Small Business Lead Generation – Why Online Is In!

More and more people are avoiding yellow pages and directory inquiries and going directly on the internet to search for whatever they need. This presents a never-before opportunity for small business lead generation, with an exponentially high number of organizations understanding the need for taking their business to the next level by giving it the right kind of exposure online.

Essentially, there are two kinds of routes that businesses can take for small business lead generation to be successful. The first among these is via Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which is essentially a long term objective to ensure sustainable growth in traffic. Irrespective of the stature and reputation of an organization, if the SEO activity is not done properly, it can take years to be featured among the top searches on popular search engines. And even if it’s done properly and aggressively, it takes at least a couple of months for the efforts to bear fruit. Sure, there are certain tricks that one can use to get better results, but they can only go so far. Businesses also have a great opportunity in the form of submission directories, which also help quite significantly in search engine optimization at virtually no cost.

Another great alternative for sound small business lead generation is pay per click advertising, which is also known as PPC. This is more of an ‘instant result’ kind of proposition, which gives results on the spot! However, the costs incurred for this activity are also significantly high. Many advocates of its long term gains state that once a website is popular, traffic flows in automatically. However, there are many arguments regarding this theory.

In the end, it’s up to the business as to which route it wishes to take to achieve the desired objective. However, going online is definitely the only route to succeed in today’s times.

However, just because qualifying the call is a very important aspect of the process does not mean that one should jump directly into it. It’s essential to understand the stage at which one should attempt the same. Ideally, the first stage of a sales call is about introducing oneself and talking about the product. Once that has been taken care of, the salesperson needs to begin probing the prospect, with regards to checking how much interest has been generated. The introduction stage during small business lead generation is essentially all about telling the other person why the call was made, and it is very important that the prospect is made to feel that he/she was handpicked from a list simply because the product or service being offered caters to his/her needs.

Small Business Lead Generation: Think Big

There are many enterprises that constantly strive to maximize their revenues via small business lead generation, but most of the time it does not work, and one of the mail reasons for the same is that the tactics being used are very old school. It’s a new age, and one needs to be in tune with the times. For B2C customers, the best proposition is to give freebies like a coffee mug or duffel bag with each purchase. Special discount vouchers can also be given away via email upon filling a form or making a purchase.

Also, inbound calling is often not given much importance, but the fact is that despite the widespread extent of emails, people still prefer talking on the phone. So, the small business lead generation efforts of an enterprise can really get a big boost if there is an inbound calling line. It’s even better if the line is toll-free. This is because it gives the customer an impression that the company is in the big league. One can also gain a significant edge by creating a referral system for existing customers, i.e., every time a customer refers a lead which is converted (or not, depending on the business model), a special privilege is extended like discounts, gift coupons, etc.

Small business lead generation can also be done through the company’s website. A small pop-up every now and then, telling people about the new products and services of the company goes a long way in getting more business. An interesting way to position it is in the ‘did you know’ format, so as to create curiosity among the target audience. And lastly, one can get a great deal of exposure by participating in industry events, particularly when it’s about the B2B domain, since a lot of potential customers and service providers mingle at such dos.

Another reason why small business lead generation is considerably different than a regular B2C product promotion is because one has to overcome a barrage of contact persons in the organization. Convincing each of these is necessary to reach the next level. More often than one would like, the person one gets in touch with in the initial stages of the deal is not the decision maker, and it’s important that one constantly follows up and highlights the merits of the offering in the right manner to ensure that the enthusiasm is maintained on the part of the client as well.

3 Free Ways To Market Your Small Business Online

Most small business owners know they need to be involved in online marketing but many are at a loss on simple free steps they can take to get started or grow their internet presence. It’s unfair too because many small businesses are stuck buying expensive print ads in newspapers and the yellow pages.

So, in this short article, we’re going to learn 3 free ways to market your small business on the internet. With no further ado, let’s do it!

Free Marketing Method 1: Create a Facebook Fan Page

Facebook Fan Pages are not just a novelty anymore. If you look, most “big brands” aren’t even advertising their own websites these days, they’re advertising their Facebook page. You’ve probably seen ads for companies like Ford and at the end it says “visit us on Facebook” or something along those lines.

Why is Facebook so important for small business marketing? To answer that question, let me tell you a story. Imagine you go to a party and when you arrive first. While you’re waiting for everyone else to show up you look around the room. Sure, there are beautiful pictures everywhere and you can read all about your host and even learn a little about why the party is happening.

After hours and hours of waiting alone, you finally figure it out. No one else is coming to this party. So, why am I talking about parties? Because that “party” is your website (if you have one). Websites are good to quickly give information, but there’s no space for interaction. And even if there is, it’s not in real time.

Facebook practically allows you to communicate in real time with your customers, and it allows them to interact with each other. Your best customers will help spread the word about your business and help the “newbies” who have questions. To go back to our party example, it’s like being at a party with all the cool kids – and they all want to talk to you!

So, if you don’t have a Facebook fanpage yet… now is the time.

Free Marketing Method 2: Blogging For Your Business

Besides a Facebook fan page, you need to be blogging. A Blog is simply a type of website that allows you to post articles or posts in order. They aren’t too hard to setup and you can get free blogs from sites like Blogger.com or WordPress.com. Although, I think it’s best to install your own custom blog software.

Blogs are really important because they allow you to create fresh content which in turn get your site ranked for better terms. This is especially important for local businesses because it’s a lot easier to rank for keywords when you have a local phrase. For example, if I wanted to rank for Tarpon Springs Internet Marketer it wouldn’t be that hard because:

1) There’s not a lot of competition
2) I have a blog and can write a blog post all about that topic

Google loves stuff like this because the page that my blog creates is completely optimized for the phrase Tarpon Springs Internet Marketer. And blogs also help solve the “party scene with no guests” scenario because you can actually include Facebook comments in your blog. This is a bit complex, but most web designers can do this for you if you ask.

Free Marketing Method 3: Find Free Small Business Leads Using Twitter

This is a great little tactic for small businesses, especially if you don’t mind reaching out and looking for customers. So many local business owners just wait for someone to walk in the door… so by getting out and looking you’ll be 10 times better off than other business owners.

Here’s how this strategy works. Many people are on twitter. It’s a micro-blogging site that allows people to post short updates about what they’re doing. You can sign up for Twitter by going to Twitter.com. It’s always best to use your name so you appear to be more real. And don’t worry, it’s free to sign up.

Anyway, when you register you can now communicate with other people on Twitter. So, who are you going to talk to on there? Easy. You’re going to go here:

http://search.twitter.com/advanced

Search for words or phrases people might say who need your product or service. The good thing about Twitter is that people love to complain on there over mundane things. For example, someone might write, “dang it! My brakes are going out. This sucks!”

So, imagine if you’re an auto-mechanic you could contact that person and offer them a free check-up or whatever. And the best part is, before you do your search, you can actually type in a zip code area to search in. That way, if you’re in Dunedin, Florida you are going to be seeing updates from people in a different state.

Small Business Internet Marketing: Start Now

You’ve just been given 3 great ways to get stated marketing your small business online. But the real key is to get started now. Don’t wait another second. Your competitors are either already online taking your customers or getting ready to be. One of the real keys to the internet is that the early bird gets the worm.

So, take what you’ve just read and put it to work now.