2015 is here and if you are a business owner, one of your new year resolutions ought to be taking your business to greater heights. Most small business owners rely on word of mouth referrals to get new clients for their product or service. This works great – but is not enough to evolve to the next stage of growth; which is exactly what every business owner should be looking at. As someone who is in the business of bringing new leads to digital marketing agencies, here are five methods you should use to find new leads.
Identify Prospects Who Are Vulnerable : This does not mean anything sinister. Every prospect goes through a series of stages before they become a customer. For instance, if you sell shoes, a prospect becomes a customer when the shoe they own gets old and finally gets worn. Similarly, if you are a search engine consultant, your prospects are vulnerable when their website gets hit by one of Google’s algorithm updates. See where this is going? Break the sales cycle of a prospect into stages and understand that vulnerable moment when the prospect is likely to say ‘yes’. If you reach out to such prospects directly (cold calls, cold email or even an unannounced friendly visit), they are likely to sign up as a customer.
Find Prospects Based On Their Purchase Behavior : Ever noticed the ‘Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought’ module at the bottom of every product page on websites like Amazon? It has been found that a number of customers are actually triggered to make these purchases because the items shown are complementary to the product they were looking to purchase. How do you translate this to your business? Let’s assume you offer small business coaching to budding entrepreneurs – Google ads are tough because such keywords are expensive. Instead, you could target people who are searching Google for entrepreneurship books – not only is this your target audience, the keyword is cheap because books typically cost less money and the ads are thus priced lower.
Target Your Competition’s Unhappy Customers : The internet is replete with reviews positive and negative about various businesses. Depending on your industry, there are websites like RipOffReport, Yelp and Consumer Affairs that provide customers a platform to vent their disappointment about various businesses. Bookmark the reviews pages for your competition and create an alert for new reviews. This way, whenever you notice a new review from an unhappy customer, you can reach out to them, empathize with their issues and offer your product as an alternative. Be sure not to do this publicly for it will make it seem like you are poaching, which is not a good thing.
Publicly Engage With Your Competition : While you should not publicly reach out to your competition’s unhappy customers, it is always a good idea to publicly engage with your more popular business rivals. While it is common in the tech world for smaller companies to always take on bigger companies with the hope that the ensuing public fight will get them visibility, you can also get PR through more positive engagement. Is one of your competitors facing a public backlash over a minor error on their part? Go on Twitter and Facebook and empathize with the rival – not only will this create a positive impact about your business, but such statements often get retweeted and also receive media coverage. The result? More exposure at the expense of competition, and potentially new leads.
Incentivize Happy Customers : We discussed the benefit you can draw from negative reviews in an earlier point. What was unsaid is the fact that any business always receives more negative reviews than positive ones. The reason is because unhappy customers are often vocal about their disappointment and are keen to embarrass your business. Happy customers often send word-of-mouth referrals, but the impact they leave on a public review platform is lesser than the unhappy lot. To make up for this, you should not only delight your customers better, but also incentivize them to spread the positive message. You can do this in several ways like discount coupons and free gifts. The end objective is to ensure happy customers spread the word as much as unhappy customers. You should of course engage with the unhappy customers as well – but that is a discussion that is outside the scope of this article.
What other ways have you tried to find new prospects for your business? Share it with us in the comments below.