Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Top Five Ways to Get High-Quality Incoming Leads

Recently the marketing company The Shattuck Group, which works with professional service firms and experts, conducted some research to find the most effective marketing tools for these businesses.

Specifically, they were asking this question:
"How do you build a simple and effective lead generation plan that just works – a plan that impacts revenue and profits while still being manageable and affordable?"
Good question, huh?

After surveying more than 350 business leaders, they got these top five responses:

This is extremely valuable research for us as infopreneurs and thought leaders, because it tells you what's working in practice, not just in theory. So let's look at them in a bit more detail - and I'll give you my take on each.

E-Mail Marketing (78%)

The Shattuck research includes all forms of e-mail marketing in this, including your own e-mail newsletter, buying advertising in other e-mail newsletters, and so on.

For me, this reinforces the message that e-mail should still be in important part of your marketing efforts. Some people think an e-mail newsletter is "so twentieth-century", but it's still the easiest way to reach your network with solid material that positions you as an expert.

Thought Leadership (72%)

The Shattuck research includes both on-line and off-line marketing in this category - including things like white papers and special reports, writing articles and publishing books. In the on-line world, you can add things like blogging, podcasting and educational videos.

You can choose the medium that's right for you - for example, I love writing and audio, but find video time-consuming. But make sure you are getting your thought leadership out there.

Seth Godin is the poster child for this - using his books and his blogs to create worldwide name recognition in his field (marketing). In fact, Google Trends shows there are more people searching for him by name than searching for the term "marketing consultant"!

Public Speaking (66%)

The Shattuck research is talking about doing no-fee presentations for positioning yourself as an expert.

This is a tricky one for some infopreneurs and thought leaders, because "public speaking" is what we do for money. So you might have an allergic reaction to giving away your expertise for nothing.

But there's a right and a wrong way to do this, and you have to use your judgement. Not every presentation you give has to be for the fee alone. If you get the right positioning opportunity, you might be happy to waive your fee.

At the very least, if you're not willing to give away face-to-face presentations, you can appear as a guest webinar presenter, or be interviewed on a podcast.

Search Engine Marketing (66%)

According to the Shattuck research, this includes all forms of search engine marketing, not just search engine optimisation (SEO). This is an important point, because many business owners want to focus on SEO alone, and ignore other things like Google AdWords, pay-for-placement, sponsorship, and so on.

I won't go into more detail here about this. If you're interested, and you're an eGurus member, check out the excellent webinar Ed Keay-Smith did in June, "Search Engine Marketing Secrets", available in the eGurus Vault.

Webinars (58%)

There's no doubt webinars are becoming more popular as a way of marketing your expertise (that's why I wrote the book Webinar Smarts), and the Shattuck research confirms this.

WARNING: I see many speakers neglecting webinars, and they shouldn't! They get caught up in how to charge money for them, how to be "perfect" when delivering them, whether they will cannibalise their existing business, and all sorts of other excuses. Ironically, it's mainly the non-speakers, who don't have any of this baggage, who are taking advantage of webinar technology to accelerate their business growth.

(It's the same with on-line video, by the way. When did you last see a really popular YouTube video from a professional speaker?)

So what will YOU do?

The Shattuck research white paper concludes with this summary:
"We believe it is wise to put the majority of your lead generation resources into tactics with a demonstrated history of success. It's fine to experiment with other tactics too. But don't bet your growth on these. Focus on what works."
I couldn't agree more! All of the five things above are solid, well-established marketing tools (even though webinars are new-ish), and not trendy BSOs (Bright Shiny Objects - things that distract you from your main goal) like Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare.

So get going with your e-mail newsletter, blog and webinars!

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