Several friends, colleagues, and clients are shifting their products and services into an online selling model. It’s such an exciting shift for them, and several have asked me about ways to grow their contact lists in an organic way. I have tried a number of lead generation tactics over the years, so I wanted to share some that, in my experience, worked better than others.
The Self-Directed Buyer. What is it?
The self-directed buyer is more connected and now, more than ever, she holds all the power and knows it. This buyer is in charge of the purchase process. She does the research, reviews her options, and makes comparisons before even reaching out to the company. This is especially true in the arena of making online purchases. In fact, the Consumer Executive Board (SalesandMarketing.com) discovered that an average buyer is 57% through the purchasing process before they even reach out to a sales rep. Because they are better informed, when a buyer visits your website or social media page they are looking for information that goes beyond the basics. What you offer must provide the most value to fulfill the need or pain point.
How do you offer value?
Your expertise is valuable. A monthly email, for example, featuring a “trends report”, a best practices document with insider tips, or any other content that offers specific value to your audience can make a difference. Always consider using a sign-up form or gate for sharing this information. But share some of your stuff without obligation first. Here’s a useful blog post for reference on the kinds of content you shouldn’t put behind a gate.
- Case Studies
Another great way to prove your chops is by sharing past experiences. This doesn’t need to be a super elaborate document either. Include important facts, numbers related to the results, and layout the document so that it is easy to read. This shows the audience your depth of knowledge and establishes you as a thought leader. You should almost always gate your case studies with a contact form.
- Utilize Public Social Media Groups:
The great thing about Facebook and LinkedIn is that they have created mechanisms for you to gather your prospects into a smaller, more targeted space – groups. You can join or create a group on one of the social media platforms out there that best suits your audience and start connecting with people. Letting people “talk shop” on a topic directly related to your business can help you to gauge your ideal audience and learn how to target them better. Always offer your insights when it’s appropriate and use these channels to connect with your peers. If you run the group, then include a sign-up button or link in the group. And if you aren’t a group administrator, then share links that include your sign-up forms and drive your target back to your website or business page. It’s a basic, bit effective lead generation tactic to try out.
Tried and True Lead Generation Tactics
- Include Opt-In Opportunities Everywhere
Create opportunities for your target to opt-in to receive your messaging. Everywhere you can. Allowing your target to opt-in ensures that your message is going to exactly who you want. This is a very easy thing to do. Also try to connect your social media platforms, e-commerce sites, and website so that they all feed people into one place – your email list or CRM software.
- Make Content Easy To Share
This seems like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised how many times this is overlooked. Make it easy for your audience and loyal customers to share your blogs, special reports, or latest news across social platforms and via email. Word-of-mouth referrals and SEO are reported to be the most effective way to attract new leads (Invespcro.com). Organic referral traffic might be the necessary step to get another prospect to opt-in to your content.
- Don’t Always Gate It
While we recommend gating some of your content, it is important to offer some of your expertise for free, as mentioned above. People will be more likely to trust your company or brand if you only keep the important materials, such as case studies and special reports behind a gate. This also protects you and your information from abuse or misuse.