Strategy is always before tactics and technology. If you don't know what you are doing you might lose yourself hiring people and technology for strategies that not necessarily fit your business. Here are the 4 main strategies for lead generation for businesses.
With more than 25 years of being in the marketing and advertising business I have come to the conclusion that there are only 4 ways to generate leads for businesses. You might find a lot of variations of these four strategis but I assure you that any other option you might think of it's going to fit in one of these four.
My advice is that your business should have the four strategies running at the same time. But, because the resources are not unlimited you should choose the one that generates the most impact in the less time for your business. With this in mind you should ponderate time and resources in that order.
So here we go:
Every business starts by engaging friends and family, asking for referrals or people that might need the services of the new company. After that, the next step is to interact in chambers of commerce or in the industry where you can meet your peers and start making business together.
After that you make a selection of networking groups and associations where the business executives start to interact. You might organize speaking events where you talk about your solution. Or even go to specialized trade shows in your industry to meet potential clients.
With time, satisfied clients spread the word of mouth and refer you to another peer, friend or acquaintance that might be in the same situation where you can save the day.
There is no better strategy than networking. You build long last relationships. You make a nice group of people that month after month and year after year attend to these events. With time, they know who you are, what you do and trust your expertise. You don't only have the opportunity to make clients, because those clients might become friends.
The only disadvantage is that the growth and scalability is limited, takes a lot of time and effort. Most businesses need to find a faster way to find new clients to hit their revenue goals.
This might be one of the oldest strategies. To prospect a target group that might be segmented by geographical, gender, demographic or psychographic characteristics. When you detect where is your target group you make a list and try to contact them.
Prospecting examples are very diverse like going from door to door, making cold calls, traditional mail advertising, cold email advertising (Be aware not to become spam), and it goes to the more modern tactics like facebook advertising where you have a message to spread to a target group.
The more advanced ideas of prospecting is ABM or Account Based Marketing. Instead of a target group you have a target account and instead of a big list you have a highly targeted strategy. This account is a company based on your best fit customer profile. You need to identify the core executives that are involved in the need and buying process of your solution. You make specific content to attract this executives and start a conversation.
This is also a great way to choose your potential clients. You need a well trained team to identify the companies, and then the executives. They do their research to understand what kind of content could be helpful and compelling for those people.
The disadvantage of this strategy is that you are fishing and hoping that the information you send to the executives is attractive. You hope that they are facing at the right time you contact them with the problems that you or your solution solve. At the end it is you that is trying to do business with them and not them needing your solution right away. Building trust for a relationships alway takes time, effort and patience.
The principle of advertising is to build trust through repeating a message that will create familiarity and brand awareness. What you are trying to achieve is that every one can recognize your solution, brand or product. Part of the goal is to be in the top of mind. When someone needs your kind of product, your brand will pop out immediately as the first option.
Advertising is the most traditional strategy in mass media. In the digital space the equivalent is to position your brand in youtube, social media, banners and retarget campaigns. Again the tactic is to repeat your message as many times you can in the most channels you can afford.
The most modern type is retargeting. Have you ever had the feeling that Google, Alexa or Siri are stalking your life? When you visit a service like a travel agency and looked a trip to Europe, and in all the pages you visit after that the same service or message pops up, well that is retargeting. This tactic is a more intelligent way to advertise. At least is not completely cold because the lead showed up a little bit of interest.
If you are a big company with a really big budget for advertising you can afford this strategy. You will invest all that money to build your brand for the long lasting time.
The disadvantages of advertising are:
- It is for products that can be sold massively rather than B2B.
- Proving ROI for brand awareness is almost impossible.
- It is very expensive.
- You spend a lot of money in people who might not even be your targeted customer (Spill over).
- It is invasive. When you receive a message from someone who you don't know, want or need nowadays you are called SPAM.
4 Attract people who are looking for your solution right now
There are people looking right now for your solution online. People who have the problem you solve. They are active and searching how they can solve the problem. The only thing you need to do to attract them to your website is answer the questions.
People are asking those questions to the search engines. The search engines like Google are looking for good answers for their customers. The answers are inside websites. So, if your website has all the answers for those questions the search engines are going to recommend your website and you will receive tons of visitors, and you don't have to pay Google or any other search engine.
This way to attract potential clients is inside the Inbound Methodology. You have to combine content marketing, SEO, and good story telling. The content should be inside your website and your blog. The format of the content can be written, video or audio, it depends on the preferences of your audience.
All this content is going to educate your leads on how you can help them solve a problem, and will make them go forward in their buying decision process.
This is the most reliable and effective way to attract those people who active in the process of research and buying a solution.
You will need to do a lot of content to make this strategy scalable, and this is just the first stage of the methodology. You can learn more about how we can help you perform this strategy by subscribing to our blog or visit:
Which strategy makes more sense for your business?