The battle for new clients: five top tactics to use

One of the most important aspects of running a small business is being able to bring in new clients.

In a hyper-competitive marketplace, the company that fills its funnel full of opportunities is the one that manages its lead generation strategies most effectively.

If you want to make the most of your efforts to find new clients, here are five marketing moves to generate quality leads.

Spend on tactics that produce an ROI

You need to ask what your return on investment will be for every strategy you employ.

When it comes to lead generation, I see a lot of businesses go the route of image advertising on billboards or in magazines – without any call to action or direct-response mechanism.

Those who do it say it’s to build awareness – but awareness is so vague, it’s almost impossible to measure.

Money spent on general awareness tactics could be better spent on tactics that connect more intimately with your marketplace or give you an opportunity to start a relationship with them.

Rather than stick up an image advertisement, focus on tactics where you can offer direction to participants and kick-start relationships. Such tactics could include direct-response advertising, special events, seminars or webinars.

How can you tell if a marketing effort produced an ROI? You have to test it.

Test your marketing

The cause of great failure in marketing is speculation. Don’t rely on conjecture. Getting great at lead generation is all about testing the different variables that go out into the marketplace to determine what it best responds to.

Take, for example, a pay-per-click ad on Google. You could try it two ways. Take out an ad that directs people to two Web pages. One would tell the visitor to call a sales person today to get a 30-day free trial. The other would tell the visitor to download a top 10 guide. That guide would teach your reader about your product or service, and offer a link to another Web page to download a 30-day free trial.

Collect data on each effort. That data should be used as a benchmark against other marketing tactics or campaigns to determine which approach works best to achieve your objectives. Whichever achieves the best result will become your new benchmark moving forward.

Use many tactics

On the battlefield, a number of different weapons are used, from aircraft to fighting ships to remote-controlled weaponry.

What if a large-scale war was fought using just one tactic? Chances are it would not be very successful. The same is true in marketing.

Many people often gravitate to what they feel comfortable with and what feels easiest, rather than what will garner the best results.

It’s far easier to send one direct mailer instead of sending one in combination with a telephone follow-up. It’s far easier to send one or two e-mails than it is to create an e-mail campaign, sending two or three different e-mails directing someone to a website page and testing to see which one fares best.

It’s extremely rare to see any great results from just one communication. To increase leads, you must combine your efforts and “touch” your targets more than once from a variety of different angles to win the battle.

Always issue a call to action

It’s far too common to see an advertisement, Web page, white paper, webinar, direct mailer, article or e-mail come from a small business without any call to action in it. But a call to action is your gateway to a new client, directing the prospect who is reading, listening or viewing a piece of your marketing to take immediate action.

Such a call to action could be to sign up for a newsletter, subscribe for a free trial or download some content.

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