Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Economical methods to touch your customer

Start with e-mail
If you can get your e-mail through and read, it can be a quick and cost effective way to generate responses and identify qualified leads. However, e-mail experts will tell you that most unsolicited commercial e-mail is now blocked, and they privately admit that from 20% to as much as 70% of opt-in e-mail never gets through the spam filters, or past the delete key, to be read by prospects. If you want to generate the maximum number of leads from your database, you need use other lead generation tactics too.

Reach customers and prospects with direct mail
If your budget is tight, consider personalized, laser-printed letters or postcards. These formats are some of the lowest cost-per-touch mail formats and are a way to reach prospects you can't e-mail. These mail pieces are getting through and getting the attention of your prospective customers. They also are cost effective (if the other tips are followed) on a cost-per-lead basis.

Use search engine optimization or paid search if you want more leads that represent short-term sales opportunities
You need to increase the likelihood of being found at the top of the search engine results when buyers are actively searching for products or services like yours. Despite what the SEO experts say, optimizing your pages can be as easy as putting the right words or phrases in the right places on your Web pages. If you can't get to the top of the results that way, consider spending a portion of your limited marketing funds on carefully targeted pay-per-click ads.

Leverage social media as another inexpensive way to stay in sight and in mind with your prospects
Being in sight and in mind at the right time is often the key to generating qualified, sales-ready leads. All it costs to use social media, like LinkedIn or Twitter, is time. Start by investing an hour a day to read whatever you can find on the subject. Soon you'll know more about social media marketing than most. Then, join appropriate LinkedIn groups and search in Twitter for terms related to your products or services. Observe for a while to get a feel for what's working, and then jump in and start contributing to the conversation. And even if it doesn't get you lots of leads, it will keep you from twiddling your thumbs because you have no budget to do marketing.