I’m sure anyone who has ever run their own business can concur.
There is just so much to do to keep your business going; a number of things that may be obvious to others may just get overlooked in our mad mission to get through our jam-packed days.
In fact, very few smaller business operators have had the time, money or even inclination to fully explore the digital world and what it can do for their business.
You only need to look at the unattractive or dated state of many of our small business websites to understand that something is getting in the way of making it the lead magnet it should be instead of the lead repellent it can often be.
So here are some pretty easy and free tactics you can use as soon as today to get some new business into your pipeline.
1. Tell your Facebook friends about a business win or demonstration of your work
I know many don’t like to mix business and pleasure, but believe it or not, you are already doing it. There wouldn’t be a single friend of yours that doesn’t know what you do for a living and if they are genuine, they’ll want to see you succeed.
So tell your friends about your business wins (or even challenges) so as they fully understand what you do and can refer you when they hear of a need. Or why not take a good picture of the result of your work (if applicable) to show them what you have achieved.
2. Email your clients and prospects regularly
There’s no doubt it is challenging for the time-poor business operator or marketer but if you invest in email marketing you will reap the rewards.
Despite all the hype and attention given to social networking (admittedly much of it deservingly), email marketing remains easily the most effective direct marketing tactic of all.
So come up with a plan of what you will email your list and when and stick to it. You will be pleasantly surprised with the results.
The really cool thing about blogging is that you don’t need to be a qualified writer to come up with interesting and viral content. Blogging is really a personal account of an aspect of your world. Because it is clearly your opinion, you don’t necessarily need to conduct as much research as you would a traditional advertorial piece.
Then of course there are the search engine benefits of blogging as they trawl the web looking for new content to file and rank.
So start blogging today and when you do, post a link in your social networks of choice. Best of all is when that blog is located on your website to create easy calls to action.
4. Email the person on that business card
I heard only this morning that only 10% of business operators actually go the extra nine yards to follow up on the business contact they have just met.
This means that all the business networking you do is incomplete. You’ve done the hard work to get to the event and actually meet a new prospect, then you let them slip through the net as their business card goes into drawer somewhere to gather dust.
So take the time to write that email and even add them to your communication list or social network or get your assistant to do it for you (but addressed from you of course).
5. Asking all customers and prospects to ‘Like’ you
Following on from the previous tactic, this is one of the most ignored tactics of all and one that will cost you untold new business leads. Whenever you meet anyone at all, it’s critical to make contact with them on your (or their) choice of business networks.
Some of the worst offenders are businesses with a street frontage like shops, bars and restaurants. Clearly if the customer is at your shopfront, they are interested in what you have to sell. So rather than let them walk away never to be seen again, invite them to ‘Like’ you or make whatever connection they prefer.
You can even offer them an incentive to do so.
6. Asking friends for referrals
Further to No 1 above, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking your friends to keep an eye out for prospects on your behalf. Just let them know that it’s a little quiet so if they hear of anyone in the market for your service, to kindly refer them to you.
Of course it’s always nice to shout lunch or provide some other incentive of value in gratitude. But take care not to make that the core incentive or it will sound too ‘salesy’. Rely on their willingness to help a friend instead.
7. Joining Facebook business Groups (or start one of your own)
Regular readers of this blog will already know about these amazing groups. Do a search for your locality for business groups and once accepted, use them to tell its members about your business and its news and specials, offer advice and so on.
By doing so you will not only raise your profile but be in the mix to respond to the constant calls for recommendations most groups feature. If you can’t find a suitable group, why not start one yourself and start recruiting members?
These tactics are all proven to generate fast and free business leads. Try them out and if let us know how you go below!
In addition to being a leading eBusiness educator to the smaller business sector, Craig Reardon is the founder and director of independent web services firm The E Team which was established to address the special website and web marketing needs of SMEs in Melbourne and beyond.