Let Them Come to You
One of the biggest challenges small businesses face is how to get new people aware and interested in your product or services. But with so much competition and a saturated marketplace, particularly online, how do you stand out from the crowd? Identifying new ways of attracting business is always going to be important, but perhaps it doesn’t have to be that hard?
Firstly, let’s take a step back – what is a lead?
In marketing, lead generation is the initiation of consumer interest or inquiry into products or services of a business. Leads can be created for purposes such as list building, e-newsletter list acquisition or for sales leads.
In basic terms – getting people to contact you regarding your products or services.
Doesn’t seem like a tall ask does it? The thing is, with so many businesses, and a guarantee someone close by is doing the same thing as you, how do you get your potential clients to find you?
We are not all born marketers – I’m personally notorious for saying ‘I don’t ‘do’ marketing’, but I’m still attracting new leads weekly, and I’m definitely not sitting around doing nothing. I just chose a more authentic pathway.
Here are some techniques you can apply for an organic lead generation for small business…
Write a Blog, Write it Regularly, Keep it Honest and Interesting
This is probably the one you didn’t want to hear because it does involve a commitment to a consistent offering. But if you have something to say, it’s a worthwhile exercise. And it serves several purposes:
- You have an opportunity to showcase your ‘voice’ for your business. Incorporating your business values and ambitions is a great way to let people see what motivates you;
- Search engines respond well to fresh, new content and this could help increase your visibility (provided you’ve applied good onsite SEO methods to your posts);
- You can speak about news or specific things such as industry innovations which allow you to pitch as a thought leader or authority.
Overall, blogging (often referred to content marketing when there is a strategy in place) is a great way of reinforcing your unique perspective on your business, product or service and shouldn’t be overlooked.
Get Out and Meet People
If you do your job well, there’s a good chance you know where your potential clients are lurking. If you’re in a consulting or service field, being an actual, real, live person (!) gives you the added benefit of being able to reach out to your clients in a non-salesy way. I’m not suggesting you rock up at your client’s coffee shop and stare until they notice you, but keep your eye on events that your clients and your peers may attend and try to attend.
Conferences and meetups are fantastic for this, they offer a non-competitive environment to meet people without the salesly-speak. I’ve attended a number of conferences and have been amazed at the diversity of services and levels of expertise on offer. They are a great way to pick up tips from people you may wish to work with in the future, and you often end up conversing with people who are interested in your business offering as well.
Give Away Something Useful
The keyword here is useful. A little bit of work required in this one – you actually have to produce something worthy of your potential clients’ time – and you have to get it found. In an extremely aggressive ‘bribe to subscribe’ marketplace, doing this organically is more difficult. But it doesn’t have to be. The key to this is knowing where your potential clients are, and knowing what makes them tick.
A great example of this I saw recently was from a travel blogging colleague of mine who created a graphic that simply contained the rules for an old camping card game. There were no examples of this anywhere on the internet, that she could find, so creating a graphic on it and optimising it for her audience to find meant she got thousands of new visitors to her website, who were also interested in travelling. As a graphic, she was able to promote it across Pinterest and Instagram, again, alerting people to the existence of her website.
Being the authentic source of a unique download also gives you an expert edge. And, if you set it up correctly, a quality email address to continue marketing to.
Team With Other Businesses Who Offer Complementary Services
A complementary business is one that does not offer the same services and products as you, but that you share clients with. So you’re not in competition with them, but you have an opportunity to refer work to them as a trusted partner, and vice versa.
- Web designer and an SEO copywriter
- Business coach and accountant
- Creative project manager and graphic design studio
- Hairdresser and a beauty salon
- Photographer and a wedding reception venue
Setting up trusted networks of people whom you share clients with is a fantastic way to nurture awareness of your business. And connecting with those who are happy to exchange referrals on an ongoing basis means you’ll have a ready source of pre-warmed leads coming your way.
Learn About the Benefits of Onsite SEO
One of the biggest challenges to any small business owner is getting found in search engines. Sure, you can buy ads, pay an SEO company $XXXX per month etc, (assuming your website is awesome and highly optimised for conversion, this is a good strategy), but getting a grip on that elusive ‘organic’ traffic is certainly worth your while. I’d love to say this is quick and easy, but it’s not. If done correctly however, having your website technically geared and the content optimised can be one of the best ways to get your products and services found without the hard sell.
You can pay someone, but there are also some fab DIY resources for this. If you’re keen to get stuck in, a great starting point for this is https://moz.com/learn/seo.
The words ‘lead generation’ get thrown around a lot, particularly in the context of online marketing, but when you break it down, all it means is, ‘to summon enough interest in your business to get people to contact you’. And you’re probably doing this on a daily basis anyway. The trick is to be conscious of every opportunity that comes your way and be authentic and consistent in your delivery of your brand, product or service. Don’t be afraid to try something new, and keep an eye on what your audience respond to, and how you find your own vendors.
Do you think organic lead generation is enough, or do you prefer more assertive mainstream marketing techniques? I’d love to hear any other ways you source your leads, and if you have had any success with the above strategies. Please feel free to leave a comment below.