Lead Generation in the Digital Eco System

Updated: March 01, 2010

SO HOW IS YOUR SMALL BUSINESS DOING WITH THE TRANSITION?

This is a wake up call to small business to do what needs to be done to thrive in this new digital eco-system.

Here are the 7 keys I have found that transform small businesses from the "old school" marketing ways to the Next Generation of small business marketing.

1. Dominate online search in your category. At a minimum, make sure your company can be found in local searches. Better yet, work to build authority for national search.

2. Maximize social media - For around $500 per month, you can outsource to a firm that can manage your entire social media footprint for you. So if social media is a mystery of sorts for you, just have someone else do it.

3. Leverage peer advocacy - Stop expecting those incestuous business card swap events to build your business. Those programs worked in the 90's and early 2000's. They don't any more. A healthy eco-system is made up of organisms that live symbiotically together. That means more than just handing someone a stack of your business cards and expecting the phone to ring. It means "advocating" on others behalf and having your fans "advocating" for you. Build a team of 4-5 non-competing entrepreneurs and commit to truly advocate for each other.

4. Reposition your brand - If you are a financial planner who thinks their target audience is *anyone with 100k to invest*, you are going to lose (big time) in this new world. Define your target audience better than that and market to that niche group. Ask yourself this question "Who is the person AND situation for which my product/service is ALWAYS the BEST choice?" That is your target audience. Dump the rest. You'll get a much better ROI and get rich in the process. Focus like a laser beam on your target audience.

5. Build a communication matrix - Identify all the groups of people you communicate with (prospects, customers, loyal clients, vendors etc) and design a communication strategy for each group individually. Ask yourself what the key message is that they need communicated to them - at what frequency - and through what medium. Stop sending the same "newsletter" to everyone in your database. That again, is 1980's marketing. It doesn't work anymore. It just makes the post office rich(er). Segment your marketplace, identify their needs and communicate to them the way they want to be communicated with. Some will just need a monthly email, others will want a phone call. Others yet, would prefer to just stay updated on twitter or facebook.

6. Get tribal and accountable…company-wide - If you are not following at least 5 experts in different fields of interest, you stand to lose in the digital eco-system. If every one of your employees (yes, even those on the factory floor) are not following experts in their field, your company will fall behind in the digital eco-system. Gone are the days of attending a seminar or trade show here and there. Business is moving at such a rapid pace, that unless you are plugged into experts who keep you on the leading edge of what is going on, you'll get left behind. Find some tribes to join and then get your entire staff to join tribes of their own. Create accountability around it. Let a different staff member present their latest learnings at each staff meeting. It's mission critical to your long term success.

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