7 steps to getting more leads and customers even if you’re a complete newbie
If your business has no leads that means you have nothing to turn into customers! This post shares seven simple steps that will help new and established businesses get more of both.
One of the biggest challenges all businesses have is getting leads and customers.
It’s simple to understand: no leads equals no customers and no customers means you’re not getting any cash flowing through your business. Which means you basically have no business.
This is frustrating for me to see because the process for generating leads is incredibly simple and guaranteed to get you better results from your marketing. Yet many businesses are still failing to execute them. Let me share those steps:
Step 1: Identify who your target customers are
The first thing you must do is identify who your ideal clients are. One of the biggest mistakes I see repeatedly is businesses who don’t target their ideal clients because they still don’t know who they are!
If you haven’t identified who your target clients are then you are totally unable to create a laser targeted marketing message that attracts them. Worse, you won’t even know where to begin when creating that marketing message. Then when you do put out some advertising out there, it completely bombs. I see this play out all the time.
"The point is to make you stand for something. If you don’t give your prospect a compelling reason to pick you, they won’t. It’s that simple."
So, identify who your target clients are first. (Please!)
It all begins with three very important categories:
Nail down these three things to create a customer avatar; literally create a person using these items:
- Annual income
- Marital status
- Biggest frustration
- Biggest problem(s)
- Hobbies and interests
- Memberships they have
- Associations or groups they are a part of
- Kids or no kids
- Their dreams for the future
- If they’ve used products or services similar to yours previously
- Education level
To get a better peek into the brains of your target audience, go on Amazon.com and look at the comments/reviews of books that are read by your target audience. You will often find interesting insights in there.
Want more articles like this? Check out the business marketing section.
There are also forums online that you can investigate, Facebook and LinkedIn groups, Twitter and more. Also try accessing government bureaus to find out statistics about your target market.
If you already have a business with a customer database then send them a survey. You may have already been compiling data that relates to some of the info above as well.
Step 2: Identify where they hang out
If you don’t know where your ideal client hangs out, you will struggle to get your marketing message to them. For example, if they don’t use Facebook then there is no point running a
Facebook PPC campaign because you’d be wasting your time and money. (And of course, the reverse is true.)
So figure out what magazines they are reading, what social networks they are using, what podcasts they might be listening to and what online forums they might be hanging out in. And then figure out a way to deliver your message to those places.
Step 3: Get your positioning sorted
This is one of the most important steps you can take in your entire business: the way you position yourself in the marketplace will determine how your target customers perceive you and respond to you.
Positioning starts by looking at some important questions:
- What is your single biggest, most competitive marketable edge?
- Do you provide something better than your competitors?
- Do you provide your service quicker than your competitors?
- Does your product work faster, overcome certain limitations your competitors don’t?
- What are the biggest benefits your product or service provides?
The notes you have made above will help give you some ideas for a USP. Now your USP is one of the most important positioning tools you have at your disposal. Essentially, it’s a statement that positions you uniquely in your marketplace.
The point is to make you stand for something and give your target prospect a REASON to pick you.
If you don’t give them a compelling reason to pick you, they won’t. It’s that simple.
Let’s say you own a pizza store in a city the size of 50,000 people. This is a small city but the size still justifies big pizza chains investing in franchises in that community. So along comes Pizza Hut and Dominos.
You start freaking out wondering how the heck you can compete with their monetary power. One thing you could do is start looking at positioning; changing yours to adapt to the challenge.
Your new USP might be this:
You get mouthwatering, piping-hot pizza delivered to your door with double the topping of the big pizza chains… Or you get it FREE!
At the very least, this will be enough to get people to try your pizza at least once over the big pizza chains. If you deliver on this promise, chances are they will keep coming back.
Step 4: Create a marketing plan
Now that you’ve got the fundamentals sorted, it’s time to plan. And a good place to start is to first identify all the ways you plan to generate leads.
But first, you need to remember that there are online and offline lead generation methods.
You need to be using a combination of both if you are going to succeed. One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a business owner is only relying on one method. If you do that then you are going to struggle because you are putting all your marketing eggs in one basket.
For example: imagine that you only rely on SEO to generate leads but then Google changes its algorithm. You’ll be screwed. (Sorry).
Here are some common ways you can generate leads online:
- Having a direct response website
- Email marketing
- Google and Facebook PPC
- Twitter and Linked Advertising
- Affiliate marketing
- Guest posting on popular blogs
- Solo ads
- Referral program
Here are some common and proven offline marketing methods:
- Direct mail
- Publicity from a press release
- Networking events
- Speaking events
- Referral program
- Classified advertising
- Writing for magazines, newspaper column or trade publications
While it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer scope of the above, don’t stress. Simply pick two methods from each category and focus on those for a month or two. It’s all about testing and seeing what works for your business. If something doesn’t work, there are plenty of other methods to choose from.
Step 5: You need sales funnels
There are different types of traffic you’ll be targeting in your marketing and advertising campaigns.
The three types of traffic are as follows:
Cold – people who don’t know you from a bar of soap
Warm – people who know you via a referral such as JV partner email, guest post, etc
Hot – people who are already on your list and already trust you
The whole point of any sales funnel is to generate leads and turn those new leads into paying customers.
The process goes like this:
- Offer a lead gen magnet as an incentive – this generates the lead
- Offer a low priced front end product
- Offer higher priced products
If you want to give yourself the best chance of building a high-converting funnel then you first need to sketch it out and create a value ladder.
Let’s say you are a home security business.
You could create a sales funnel that looks something like this:
- A classifieds or magazine print ad offering prospects a free report on “7 Things That Leave Your Home Open To Burglars.”
- The prospect sends away a postage paid coupon to get your free report – they have now become a lead.
- You also send them an Information Kit with information about your business, a free article on home security detailing statistics of home invasions, etc.
- In your package, you send a first-time customer offer, which is a free 30-minute audit of your home’s security. A member of your staff will come and audit your home to look for security issues.
- Write them a proposal detailing the costs involved for each thing such as installing security doors, tougher windows, alarms, electric garage doors, etc.
- At this point, they will either buy or not.
If they don’t buy then it’s not the end of the world because you now have their information in a customer database.
They are still a lead so all you need to do is make sure you have a follow-up plan for keeping in touch with them. Focus on building a relationship and trust with them because some of them will buy from you in the future.
Step 6: Create a follow-up system for keeping in touch with new leads
This is one of the biggest mistakes every business makes. They simply don’t have a follow-up plan for their leads and customers.
It’s quite astonishing and in fact, it’s not even that hard to do. Once you’ve created the follow-up plan, you simply put it on autopilot and it does the work for you.
Want to know some incredibly sobering statistics that will show you how serious this is?
- 48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect
- 25% of sales people make a second contact and stop
- 12% of sales people make more than three contacts
- 2% of sales are made on the first contact
- 3% of sales are made on the second contact
- 5% of sales are made on the third contact
- 10% of sales are made on the fourth contact
- 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact
Pretty crazy, isn’t it?
That should show you how super important following up is. Just because a lead doesn’t buy from you doesn’t mean they won’t in the future. You just need to keep in touch with them.
A great way to do this is via email marketing. This requires a time investment up front but, it’s one of the best time investments you can make. All you do is get your email sequence set up and then put it on autopilot. Every time you add someone to that list they automatically start receiving your emails.
It does the job of nurturing the lead and building a relationship with them without you really doing anything at all (once set up).
You can do something similar offline as well.
In the case of the home security business, I used as an example:
What about sending those leads that didn’t buy after your home security audit a free monthly newsletter on home security? What about sending them monthly brochures or postcards about specials you are running or interesting facts about home security in your area or country?
There are so many things you can do. The beauty here is that if you take the time and bother with this follow up then when that lead is ready to buy, who do you think they are going to call?
You can see from the statistics above so many businesses neglect this part of their business. So think about how much you will stand out just by following up and showing you actually care.
Step 7: Communication with them
So now you’ve got all the fundamentals set up.
Now you’re ready to actually go out there and start attracting customers to your new business. So what do you do next? Communicate with your leads in a way that encourages them to take the action you want.
So how do we do that?
My favourite method is to shock them (but in an ethical way).
Let’s say you are starting a home security business. You want to communicate with prospects in a way that gets them to take the action you want, which is to become a paying customer.
What you would do is start by looking for some statistics about home security. Find statistics that show how many homes were burgled in your area in the last 12 months.
Then communicate this in your headline. It could go something like this:
Did you know that there were 194 home burglaries in this area in the last 12 months?
ATTENTION: 194 Homes were victims of thieves in the last 12 months alone… Find out what you can do to protect your home this year.
You could send out postcards to highly targeted prospects in your area with this as the headline and then encourage those people to call your business for a free home security information kit.
In the kit you could attach a special voucher that entitles the recipient to a 30 minute free home security audit.
This is how you attract the right customers to your business.
Follow these steps in the order I have presented them and you’ll be on your way to a bucket load of leads and new customers. I promise.
It takes a lot of effort and time upfront but once you’ve got all of this taken care of you’ll be ready to get out there and build the business you’ve always dreamed of.