If you have any kind of lead generation services in place, they’ll need good content to back them up. Communication is probably not a priority for you, however, unless you actually like writing blogs and posting on social media. A task – any task – that doesn’t directly earn a fee or any income is never going to be a priority. After all, bookkeeping only gets pole position because of the penalties you pay for missing a deadline.
Well, sorry to add to your workload, but you really do need to make time to talk to your customers and prospects regularly otherwise how will they know you matter to them?
Just wait until you need more customers – any lack of communication suddenly becomes part of (if not the) problem. You realise too late that people don’t know who you are and what you do. You’ve been relying upon referrals to fill your order book, and when that route to customers starts to fail or drop off, there’s a massive scramble to setting up lead generation services. And then you’ll realise why it’s so important to tell people that you matter.
There are 5 ways of looking at this:
1. Do people know what you do on a basic level?
Ask a friend, an employee or colleague, a supplier, a customer to tell you in a couple of sentences what you do. Do they nail it? Do their versions match or are there some discrepancies?
If even those ‘closest’ to you can’t describe what you do accurately, it’s time to review how you come across. What, exactly is out in the public domain about your business? Take a look at online directories, your own website, social media profiles and those old brochures you’re trying to get rid of. Are they sending out conflicting messages? Are you even in the right business category? (Take the word ‘coach’ for example – there’s a world of difference between leadership coach and personal coach. Google them and you’ll see what I mean.)
At the same time, check there aren’t any old logos out there or the wrong address, expired promotions, defunct products, etc.
Don’t give people an excuse to ignore you because you come across as disjointed. Write the sentence that says what you do. No need for a clever strapline – just be clear and use plain English. Otherwise, your lead generation services won’t stand a chance from day one.
2. Is your word of mouth telling the whole truth?
So many companies get their business through referral and recommendation. Word of mouth is the most powerful means of lead generation because good quality is being implied on both sides. But you do need to know what’s being said about you because your customers are likely to recommend you just for the services they use. Even then, they may get the story wrong.
Look at Dyson – known for vacuum cleaners predominantly but we’re in no doubt that the company manufactures other appliances and equipment too. That’s not just word of mouth working; that’s planned communication.
The successful business spots an opportunity to add value to a service or develop something completely new. But if you don’t update people how is your target audience going to keep up and find you? If your customers only know you for a third of what you can do for them, that’s for you to put right.
The trouble with word of mouth is it starts to make stuff up if it isn’t checked.
3. Why do people need to take notice of you especially?
The next time a business coach tells you to explain your USP, tell them about your brand – the business and how you operate. Your USP is how you approach challenges, understand problems, anticipate needs, deliver customer service, etc.
You’re highly unlikely to be the only one doing what you do. If you have something unique – great. But so many businesses compete in a market place with many others offering the same products and services. It’s how they operate and deliver that’s extraordinary. People buy people as much as they buy products and services. How you deliver your business is a big part of the ‘contract ‘you have with your customers.
So alongside the straightforward sales detail, reveal your customer-led approaches. Are you quicker than your competitors for some reason? Do your customers lead you to do something in a particular way?
This kind of brand reputation implies stability and inspires confidence. It also takes time to achieve because it’s relationship building and that’s never done overnight. Being relevant – and proving it – will impact on the success of your lead generation services.
4. Value-for-money Vs cheap – are you ready to do battle?
Brand reputation helps you demonstrate value and compete more effectively when it comes to price. So be prepared to reveal how you do things so you create an impression of authenticity and professionalism.
- We don’t cut corners so manufacturing may take a little longer…
- We aren’t the cheapest but that’s because we produce something of greater value…
- Our processes mean we’re super efficient so we’re able to pass savings onto our customers – while maintaining the high standards you expect.
I’m not talking about revealing sensitive, commercial information – just the right level of detail that proves you know your business and what your customers need. Your lead generation services will benefit hugely from this kind of targeted content.
5. Are you telling people what they need to know?
Your customers and prospects don’t always know what they want, let alone need. But you do.
- We think this would be better for you because…
- Our experience and knowledge is relevant to you because it means we know things that others don’t…
- We want you to pay attention to this…
- This is the real issue… and our competitors ignore it.
Your customers don’t know as much about the marketplace as you do. So help them – tell them what you want them to know. By all means be a bit alarmist – but be the calming solution they need too.
Regular communication feeds brand reputation
Lead generation services can only do so much to get business in through the door. You still need to talk to your customers and prospects – explain what you do and how.
- Regular communication is the only way people will really get to know and trust you. Turning it on and off like a tap simply means you drop off the radar. Then it takes time to regain trust (including Google’s). No good keeping silent then expecting a flurry of activity to reap rewards. You need a constant, consistent and relevant presence.
- Plan your communication and integrate it with your business activity and objectives. No point in the ‘day job’ and your communicating having separate lives.
- Word of mouth is massively important but don’t leave it to chance. Make sure your ‘brand ambassadors’ – official or otherwise – are saying what you want them to say.
- Don’t worry if it’s been said before. How many times have you read something and thought “we do that” but wouldn’t dream of saying it yourself? Madness! Don’t assume that stuff is boring even if it’s all been said before. If that was the case, diets and gym memberships wouldn’t feature before EVERY SINGLE holiday season. Clearly choose your time, but if a topic is relevant to your audience talk about it. Just add another, personal-to-you angle.
Regular communication is habit-forming
The times I’ve come across people claiming their business is “the best kept secret”. It’s not something to be proud of when you need customers. Reputations attract attention and building one that’s relevant and consistent takes time. Turn communication into a habit so you get better at it and faster.
Organic SEO, lead generation services, Google and social media ads – they all need a solid basis of information and inspiration. So get into the communication habit and you’ll get better at it. (You can always get a copywriter to help you…)
(Thanks and credit to Pablo for the image)