If your business isn’t attracting the level of inbound leads you’d like, answering these questions will help.
Lead generation is the key to all business growth. No matter how big or small you are, and regardless of what your business does, if you want it to grow you need to be attracting more leads.
There are countless businesses out there in every sector who are good at what they do, but many are stuck with the “friends and family” type of leads, rarely reaching a wider audience. If this is you, then it’s time to widen your approach.
Know Your Customer and Find Your Niche
The first stage in lead generation is understanding your customers – what are their pains and problems and how you specifically can solve them?
By doing this you’ll also start to define your niche, which is an essential part of your business’s growth.
What is a niche?
Your company’s niche is the specific area in your target audience where you can position yourself as the expert. It is where you will focus your marketing efforts for your products and services – and where you can differentiate yourself from the competition.
Your niche is where you shine – bringing value and providing something no one else can match.
Why is it important to know your niche?
There is a school of thought that says you don’t need to know your niche, that all you need to do is keep hammering your outbound sales message to everyone and anyone. For some businesses this might work, but if you have a business that thrives on your expertise, or does more than simply selling widget, a clearly defined niche is the best starting point for targeting your next best customer, and also to getting the edge over your competition.
Don’t Ignore The Competition
No matter what your business does, there will always be competition. And the best way to beat your competition is to be the leader in your niche, which means establishing yourself as an expert in your field.
It’s because of your expertise, unique skill set and services that potential clients should buy your products or services over someone else’s.
Finding a niche helps you grow your expertise within your industry. Not only does this benefit your business, but it also helps qualify out any prospects that aren’t a good fit. Once your niche is defined, only relevant prospects come forward, because it’s clear that your business is right for them.
How do you find your niche?
Take some time to ask yourself or your team the following key questions. These will help identify areas on which to focus, and ultimately bring you closer to your niche.
- How do people use you? List your products and services and in what ways they can be used – start thinking in terms of how your customer views and uses what you sell, not how great you think it is.
- What are your customers’ common pain points? If you have an idea of what your niche is, this is a great exercise to work out exactly who your target audience is. Find out what frustrations your prospects have in common and use these pain points to define your niche.
- Are all your customers the same? When looking at common pain points – what separates the customers experiencing this pain from other types of customer? Are all your customers the same? Start to differentiate between different types of customer and the different needs they have. This will help you talk to your customers directly rather than sending out generic messages to anyone and everyone.
- What is your solution to all these pain points? Once you understand the pain points in your market, it’s time to think about your solution. Craft your messages as simply as possible – your solution needs to be crystal clear and needs to show where you add value. The clearer it is for you, the clearer it will be for a customer.
- What is the result of your solution? Case studies mean everything, especially if you provide a complex solution. Think about how your solution creates a positive result.
- What are the proof points that you can provide? Buyers love statistics and they love to quantify good results. Find concrete numbers and case studies to prove that your solution is what they’re looking for. How much have you helped your customer save? How many more sales did you generate for them? Did you deliver in under 7 days.” Make it memorable.
- Where are you winning? Who are your best customers? Do they have something in common? Pick out your very best and learn everything you can about them. What are their pain points? What do they have in common? Is there a trend with your best customers? If you understand your best customer, you can begin to target your next best customer.
- Why do your best customers need you? Are you just a useful adjunct to your customers or do they need you to be successful? Find a way to refine your current offering so it is a real “must have”.
- What sets you apart? Why should someone buy your products or services over your competitors? What sets you apart from the crowd of similar offerings? Distinguish and highlight these differentiators.
- Who are the decision makers who buy your products? Find out who the key contacts are that you want to speak with and determine what it is about your product that they should care about. Make sure as well that you have been talking to the right people all this time?
- What are the questions the decision makers ask to help them make a positive decision? Put yourself firmly in the shoes of the decision maker. They will be juggling many priorities, including the needs of other stakeholders. The more you know about them the better you can pre-empt any prohibitive questions they will have.
- What are the answers that satisfy the decision maker? Plan out your answers and have them ready. Whether in a blog, guide, template or any other form of content that you can easily share/send to prospects.
- If you were the decision maker, where would you look for the answers? If you know your customer well enough you need to think about where you will target them. Remember that the buyer has changed dramatically over the last ten years – more people search online before they make a purchasing decision. But which channel will your next best customer be using? Are they all over LinkedIn, or Facebook? Are they more likely to be looking for solutions online, or in the local newspaper?
- Have you got answers that you could publish that would help them? If you have your answers ready for the decision maker, can you gather them together and publish them? Audit all of your content and think what you need to create, what you have already created and, most importantly, where you are going to publish it. Is the website you created in 2007 still fit for purpose?
- Do you understand the way your customer reaches decisions? Know the buyer’s decision making process. Think through all the stages they go through on their way to purchasing your product or solution. How do they move from “I’m happy with the status quo” to “I need to buy this now!” Map that out and then think of how you can influence that process.
- Can you capture the contact details of people seeking answers you can provide? If people are on your website and reading your answers and content, can you capture their details? Think about a value exchange and encouraging potential customers to give you their contact details. This will help you in qualifying out unsuitable prospects.
Once you have asked yourself these questions, take your responses and use them to define your customers and your niche. This will separate you from your competitors and make it easier for your potential customers to decide that you are a better fit for their needs.
Once you have defined your customer and your niche it’s important not to sit back and relax – return to these questions as often as you can, test your hypothesis regularly and see if there’s room for even further improvement and refinement.
If you hit a wall with these, or need more information or help, why not ask for our free health check? We can evaluate your business marketing activity and help you put together a plan that puts lead generation first and helps your business grow.