Local Lead Generation
Customers are an important aspect of any business. It is literally the clients who make the business. Without them, you can’t sell your products or your services, and you cannot make any profit. In short, without customers, you have no business. There are many ways to get customers. One of those ways is to find those people who are interested in your product or service and pitch it to them. Once you have captured their attention, and you are able to get them to make a purchase, you have started your customer list. To get customers, you need to generate leads.
For every business that is created, the first and original target market is the local community in which the business is located, no matter what type of business it is. For small to medium scale businesses, this is a rule of thumb. Their main customer base is the local community they are located in, and they do their best to build a strong customer base of locals first before they begin to expand outward and reach further for more customers. A strong, local customer base is essential if you want your business to grow and stretch out to get customers from other communities.
That doesn’t mean that every business succeeds in getting a good local customer base two weeks from opening launch. This takes a lot of time, dedication, research, and trial and error. Since the local community is such a targeted, specific clientele base, it is more challenging to successfully market products and services to them than to a wider audience.
With large-scale marketing, you can create marketing strategies that are generic, a one-size-fits-all approach, because of the size of the market you are trying to reach. With small-scale, local marketing, however, that strategy will not work. Due to the size of the potential market, your generic promotional message won’t connect with them at that deep level that would persuade them to do business with your company. You need to develop a well-researched marketing plan that is targeted specifically to the local community. Promotional strategies that they will connect with, that will make them feel like you are directly addressing their needs and wants.
Local lead generation, in this sense, may seem to be more difficult than generating leads from far and wide, but it is necessary for the growth of your business. There are strategies and plans that you can use to generate local interest in your products and services, but they need to be very specific and targeted to your local community. People only choose a business when they feel that the business actually has something that they prefer, that they need, or that is of great relevance to them. Getting those leads from the local community means that you have a source of potential customers, and it also means that you won’t be running out of business anytime soon. Without a constant flow of leads, your business could be in jeopardy and make little money.
Lead Generation: Why It Is So Important
To understand why lead generation is so important for small to medium to even larger scale business, you have to really understand what leads are and what lead generation is.
A lead refers to the information you need to acquire to understand what customers you need to target. This information could be their contact information – address, location – or their demographic information – age, personal income, household income, etc. So, a lead is the contact or demographic information of a prospective customer that is attracted to what products or services your business has to offer, or that is interested in your business. Basically, there are two types of leads: marketing leads and sales leads.
- Sales leads are those leads that are generated by using the demographic contact information of a customer, such as their age, personal/household income, FICO score, etc. sales leads are typical examples of finance leads, mortgage leads, and insurance leads, and they are usually followed by phone calls from your sales team. Sales are not generated for a specific marketer, so they can be resold to multiple advertisers.
- Marketing leads are those leads that are generated for a particular marketer or advertiser. This means that they are brand-specific leads. So, for example, a marketing lead could be one generated for the health care sector. Transparency is highly important in generating marketing leads, and these leads can only be resold one time.
Lead generation, on the other hand, refers to the initiation of a customer’s interest in your business, your products, or your services. It could also be said to be the inquiries that customers/potential customers make about your business, your products, or your services. In marketing and sales, it is usually classified as a type of advertisement for businesses, because leads are acquired or sought after for the purposes of making sales, for building customer lists, for building an e-newsletter list, or for creating reward programs or loyalty programs.
Classifying it as an advertisement may not be entirely accurate, however, because leads are also generated through other, non-paid methods, such as through referrals from existing clients and organic search engine results.
Businesses usually use lead generation together with lead management, a process referred to as pipeline marketing. Once the leads have been generated, they are moved to the purchase funnel: that is, the leads are turned into sales.
Lead generation is largely done via the internet these days, in a self-explanatory marketing term called ‘online lead generation’. This is the generation of customer interest in your products and services through the internet. Social media is a booming source of leads, and many businesses and individuals have social media accounts for lead generation and for acquiring new business opportunities. It is a great idea to have social media accounts for your business, because this will give your brand the exposure and reach that it needs to sell its products and services. Having active social media accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (amongst others) is important for your business. Studies even show 93% of leads are generated from internet activity, including web referrals, search engines, local SEO, and direct traffic.
Why Local Businesses Should Target Local Leads
Targeting local leads means marketing to the local community. Local marketing simply means the marketing strategies you make that are aimed at your local community or the community nearest to your business. These marketing efforts can be online or offline, but the emphasis here is on online marketing, because almost everything possible that can be done online has been moved to the internet, and marketing is no exception. Having a responsive, e-commerce website for your business is the first step towards acquiring the local leads that your business needs.
As a local small business, it is important for you to target local leads because, as said earlier, that is what helps to build your brand, both customer-wise and brand-wise. Capturing the interests of the locals is essential to the growth of your business, and your ability to consistently find leads from the local community also shows that your sales team is doing their job very well.
With a strong, local customer base, you can project your business to the larger community.
Word of mouth is also a great way to grow your business. Targeting local leads and turning them into satisfied customers will definitely increase your leads because they will definitely tell others about your products and services.
Customer referrals are also another reason why the targeting local leads are essential. By setting up a reward system for customers who refer potential customers to your business. Your lead flow will be more consistent, and soon your local customer base will be large enough for you to expand to other territories.
Local online marketing is great for small and medium scale businesses that aim to target local leads, especially when your marketing budget may not be large enough for marketing on a wider scale. With your small-scale budget, you should concentrate your efforts on generating leads from the local communities nearby. After which you can attain the budget needed for large-scale marketing.
Your online marketing scheme doesn’t have to be so different from your offline marketing plan, only that your marketing efforts will be largely online, instead of on billboards and posters. With local lead generation, you need to be very careful and do your research thoroughly to ensure that you deliver what the local community needs. Since it is the community that your business is situated in, or located close to, it is assumed that you know a lot about that community, about what they like and what they need. You also know what would make them choose your business.
If you own a teashop, you need to understand the tea-drinking habits in your local community. Maybe the locals drink different kinds of teas based on certain occasions. Chamomile tea to relieve stress; honeysuckle tea with freshly baked biscuits; green tea for every conceivable situation that exists; a different tea for a different occasion. With this knowledge, you should be able to create ads and messages that tap into those beliefs and thoughts so as to connect with them and sell your product to them. If they are not big on tea, you need to find a way to make tea interesting to them. Pair it with something they love, or something they identify with, and they will instantly become attracted to your product.
How Local Businesses Can Find New Leads
So, since your emphasis is now on targeting local leads for your potential customer base, how can you get those leads?
• Join Local Business Listings
Make sure that your online business is listed in different local online business listings. Examples of such online business listings are Yahoo Local and Google My Business. These online business listings are necessary for you to join, as potential customers are likely to search online for your products, your services, or even your company, and you business name needs to show up in the results that appear on the first page.
The online business listing platforms mentioned let you complete a company profile, upload pictures and videos to display your business to leads. Your business name, address, phone numbers, email address, and other contact information should be constantly up to date and the same on all platforms, so that potential customers can easily get your details when they want to purchase a product or service from you.
• Pay For Localized Advertising
Ads are always the way to go when trying to generate exposure for your business. Research even shows that ads that target specific localities are more effective than ads that amore generic, and not targeted at a specific audience. Targeting your ads to a specific locale is bound to get you more exposure with the local community. You can do this online by using Facebook Local Ads or even Google AdWords. Instagram and Twitter also provide options for sponsored ads, giving you the freedom to choose your target, keywords, and budget.
• Getting Active On Social Media
Having an online presence wouldn’t be entirely effective if you don’t have your business on social media platforms. Social media is a great way to engage with customers and leads, and it is the highest lead generator on the Internet.
For targeting local leads, look at the social media platforms that the locals are most active on. Facebook is always a sure bet, with Twitter and Instagram also inclusive. LinkedIn is mainly a B2B social media platform, but it is also a good idea to have a LinkedIn account so as to meet with other local businesses. Being on social media isn’t only about promoting your business, but also about connecting with customers at the individual level, providing them with relevant, interesting content to read and answering their questions.
• Personalized Landing Pages For Your Websites
Your landing page is supposed to have all the information leads need to know what your business is all about. Your landing page should be made to suit the local audience, and not just a generic landing page for all audiences. This will be more receptive to the audience you want to reach.
• Targeted Email Marketing
Email marketing is also a great way to connect with leads and build your customer list. Keep your local customers up to date with what is happening in your business by sending them newsletters. You can also send them survey forms, catalogs, and promotional material to keep in touch with your customers and learn more about their preferences and opinions that could improve your business relations with them.
• Search Engine Optimization and local Seo
SEO is the way to go when you want people to find you and your website. Proper, localized SEO techniques will be able make your website appear at the top of search results when people search using certain keywords.
Localizing your SEO simply means optimizing your website by associating it with commonly searched keywords that will lead people to find your website. If you own a bridal boutique in San Diego, for example, you could add a location label to keywords to lead people straight to you. So the keywords ‘bridal boutique’ could become ‘San Diego bridal boutique’, making search results more specific and your website or blog more noticeable.
• Local Referrals
Referrals are important. Making your customers happy and keeping them satisfied will ensure that they refer other customers to you. If the local community is happy with your products or services, they will encourage others to do business with you, and this will generate more leads for you and get you more loyal customers.
Create a referral reward system on your website, to reward those customers that refer people to your e-commerce site. Ask your customers to get referrals for you after they have made a purchase, providing them with an incentive for doing so. Since they just bought something, they would be in a great mood to refer someone to you, and you can reward them with free coupons or special discounts on certain products or services.
• Form Strategic Partnerships With Local Business owners
Establish relationships with local businesses that have products or services similar to yours or products and services that complement yours. With these partnerships you can refer customers to each other. You can send e-newsletters to their mailing list and vice versa, and you can promote your complementary products and services together.
• Maintain An Offline Presence In The Local Community
Don’t just move your entire business online and ignore your offline marketing strategies. Having an offline presence in the local community is also important, as important as having an online presence.
Host local events to showcase your brand, hold trade fairs, have a physical mailing list and deliver newsletters to your customers’ mail boxes. Sponsor events like school events or some holiday activities that will boost your company’s reputation. Your online and offline marketing strategies can actually complement each other, boosting your company’s image and lead flow.
Best Ways For Local Businesses To Generate More Customers
The strategies mentioned above are bound to get more customers for your local business. There are still more tips that you can follow to get more customers for your local business, such as:
1. Providing Solutions And Relevant Information On Your Blog Or Website
Many people are searching the web for answers to certain problems, and if they come to your site or blog, which contains educative and solution-driven content, there is a high chance of making them customers.
2. Don’t Just Attract Tons Of Traffic To Your Site
Make your website engaging enough that the visitors stay longer and get incentivized to take the decision you want them to take. In other words, make sure your site is optimized for conversions.
3. Always Follow Up On Your Leads
Whether you generate leads online or offline, through referrals or by social shares, always make sure that you follow up on them. Keep the conversations flowing; be open to answering their questions and accommodating their request. In time, those leads will become customers.
Local lead generation is a targeted marketing activity that is necessary for your business to grow. Lead generation is a process that is becoming more and more relevant to businesses of all sizes because getting leads means getting even more customers.
Leads are the lifeblood of any business, and to generate them you have to do a number of things, such as finding them, engaging them, and nurturing them into paying customers.
With local lead generation, the goal is to attract the attention of the local community nearest to your business. It doesn’t matter what business you are in: leads are important. By targeting your local community you stand a chance of building a really firm, local customer base that will get your brand more exposure and enhance its good reputation.
Having an online presence is necessary, with your business having social media accounts, an e-commerce site, and a blog. Internet users should be able to find you online easily, and your content should be relevant. Your site navigation smooth and easy to understand, and all your sites should be responsive.
Encouraging referrals is another way to find leads, and you should motivate your existing customers to refer their friends to your business by rewarding them with discounts or coupons or special offers.
Build relationships with local businesses, as this will also encourage customer referrals. Host local events to create exposure for your business, and also to give you a good name within the community.