Small Business Lead Generation

...When You Have Zero Customers, Zero Money

by Arturo F Munoz

small business lead generation passing referrals

Small business lead generation should not be hard to figure out, when you know that you have neither customers nor money.

Most people would say the answer is easy because without either customers or money you can't do any small business lead generation. What's so hard to figure out about that?

Let's not be glib about it. Without money or customers it's hard to generate business leads that could convert to cash - hard but not impossible. If you're willing to sweat some time and labor for it, your small business lead generation effort will pay off. This is how you can start to produce some initial startup revenue for your home-based micro-business venture to get you out of unemployment.

Get some cash coming in this way and it will be easier for you to convince someone to fund your additional efforts at marketing your offers to generate even more revenue and grow the business. Success chases after more success.

So what's the catch?

The catch is that you do need not only to have something hot to offer, but you also need to know how to press people's hot buttons about it. You don't necessarily need money to do this. You just need 2 ears, 1 mouth and lots of brains. Providentially most of us come equipped with at least this much. So let's see how to put it all to work together to get your small business lead generation program going.

Small Business Lead Generation That Rains Pennies From Heaven

First we start with every small business owner's favorite word: FREE. Did you like that? So do others. Keep that in mind because, as you move toward your free social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and others to execute your lead generation campaign, the word free will play an important role in getting you business.

Next comes the word referral. Yes, I know that I premised our situation as you starting with no customers. But you got friends and family, don't you? Can they vouch for what you offer others? If so, ask them to do so, and then go and deliver what they told their friends and relatives that you can do. Do it wholly in exchange for a testimonial. You're going to need several of them for your small business lead generation campaign.

free social media for lead generation
The third step is the trickiest. It's called listening with purpose. This is where your first lead generation effort will differ significantly from the typical small business lead generation campaign, because you're not going to launch an activity through social media to promote yourself explicitly. Instead you're going to draw attention to yourself by what you're asking others in your social networks to speak to you about.

You're going to ask for feedback not for purchases.

Knowing beforehand what product or service you believe is hot in the eyes of a specific kind of person, knowing also which hot buttons you can press to get such an individual to sit up and take notice of you, and lastly knowing that you already have a handful of people who can testify to the value that you have offered them, you're going to post provocative requests for information in different free social network sites.

What's more, you're going to recruit friends and relatives who are involved in Facebook or Twitter to ask the same kind of questions on your behalf and point their friends in the direction of your blog (Have I already said that Wordpress is free?) or your Facebook business page (also free). The goal is to begin engaging these people in a conversation that would cause them to get their own friends involved in the same.

How To Produce Real Campaign Results

Now here comes the most crucial insight to remember. Behind the scenes you must associate every single request for information that you make (and you should have a list of 5 to 10 red hot topics that your ideal client would find irresistible to comment on) to a distinct "Thank You For Commenting" free offer that matches what your ideal client finds valuable. This way when someone comments on your inquiry, you can track what's driving campaign behavior. Let's work out an example to make it all clear for you.

small business lead gen facebook money

Let's say that you want to sell house cleaning services. You decide to start your small business lead generation campaign by using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. You wish to target gated communities and condominiums in your area, particularly if they're owned by single men. Your strategy is to get into the trusted vendor lists for each Home Owners Association.

You have a couple of friends and one relative who live in gated communities and know people who match your ideal client profile. The hot button for your ideal client is that they keep late hours and are too busy with their work life to bother being tidy. But their place is such an embarrassment whenever they try to bring a date to visit, that they seldom have visitors. And this matters to them big time. Your task is to craft 5 questions that you would ask of this individual to make him take notice of you and want to speak with you.

Let's say that one of those questions might sound like this: "Are you so embarrassed of how dirty your place looks that you can't take a date there to visit with you?" You will then rephrase it before putting it in the social network to sound more like this: "I'm really in need of help and would appreciate your sincere input. Do you know any single men who are so embarrassed of how dirty their place looks that they can't even take their dates there to visit with them? Here's a place I cleaned up for one of them and how I left it right after. They could have eaten off the floor." Then post a picture or a video showing before and after snapshots from your referrals.

If you're using Twitter, which only permits posts 140 characters long, you could say: "Know any single guys living in a pigsty and embarrassed to bring a date home? I got a question to ask them after saving one of them." Then post a link to your picture or video explaining what you did for your referral. If the referral was happy with your work, show that in your video or quote it on your photo page.

Are you seeing where this is going? You now got a small business lead generation campaign going for free and without existing customers.

When someone replies to you with an answer that might sound like "Wow. I have a friend..." or "...I have a brother" or "...I know somebody who" matches the kind of person that you're looking for, answer with "Can you put me in touch with him if he lives in the area? I have a free ______ that I'd love to share with him, if he were willing to answer a couple of questions for me about what someone like him would find appreciate if somebody came to clean up his place." Then, when you're put in touch with this individual, make sure to track which question that you posted in your social networks got you this lead. Determine which question is generating the most interest and apply yourself to exploit this information to get more responses.

Yes, it's quite a bit of work to execute a small business lead generation campaign using mainly free tools and other people's hand-overs. But beggars can't be choosers. Besides, you aren't really begging and this lead gen technique can actually get you sufficient business to make your next campaign easier to execute. So go give it a try. If you're already on Facebook or Twitter, then you're never so small or so tight on money today that you couldn't do a successful small business lead generation effort that could pay off in real cash for you.

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