If you’re not generating new, qualified leads online now, your business is going to slow down in the future.
Maybe you’ve already slowed down and are trying to figure out why your marketing isn’t working. There are plenty of common reasons businesses struggle to market their services but the big idea is that the right people don’t know the value you’re offering. That’s what it all comes down to and that’s the problem inbound marketing is supposed to solve.
Finding the right people
When we talk about generating leads online, we usually get specific about generating qualified leads online. These are the people who have a problem you can solve. Some of these qualified leads online aren’t quite sure what the problem is yet. For these people, you need to help them identify what’s wrong. Another section of your audience knows their problem. What they need to know is how to solve it.
For these people, you offer your best advice. Since you’re the expert in your field, you have a lot to offer here. So don’t hold back, give away your best secrets because the last part of your audience is made up of people who know their problem, are aware of the solution and are shopping for someone to implement that solution for them. These are the readers we all get excited about because they’re the ones who call us up and say “I’ll give you money to solve my problem. Deal?” But that’s not going to happen unless we’ve been helping them along the whole way.
Help them. Help them all.
So the bottom line here is that growing your business has a lot to do with being as helpful as possible, and not just to customers. In Network Like A Pro, Ivan Misner, the founder of Business Network International (BNI), provides a score card for determining whether you’ll be successful in networking.
On the card are examples of networking actions, such as helping someone get a speaking gig or providing a referral. The whole system basically boils down to the idea that the more you help people, the more successful you will be. Ivan is preaching the power of helpeting, which is the very concept successful inbound marketing is built on.
Now this is where it gets fun. There is virtually no limit on how you can help people and that fact opens up a world of possibilities. Not crazy about writing whitepapers? Do something else, something you enjoy, something helpful. The best helpeting reflects your expertise, although periodically doing something completely out of your depth can still go a long way in showing someone who you are and what you’re about. If you just shoveled my porch to be a good neighbor and I find out you’re a dentist, I’d be tempted to stop by your office simply because you were helpful.
Obviously, shoveling my porch doesn’t really tell me you’re a dentist, so you should also be on the lookout for ways to help point back to your expertise in dental health. Taken as a complete package, I’ll discover you’re a knowledgeable dentist who’s willing to shovel some snow. You can buy that kind of marketing or you can be that kind of marketing and be perpetually growing your business.
Start helping today; reap the benefits tomorrow
Here are just a few examples of helping I’ve seen that you could start immediately:
- Write an ebook or blog series that gives away your very best ideas. When people see your system they’ll want to hire you to implement it for them.
- Provide a free sample of your work, like an audit, or offer to work for a short period of time at no charge.
- Make connections to referral partners or customers through your content.
- Create a series of videos that train your customers in your area of expertise.
- Do in-depth comparisons between services that compliment what you offer.
- Compile a treasure chest of resources that would benefit your customers. This is double the help, actually, because you’ll also be helping the creators of these resources by giving them more exposure.
- Comment on other people’s blogs and social media pages. This helps keep their pages active and audience engaged.
- Consult with a client for free, meet with their board of directors and do a private presentation that doesn’t include a sales pitch. Just genuinely try to help.
These are just a few possible ways that you can help your target market to generate leads online through inbound marketing. Content isn’t limited to a blog post every week. Have some fun and try different formats. The people you’re trying to reach with blogs might be spending more time on forums. You won’t know until you look.
Only you know what your audience needs and what you have to offer. Find a way to match those two up in a free, premium offering that establishes you as not only helpful, but an expert in your field. Start paying attention to really successful, happy business owners and you’ll probably find a surprising proportion owe much of their success—and happiness—to a certain liberality of service.