, Stephen Covey, Tom Hopkins and Nido Quebin.

On Wednesday, Julie, a reporter from our local paper called. She wanted to know whether I’d like to be featured as the lead story in the Business section. The next day we did an interview over the phone and the photographer stopped by my office. Friday my photo appeared, front and center on the business section with an article on how I help firms to explain what they do.

Does this type of small business marketing publicity help? You bet it does. Getting yourself published for free is a sure way to get attention and grow your business. It’s certainly helped my marketing services business.

After the article appeared in the local paper a number of friends asked how I’d managed to get my marketing services featured in the business section. The secret is, I didn’t make a single call or make a single personal request to get all the above press. All I did was apply a strategy I’ve developed for writing and distributing my ideas on a regular basis.

• Do you want hundreds of qualified prospects contacting you each week?

• Do you want a low cost small business marketing tool you can use month after month to build your business?

Learn how to get published, get attention, and get free publicity so more people contact you about your products and services.

Become a sought after expert. Whether you are a web designer, a financial services adviser, or an accountant, you have more knowledge about your field and than you realize. You know enough to write not one, but a dozen or more articles that your prospect market would love to read.

Stumped about where to begin? One of the best ways to come up with winning and engaging topics is to write down the questions that your clients and prospects ask you and use these as subjects for your articles.

To attract more attention and more clients, you need to spread the word about what you do. Each article you publish generates more free publicity and opens the door to new business by helping people understand the problems you solve.


Website Marketing – Increasing Conversions

Charlie Cook

Do you know how to get the numbers you need to accurately evaluate the performance of your company’s internet marketing? Before selling one of my early sites, I had no idea.

In the late 90s I had a web site I’d developed that was getting well over a million ‘hits’ and over three hundred thousand ‘page views’ a month. When ZDNet approached me about buying the site.

I thought I’d hit the jackpot and that it must be worth tens of milli0ns. Before we even started negotiating on price, though, they wanted to run a test on my site by adding code to the homepage so they could do their! own evaluation.

The numbers I had been tracking, hits and pages views, didn’t help them determine the value of the site. Hits are the number of individual gifs and items that load each time someone visits a page. Page views tell you how frequently different parts of your site are being seen, but you could have a large number of page views triggered by a small audience.

ZDNet wanted to put tracking code on my homepage to determine the number of ‘unique visitors’ to my site. This would tell them how many visitors I was attracting per month and what percentage of these were unique visitors; new visitors who hadn’t already my site or visited one of their own sites.

Learn the strategies and techniques you can use to increase visitors, sales and cash flow >>

The more ‘unique visitors’ you are attracting to your site the better, but you could attract a zillion visitors a month and it wouldn’t help you at all if none of them contacted you or bought from you or at least clicked on the ads on your site. The key question in evaluating your web site’s performance is:

What percentage of site visitors take the action or actions you want them to take, whether it is subscribing to your newsletter, emailing you, calling you to inquiry about your services or making a purchase?

To evaluate your site’s performance first look at your web usage statistics to identify the number of unique visitors your site receives each month. Once you have this number, divide it by the number of people who took the action you wanted them to take. This is your site’s ‘conversion rate’ and is the second number you want to look at each month to determine how well your site is performing.

Let’s say that you had thirty thousand unique visitors each month and generated 30 sales. Your conversion rate would be one-tenth of a percent. If you generated 300 sales, your conversion rate would be one percent. A 1% percent conversion rate is a healthy rate for most businesses on the web.

If you offer a free newsletter, your objective is to get as many people as possible to sign up for it, to maximize your conversion rate. While you may only get 1% of people to buy your products during a given month you should be able to get 5-15% of site visitors to give you their contact information so you can stay in touch with them.

Try the Free Web Site Conversion Calculator >>

Want to improve your web site marketing and increase your web sales?

1. Increase the number of unique visitors to your site.

2. Get more people to contact you and buy from you.

Track your conversion rate as a first step to identifying where and how you can increase your online profits.

Want help driving more traffic to your site and increasing your conversion rates?

Learn the strategies and techniques you can use to increase visitors, sales and cash flow >>


Generate More Leads With Your Freebie

Charlie Cook

It’s surprising how many small businesses have an outstanding product, excellent service, and lots of interest from prospects and still aren’t generating enough sales. I was on the phone recently with the owner of Tyler Acoustics in Owensboro, Kentucky who had just such a problem.

I got to know Ty Lashbrook a couple of months ago when I bought a pair of loudspeakers direct from this small business owner and loudspeaker manufacturer. I was so thrilled with the quality of sound from these speakers that I called Ty to inquire about an additional pair. In our conversation I learned that he wasn’t getting as many orders as he wanted. What was the problem?

Ty’s loudspeakers have received stellar reviews; his customers love his speakers, but he is not getting enough new business. Like many small business owners, Ty doesn’t want to spend a fortune on advertising and doesn’t need or want an overwhelming flood of new orders.

He does want a steady stream of new business so he can sell hundreds of pairs of speakers each year. With a few small changes in his marketing, Ty could generate all the business he wants using the following strategies. Ty has over 250 interested audiophiles a day visiting his web site yet essentially none of these people contact Ty.

Simply by offering a free guide to optimizing speaker placement or an article on the 10 secrets to getting realistic sound, Ty could motivate 10-25% of his site visitors to give him their contact information so he could market to them regularly.

Small Business marketing is about qualified lead generation.

Without a lead generation strategy, Ty is receiving only a couple of new leads a day from the people who call him, and he has no way of staying in touch with prospects. You do the math: if Ty collected the contact information of just 10% of the people who visited his site, in the course of a year he’d have a list of over 9,000 qualified prospects and in two years over 18,000.

A monthly email message to this list of qualified prospects with audio tips and special offers would generate many more new sales then he is currently getting.

Marketing is all about building relationships over time.

Giving away information or a sample product is a sure way to generate leads and build your business. Jeff Rich is a pedorthist with a thriving practice in New York City. Most people have never heard of a pedorthist and have no idea what they do. How does Jeff get business? Jeff, makes custom orthotics for people with foot problems and uses a Give to Get strategy to attract new business.

To get referrals, Jeff mails samples of his orthotics to orthopedic surgeons. Clever marketer that he is, Jeff sends only the right one of a pair. When the orthopedist wants the other they contact him. Once orthopedists try Jeff’s unique orthotics and discover the benefits they refer clients and patients. Giving his custom inserts away has been Jeff’s best source of new business.

Want to use your web site to improve your small business marketing and increase sales? Learn how to attract people to your web site, generate leads and convert them to paying clients >>

A couple of years ago an investment firm in Stamford, CT was seeking to grow its clientele. By offering a series of free workshops to their target market they increased assets under management by over twenty million dollars.

Are you using a Give to Get strategy to grow your business? If not, you could be generating many more leads and much more business.