The quest to find qualified prospects never ends for business-to-business companies. Even if last quarter’s sales surpassed expectations, the positive trend can’t continue without generating new leads from social media, point of sale, email lists and promotional events. Simply posting on your business’ Twitter and Facebook pages won’t bring serious prospects to you. Finding targeted, quality leads requires some old-fashioned footwork. You can evolve and grow your business by using the following lead generation techniques.
1. Trade shows still generate the best business-to-business leads
Although considered a costly and traditional marketing tactic by some social media cheerleaders, industry trade shows provide the best opportunity to meet leads in person. Traveling to a trade show, setting up a booth and paying personnel to man it is a bigger undertaking than tweeting a few times a day, but the results both in number and quality of leads can be astounding. Ask other business owners in your industry what trade shows they attend and what they experienced at the event. Check with the trade show organizer about the number of people expected to attend and what business or industries they represent. The more targeted the event, the better chance you have to generate quality leads. If you have a plumbing business, a remodeling trade show may be worth your while if you have the budget to attend, but a plumbing-specific trade show is guaranteed to produce more leads – and ultimately sales.
2. Develop a quality email marketing campaign
It’s easier than ever to design an attractive email newsletter using Constant Contact, MailChimp or other templates. If you’re on a tight budget, there are even dozens of free newsletter templates. Using a newsletter template protects you from breaking anti-SPAM rules, and ensures even a novice can create helpful, easy-on-the-eyes content. Build a good email list by asking customers and potential customers for their emails at trade shows, events or online at your purchase checkout page. In email newsletter signup copy, always mention list members will receive special sales offers and discounts.
3. Post informative, original content
Business-to-business buyers want to be sure they have all the up-to-date information possible about the product or service they are interested in, and they take special care to vet the companies providing them. Generate more serious prospects by posting original SEO content weekly or bi-weekly. Well-placed keywords help your Google ranking and will drive more leads to your page, but give them something useful when they get there. Update blogs often with useful information that pertains to your industry. Avoid making them too sales-oriented, but save a call to action for the end. When describing your product or service (or writing product descriptions), get right to the point. Address what your target customer wants to know, but leave them curious enough to fill out an inquiry form or call for a price quote.
4. Always ask for referrals
Referrals from satisfied customers are free and usually result in a new customer. People are more likely to hire you if someone they trust recommends your company. But referrals won’t fall out of the sky; you’ll need to develop a system to ask for them. Place referral requests on the checkout page of your website, or ask for referrals at point of sale in a retail store. Offer a discount on the customer’s next purchase for each referral who becomes a new customer or some other incentive.
These are just a few time-tested, business-to-business lead generation methods. You may find a few others’ tricks, like providing contact information on every website page, will capture the attention of more prospects. Targeted pay-per-click (PPC) text ads can drive leads from Google searches to your website, and having a social media presence is a must. However, the methods outlined above have proven successful for business-to-business companies for decades, and you should use them as part of your lead generation plan.
Sam Meenasian is the operations director of USA Business Insurance and BISU Insurance and an expert in commercial lines insurance products. With more than 10 years of experience and knowledge in the commercial insurance industry, Meenasian contributes his level of expertise as a leader and an agent to educate and secure online business insurance for thousands of clients within the Insurance family.