Tactics for getting people in the door
You can make the argument that all branding is essentially lead generation. Lead generation is the process of acquiring new, potential clients. Good brands nurture those leads into loyal, returning customers - hopefully for many years. So here’s a look at lead generation tactics. There are more tactics now than ever before, so the value of having a cohesive and continuous brand should be as apparent as ever. Simply put, customers and potential clients don’t just walk in the front door anymore. They can come in through the side door, the windows, the cracks in the wall and everywhere in-between if you’ve done your homework and engaged them correctly.
One of the issues with small businesses is that they rely too much on the customer walking in through the front door. This is true in a literal sense for many neighborhood restaurants, cafes, florists, shops, etc.
Today however, there are many ways to engage with potential clients: customers can read reviews on Yelp and get a sense of your business before even laying eyes on it. You might place an ad on FaceBook for your business or fine tune your SEO on your blog so leads come to you through a Google search. Lead generation is all about funneling potential clients towards your business or service, and if you’ve nurtured these relationships adequately, they will walk in the door ready to do business with you.
Consistent Branding Matters
The sheer number of tactics is a reminder of why having a consistent, engaging brand is critical. A big part of nurturing these leads is creating trust. In the end, trust is what enables your sales. On some level, what you’re saying to your customers is “I’ll solve your problem”. You may do it cheaply - creating value for them - if that’s what they are looking for, or you may charge a premium and provide the highest quality service in all the land. Either way, trust is what closes the deal. But if your logo looks second rate, and you don’t have consistency across all your brand touch points (business cards, website, emails, packaging, etc.), trust is harder to establish.
Walking down the street you see logos that are outdated, that aren’t representative of their business’s products, or that are just plain ugly. These inconsistencies keep people from walking in the door. Never mind that any of the other tactics to attract paying customers aren’t even being applied.
So my advice to you as a small business owner, is to put some of these tactics in to action, but be sure to invest a little more time (and money!) in your brand so that you’ll be able to use these techniques to effectively create trust with quality, loyal, paying customers.
Lead Generation For Small Businesses
In the book “Lead Generation For the Complex Sale” author Brian J. Carrol describes lead generation as being similar to a financial portfolio. Similar to a well balanced portfolio, what you are looking for are the techniques that yield the highest return on investment. If you aren’t having success in one area, try another. The goal is to have many ways for customers to find you and want to do business with you. These examples are just a few of many. I’ll go into more detail on each tactic on future posts. For now, this is just a list to get you thinking about lead generation. Once you find what works for you, you can put together a lead generation campaign made up of the most effective tactics that consistently brings in business for you.
- Landing page
Having a good website, goes without saying. It doesn’t have to be flashy, just easy to use, with good, useful content. A blog is a wonderful way to engage potential clients.
Again, another easy way to engage your brand with potential leads. How you communicate in social media is a big part of you brand identity.
- One to one
- One to many
You can set up an email campaign to let potential clients learn about promotions or other news.
- Organic Search
- Paid Search
- Newsletter Sponsorship
Use paid search, banners, Facebook ads to reach new clients.
- Self mailer
- Post cards
- Personal Letters
Might seem kind of old school now but if you do it in a way that doesn’t seem like junk mail it can be an effective tactic for landing new clients.
- Work Shops
- Trades Shows
- Pavement Pounding
Get out every now and then and go to an industry conference and meet people. There is no better way to create trust than to meet in person.
Word of mouth is the holy grail of creating trust. A referral comes to you already with the trust that you’ll fix their problem. This again goes back to being consistent with your branding, in whatever form it may be. People talk, and if you’re able to gain their trust, they will pass it on. Brand evangelists will spread the word for you while you sleep, and those leads will trust that your brand will deliver on it’s promise.
If you’ve used any of these tactics (I’m sure you have) which were the most successful for you? Are there any other tactics you’re using right now to generate leads?