Effective Lead Generation for a Small Business to Make More Sales

Ask any small business owner what are the main problems they face, and they’ll almost always tell you one of the biggest headaches is generating more leads. After all, no leads, no sales. And no sales means no revenue and profits. The strange thing is that many business owners think generating leads is difficult, when actually it’s fairly easy, as long as you follow a simple process and put in a bit of effort. You also need to make sure that you actually are doing lead-generation and not just saying you are and then trying to make a sale immediately.

Small business lead generation and how to get it right

So the first thing you need to do is make sure you really do have a lead-generation system in place, and that means forgetting about trying to make a sale immediately. This process of concentrating on lead generation will set your business apart from others in the market, because most other companies will try to make a sale straight away, and the ones that don’t will have a big advantage. When you generate a lead, you should concentrate on simply getting the prospect’s contact details and then building a strong relationship over a period of months or even years.

Why does this work so well? Simply because when the average prospect enquires about a product or service, she isn’t ready to buy yet, and the last thing she wants is for some salesman to start persuading her to buy. She wants information, and when she gets that, she begins to see you as the expert in your field, and therefore more likely to buy something when she’s ready. On the other hand, if you try to make a sale she’ll most likely back off, and look at another supplier, which is exactly the opposite of what you want.

Give something to get something back

So what is the best way to generate leads for the long-term? The easiest way to do this is to give a free gift in order to gather the prospect’s contact details. The free gift should be related to what you want to sell eventually, and can even include information in the form of a free report or eBook. Then the process is simply one of making regular contact with your prospects so that when they’re really ready to buy, they’ll most likely think of you.

So the next time you think it’s difficult to get leads, first make sure you are actually trying to get leads, and not make an immediate sale. Then put a system in place which collects prospect contact details and then follows up regularly. It may take weeks or even months to make a sale, but most people aren’t really ready to buy when they first contact you anyway. And over the long term this strategy will lead to more sales and revenue, which is the reason you want those leads in the first place.

Website Design Tips – A Small Business Road-Map to More Online Leads

Designing a website when you’re a small business is different than what a Fortune 500 company would do. While large companies may have the nationwide brand recognition and many people linking to their site, you probably do not. This poses a challenge in ensuring that visitors to your site are well informed, they are directed to what they need to see on your site, they can easily subscribe to your site, and they leave with the impression of a very professional company As a small business owner myself and a website designer, I’ve compiled the following critical tips on designing your website.

Overall Design

– Clean
– Uncluttered
– Light-weight

The overall design of your site should be clean, uncluttered, and light-weight. By clean I mean that it should be a more simple design as opposed to lots of shapes, contrasting colors, and unreadable fonts. You can still have a very unique design but your customers will thank you for keeping it clean. This also leads into keeping it uncluttered. Have only the essential links, pictures, and widgets on your web page. The days of providing a real service by having the local weather or a dancing baby on your home page are over. Keeping your page uncluttered will let visitors focus on what is really important. If you have too much for one page, split it into two pages and use a call to action in the original page to direct the visitor. You also must keep your design light-weight as in smaller pictures, no crazy flash/animation, and use of background colors as opposed to images. This will ensure your web page loads quickly on a visitors browser and will make it much more accessible.

Content – Content Formatting

– Quality, Original Content
– Direct and to the point
– Small paragraphs for easy reading
– Easy reading font
– Font to background color contrast

Content is critical for a small business. Your web design must account for showcasing your content and providing good content for search engines like Google. This will definitely help with your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Ensure that your content is original quality content that doesn’t have too much fluff and gets to the point. I have been to websites before where after a couple of minutes of reading, I still don’t know what they do. Be direct and your visitors will thank you!

For formatting your content, you need to ensure that you have at least a 12 point font, which isn’t a crazy unreadable font. Stick with the basic fonts for your main content. Color is important so make sure that the contrast between your text and the background doesn’t make it unreadable. You don’t want too similar of colors so it’s hard to read and you don’t want a contrast that hurts your eyes to read (i.e. neon green on a black background).

Call to Action

– Include on every page
– Ask for what you want
– Explain the benefits

If someone is coming to your website, make sure they do what you want them to do. Many small business websites forget about asking the customer to buy a product, sign up for their list or whatever else you want them to do on your site. Be specific and include a call to action on all of your pages. If I want you to sign up for my newsletter so I can provide you with information and market my products to you, I need to sell you the benefits of being on my list. My call to action might be “Sign-up Today!” after explaining the benefits. If you don’t ask them or get them to take action, many times they won’t.

Capture Leads

– Capture an email address
– Entice with free products
– Low barrier to entry

If someone is visiting your website, you need to capture their information. They are obviously on your website for a reason and you need to give them the opportunity to learn more by capturing their information. Good website design for your small business should account for how you will capture their lead information. I like to make it a low barrier for entry for my visitors. You sign-up for my newsletter by providing me with just your email address in the side bar or the hover page that I display after you’ve been on my site for 7 seconds. I sell the benefits of getting free information and I make it easy. I will also offer a free product like a free report but I make the barrier to entry a little higher. If you want my free report, in addition to your email address you will also have to provide me with your name and phone number. Guess what makes great leads to call on?

There are many aspects to great website design for small businesses and I’ve really only scratched the surface. I suggest doing a lot of research on the subject so you can end up with an online presence that sets you apart from other businesses in your industry. There are many professionals that do a great job with the design and professionals that do a great job with the optimization and lead capture. Not many do both so make sure you do your homework.

Prospecting Tips For Your Small Business

Are you in the dark about how to start small business? The very first item on your to do list should be prospecting leads.

With the dozens of details to consider-finding a location, appealing to investors, choosing the right suppliers, and hunting for employees-it can be easy to lose sight of what should be your most important focus: the customer.

After all, without customers, you haven’t any business.

You might have the best product or service anywhere, but if you have not drawn up a marketing plan outline for prospecting leads that can benefit from your new business idea, you’ll be struggling with how to start your small business.

The good news is, lead generation doesn’t have to be rocket science. With the right combination of research, planning, and execution, you can increase your market presence and make yourself known to your target demographic.

Top 8 Prospecting Tips

1. Create a concrete plan. Before you start prospecting leads, spend some time formulating a realistic, workable plan of attack.

For example, if you’re marketing a product or service to businesses, create a list of target companies along with the name of the department and person you need to reach. Determine how you’ll attempt to contact them (phone, email, or a face-to-face visit at their office or at a networking function).

2. Become an event junkie. Conferences, trade shows, and seminars can be gold mines for prospective customers. Look in newspapers and online for event calendars.

If you run a wedding planning business, invest in booth space at a bridal show. If you sell landscaping services, contact the coordinator of an upcoming home and garden show and offer to give away a free lawn treatment in exchange for prime advertising placement. Attending industry events is also a great way to build a network of professional associates in the industry.

3. Peruse the papers. Take a few minutes each day to scan the local headlines. Be on the lookout for new businesses opening up, awards or promotions that have been bestowed, and any developments related to your product or service. Drop an email to the people mentioned in the articles letting them know you saw the piece and subtly upselling your offering.

4. Watch your competitors. While you’ll want to develop your own unique approach, studying the competition can help you stay up to speed on the latest industry trends and developments. If your biggest rival is offering free shipping during the holidays, you may want to follow suit to remain competitive. It’s also a good idea to place advertisements in the same publications and venues as your competitors.

5. Don’t be afraid to follow up. One of the biggest mistakes small business owners make is pay a single visit to a prospect and then sit back and wait for them to come knocking. After the initial contact, it’s essential to follow up to gauge their level of interest, answer any remaining questions, and attempt to close the deal. If they aren’t ready to buy, ask if they know anyone who may have a need for your product or service.

6. Use the power of referral marketing. One delighted customer can lead to dozens more. Why wait for word-of-mouth advertising to happen on its own? Don’t be afraid to ask satisfied customers to spread the word to their friends and colleagues. Chances are they’ll be delighted to see their associates reaping the same benefits they’ve enjoyed.

7. Sample your way to success. Who doesn’t love a freebie? Giving away a complimentary sample of your product or service is a great way to demonstrate its benefits and encourage future sales. If you sell bath and body products, include a small packet of lotion with your marketing postcards. If you’re an IT consultant, offer businesses a free technology assessment.

8. Partner with other businesses. Nearly every industry has parallel providers that cater to the same group but offer different products or services. Forming an alliance with people in the same market can be mutually beneficial. If you sell custom stationery, contact a local bridal gown boutique and ask if you can drop off some business cards. If you provide consulting services for small businesses, ask a local office furniture seller if you can post a flier. Offer reciprocal exposure in exchange.

Remember, prospecting leads isn’t a one-time excursion. To sustain the profitability and branding identity of your business, you’ll need to devote time and resources to ongoing prospecting campaigns.

Small Business Lead Generation: Think Big

There are many enterprises that constantly strive to maximize their revenues via small business lead generation, but most of the time it does not work, and one of the mail reasons for the same is that the tactics being used are very old school. It’s a new age, and one needs to be in tune with the times. For B2C customers, the best proposition is to give freebies like a coffee mug or duffel bag with each purchase. Special discount vouchers can also be given away via email upon filling a form or making a purchase.

Also, inbound calling is often not given much importance, but the fact is that despite the widespread extent of emails, people still prefer talking on the phone. So, the small business lead generation efforts of an enterprise can really get a big boost if there is an inbound calling line. It’s even better if the line is toll-free. This is because it gives the customer an impression that the company is in the big league. One can also gain a significant edge by creating a referral system for existing customers, i.e., every time a customer refers a lead which is converted (or not, depending on the business model), a special privilege is extended like discounts, gift coupons, etc.

Small business lead generation can also be done through the company’s website. A small pop-up every now and then, telling people about the new products and services of the company goes a long way in getting more business. An interesting way to position it is in the ‘did you know’ format, so as to create curiosity among the target audience. And lastly, one can get a great deal of exposure by participating in industry events, particularly when it’s about the B2B domain, since a lot of potential customers and service providers mingle at such dos.

Another reason why small business lead generation is considerably different than a regular B2C product promotion is because one has to overcome a barrage of contact persons in the organization. Convincing each of these is necessary to reach the next level. More often than one would like, the person one gets in touch with in the initial stages of the deal is not the decision maker, and it’s important that one constantly follows up and highlights the merits of the offering in the right manner to ensure that the enthusiasm is maintained on the part of the client as well.