The saying, “There’s strength in numbers,” applies to just about everything—and even to lead generation. Here are some ideas for how a small business can generate leads by tapping into their network of both individuals and businesses.
- Tap into your satisfied customers for referrals. Develop a referral program where you regularly ask customers to refer friends or colleagues who might be interested in buying what you sell. Referrals work best if you systematize them, so create referral forms you can include with your invoices, make it a practice to ask for referrals during follow-up calls post-sale, or set your CRM to trigger requests for referrals at specific times in the customer relationship.
- Get social. Use social media for more than just posting pictures of your products or tweeting about your services. Get specific by asking your fans and followers to share what you post (you’re more likely to get shares and retweets if you ask!). Create a landing page on your website and drive social traffic to that page where you can capture lead information.
- Do some good, old-fashioned networking. Social media matters, of course, but face-to-face networking is still important too—particularly if your product or service has a long sales cycle, is a big investment or requires lots of hand-holding to make a decision. Get out there and work the networks that are most likely to generate leads—whether that’s a local organization or an industry association that your best customers belong to.
- Partner with other businesses. “Co-opetition” is a great way to work with a complimentary business to generate leads. Find a related but not directly competitive business that shares your same customer base, and figure out ways you can cross-promote each other’s products or services. For example, if you own an accounting firm targeting small businesses, you could partner with a law firm that targets the same clientele. Refer customers to each other, put brochures and business cards in your waiting area touting the other’s services, and post ads for each other on your websites.
- Be a friend. Lots of leads come from informal relationships that have nothing to do with business. Whether you’re in the gym, at your place of worship or at your kid’s school, keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities and people who may be prospects for your business. Be ready with business cards, a friendly smile and a willingness to listen and ask questions. You never know what it might “lead” to.
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