Most business owners and entrepreneurs are interested in obtaining quality leads for a low price. Generating quality leads for free isn’t hard, and the time investment involved isn’t enormous either, surprisingly enough. The Internet offers an almost unlimited source of free lead generation resources that creative minds can leverage – leads that you can use for either direct mail postcards or for online connections. The key is to know where to spend time connecting with your customers and prospects and how to go about gathering information.
Since its start-up, Pinterest has exploded and become one the big social media sites. User participation on this site is off the charts. Even shy social media users can use Pinterest to interact with others since sharing is as easy as pinning an image. Begin by pinning your own product photos or images demonstrating your services. When someone pins or repins your product – BAM! You have a hot lead! Pinning other’s photos is also an excellent method for generating leads for free, but make sure the images are either Creative Commons License or that you have permission from the original owner to pin, otherwise you could end up with a lawsuit on your hands.
Facebook is a great medium for businesses to interact with prospects. Once someone “Likes” your business’s Facebook page, you can send them as many messages as you want directly or just post updates that will show up in their News Feed. Photo sharing via Facebook is also very easy, and conveniently enough, Pinterest can be used as an application on Facebook. This saves a great deal of time for busy entrepreneurs. To gain more Likes more quickly, just offer a discount or a free gift for everyone who Likes your page.
Twitter is a great way to get a finger on the pulse of your customers. If you have an account and a customer has a complaint or something positive to say, you can monitor and respond accordingly. Don’t forget to use those hashtags. Users look for hashtags for posts on certain subjects. Also, include links to valuable resources to make Twitter posts more interesting and to encourage new prospects to Follow you.
LinkedIn offers a free basic account for individuals. Unless your business is large and looking for employees, it really isn’t necessary to pay $100 or more for a premium account. LinkedIn is a wonderful way to network and can be an excellent way to establish a reputation as an expert. LinkedIn is designed for professionals, though. It’s where C-level connections are made, so make sure your dialogue is appropriate for this group. Keep in mind, too, that you will most likely be connecting on a more business-to-business level, rather than a business-to-consumer level.
Blogging is another method to establish a reputation as an expert. It’s easy to share knowledge and interact with prospects through a blogging platform such as WordPress or Drupal. Both are free and easy to use. Often a blog is a part of your website, which can drive traffic to your site, but your blog could also be a separate URL. Just make sure to advertise your business website in a noticeable spot on your blog. Make sure your blog content is appropriate for your ideal customers to more easily gain loyal visitors and look for ways to answers question they may be using Google to search for. You can also include a sign up form that gives users access to interaction elements on your blog, such as commenting or forums. Just keep your form simple asking for only a name and address and possibly their website URL. You can also include an optional checkbox for those who may want to receive direct mail from you.
Q&A sites offer entrepreneurs an excellent method to establish themselves as experts in any given field. Just answer a few questions and insert a small biography at the bottom of the page, and you’re good to go. Yahoo! Answers is an excellent example where you can provide quality responses to individuals who then know you’re a legitimate source for information in that arena. The more questions you answer, the more of a reputation you’ll gain as an expert, and the more likely readers will be to use your services or buy your products.
Like Q&A sites, discussion boards offer users a great way to network and interact for free. Best of all, the traffic is pre-existing and targeted. It doesn’t involve any work to build up a readership. Forums are wonderful ways to recruit prospects for very little investment. Be careful, though, because many discussion board owners do not like their customers being solicited directly on the boards. Follow their rules and focus on providing quality responses, and those you help may decide to look you up on Facebook or Twitter or even your website.
Latest posts by Tara Hornor (see all)
- 4 Musts for Modernizing Your Résumé - January 14, 2013
- The Right Way to Advertise Your Business With Direct Mail Postcards - November 30, 2012
- Ways to Improve a Newsletter’s Conversion Rate - October 23, 2012