Believe it or not, most small to midsize agencies have no consistent process for generating online leads.
Business development doesn’t have to be so difficult. With a little forethought and the creation of simple steps and processes, you can create a system that will make it much easier to kick-start your online leads.
Here are 7 ideas to help get you started:
1. Consistently Use Lead Generation Platforms
The battle for new business has moved online.
According to Marketing Sherpa, 80-90% of business to business transactions begin with a search on the web.
You want to enlarge your agency’s online footprint to have the ability to consistently generate more leads. These are some proven platforms:
- For over eight years, I’ve prescribed creating a niche blog for agency new business and have helped create over 200 personal blogs for agency principals. A personal blog can provide small to midsize agency owners with a perfect platform to create positioning of authority and appeal to a very specific target audience. It’s like a fishing expedition. You fish for a specific fish with a particular bait, you fish away from the boat (the agency’s website) so you don’t scare off the fish.
- Repurpose your online content into white papers, eBooks, SlideShare presentations and videos.
- Create your own training events. Add live webinars, online training courses, offline seminars and workshops to your lead generation tool box as a way to build relationships and buy-in from prospects. You’ll quickly establish value and a positioning of expertise when your first face-to-face meeting is a paid engagement.
- Use your personal social media accounts to grow your online community of prospects and engage with them online. Most agencies still haven’t tapped into the power of social media for creating new business leads. It is networking on steroids.
2. Create Specific Calls-to-Action
A call to action is an important element for generating inbound leads. Every call to action must immediately answer two primary questions: First, what do you want prospects to do? Second why should they do it? An effective CTA will eliminate the guesswork. A resource that you might find helpful is Hubspot’s 101 Examples of Effective Calls-To-Action.
3. Qualify Your Leads
To begin a successful lead generation program, one of the first steps is to identify and qualify your best prospects.
A business development person without leads is like a fish out of water. Neither can survive very long. Yet …
Only 30% of B2B marketers know the names of decision makers in the companies they are targeting. The RAIN Group
To be successful in new business development, you must first name your prospects. Then it’s important to qualify them. Unqualified prospective client meetings are as bad as no meetings at all. It is a waste of agency time and resources.
4. Try Speaking for New Business
Speaking at events attended by your best prospects will provide you with instant credibility. It’s an excellent tactic for business development, particularly for small to midsize agency owners. Having the opportunity to speak in front of a highly targeted, interested group of prospects is the most effective form of lead generation.
Public speaking is an essential component to my business development program. I have been the keynote speaker for more than 100 events in the U.S., Canada and in the UK, speaking on topics related to leadership, business development, and social media. It’s typical to come away from these meetings with new clients. That’s why my personal marketing is designed to facilitate more opportunities to speak.
5. Eliminate Web Forms to Connect with a Person
Most people don’t like completing online forms. Prospects have no idea who gets their information, the follow-up or how their info will be used in the future. When a prospect has an interest, it is often short-lived. I encourage my clients to make their contact information directly available to their prospective clients. Remember, you’re not selling widgets! Make it easy for them to reach out to you.
6. Add and Optimize Landing Pages for More Leads
Landing pages are vital to producing inbound leads. According to some studies, over half of landing page visitors leave within 5 seconds. You need to know how to get the most from them. For instance:
- Using correct targeting and testing methods can increase conversion rates up to 300%.
- According to the Marketing Sherpa’s Benchmark Report on Landing Page Optimization, only 52% of businesses and agencies that use landing pages test them to find ways to improve responses.
- You should have only one specific offer for each landing page but 48% of landing pages contain multiple offers.
- Adding videos on a landing page can increase conversions by up to 86% according to a study by Eye View Digital.
- You may not realize it but long landing pages have the greater potential to generate significantly more leads, up to 220% more leads than above the fold call-to-action. Email Monks
New business success is dependent on the number of qualified leads. So, the first step toward this objective takes place by developing effective landing pages.
7. Provide Social Proof
As part of my consulting work, I’m asked to review a lot of agency websites from a new business perspective. Recently, I was reviewing the website of a large agency in New York. I wasn’t surprised that I didn’t find a single testimonial from a happy client. A good number of agencies neglect to add this important component to their marketing mix.
Third-party validation is a powerful tool.
63% of consumers indicate that they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has reviews and testimonials. – CompUSA and an iPerceptions study
Adding client testimonials and recommendations is one of the easiest ways to empower your lead generation program. Testimonials help to eliminate skepticism, provide credibility and trust.
Professional Guest post by Michael Gass, Business Development Consultant | Speaker | Author of Fuel Lines