As markets evolve and more people embrace the digital world, entrepreneurs have to be willing to try something new in order to attract more business.
In the past, generating new customer leads came down to a variety of approaches. These included paper-based marketing advertisements, cold calls, referral incentives for current customers and word-of-mouth. And as many industries digitized, these efforts also began to include online spaces like social media platforms.
While the medium has changed, at their core, marketing and sales have not. To stand out today to current and potential customers, organizations have to remain committed to continually providing products and services that address the needs and desires people have.
To help entrepreneurs attract more business, 11 Newsweek Expert Forum members each offer one suggestion entrepreneurs can leverage to find customer leads in a modern, novel way.
1. Show Genuine Interest When Talking With Others
Talk to people! When we share, we multiply. By sharing genuine interest in others’ situations, we connect more deeply to understand their perspectives and needs as well as those of the people in their network. Good old-fashioned word-of-mouth can spread fast and effectively when leveraging online personal feedback and reviews.
2. Leverage Social Media
There is no shortage of social media notifications from eager entrepreneurs looking to find customer leads. These days, engaging customers should always include a social media component. However, a comprehensive marketing strategy may also include direct mail ads thanks to a revival of the practice with unique, modern and eco-friendly solutions such as partnerships and the use of recycled materials.
3. Develop a Robust Marketing-Sales Integration Program
Organizations spend a tremendous amount of money and resources on marketing, trade shows, conferences and presentations, but follow-up is generally neglected. Sales teams typically gravitate to the low-hanging fruit, and a low percentage of leads are normally followed up on. A robust marketing-sales integration program with an effective drip campaign will help solve a large lead void. – Alan Wozniak, Business Health Matters (BHM) Executive Consulting
4. Form Engaged Customer Communities
Build large, strong and engaging communities through content, thought leadership and events. An engaged community drives leads, strengthens brand leverage and brings highly qualified inbound leads. Community-driven marketing is one of the cornerstones of modern-day business.
5. Provide Valuable Content
Advertising technology is getting better every day, including recommendation algorithms, behavior predictors and georeferencing tools. However, I think that generating quality content, the kind you would consume yourself, is probably the best strategy. If prospects trust your content, you won’t need to find them as they’ll come to you.
6. Invest in Location-Based Personalization
Geofencing and radio frequency identification technology (RFID) leverage a virtual geographical boundary around a specific location, such as a convention center or neighborhood. This can allow B2B and B2C marketers to deliver hyper-personalized content through ad campaigns, content and push notifications. It’s critically important that campaigns and content are GDPR-compliant and do not jeopardize user privacy.
7. Create New Offerings to Differentiate Yourself
I frequently create new products and services as a means of ensuring differentiation is achieved for my business. Part of the reason I do this is to find new customer leads. I am able to engage potential and current customers through surveys and forums with a test product or service while also getting their perspective on how to improve as a business.
8. Examine Social Media Comments From Potential Customers
The comments of potential customers on social media could indicate a real need they have. These comments might not actually articulate something that indicates whether they are ready for a purchase requisition, but if coaxed carefully out of them, their thoughts could help them become a new customer lead.
9. Join Online Groups
Something many people are finding effective is using social media groups to find new customers. While a Facebook group is an obvious choice, it isn’t the only choice. There are groups on Alignable and Nextdoor too, and these platforms can be used to find customers in your area. People like doing business with others close to them and both are geared toward making those connections for free.
10. Start Marketing on Niche Company Platforms
We effectively advertise on niche platforms, attend trade shows and send our catalogs out to potential consumers who have shown an interest in what we offer. There are super high-tech marketers out there that do consumer research to find consumer interests, and this insight offers us a much higher ROI than social media leads.
11. Determine What Would Eliminate Additional Tasks for Customers
Check your customers’ homework. Broken processes, procedures, policies and products result in homework for your current and future customers. These can be tedious, to-do list tasks that range from getting more information and more access to more meetings, more tools and more training. To lighten their homework and to generate leads, ask your customers this one question: “How could this be easier?”