Lead Generation in 2019, is it going to be any different from any other year? What do we have to do differently to stand out, generate leads and thrive in business?
Whichever way you turn there is another "expert" or "guru" telling you the next new tactic or platform that is going to generate quick wins and leads on tap.
I am afraid I cannot tell you about any quick wins or silver bullets. I just don't believe that they exist.
Tried and Tested
There are always some things that you should always be doing throughout this year to generate leads.
1) Give it all away - I dont mean your products and services but your knowledge, experience, advice in whatever form works best for you.
2) Think like your customer - Sounds simple I know but still many businesses will bang on about how wonderful their products and services are when often your prospects and customers simply don't care. What they care about are their problems and challenges.
3) Build trust before trying to pitch - This is particularly true for B2B but applies to all. Don't just charge into rooms physically or virtually and fling your business cards around and try and close everyone you meet.
4) Don't over-automate - People are a little tired of over automation. There is a place for it without a doubt but not so much that it becomes irritating.
5) Make it personal - Building relationships is key and this means actually taking the time to get to know and understand what is important to the other person.
I appreciate that all of this is hard work, takes time and does not scale. But in fact, that is how I believe lead generation is going to be in 2019.
Without wanting to sound like any kind of expert because I really am not, I believe that you have to try lots of different things but with this caveat, give things a chance, nothing is going to produce instant results. More often than not lead generation is a result of many different touch points and yet many business owners will then point to the last one and that gets the credit or attribution.
The truth is always very different. Maybe they met someone at your company at a networking event, then connected with them on LinkedIn and saw a post that they had liked, then had seen your company vans on the road, then finally searched online for your business as they now had a need. Does this lead get attributed to the fact that you appeared online for your own brand name? Crazy talk but trust me this happens every day.
With this in mind understand that lead generation is both online and offline. Yes, lots of the research phase happens online but do not underestimate the value of meeting people via networking and events.
Don't be precious
If you mastered a particular tactic and it's not working as well as it once did you need to let it go. As much as I despise it, if cold calling starts working again then that is what we must do. I don't like it but the truth is tactics come and go in waves and will probably return again.
You could also look at it another way and if nobody is doing that anymore then you may stand out by prospecting that way. For example, direct mail has declined over the last 5 years, maybe now is a good time to try leaflet drops as nobody else is doing it anymore? You could say the same with email marketing, 3 years ago everyone was talking about building a list. Soon everyone worked out that your free ebook was, in fact, a sales pitch and quickly unsubscribed from your sales pitch emails. But how about doing email marketing the right way while everyone else has given up?
The problem half the time is back to the tried and tested. Email marketing was never dead, poor email marketing didn't work and unfortuntely to many people were doing email poorly.
Stick the basic rules of adding value and being patient and always give it all away and you will generate leads.
Yep, its pay to play i'm afraid. There is no point being upset about the fact that organic reach is declining across most of the social networks. You have two options, create truly compelling content that people share like crazy or pay to be seen.
Yes, it is more expensive than it was a few years ago and it's only going to get more expensive as big brands shift millions of pounds of marketing budgets into social media advertising.
There are tons of courses available for people who want to truly understand how to do social media advertising without wasting hundreds or even thousands of pounds in money. Yes, its hard and takes time but this is prospecting in 2019.
There are other ways to do lead generation if you don't want to put in the work. Try cold calling, or print they do not have the same complex entry point and may actually be more effective. If you don't try you will never know.
What am I going to do for lead generation?
I plan to do a number of things, awareness and teaching through content and social media marketing and then some more personalised lead generation through video emails and networking.
New year energy brings out lots of enthusiasm, hope and people seem to have an extra spring in their step. Let's see if we can continue that through what is potentially a very tricky and turbulent few months. Whatever happens, we have to keep moving forwards regardless and I hope that people can find the time, the energy and the patience to do prospecting with integrity and look to add value to peoples business first.
Have a great year all.