The complete guide to lead generation for SME owners
In this article
How can SME onwers can build a strong and effective strategy to generate more leads? Here are some good and simple tips that can help you in this purpose.
Be honest. How many times in the last month have you heard, “If you liked our products, can you please drop us a review on Google?” or “Please do let me know if any of your friends or family would be interested in our services.”
I myself have heard it upwards of ten times within the past couple of weeks, and I’m sure your answer is also not too far from that number.
When asked why do they do this, the simple answer is that they gain potential customers through this small activity. But how? Let’s explore that.
What are leads?
Businesses around the world may vary in their industry type, functionality or their relative sizes. However, they can all be defined under a single blanket of “supplying products and/or services when and where demand arises, in exchange for a fee”.
Another common feature that underlies and links them is their need for new customers.
In terms of a layperson, a lead can be defined as a person, group, or organization that shows an interest in the products or services you sell with the possibility of becoming a future customer. The conversion from a lead to a client can be successfully executed through various means like interacting with them, enticing them with discounts, sharing with them the feedbacks your existing and past consumers have given and so on.
However, generating a lead is a task tougher than it looks, and yet, with the right strategies, simpler than it sounds.
What is lead generation?
Common logic dictates that in accordance with the definition of a lead, lead generation must stand for the process with which one discovers more such potential customers.
Although there are a number of traditional methods of achieving this, the entire system appears to be moving towards a modern approach. Digitalization, like with many other aspects, is taking over this exercise as well.
(Alt Text: Lead Generation)
Source: Norfolk Chamber
Benefits of lead generation
Among the several arguments that can be listed in favor of the process, there are 3 key benefits a business may derive from the generation of leads.
1. To Create Awareness
The foremost function of lead building is to make the masses familiar with the products and services a company provides. Unless the population is informed of the enterprise’s existence and the assistance they provide, how can they be counted upon to choose the same when the need arises?
2. To Engage with Potential Customers
Establishing and maintaining a rapport with prospective customers is of significant importance when it comes to the growth of a business. This relationship can however be successfully sustained only through regular conversations that provide valuable information to the buyer. This information can concern the latest products available, a change in the rates of an existing product, an upcoming offer, or an ongoing discount. Contests and referral programs can also be set up to keep the viewers involved with the company.
3. To Increase Client Base
The number of clients an enterprise has can rise only once the people are conscious of such a service’s or firm’s presence. Post ensuring that the product’s name is out there and being identified by the target audience, efforts can be made to identify the interested parties. With proper attention and understanding, these leads can be converted into customers, thus expanding the organization’s clientele.
How Can A Small Business Generate Quality Leads?
Some might argue that having any leads at all is good, which I definitely don’t deny. But also to be kept in mind is the quality of the prospects. Information about interested parties is only as relevant as their desire for the proffered service.
A quality lead is one that has a higher chance of conversion as opposed to those who clicked a button “by mistake” while browsing the world wide web.
Churning out qualitative leads vastly depends on the techniques you used to find them. Some such methods are shared below.
Being Active on Social Media and Messaging Apps
The digital networking platforms are improving every day to become both user and business-friendly for its users. A majority of companies have already recognized the value they provide and have created their own profiles and pages on the same, as well as starting new conversation and support by using messaging apps. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, but also WhatsApp, Telegram and Facebook Messenger are revealing a huge potential.
This approach is a great way to interact with one’s customers and potentials while continuously also working on spreading awareness in the target audience. It is also free-of-cost, which means you need not invest anything but time in building your business online. For small and medium-sized businesses, this is a gift-wrapped present as they are oftentimes unable to compete with the bigger players of the market due to the unavailability of sufficient funds that can be spent lavishly on marketing.
Usually, when we say events, we immediately think of corporate meets, conferences, and exhibitions with thousands of attendees. However, with the advent of technology alongside the COVID-19 lockdown of 2020, Digital Events have gained massive popularity among people across all demographics and geographical boundaries.
Webinars, online exhibits, zoom conferences, and even concerts and stand-up shows are rapidly taking up the entertainment and educational space in the post-Covid scenario. All you need to organize such an event is a laptop and a basic knowledge of how to operate the various functionalities provided by various conferencing platforms.
Google Meet and Zoom are the leading names in this industry at the moment.
This allows you to promote your products through digital one-on-one meetings while showcasing your services to the uncaptured market, where you can spend time with each curious individual to resolve their queries.
Using E-mail Newsletters
I admit these are being used probably from time immemorial and our spam folders are proof. But these are also the best way to reach a whole range of people who lie within as well as outside the targeted audience. Why would you want to reach masses apart from your pre-decided group, you ask? Well, it’s simple really – to build the need of your product!
You already have a long list of email addresses who’ve shown curiosity in your product at one time or another. Now is the time to remind them. Make sure the newsletters you are sending though do not end up in their spam folders as well by making certain that the information you are sharing is relevant as well as attractive, by using main personalization best practices.
Publishing A Blog
More and more companies, both big and small, are now understanding the advantages Content Marketing offers to any business, even in this new normal. All you have to do is write blogs and articles about the subject you are an expert on while making sure it is somehow also linked to your business.
Creating contents that are informative and useful for the audience can improve your brand value and reputation, as well as increase your brand awareness.
Putting Up Paid Advertisements
The traditional means of marketing and advertising, though still relevant, are far costlier than their digital alternatives. Buying a space in a printed newspaper is more expensive than simply sharing an announcement on their digital copies. This is due to the limited space that a hard copy has. Simultaneously, television advertisements have always been pricey.
Running ads on Google, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and others, on the contrary, is very pocket-friendly and perfectly suited to the needs of a small or medium-sized enterprise. You can also select your target audience using the various features and options available on these platforms.
You can also use the help of an influencer, i.e. a person who has a high social media following and who puts out content to educate or entertain these viewers. The word-of-mouth publicity received through the right people can get you a major boost in sales.
Fixing Up The Issues
The process of lead generation, like any other, also faces a lot of hurdles on its way to a successful execution. Some frequently faced problems include the ones mentioned hereafter.
A symmetry and uniformity in actions is often appreciated. But when it is about discovering quality leads, one may need to use different techniques for different viewers. Personalization is of utmost importance as it makes the prospective client feel that you are addressing them and their queries directly. This helps in building trust and a rapport between the parties, which can be useful on the stage of conversion.
Once you have access to the potential clientele and their information, it is essential to work on them too. Only discovering them is never going to be enough. You have to work hard on them to take them to the stage of qualified leads or people who are genuinely interested. If you lose sight of this step, all your efforts put into gaining these leads will be for nothing, as by the time you come around to engage them, they might have already fulfilled their need through a competitor. The best way to avoid this from happening is by maintaining a CRM or a Customer Relationship Management software, which can help you keep track of all potentials and the stage of communication you’re at with them.
Lead generation, just like marketing and advertising, is not a one-time thing. You will have to continue keeping at it or the results rolled in by the initial attempts might start drying up. To continue receiving viable leads, continue using the simple methods shared above. The process should go on as long as you wish to continue expanding or even sustaining your business.
A company can only survive as long as it can maintain its clientele, which means with regular walk-outs of clients, you also need to ensure walk-ins.
Digitally generating leads is a surefire way to grant you results for the same.
So what are you waiting for?