Leads are an essential component to every independent professional’s business. Whether you find leads through referrals, online marketing, or even cold calling, they are necessary to keep your business healthy and growing.
That said, not all leads are equal. If you’re able to find a wealth of potential clients but none of them end up being qualified, finding a future project or long-term contract is unlikely. When you manage your own business, your time is incredibly valuable and pouring effort into a prospect that doesn’t lead anywhere can be frustrating. Follow these five tips to ensure the leads you are getting are good ones.
1. Define Your Ideal Lead
As an independent professional, you likely have a good idea of who your target audience is, but how about your ideal lead? Delve deeper than just “someone who needs my services now.” What makes a lead ready to purchase your services? What would make an ideal lead easy to convert? Why should this person or company choose your services over a competitor’s?
Once you have created a detailed picture of your ideal lead, focus your promotional efforts on attracting them specifically. Adjust the language in your messaging to align with key industry terminology or jargon that your target lead uses, reach out to them across multiple channels that they frequent, and consider reaching out to an existing client for a recommendation or referral. One great lead generation channel to take advantage of is an online marketplace. Creating a profile in a marketplace exposes your skills and experience to an audience of potential clients looking to engage skilled independent talent.
2. Personalize Your Process
Rather than attempting to fit every lead you come across into the same mold, tailor your actions to fit the lead’s state of readiness. If a potential client just isn’t ready yet, don’t push them. Instead, funnel them into a lead nurturing process you develop. This could mean signing them up for your email newsletter, or connecting with them on LinkedIn.
Be sure to spend time developing a relationship with your leads. Once they are ready and need your services, take the next steps.
3. Be Aware of What You Don’t Want
Sometimes, it can be easier to articulate what you don’t want in a client than what you do want. Create a list of red flags or warning signs to help avoid taking on potential clients that you’re just not interested in working with. While every lead is important to business, sometimes the extra hassle that one client puts you through can take away from your dedication to other clients, or from your enjoyment of your work.
4. Set Realistic Goals
As you develop a system for lead generation, tailor it to result in the exact type of leads you want. This could mean partnering with another small business or independent professional to exchange leads, or creating a website filled with content that attracts people looking for your exact services.
Keep in mind: all marketing activities should be geared towards securing the type of leads you want. For example, if creating custom content on your website is part of your strategy, do some initial research to determine what your audience is interested in hearing about. Then, decide on your target topics, write clearly and concisely, and ensure you use appropriate technical terms as well as keywords to enhance search engine optimization (SEO).
5. Adopt the Mindset of Your Ideal Client
When it comes to lead generation, rather than trying to think like a businessperson put yourself in the mindset of your ideal client. What would attract them to your website? What would make them want to sign up for marketing emails? What specific pain points do they have that you could provide answers to through content?
By crafting your own marketing materials based on the mindset of a lead will not only help you generate more qualified leads, but it will also help build your personal brand around the topics, issues, and themes that your ideal clients care about most.