by Karen Nierlich
In client meetings, people are asking me about generating more leads. These are busy businesses and want to grow 5%, 10% or even 20% in this 2013 healthier economic environment. Below is the big picture of what I’m telling my clients to look at.
Keep in mind, marketing is never one size fits all.
That has to do with a lot of factors from the # of clients your business needs, the level of trust and financial commitment of the average customer, the volume of sales, location and much more. With a broad brush at the top level this is what I suggest people consider for their 5-20% lead/sales growth.
1. Keep in Touch Strategies for Generating Referrals
Does most of your business come from referrals now? Does a lot or most of your business come from other professionals? Do you sell a high ticket, high trust item like home services, financial services, web services or other? If so, look at how you are keeping in touch with your best clients or your colleagues or your past referral sources. How are you staying visible to them?
Keeping in touch is also important if you rely on a steady stream of smaller-ticket purchases. Those big companies that mail catalogs out every week know what they are doing. People are much more likely to buy within a day or two of contact from a company. You may not have the need to mail out a catalog every week, but being active with an email, social networking, or blog will also keep you in the top of peoples’ minds (even if all they see is the Subject line and “From” address on your email).
Keep in Touch Strategies include email newsletters, phone calls, postcards, gifts, lunches, events, and sending valuable information, etc.
2. In-Person Networking
If you answered “yes” to the questions above…high ticket, high trust and lots of referrals kind of business then you might want to expand your networking in the New Year. I get a lot of negative responses to this suggestion. Many people consider it too time consuming.
But consider this, you can network outside of traditional networking groups and see your network and thus your business grow. We live in the rich and vibrant Bay Area so consider groups around your personal interests where you can make friends with people who would probably love to do business with you as well (or, better, know lots of people who might love to do business with you). Having fun and expanding your network can go hand and hand. Also, check out the book Never Eat Lunch Alone. This book is pretty over the top, but it really rocked my world and made me a more empowered networker.
Is your business in the lower price per session / larger volume sales category. That might include some health & wellness services, food services, recreation services and retail? Is your business highly localized in one area? Need your clients to find you (as you can’t find the people who need you through networking)? Need discretion or privacy for your clients? Do you work in a less competitive field? (not all of these need apply)
Then you’ll want to look at online marketing and leverage it for more leads:
– Optimized Google + Page
-possible mobile version of site
-videos on a YouTube Channel
– Public Releases (PR) Online
– Facebook & LinkedIn
These are the top level of marketing strategies I’d consider. I use strategies from all 3 groups to keep Full Orbit Web and Marketing busy year round and in good times and bad. Over time I improved my marketing and added strategies. Most of our business comes from word of mouth which is enhanced or supported by keeping-in-touch, networking and of course, a fine website.
Karen Nierlich is an internet marketing consultant with Full Orbit Web and Marketing. She specializes in helping clients create websites that enhance their marketing and generate more leads. After 10 years talking marketing with clients and reading marketing books, she has a lot of grounded marketing ideas about what works for small businesses. Reach her at 510-527-9920.