How to Easily Generate Home Based Business Leads

As the current economic climate becomes more unstable, many are moving towards home based business opportunities. It is critical that these individuals learn to effectively generate home based business leads. The difference between thriving or dying in today’s competitive market hinges on the ability to consistently generate leads for the business. While advertising and marketing for a small business may share some similarities to that of a major corporation, the methods and strategies used are very different.

A home business owner should start with a thorough knowledge of their target market. For example, an understanding of the primary customer base would be critical for a cake decorating business. This target market might include: engaged couples, parents with young children and civic organizations who conduct regular fund raising dinners. A thorough understanding of the target market will help guide the rest of the lead generation process.

Determining where to connect with the target market is the next consideration of the home based business owner. In the example of the cake decorator, let’s assume the business owner has decided to target the wedding cake segment of the market. The business owner would look for points of connection where engaged couples would be researching wedding preparations. Some of these connecting points might include tuxedo shops, wedding dress shops, limousine services, DJ services and local churches.

The next element in the lead generation strategy is a creation of awareness. This would be accomplished as the cake decorating business is introduced to key people at each of the aforementioned connecting points, as a resource for couples planning their weddings. An offer to cross-promote the business of the other would be appropriate. As part of this cross promotion strategy, it would be appropriate to leave brochures, business cards and even photographs of cakes to give a sampling of the home business owner’s work. To put some real power to the home based business lead generation process, the owner would actually take a sample of one of their cakes as a “gift” for each of their connecting partners. Creating synergy with other business owners is the key to making this strategy successful. When a strong impression is made, these connecting partners essentially become a volunteer sales force to the target market on behalf of the home based business owner.

Offering exceptional value is critical for generating leads for your home based business. A small brochure on the top 10 mistakes to avoid when planning your wedding would be of great value to the target market. Distributing this brochure at the connecting points and including a tagline, showing the information being provided courtesy of the home based cake decorating business. Creates value and personal branding for the home based business.

The strategies mentioned above involve localized, face to face marketing techniques. Consider a variation on the previous strategies when dealing with a business that is using the internet for generating home based business leads. For example, a home based business that sells cleaning products would utilize the same principles for identifying a target market. In this example the business owner has chosen to those looking for environmentally friendly cleaning products.

The business owner would begin by finding online connecting points. A great starting place would be community groups that deal with “green” living. As the business owner interacts in the community, they would include their website in their forum signature. The business owner would become part of the life of the community by making regular informative posts that discuss the benefits of using organic cleaning products. Additionally, the business owner would want to create a small report listing 5 things to look for when choosing environmentally friendly cleaning products. The report would be offered freely to anyone interested in receiving it. This online report would have a tagline indicating that is being provided courtesy of the cleaning products business. Those participating in forum discussions with the business owner and those requesting the free report are all examples of home based business leads that have been generated from taking a few small steps.

Relationship building is the key to generating home based business leads in your marketing efforts. These strategies can be implemented for both online and offline home based businesses.

Running Out of Leads? 3 Lead Generation Secrets For Your Small Business

Lead generation can be expensive and kill a small business marketing campaign before it even gets of the ground. You can tie up vital dollars in buying lead generating mailing list compiled together by outside companies. You can pay employees to collect data from each customer that comes thorough your doors. Then with all this data you still have to buy stamps to mail ads or post cards. And with most states enacting the no call list how good is the telephone data.

But don’t despair your marketing strategy is still safe and at hand, because of a little thing called the net. Here are three lead generation ideas for your business:

1) Ask and ye shall receive. Do you like T Shirts? Well I sell T Shirts! And yes it is that simple. The new wave of social networking has made it possible to build connections with customers and then create a forum to ask them what they like and don’t like. You can even go deeper as to ask them what they like and don’t like about your company, service and or product. It seems that we are more likely to speak our mind through email or social networking post then we are face to face. This type of arena is very helpful in marketing your business.

2) Yelp for help. Customer service sites like yelp are making it possible to ease drop on your customers. Although we are more likely to say things on the net we would not say face to face does not mean your customers will say it on your site. Companies like Yelp encourage customers to come to their websites and lay at the good, the bad and the ugly of other companies. You may find it worth while to visit these sites to find customers that are satisfied with your company and reward them or find customers unsatisfied and try to make them happy again. Trolling these sites should defiantly be part of your market strategy.

3) Follow the lead to a lead. Even the old school marketing strategy consists of networking. You got to know your client and you had them bring in a friend or two and as a reward they received a gift. You can use your social networking fan base in the same way. Take your list of fans and then look at those that are connected to them. We all put way to much personal information on our profiles. A quick glance of your fans friend’s profiles will generate leads that you can use in marketing your business.

These are more lead generation ideas for your business out there; these are just my three favorites. A successful marketing strategy can be fun as well as effective. I enjoy logging on each day to see how much my fan base has grown and then searching out other possible connections through my connections. The growth of the internet will only simplify small business marketing more and more.

5 Principles of Successful Leadership in Small Business

When we think about leadership-especially in regard to building and growing a successful small business-it’s easy to envision the traditional top-down leadership that so often goes along with the term. We often think about leadership along the lines of being a major political leader or being the chief executive of a major Wall Street company. And while this certainly is a respectable vision of leadership, when it comes to small business, we’ve got to see beyond this traditional view.

Following are the top 5 principles of successful leadership that I’ve found make THE difference in whether your business flies or flops:

Principle #1:  Leadership Means Having People Skills.

Let’s face the facts-most small businesses don’t have scores of employees to lead. Instead,  leadership revolves around building successful business relationships with clients and friends of the business. Whether it’s negotiating the next big deal or selling the product or service represented by your business, your suppliers, customers, and all parties in between are who the small business owner must strive to lead.

Principle #2:  Leaders Must Be Adept At Solving Problems.

Being a natural leader makes it that much easier for a small business owner to be able to reach outside the box and come up with creative solutions to the problems and dilemmas faced by any business. It should come as no surprise that the list of qualities found in leaders corresponds very closely with the list of qualities found in problem solvers.

Principle #3: Leadership Requires Building Confidence.

Inspiring confidence in others when it comes to the capabilities of your small business is something that’s essential to success. Without this leadership trait, it would be quite difficult to handle the necessary business operations like securing financing and developing a strong sales plan. Remember, healthy confidence begins first with the leader, only radiating outward from there.

Principle #4:  Leaders Depend On Big Picture Vision.

Because the small business entrepreneur must successfully manage so many different facets of a business when leading it from inception through the growth stage, having “20/20” big picture vision is an essential leadership quality. Without this keen sense of vision to serve as a guiding light through the ups and downs-and ultimately to success-a business will gradually lose its course and drift off path.

Principle #5: Leading A Small Business Demands Boundless Energy.

It’s not always easy to keep plugging along no matter how overwhelmed you might be, but maintaining a constantly enthusiastic aura of energy is key to developing a business from the ground up. Most proven leaders will tell you that they only found major success after hitting rock bottom first. Boundless energy makes bouncing back from inevitable lows possible.

In small business, effective leadership goes well beyond the scope of leading employees alone-in reality, reaching goals means leading every single aspect of a business to success.

Small Business Marketing Ideas: Marketing Strategies to Convert Leads to Sales

The art of marketing for a small business is not just getting tons of leads, but also converting leads to sales. A business with lots of leads and no sales, is soon out of business.

Over the years, I have discovered several very effective techniques to converting leads into sales for a small business. Let me share with you a handful of these. To make them easier to digest, I have broken them into two categories: lowering barriers and increased marketing.

LOWER BARRIERS. This means remove the walls that stop your clients from buying. Each business will be a little different, but here are some of the most effective ways to remove the barriers to purchasing:

  • Give a Guarantee
  • Payment Plans
  • Testimonials
  • 3rd Party Documentation
  • Competitive Pricing
  • Increased Expertise
  • Increased Value in your product
  • Samples

INCREASED MARKETING.

  • Compelling Call to Action. Having an offer is not enough, offer something they can not resist. Beware though, don’t make it too good to be true.
  • Unique offering. The more unique your offering is, the harder it is to compare to others and less competition you have.
  • Niche Marketing. When marketing to a specific group, like real estate agents, you can quickly separate yourself from all others effectively reducing your competition and making you the only option.
  • Effective Follow up campaigns. Most people do not buy on their first exposure. Without an effective follow up campaign you can find yourself having very low conversion of leads to clients. Using an email campaign or postcards to follow up can drastically increase your conversion of contacts to clients.
  • Scripts. Using a script for incoming calls, sales calls, common questions, will standardize your business and increase your conversion. This will assure each clients gets the same treatment regardless of the person handling the client.
  • Consultative Selling. When talking with a contact, asking questions and understanding their pain will drastically increase your conversion. Today’s consumer wants more than to just buy a service, they want a consultant to help them make good decisions. Ask questions before offering solutions.
  • Use more emotion. People buy emotionally and justify logically. Help your clients consider how it will feel once they have their problem solved. Use emotional words like, “Won’t you be relieved once this problem is resolved?” This helps them to feel better and creates an emotional satisfaction for your client that they can look forward to once you have helped them resolve their problem.
  • Enroll vs Close approach. Since most customers need 5-7 exposures to your product before they are ready to buy, consider your marketing an enrollment process. Help them get educated about your process and then enroll them into purchasing, especially if it is a larger ticket item.
  • Sort Prospects. When talking to a contact, decide if this person is ready to purchase, needs more time / information or is not interested at all. This can be the hardest of all strategies. This comes from know what the buying signs are of your clients. When they are showing buying signs, move them to the buying phase. If they are still pondering, enroll them. If they are really not interested, give them space and time and see what happens.

To get the best conversion, start by adding a few of these strategies to your current marketing mix and monitor your marketing numbers. Track your sales and if your overall conversion of contacts to sales is increased, stays the same, or is decreased.

By using a few of these marketing ideas for your small business you can see an increase in conversion from leads to sales.