Having a visible presence on social media is not enough to generate leads, says Sylvia Garibaldi, business coach and founder of SG and Associates in Toronto. To attract leads online, she says, you have to create a “lead magnet.”
Lead magnets are prized nuggets of information that can position you as an expert worth listening to and convert your audience into a loyal following. These nuggets can take a variety of forms, including PDFs, white papers, webinars and videos. People swap their email addresses and consent in return for your periodic tips.
Compelling lead magnets address a “pain point,” target a specific audience and offer a solution, says Garibaldi: “It has to be sexy enough that people will want to watch or download it.”
Your content should be vetted by your compliance department, Garibaldi says. And to remain compliant with anti-spam legislation, you must include a disclosure stating that the recipient of your information agrees to being added to your subscription list. You can arrange to have the email feed directly into your client-relationship management system. This arrangement gives you the opening you need to stay in touch with potential clients and to build your credibility with them.
“Once you establish a strong base, you can grow and nurture this list,” Garibaldi says. “You send them emails about things that are relevant.”
Lead magnets can be another source of referrals or contacts if your pool dries up.
Here’s how to use lead magnets to expand your network:
> Identify a specific market
Lead magnets should appeal to a given profession, whether you’re dealing primarily with lawyers, family physicians or accountants. The knowledge you’re offering must apply to a segment of clients, with solutions that speak to their experience, Garibaldi says.
“They need personalized advice,” she says.
> Pack it with strategies
Once you decide which profession to target, share any insights you have on a pain point that affects them. For example, if your niche is working with personal injury lawyers, you can package a list of things they need to know to increase their cash flow, Garibaldi says.
“We know that’s their pain point because they never know how much they’re going to earn in a year,” she adds.
> Publicize it
Go beyond offering your business cards at relevant networking events. While attending an industry conference or holding a seminar, use that opportunity to promote your lead magnet, Garibaldi says.
The resource — a video or webinar, for example — must be visible and easily accessed on your website, so that the link lands visitors on it directly.
> Feed them valuable information
Turning engaged prospects into clients takes time. The best way to nurture that base is to send valuable tips regularly, or offer free consultations, Garibaldi says.
The surest way to blow the overall strategy and ruin your rapport is to inundate your audience with product information too early, Garibaldi says. They may decide to unsubscribe.
Only when you’ve demonstrated your expertise and given them actionable advice over the course of several emails is it appropriate to talk about products.
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