Where Do I You Find The Best New Customers?
There are lots of place to find new customers, and it seems every sales rep you talk to makes an excellent case for their solution. However, which ones work best for YOUR business?
When you think about the best leads, don’t think of it as a quantity game, think which leads will best give me customers who I can help and will be able to support my business goals?
Having LOTS of new customers will make you busier, however, it may not make you more profitable. This is where lots of “solutions” fall down. All of the solutions ask you “Don’t you want MORE customers?” A fair question, but the response back should be, “how will it make me more profitable?”.
Depending on the type of business you run and the type of customers you want, your marketing mix will be different. Two lawyers, with offices across the hall from each other, will and should have different marketing mixes, even if they have the same specialty. Two residential air conditioning companies will and should have different mixes based on their service structure and even down to how many trucks they are able to run daily. So, you can see just choosing the where of your marking mix is a bit of an art.
The following are just a starting point for determining your marketing mix, or at least asking better questions of people who promise results if you give them money.
A special note here on being Sexy: Sexy does not equate to profit. If you want a vanity campaign to show your friends, great, get one, but sometimes the most effective campaigns are “boring” by large company standards. Many law firms and companies get a few months into a program and find it’s not “Fun” any more and succumb to “shiny object syndrome”. A plan is a solid plan you commit to and work for the long term. Unless you have an unlimited budget, a smart marketing director or agency will strongly fight you on changing course to “Try” a new thing.
Great for consumer products and services everyone can use. Your biggest determinant is your audience. Pick one or two platforms that best fit your audience demographics. Be really good at one or two. Make sure your social media manager or company doesn’t push ones they like or that will just make a name for themselves rather than you.
Need instant results? Paid leads might be for you. Do you sell to a general audience? Great! Do you sell to consumers? Even better! Paid leads are all about margins and conversion percentages. You simply want to make more than you spend (by a number of times). Local search is a great option as well if you are trying to drive traffic to a location. There are a number of strategies around paid search that can help you.
SEO will start slowly, then build. If you have a business you want to stay in for a while, then you need to focus on SEO and part of your budget needs to include it. If your business is one that is searched and researched before people buy, SEO will help. Prospects who find you naturally have a much higher percentage of close.
Blogging can help you tell your story. Blogging is also the foundation of a good SEO strategy. If your business is built on personality or having a specific way of doing things that is different from your competition, this is a great place to let it shine. If you offer a technical aspect of doing things or a system, this is a great place to illustrate this. Blogging requires real commitment in time or money. You either have to learn how to write for your audience and search engines effectively and simultaneously or pay someone else who is good at it. This is why content marketing is part of every good SEO program.
This is one where being an expert in B to B sales is a good fit. If you sell to a niche that has several well-read publications, (building and interior design, or clothing are great examples), then being in a print magazine is a good fit. It is expensive (5 figures annually for an effective campaign), but it creates a brand for you as an expert and a real player in the industry. Bi-monthly insertions are key and don’t skimp on photography or production.
Going back to expert status. If you want to be considered as a “leader” in your industry, PR can help. From personal training and weight loss to industrial products, sometimes a good website and PR placement campaign are the best use of your marketing budget. If you have a smaller budget, SEO, and PR may be your only options you run.
Sponsorship helps you accomplish two goals; get your name out and drive direct sales. If you are smart about picking a good fit for your company, you support those who you want to do business with, providing good will. Many sponsorship opportunities allow you to offer something special to their audience, potentially giving you immediate customers.
Speaking puts you in the drivers seat of expert. It also helps you get in front of people who you want to do business with. It has often been said that you will succeed if you give away 80% of what you know and charge a premium for the other 20%! This channel is great for passively selling. You don’t have to pitch, you just have to open yourself to further discussions later on. Passing out an offer for free follow up information sessions is a great prospecting tool.
Targeting a select high-end market is still the realm that direct mail owns. Direct mail campaigns are expensive if done correctly but almost always provide a great return on investment. Real estate, personal services and high-end b to b are perfect targets. This is not post card marketing, this is sending a select few a campaign design to get them to act. Direct Mail campaigns can get your reps into the very highest end corner offices. On the other end, low end direct mail is great for b to c clients at lower end pricing and low decision making process services. A sale on lawn care packages, or restaurants is a great fit for these types of direct mail campaigns.
If you have a financial product or consumer service, this may be a good fit. However, typical conversion for traditional cold calling is horrible. Cold calling needs to be part of another campaign as a follow up, effectively making it a warm call.
If you sell a product that has enough margin to afford an affiliate and you don’t customize a lot, this can be a great option. If you can sign up services online without anyone needing to talk with anyone else, this is a fantastic option. You can have an army. However, this option is not “Free” as you need to work with someone to help you set up an affiliate network program and support structure (It's likely a one time fee or a smaller monthly management cost). There are a LOT of pitfalls working with affiliates, especially tracking ones, but it can be well worth doing.
I hope this article helps spark some conversations about where you want to show up to find your best customers.