Build a database of marketing leads

Even if you have a stable roster of regular clients, at some point you’ll need to market your business to bring in new clients to counter client churn. In business-to-business marketing, clients typically take time to make purchasing decisions. They need to get to know you and your services.

Marketing your firm is easier to do if you have an on-going source of marketing leads you can reach out to.

This guide explains what leads are and how to build your database to more effectively market your firm.

Defining a lead

Leads are the people who are looking for a service similar to yours and are interested in working with you but haven’t converted into a client yet. Not everyone who shows an interest in your business becomes a client, so the more leads you have coming in the better the chances that some of them will convert to clients.

So generating on-going new leads is important. Even better is getting regular leads into your database using a lead nurturing process that’s scalable and repeatable, so it doesn’t take too much of your time and energy.

Storing leads

Your leads will take the form of contact details, so you need a secure location to store such information. Ideally, you’ll have a system that also easily enables automation of your lead generation and nurturing process.

This typically takes the form of customer relationship management (CRM) software. Such software is great for lead generation and also sales or lead nurturing. It enables you to store information from leads and contacts, and automates the process of following up with your leads and keeping your database current.

If you don’t have CRM software already, search online or ask industry associates or marketing advisors which CRM software they use, and get a demo.

Look at leads you already have

If you’ve been in business for any length of time you’ll already have a bunch of leads from anyone you’ve been in contact with in the past.

Places you might find existing leads:

  • The stack of business cards you received at networking events
  • Your calendar, where you’ve listed meetings with potential clients
  • Email, where you may have queries from a potential client
  • Anyone in your team who has been talking to or knows a potential customer
  • Those looking on your website, reviewing your LinkedIn profile, attending webinars, events or downloading any useful content from your website.

Follow up with people who met with you but didn’t become clients. Often people don’t become clients because the timing wasn’t right. Check in with them. A quick email may be just what they need to continue the discussion and possibly meet with you.

Make sure you’re engaging potential leads

Your website should be designed to encourage people to reach out to you. Make it as easy as possible for them to contact you by having your contact information visible on every page and using calls to action that include a “Contact” button. Include live chat or appointment booking links, which not only save you time but also increase the number of bookings.

Beyond that, make sure your website is mobile friendly, so people can find you even when they’re browsing on a mobile device. Double check that your website is secure (it should have https:// at the start of the URL).

How to get more leads

Now that you’ve checked on your existing leads, set up a way to store their contact information and ensured your website encourages people to contact you, you can start building your leads database

Have a lead magnet

A lead magnet is content that’s given away in exchange for someone’s contact details (see this guide to learn more about lead magnets). It can be an eBook, white paper, calculator or other content that addresses your target market’s pain points and encourages them to leave their contact information.

Lead magnets are useful because they give your target market an easy, no-pressure way to connect with you without signing up with you right away. They receive a valuable resource and you get a way to keep in touch, so you can follow up.

You can post your lead magnet on your website, on your social media and even in newsletters.

Target traffic from vendor websites

Some of your traffic may come from vendor websites, like Xero. People find you by searching through the directory and click a link that takes them to your website. Make sure your link takes them to a page created for them, rather than your homepage.

This is important because people who find you through vendors likely have a specific reason for searching through the vendor, reasons that your homepage may not address. Instead, link your directory listing to a special page that is written specifically for people who find you through that vendor. Address their interests and specific pain points, and make it easy for them to get in touch with you. If you know for example, they came from the Xero directory, ensure you clearly outline you’re a Xero Certified Advisor.

Conduct a survey

A survey actually gives you two different ways to reach out to people. First, create an online survey for people in your target market. Use a short list of questions (keep it to less than 10 minutes) about their business, industry and challenges they face.

Take the data you receive from the survey responses and write a short report about it. That report can then be sent out to your leads and to the people who responded to your survey, and used as a lead magnet.

What’s great about a survey is that you get to reach out to business owners without selling them something. It’s a softsell. You’re providing value because the information you share will give them insights into their industry. This also helps to highlight your expertise.

Send the survey to your current clients, to leads, to people you want to work with and to those in your network. Ask them to share the survey as well. Then send the report to everyone who responded to your survey, to people on your email list, and to prospects. Host it on your website as a lead magnet, share it on social media, collect the contact details of all that accessed the report, and send them a follow-up email to see if you can help.

Run or sponsor an event

Running an event where you share your information with potential clients gets you in front of prospects and engages your leads. It helps you build trust, which turns into relationships that can last decades.

Even better, events are repeatable. Host the same event a few times a year. Keep the first few short if you like, but look at ways to grow them over time.

To make it as successful as possible:

  • Speak about a topic that addresses a pain point for your clients
  • Keep the topic narrow
  • Have something to promote and be certain to mention it
  • Make sure you have a way for people to sign up with you at the event
  • Invite your clients and ask them to bring a friend
  • Charge a nominal fee to attend if you think it adds value.

If you don’t want to run your own event, consider collaborating with other finance businesses, or sponsor in exchange for having a chance to speak about your services or share information about your business. You could also look at becoming a speaker at industry events. Research trade shows your target clients attend and create a presentation that fits with the conference or trade show you want to speak at.

Be active on social media

Social media is a way to build awareness about your firm and establish relationships with potential clients. Be on the social media channel that makes sense given your target market (see the guide to building an online community) and engage with other people and groups through social media.

Link your social media profile to your website and be sure to share links to your different lead magnets.

Related resources

Use the 7 steps to an effective business plan eBook as a lead magnet on your website. You can edit it to suit your firm, your clients and your writing style too. There is also a series of follow up emails you can use to keep in touch with new leads.

Final Thoughts

Leads are incredibly valuable for your firm. To keep your firm growing, you need to bring in a certain number of leads a month. Doing so takes a bit of effort, but if you make lead generation a daily habit you’ll get used to it, and you’ll create processes that are repeatable and scalable.

The more leads you bring in, the better chances you’ll have of converting them into clients, which will help your firm grow.