Q: What is the best way to go about generating my own leads instead of buying them?
Kamil Faizi, manager
A: The key question to launch your search is, “What is the problem I’m trying to solve?” Is this a budget problem — meaning the cost of acquiring leads is too expensive for your available funds? Is the problem that the leads you have been buying are not viable? Are the leads you have been acquiring unreachable? Is the percentage of conversion of these leads so low that there aren’t sufficient returns on your costs?
Perhaps the problem isn’t the cost of the leads, but the criteria you are using to filter down to the most logical buyers of your programs. Make sure you have an accurate profile of your best customers — those who see the value of your programs and can afford them.
Review your website to ensure it is functioning as a lead source, and not simply as a “landing page” that has information about your programs. The site should contain the proverbial “call to action” to ask for inquiries. It should make it both easy and swift to contact you, and provide you with an immediate alert to any inquiry so you can promptly converse with candidates who reach out to you.
It’s often said that your best source of leads is from the satisfied clients you already have. Examine the process you use to stay in touch with clients personally or electronically. Ask them to refer you to their spheres of influence. In other words, be sure to advantageously “mine” your database of satisfied clients.
These days, social media channels have proved to be productive lead generators as well. We see that you’re on LinkedIn, which is a great way to cultivate connections that can develop into lead sources. These folks already know you, trust you and could be a very inexpensive pathway to new prospects.
Finally, be courageous and conduct a self-examination to determine whether the lack of productivity from leads you have been buying is from inadequate quality, or rather your inability to communicate the value of the programs you deliver — in other words, your “value proposition.” It’s always hardest to look within, but as you explore generating your own lead sources, do look at your conversion ratios as part of the process.
Mike Hoffman is an adjunct professor of marketing at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business.