Today, the marketing landscape is filled with strategies and tactics that, if all were employed, would cause most businesses to spontaneously combust. There are so many different activities related to marketing a business today that small business owners must choose wisely how they are going to spend their time and money. Certainly there are some musts — you must have a website, you must have a social presence (vary rare cases where this is not true today) and you must have a lead generation plan. Below are 3 lead generation activities that many small business owners can adopt to gain exposure to new audiences, focus in on target audiences and increase brand exposure.
The key with using speaking to generate more leads is to have a clear plan AND some skill. Trust me, nothing will hurt your business more than poor speaking skills IF you are trying to use it to generate more leads. Audiences don’t take kindly to boring speakers, long, drawn out messages without actionable content or people who just read their Powerpoint slides. If you are going to use speaking to generate leads, skill aside, here are a few tips:
- Have an opt in, free offer or give-away. If you don’t have anything worth giving away, why would I consider giving you my business?
- Don’t make your message your pitch. If you have 20 minutes to share your secret sauce with an audience , don’t spend 10 of it pitching…the stage is NOT the place to pitch, I don’t care what some people are telling you. We are tired of being pitched to. People do not want to hear about your buy now get this offer for half of your time on stage. Good content, actionable tips and truly giving of your time and talents will attract people to you. Once you attract them, then you can make a more lengthy pitch and explanation of why they should buy your widget, work with your team or use your services. At best, a 20 minute message should have no more than 5-8 minutes of pitch AND that should be woven throughout the message, not just piled on the end.
- Powerpoint — don’t create a million slides, don’t read from your slides, don’t put too much text on a slide, don’t…. I could go on. Basics here — 20 minutes = no more than 10 slides and one is an opening slide and one a closing slide so that means you have 8 slides to illustrate VISUALLY your message. Use simple phrases, amazing, clear images and that’s it. Speakers who over populate their message with slides are sloppy, unprepared and lazy. You have to know your content as if you did not have a slide.
Blog posts work. Sharing content works. Giving people insight into your philosophy of business, your discoveries and most importantly, your unique approach to a highly competitive product or service will help you become more accessible to prospects. You don’t have to write the next version of War and Peace to have good content. Simple, effective tips on how to do just about anything your customers would typically engage in business with you for are key. Don’t know where to start? Make a list of your customers/industries frequently asked questions. They systematically approach each question from every angle possible. There you have it! A content plan in the works.
Press the flesh. Be seen. Be genuine. Show up. Make a list of all the networking and events that your target audience frequents and schedule time to get out there. Learn how to meet people and listen to what they are asking for. Become a connector. Most people go about networking the wrong way. They definitely have the ‘what’s in it for me’ thing down. True networkers are connectors and they spend more time learning about the needs of the people they meet and help to make connections for those people than shoving their business cards in their face. If it takes 7-15 points of contact with a lead to convert them these days, then why do people think that a one time event is the place to close a sale? Learn how to ask the right questions, garner trust and develop a relationship that may lead to business. By becoming a connector, people see you as a go-to resource and are more likely to reciprocate and refer business to you as well.
These 3 tips, along with a well crafted comprehensive marketing strategy that employs multiple marketing tactics can help you generate more leads, become better connected to your target market and help you garner the respect of your professional community. Companies that have a diverse, multifaceted plan, have greater reach and impact in the business landscape. There is no reason why our business can’t be one of those resources too.