Small Business Lead Generation: How It Works?

The process of small business lead generation essentially operates on a cyclical basis, wherein new leads are generated, contacted and converted to sales. Some of these clients are retained for the upcoming period of time after their contract expires, while others leave. Hence, it’s important that the lead generation activities need to happen continuously, so that the leads keep coming in and these fluctuations don’t have much of a detrimental effect on business.

Essentially, it has been observed that effective small business lead generation has the potential to shorten the cycle and also lead to better quality of leads. The most important aspect of ensuring this is to understand that the first contact is not sufficient to ensure sales. Hence, one needs to continuously keep at it. However, this depends on whether the lead in question is hot or cold. Quite obviously, one needs to pursue hot leads more fervently, and filter out cold leads completely from the system. This can either be executed by experienced professionals, or by maintaining a log of the feedback received from the different kinds of prospects, which can then be monitored either by an experienced team leader, or by the team together.

One more aspect that organizations are particularly wary of in terms of small business lead generation is that getting quality leads is often an expensive proposition, whether one tries to procure the same from an external party or pushes the sales team to accomplish the objective. Compared to getting a cold or warm lead, finding a hot lead is a lot more time and resource-consuming. However, it’s absolutely worth the effort, when one sees it purely from the perspective of return on investment, since it shortens the span of time it takes from the initial contact to sale. Hence, one needs to ensure that all these points are taken care of in every lead generation campaign, for phenomenal results.

The next criterion is the place mix, which talks about the location at which the product is being introduced. This is equally important as the rest of the lot, since the place at which the product is introduced is of paramount importance. One can’t hope to sell raincoats in a desert, or half sleeved T-shirts in a snowy province! Lastly, the promotion mix in small business lead generation refers to the kind of promotional tactics are used to sell the product.

The appropriate combination of all these would virtually guarantee success for any product or service.

Small Business Lead Generation: Know It to Grow It

The importance of small business lead generation just can’t be emphasized enough. An exponentially high number of startups are surfacing every day, and need the necessary impetus to make their mark in the industry. Needless to say, with the increasing numbers, the competition is also increasing. This basically means that companies need innovative means to market their products and services.

To satiate their need for fulfilling business objectives, businesses hire the services of small business lead generation agencies that specialize in the field. This is basically intended at getting more market exposure and grabbing eyeballs to get more business. However, the reason why so many enterprises still fail after paying exorbitant amounts is because they lack the understanding of which tactics work best in the market. Make no mistake about it – it’s important to have a basic understanding of lead generation techniques, so that one can judge the performance of a campaign. Of late, the best way to promote any business especially in its initial stages is via the internet. However, the details are very important.

Small business lead generation via the internet has relied heavily on online directories, and the trend continues even to this present day. Social media, a relatively new entrant in this domain, has slowly made its way towards being one of the top preferences for promoting a brand. Also, making an official website has been known to get a significantly high number of leads. So, the basic point is that the agency hired to execute the lead generation campaign should know the nitty-gritties of the online world to truly succeed in lead generation. Such campaigns need to have a holistic approach and can’t operate in water-tight compartments with regards to the business model. Only when this happens can the business be on the right track and achieve the kind of success it desires.

Knowing the business environment for small business lead generation entails getting an understanding of the audience, the competition that already exists and the recent deployments, among others. Getting a better understanding of these factors ensures that the business can devise aggressive as well as precautionary tactics to be employed in accordance with the demands of the prevailing situation. It also allows one to make better decisions and react appropriately in different scenarios. However, one also needs to ensure that leads automatically pour in, after a point in time, so that the business gets in auto mode.

Direct Response and Web Sites-Small Business Lead Generation

One of the most important elements to small business success is lead generation because without leads you can’t increase sales. So where do you concentrate your lead generation efforts?

Get Qualified Leads One at a Time with Direct Response

I’m going to make a bold statement: Direct response is the most effective and affordable ways to generate leads on a one-on-one basis. Let me qualify that statement. Direct response is the most effective and affordable way to reach clients one-to-one if you:

  • know your target market
  • attach benefits to your features
  • understand your competition
  • identify your competitive advantage
  • can write your direct response package in a clear and convincing way

Understanding all that means you can have an effective direct response campaign. No doubt, knowing a few tips about direct response copywriting will help by boosting your response rate. For instance, your heading makes or breaks your campaign. It’s the biggest predictor on whether your prospect ill read it or toss it in the garbage.

Forget about where you’re located or how many year’s you’ve been in business, or describing every detail about your product. Yes, your potential consumer clients want to know a little about the features, but for every feature your product or service has, they want to know far more about the benefit. They consistently and continuously ask themselves, “What’s in it for me?”

A specific call to action, and creating a sense of urgency helps too. It seems most of us are basic procrastinators. If you don’t tell us what to do, and you don’t make us believe we need to do it today (with specials, limited-time or quantity discounts, etc.) we probably won’t do anything at all.

And by the way, a P.S. increases response rates too. It’s the second most-read line in your direct response copy. It should restate your main benefits, call to action and special offer.

Generate Masses of Leads with a Small Business Web Site

But direct response isn’t the only effective way to reach clients affordably. It may be the best way to reach potential clients on a one-on-one basis, but did you know a small business web site is one of the best ways to reach masses of potential clients?

Affordable? That depends. Some small business owners I know personally have paid lots of $$ for their web site. It may be a mistake to pay big bucks for a small business web site when a simple 5 page static site will do. After all, it’s not the design that produces results but rather the copywriting.

Copy for your web site follows the same basic rules as direct response copywriting, but with a few important differences:

  • web site copy is shorter because internet readers are generally impatient
  • include lots of free information because readers are searching for information
  • avoid the hard sell–it doesn’t work online
  • write with your readers in mind, but take search engines into account as well
  • include a way to capture email addresses as lead generation

Effective? That depends too. A web site is only effective if it can be found. And to make sure it’s found you need to know a little about search engine marketing (SEM). A good discussion about SEM is beyond the scope of this short article. But, here’s a few tips:

  • write web site copy around keywords, including headings and titles
  • promote your web site online by publishing articles, joining forums, and listing in business directories
  • try Google AdWords
  • promote your web site offline
  • content, content and even more content
  • update content often

Increase Their Interest Level with Direct Response Pointing to Your Web Site

So, direct response generates leads one-to-one, and a web site reaches the masses. What if you combine them?

Direct response and web sites work very well together to generate leads and close sales. You could create your direct response with a call to action to visit your web site rather than asking directly for a purchase. Your web site includes copy that is different from, but related to your direct response package.

Your web site call to action could be any of a number of things. You could use it simply to generate more leads through capturing email addresses. Or you could be the “information guru” on some subject your direct mail recipients would be interested in. Or your web site call to action could be directly asking for sales.

The point is that the purpose of both is to generate leads and to have some way to convert those leads to sales. There are many different ways to close sales. Follow up brochures can be very effective for instance. But possibly using both direct response and your web site solely to generate leads is less effective than using one to supplement the other as a sales tool.