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Small Business Lead GenerationPre-qualification can arguably be referred to as the most under-rated procedures in small business lead generation, in spite of the fact that it’s an essential and extremely rewarding step in the process. During the course of getting in touch with new clients, one can ask qualifying questions that can not only set up the base for lead scoring, but also help in managing leads better. Since one obviously wants to generate the highest quality leads, it’s necessary to know whether the lead in question fits the bill or not. Because if it does not, then there’s no point even going further than the first call.

Often, marketing teams don’t want to make the extra effort during their small business lead generation, since they are constantly in a very aggressive mode, trying to expand operations by showing results. However, sales and marketing must get along towards the common goal of getting leads of better quality and closing them. Agreed, these departments have different roles, but if marketing does not attract good quality leads, there’s very little sales can do to achieve targets, which impacts the entire organization. For this purpose, telemarketing is generally the best way forward, as it involves a human angle.

 

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While using forms, or considering to do so for the purpose of small business lead generation, it’s important to analyze how technical the information being disseminated really is. This is because while the content being provided might be very exclusive and of great perceived value, there is also a risk that the recipient might not entirely understand that value of the same. This can be really detrimental to the business objectives as it can lead to misunderstandings. So, one needs to ensure that the prospect to whom the message is being sent can be easily contacted.

Using forms for small business lead generation also requires one to see whether the content can serve as a filter. So, less can actually amount to more when it’s about closing leads. By using registration forms on select pieces of communication, one can get relevant leads. Essentially, this helps in segregating the high and low quality leads. And lastly, one needs to check whether the content is a fresh piece of information, or an insight into an already known fact. With the passage of time, as the content reduces in freshness, so to speak, one must remove the registration process so that new and upcoming content is valued more, and the cycle continues…

 

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The first consideration when it comes to using forms for small business lead generation is whether or not the content that is associated with it is going to be distributed across many people. For instance, if there is a special research conducted by a company that it would like to publicize, using a form for distributing the study is not such a smart idea, for the simple reason that if the other means to promote the study, like PR campaigns, blogging, etc., are successful, it’s going to be distributed in any case. However, if the information is exclusive and would not be shared outside of the organization, a registration form would make more sense.

The next point of consideration for using forms with regards to small business lead generation refers to the utility and relevance of the content, which is directly related to where the recipient is placed in the sales cycle. For instance, a fact sheet or analysis would be more useful to someone who is early in the sales cycle, but would not be too much of a help to someone placed towards the end of the cycle. Obviously, the latter is someone whom the business would like to establish the closest contact. So, it’s important to use a form for content that appeals to this person, so that one can get the maximum information.

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Of the many small business lead generation tactics firms use to achieve the desired objective, free content in the form of downloadable wallpapers, informational videos, etc. are the most common and most effective. However, to ensure that its own purpose is also served, the organization utilizes a registration form to know more about the prospect. This obviously limits the distribution of the content, since not everyone would be willing to fill out a form for content that has not been viewed.

However, while that is perfect when one sees how it helps filter out uninterested prospects, when it comes to practical implications with regards to small business lead generation, using a registration form is not exactly the best of strategies, simply because one is ignoring the fact that a multitude of interactions would be required before the prospect would want to give information that is useful for business. So, the more a business gives away, so to speak, without registration, the higher are the chances that the prospect would be willing to be more receptive towards the brand offerings. The upcoming posts will talk about how brands can get the maximum leverage out of leads using forms.

 

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Focusing on local customers is a great way to ensure success with small business lead generation. Generally, there has been a trend that local consumers want to benefit their local communicate and would prefer buying local whenever it suits them. This gives a great reason to maintain a relationship and keep them informed, for their propensity towards becoming more loyal to the brand is considerably higher. Also, customers won’t mind paying a little extra when they trust a brand on a different level. There are also many organizations that actively support local businesses, as they are the backbone of the local economy.

Often, companies tend to ignore local customers during their small business lead generation endeavors, unaware of the fact that this particular section can actually help them expand their business. Also, businesses can benefit a great deal by developing a referral strategy that encourages word of mouth promotions, which are a lot better than spending on advertising which does not get the same kind of results, particularly in case of lesser known brands. The best time to ask for referrals from customers is right after they have purchased, although businesses can also resort to using them from time to time via email campaigns and other means. In the end, the proposition is extremely rewarding.

 

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Getting the right message delivered to the right person is extremely important for all kinds of business, and when it comes to small business lead generation, every missed opportunity is extremely critical. Hence, it’s important to utilize a reliable tracking software or technology to know the kind of people that visit the website, the kind of mails they open and click through, and so on. Demographics and psychographics are also extremely important, as they allow the brand to target the message as well as product or service offering. Just by clearly defining what benefits the offering provides can lend a lot more transparency to the entire system and ensure better results.

Small business lead generation is also buoyed by creating partnerships with relevant businesses that provide products or services complimentary to the brand’s offering. The business models can be integrated together and the entire sales and delivery process can be intermingled to mutually benefit from different kind of business deals. Growing together is one of the most important ways to expand business, and by partnering with a reliable organization helps businesses give their customers more value, which also ensures their loyalty.

 

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Using local SEO is another great small business lead generation tactic that can give brands the much needed exposure without overspending. All that is needed is to establish a web presence for the business and optimize the website. There are many online tools like Google Places that are of critical importance for getting listed and having a better chance of being found online by interested consumers. Using the Google keyword tool and researching common phrases that are used to find a particular product or service that the brand is selling is nearly a sure-shot way of getting the desired exposure, although brands generally prefer taking the assistance of a specialist agency in this regard, since this is a technical aspect of small business lead generation.

Other online tactics are using the target keywords on every page, writing relevant content in accordance with the keyword, creating page titles using these keywords and promoting the website via search engine optimization (again in collaboration with a specialist agency) are some of the other effective lead generation measures that can give great results. An increasing number of organizations are also maintaining a company blog, since that also helps in search engine optimization, eventually bringing the business closer to its objectives.

 

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Owing to the phenomenally high number of new ventures and startups being setup, the need for small business lead generation is growing leaps and bounds. The next set of posts will take a deep dive into the kind of tactics organizations can utilize to give their business a boost via simple steps.

The first step that needs to be taken for better small business lead generation is to setup separate teams for capturing leads and for converting them. Too often, startups have a unified sales team for this purpose, and this is where the problem begins. By having two separate teams, the roles are clearly defined, and the organization can also hire specific people according to their skill set. Expecting someone to be a master of both fields (or even a jack of all trades) is a mistake that becomes the organization’s undoing. Also, by dividing the team on the basis of their roles, one can also track performance in a better manner and organize dedicated training sessions to ensure better results. All in all, dividing the sales team gives organizations the license to take their business to the next level, and virtually ensures that customers are more satisfied.

 

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Startup enterprises find it increasingly difficult to find a place for themselves in the market, for the simple reason that they are yet to build credibility. And this is more so in case of the B2B domain, where the stakes are already so high. However, there is one small business lead generation tactic that is almost as under-utilized as it is effective – webinars.

The reason why they are so effective is because in the B2B domain, information is the key to winning a bigger market share. This information can be theoretical (in case of consultancy services) or practical (any of the many firms that execute/help their clients in executing projects). The simple fact is that the best way to leave a favorable impression on clients is by showcasing the knowledge-base of the brand. And there’s no better way than organizing a webinar. With a bit of effective marketing on professional and social networks, besides email invites to the TG, the brand can score really well in terms of small business lead generation. Many brands choose to take the assistance of third party agencies for organizing or marketing these webinars, since it makes achieving the desired objective all the more easy.

 

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Inbound marketing is another great way for small business lead generation. Companies that create good quality content that is of interest to their TG often end up benefiting tremendously from this step. Thanks to the increased usage of the internet to search for products and services, coupled with the marvels of search engine optimization, content has certainly become ‘king’ in every sense of the word. Good quality content achieves the hardest step in the entire sales and marketing lifecycle, i.e., getting a person to visit the company’s website.

Once this has been done, it’s relatively easier to close the deal via a series of call to action buttons and landing page forms. However, it’s essential to indulge in smart SEO, which is essentially a three part process. First, the website needs to be optimized for the right keywords, since just writing articles and blogs focused on industry-oriented keywords is not enough. Also, the websites where the articles are submitted need to have a decent page rank, so as to give the maximum benefit to the business. Also, sharing the content via social networks is extremely important to get the maximum attention, so that the results are amplified and the business can be taken to the next level with simple marketing tactics.

 

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