I get a number of replies each week and the top answer is always some variation of: “I’m not getting enough leads.” Leads that turn into clients are the lifeblood of your business. If you’re not getting leads then you have a hobby. Hobbies sort of pay the bills most of the time. Hobbies mean you’re looking at a fridge box as a viable place to live not a toy for your kids.
A business lets you live the life you want to live. When I dig a bit deeper with these people there is usually one of 4 core problems in their lead generation plan. Here they are:
1. You’re not marketing
First off, if you will not build it and they will not come. This is not your field of dreams. No one owes you anything in the success of your business. The only reason that you’re business is going to be successful is if you do something to make it so.
Knowing this, it’s time to start marketing. The best place to start is blogging. First, it’s relatively easy to do. You don’t have to go past your screen to get out and meet people. The software needed is free and hosting for your site is very inexpensive.
Second, blogging can bring in traffic for months to come. I still get clients based off content I wrote 2 years ago. Blogging is a stepping stone. Once you’re comfortable marketing yourself in any fashion, the next steps in marketing which require more work to put yourself out there become easier.
2. You’re not meeting people
If blogging is a great long term way to get clients and a great way to get yourself used to marketing your work, then meeting people is the fastest way to get more clients.
In general the closer you can get to being face to face with someone, the more they’re going to trust you. This is why blogging takes a long time to get going. Trust takes longer to build when you sit behind your screen.
As you work to get more leads, start heading out to shake hands. Pressing flesh will build trust quickly since people get to have a good conversation with you. They get to see your mannerisms. You become a real person, not someone faceless behind a computer screen.
3. You’re not speaking to your leads
Let’s assume that you are actually generating some traffic to your site. Let’s also assume that you’re going out to meet people and shake hands. If you’re still not getting leads then there is another problem. Usually, you’re not speaking to the needs your customers have.
Most business sites tell you how awesome the business is. They do good work and they have an awesome team and they do the work on time. But no site is going to say the opposite – You do bad work, late, and your team is terrible. So you’re saying nothing. At least nothing your leads care about.
Your leads want to hear that you can solve their problems. If they have a WordPress site that crashes all the time, they want to know that you can solve the problem. Talking about how awesome you are means they still have to dig deeper to figure out if you can solve their problem.
Go back to my last post and walk through the questions you need to ask to define your ideal client, then speak to the problems that client has. When you talk to leads, walk them through the problems you can solve for them. Don’t talk about how amazing you are, stick to solving their problems.
4. You have no niche
Finally, so many businesses don’t niche. I get it. You’re scared that by saying you can help hair salon’s, you’ll turn away other work. Those others won’t even get in touch with you anymore.
There is some truth to this. Some people will see that you’re focused on hair salon’s and they won’t reach out about their project. The flip side to this is that when anyone you know hears about a hair salon that needs work done, there is no question who to send the work to.
One of my clients spent 2 years focused on church sites. They had a great roster of clients and then they stopped saying that they focused on churches. They changed their marketing copy to become generalists. It took 6 months, but no churches were reaching out anymore. No referrals were coming in and the business that was looking awesome 6 months ago, was on the cusp of failing.
They still loved working with churches and couldn’t figure out what happened. Once we went back to their old focus and reminded everyone that they loved to work with churches, the leads started rolling back in.
When they tried to reach out more generally, no one knew what project was the perfect for them anymore. Once they refocused on their niche, everyone knew exactly what type of project was right.
Don’t be afraid to niche. Having a niche is the only way that people will know exactly what project to send to you.
If you’re struggling to get leads, you’re not alone. You’re also not hopeless. Start putting some focus on marketing. Get out and meet people. Speak to the problems that your leads have. Finally, find your niche so that people know exactly what type of project best suits you.