Want your business to generate more money? You need more customers.
Want more customers? You need more prospects.
Simple but true! Let’s look at some ways to get more prospects.
#1 Manual research
If you don’t have enough inbound enquiries looking to engage with your product or service, you’re going to need to do some outreach.
If you already have customers, then you’ve already got data you can work with. You can start to profile your customers based on which industry they are in, for instance. Use that data to seek companies with similar traits and pitch them your services.
Here’s a simple example. Say you’re a copywriting agency and you rework the website for a small tax refund firm. The firm is in a medium-sized town in Florida. They’re happy with the work done. They give you a testimonial.
The town has several tax firms of a similar size, in the same niche. There’s a whole lotta towns out there in America, with a whole lotta small tax firms. Congratulations, you just uncovered hundreds of leads!
Lawyers command a high hourly rate. Most have trash websites because they’re too busy doing… I don’t know, law stuff. It’s on their to-do list to “sort out their website” but they always have more pressing billable work to do.
So you take that criteria and your social proof (completed project + testimonial) and you pitch every damn small tax firm in the country. Through a combination of search and LinkedIn, you reach out to each and every one of them. Save them from their crappy website and take the problem off their hands for a reasonable fee.
You know who else commands a high hourly rate and often has a crappy website? Doctors. Copywriting agencies reading this, you’re welcome…
#2 Build your lead list
You’ve found some leads, now what? Well, you can’t just keep all those details in your head, dummy!
The life cycle of converting a B2B lead to a sale can take months. You’ll need some structure in order to manage the vast amount of information each lead profile can hold, along with the status and notes you’ll accrue along the way.
You can expect that data to come from multiple sources, even on a single lead. Define the attributes that are useful to your business, and have a single place that you go to in order to refer back to it.
#3 Use software to accelerate your research
The data you have on existing clients can be used in filters on business social media platforms like LinkedIn, but a dedicated SaaS tool like Apollo or Prospecting Tool Kit can be a valuable aid. These tools do a lot of the legwork for you, and can also track changes and movements in staff profiles that may lead to future opportunities.
As you work through those leads, you’ll still need to put in the work and process any computer generated data through a person.
#4 Buy a lead list
This is risky, but not always a bad move. Outdated lists are worthless. Check the background and renown of the seller carefully before proceeding. The seller should be willing to part with a small subset of the list for you to test. If no one replies when you contact the test leads, the list may no longer be useful.
There are reputable companies that run researched lead lists as a subscription model. Their keeping in business depends on your high conversion rates, so it’s in their interest to keep their databases updated.
Once you’ve got access to a list, either through outright purchase or subscription, you still need to do your due diligence and validate them as best you can. If you start blasting outreach campaigns en masse, you may end up with a muted or negative response.
#5 Validate your lead list before outreach
Before beginning outreach, it’s a good idea to validate the data once more! Unless you’re subscribing to a service that updates their list regularly, you may find you’re working with outdated data. Does the person you’re about to call still work for the company? Are they in the same role, or did they get promoted? Check before dialing.
Like an email list, a lead list isn’t all about volume. The more research you do, the easier you’ll be able to exclude the leads that will likely never buy from you. Prioritize richness and depth of data over volume.
As outreach progresses, there’s no need to delete anyone because they gave you a no. While you should record interactions, your service might still be needed further down the line, when the timing and urgency is right. You might also evolve your service, or create a new offer that better suits their needs.
If your lead list isn’t giving you the returns you’re expecting, or you are finding your outreach efforts are falling flat, a dedicated lead generating agency may be able to accelerate your sales.
You can optimize your website for SEO all you like, if you aren’t updating it regularly with valuable content, you are missing out.
Your website should be the home for your long form content. If prospects are actively searching for a solution, these articles (when SEO optimized) will help your site get found organically.
But aside from the SEO benefit, the primary value is demonstrating empathy and authority to your prospect. Empathy, in that you can speak in depth about the problems they are facing. Authority, in that you show that you can offer solutions. Ideally, this content will draw on real customer histories to tell a story on how you’ve solved the problem for other companies.
You can include recordings of webinars you’ve recorded that offer guides and deep dives into a topic. If you’ve spoken at events, you can include a link to the video. Any podcast, webinar and video content pieces you’ve created can be transcribed and adapted to blog posts.
One tactic is to use gated content to give away your most valuable and actionable free content in exchange for business contact details. This gives you options for outreach or future nurturing using email marketing. Examples of effective gated content are eBooks, white papers, training videos or multi-part series.
Remember, the primary goal for your website is to get the prospect to take the next step in your sales process. Whether this is a demo, an email list or a sales call, your content should steer them in the right direction. But if they bounce from your site without taking the next step, you can engage in remarketing to have another shot.
Content marketing and outbound lead generation – you need them both. Content marketing is a long game and if you need more customers urgently, you will be better off getting started with outbound first.