Out of the following 8 options, which is the most effective to generate business leads?
What is the best method to generate more business leads?
- Attend Industry events
- Referrals from existing clients
- Industry Networking Websites
- Creating industry partnerships
- Cold Calling
- Online Marketing solutions
- Purchasing email marketing lists
In my experience, the most effective way to generate leads is networking with clients, contacts, friends, acquaintances, and people in your industry.
People buy products and services from people they know and like.
You can meet people through a variety of methods as you've listed above. But buyers are more saavy, and better educated, as a result of the Internet...and they use technology to hide (e.g., voicemail) so the concept of the "cold call" has changed. You can get name recognition online, and make initial contact in email. You can be well-educated about your client and his/her business by researching online. So when you do make contact, you are a RELEVANT contact...one who has something targeted and useful to offer.
One thing that does not work is passive advertising, and waiting for the phone to ring. No matter how good your website, Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, or other advert is...it isn't going to drive callers to you. You have to find them.
Hope this helps.
This summer i did empiracle research on just this topic to build a new sales organization. B2B and B2C answers differ dramatically. B2B leads with referrals' then cold calling and industry events in that that order. Social media plays a role but hasn't shown the return for investments made. Industry partnerships can be high on the list, but seems best used in formal reseller agreements.
B2C seems heavy on online marketing,one-to-one Marketing, referrals, social media in that order. Traditional marketing also applies but is very expensive compared to the other methods. If you want more detail on the research contact me.
My recommendation is always:
First look for more work from existing customers. There can be a trend or knee jerk reaction to focus on getting new customers/leads when I find most businesses haven't fully serviced their existing customers or even asked what else they could help them with, what would it take to get more business, and did they know you offered XYZ?
Number 2 to turn to
Your existing customers business contacts, partners, friends. They often hear on the grapevine for example who else is experiencing a pain you can solve.
Number 3, after exhausting the above...All depends on so many other variables but I'm finding online marketing very effective for clients so I'm trending to always start with that as its very quick and affordable to setup. Next one on my list is partnerships. I love partnerships, ie tapping into another companies customer base.
Cold calling is hard work but I find it very valuable for collecting feedback on pain points and testing value propositions which can then be used to fine tune the wording and topics in online marketing campaigns and hard copy marketing collateral. Therefore I quite commonly call around 30-60 potential customers before designing other marketing strategies.
Hope this helps.
1. Referrals from existing clients
2. Referrals from colleagues
3. Referrals from personal network
(Yes, 4 & 5 are missing because there is SUCH a gap between Referrals of *any* kind and everything else ...).
6. Industry Partnerships AND Joint Ventures
7. Industry Events (with high visibility)
8: Online marketing efforts
10: purchasing marketing lists
Cold Calling? LAST!
In your marketing efforts, you'll benefit tremendously from an integrated approach which takes into consideration using more than one method or channel to generate leads. All of the ones you listed are viable options, but if you haven't tried or tested any one of them, you will never know which one works best for you and your business needs.
Out of the methods listed, you can use each one to make the other methods more effective. For instance, you cited attending industry events which could lead to creating industry partnerships. After establishing solid partnerships, you in turn can improve your referrals from other professionals, and not just your existing clients.
Your online marketing efforts can continue with your social media networking activity such as MosaicHub and LinkedIn. There are many other professional networking websites worth looking into to continue to grow your online presence.
If you can grow your own email list, this will take you much further than purchasing a list, and you could begin building your own list through client referrals. Lead capture pages are growing in popularity for good reasons. They are easy to setup, and manage.
Their main purpose is to generate qualified leads from your marketing efforts, as well as any referrals that can be sent your way. Conversions are typically stronger than a basic website, or sending a cold email message to prospects.
Again, experimenting with several methods, and finding a way to measure or monitor their effectiveness, will definitely be the best first steps in finding the best lead generating options for you.
1. Disseminate information directly to your target market re your products and services - through EDMs, social media, industry group presentations- explaining USP of your offerings.
2. Follow through directly or through spheres of influence with what in your assessment are the most likely prospects.
3. Meet and make presentations.
4. If you are in the consumer or consumer durable product or service business then visibility is very important. This can be done with advertising your product in the print and electronic media, bill boards, etc. The ad campaign should be so designed so that when a person thinks of a product or service, your brand comes to mind immediately.
What my view is offering such the precious services/options which your prospective clients would be seeking.
Word of mouth, attending networking events and professional speaking have helped me a lot.
In my opinion using the above list Referrals from existing clients would be first, Creating Industry partnerships second and online marketing third. I would add teaching them highly effective prospecting techniques.
REFERRALS FROM EXISTING CLIENTS.
Talk to 10,000 sales managers or executives and ask if this isn't the easiest, least expensive solution (all warm/hot calls), while at the same time it is the most neglected form of lead gen.
The question is, what time frame are you looking to generate leads in? If you need them tomorrow, then Referrals from Existing clients, cold calls and events are the fastest way to get to prospects. If you have more time, leveraged efforts like the partnerships, websites and email marketing lists are good. You just have to be prepared to drive those solutions - follow-up, add value and stay in touch. Hope that helps
Honestly, they all work at different times for different reasons. It really depends on the type of business you're working for, but the simple truth is, some people are luckier than others when it comes to online or direct mail. That's really hit or miss. If you're great on the phone, cold calling works. If you're a good talker at functions and are the type where people just gravitate to you, then industry events work better. In general, industry referrals are the most consisent return on investment because the leads will keep coming as long as they like you, and as long as they're active in the industry. I've done all of the above at various stages of my career, and there's no magical formula. Try them all and see what works. Whichever option you pick, stick with it for several months or a couple years. Marketing seems to work in cycles, and each one takes time to cultivate. They'll work for a one cycle, then not work the next, then bounce back.
All of the above, depending on what business you are in, what target group you want to reach, what time you want to spend, and what money you want to spend.
Or none of the above for the same reasons.
Use people who have current/previous experience of the customer you wish to reach and who can still pick up the phone and speak with the Management Team/Board.
Referrals will be the best for 'hit rate', as you have instant credibility. But, you must do all of the above to move your business forward.
You can generate leads on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Yelp is a great source also!
Onceyou have your list...start using www.click2sell.com for automation on lead follow up...conversions for meetings are great.
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All the best
Before you talk about these Tactical marketing steps, you need to concentrate on the Strategic which is the most important.
Strategic marketing is the message and if you don't get that right, then all the tactical steps in the world won't help.
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