If you only rely on one source of leads, chances are your business is feast or famine. The fix is to make sure you have diversified your lead generation efforts. Here are seven different ways you can keep a steady flow of customers coming to your business.
One common mistake I see small business owners and entrepreneurs make time after time is this — relying on one source for leads.
In fact, I can’t tell you how many times I tell someone I’m in marketing and what they say to me is “oh, the only thing I do for marketing is word of mouth.” (I’m going to write an entire article about word of mouth marketing, maybe two, because that is hands down the most misunderstood marketing strategy.)
Anyway, if you rely on only one marketing source, like word of mouth, I can nearly guarantee what your business looks like. Feast or famine. Either you’re buried in work, stressed to the max as you spend all of your time and energy frantically fulfilling the work pouring in, or you’re starving. Nothing is coming in and you spend your days worrying about how you’re going to pay next month’s bills.
So how do you avoid that situation? By not relying on one lead source but instead diversifying and having leads come in from multiple sources.
When this happens, you start to create a much more stable business environment for yourself, plus you have the added bonus that if a lead source dries up, you’re not out of business.
Let’s look at some lead sources other than word of mouth:
1. Speaking. This is a great one as it also positions you as an expert. You can speak at live events or you can speak on your phone for teleclasses or you can do both. I personally do both and have found they work very well together.
2. Web site. People are constantly searching the Internet looking for products and services you’re already selling. Why not cash in on this by turning your Web site into a lead generating machine?
3. Networking. Both online (also called social networking and includes sites such as MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn) and offline (includes networking events and live seminars filled with your target market) are good ways to find leads and clients.
4. Advertising. Not my favorite but it definitely has its place. And there are times where this is the absolute best way to pick up new leads.
5. Existing/past clients. You can pick up quite a bit of work both by up selling your existing clients or by reconnecting with past clients and seeing if their needs have changed.
6. Media. Getting articles placed or being interviewed on radio or television can also increase your bottom line.
7. Strategic partners or affiliates. This is where other people promote you to their customer base for most likely a percentage of the sale. The difference between strategic partners and affiliates is strategic partners tend to have a more long-term relationship with you and affiliates can be a one-off or short term (for instance, they promote a sale you have going on).
There are other lead sources, but these ideas will get you started. Best yet, all these sources will work together for you and feed off each other (and even increase your overall referrals). For instance, someone might hear you speak, then meet you at an event, then check out your web site and finally hire you. Or they might first meet you on Facebook, then head on to your web site, and then hear you speak and finally buy a product.