Lead Generation the Smart Way!

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If you’re like me, you probably get several emails a week offering lists of leads you can purchase. Lists of hundreds or thousands of people and companies you can presumably add to your email and phone campaigns. Tempting?

I may take some heat for this, but I have to tell you to just say “no” to the list. Why?

The quality of the contacts may not be all it’s cracked up to be. It may be years out of date, it may contain hundreds of dead ends, and it may even be crammed with decent contacts that are good for someone, but not for your business. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard customers tell me that they purchased a list, created an email campaign and got zero response.

I’m never surprised.

You must realize that direct mail and email have low response rates to begin with. Maybe you do, and maybe that’s why you purchased the list of thousands of names in the first place, playing the numbers game. You’re hoping to generate some instant responses and jump start your marketing efforts. Unless you stop to think about a few things, your success is going to be very limited.

First things first:
The first thing you absolutely must do when generating leads is to define who your best customers are. Who is an ideal fit for what you provide? Who pays on time and is a dream to work for? Who do you want to work for? Why?

You can’t and shouldn’t be all things to all people. Targeting your products and services to meet a narrower audience, while seeming counter-productive, actually gives you an edge with the market you seek.
You can’t and shouldn’t be all things to all people. Targeting your products and services to meet a narrower audience, while seeming counter-productive, actually gives you an edge with the market you seek. It’s called niche marketing, and it works. It is better to be an expert and a perfect fit for a few hundred than to be one of the many who promise something for everyone.

A perfect example of this concept is a young man I met at a networking event a few months ago. He is a disc jockey: weddings, private parties, graduations, etc. So are a lot of other people. His hook? He specializes in Indian music. As he said to me, “I may have a smaller pool of prospects, but there are plenty of people who want Indian music for their special events. It is hard to find someone who has what they want. I not only have it, but I understand what they want.  I am a perfect fit for them, and I can actually charge more because I specialize. A lot of my jobs are referrals.”

This young man has a bright future.

Second things second:
Not only did my young friend define a niche market, he understood their needs and wants. Do you understand what your best customers want? Are you tailoring your products and services to meet their needs? If so, you’ll be more successful. Effective marketing and sales is always about them, not you. Even if you don’t change anything that you offer, you must learn to market what you offer so that it speaks to your customer’s needs that aren’t met elsewhere. Find their pain, meet it, speak to it.

Good things come in threes:
Now that you’ve defined your best customer and figured out how to best meet their needs or tailored your marketing to speak to them, how do you go about building the list you wanted in the first place?

Find out where your prospects are, of course!

Where to they go, where do they network, what do they have in common? Who else provides services to them? Network with those people too! Sure, it takes a little longer than sending off an email or a direct mail campaign to thousands with the click of a button, but you’ll enjoy more actual warm leads by employing this process.

Happy, effective marketing!