In a recent blog entry, worchyld asks about how to generate leads. This has been covered extensively in this blog, in my articles on Sitepoint, and in my books, but it’s always good to have a primer:

1. Before you start generating leads, be sure that you have a great strategic foundation in place. This means:

– Choose a target market on which to focus your marketing. That way, you spend less to get more clients.

– Develop a marketing message that communicates the problems you solve, the benefits you provide, how you get results, what sets you apart, and proof of your success. All of these must be in terms that your market finds significant and meaningful to them (not to you).

2. Get visible:

– Start with some low-cost, high-impact ways to get visible: join associations where your target market hangs out; speak; write; do community service in a leadership role; get proactive at developing referral sources; do some research about your target market’s issues; issue newsworthy rpess releases; provide some information products about your area of expertise (i.e., audio, video, white papers).

– Target 25 – 100 prospects. Send each a series of informational letters. Follow up after each one to introduce yourself and talk more about how your message in the letter applies to them. Customize your letters by doing some research about the prospect’s web site, and provide personalized ideas and suggestions about how you can help. Get a clear “yes” or “no” after 4 months. Replace the “yes” and “no” prospects with a new list.

– Get better at asking for referrals from clients. There is a specific way to ask for referrals. Don’t just hope for positive word of mouth.

– Drive prospects to your website by having information and educational content about design and development that they (not you) care about. Capture their contact info via your web site.

– Set up networks of complementary professionals and colleagues who want to help each other succeed. Meet for lunch to exchange leads and ideas, for instance.

3. Follow up with the people on your contact list religiously. Keep adding people to you list — with their permission. Update them with a series of informative articles and information.

There’s more, but I’m sure that readers will add anything I’ve missed.

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