My top 5 Lead Generation Strategies

2 women discussing a meeting - 5 Amazing Lead Generation Strategies to Grow Your Business

Let’s cut to the chase…

in 2018 you want to grow your business?

And as a service-based business that means connect with and growing your lead list.

So what can you do now to start seeing more results in your email list size, community or personal outreach?

Incorporating more lead generation strategies into your business.

Now, this isn’t something that changes overnight, and in fact, for long-term growth and success, I would argue that it definitely should take some time to plan and implement. It is great to get an influx of leads tomorrow but where will you be next week if the quick fix doesn’t work again?

Lead generation is a long-term game. I like long-term games, it means that you can try, learn and grow rather than just succeed or fail.

If you NEED money in your business right this moment to pay your bills the best thing you can do is supplement your small business until it is consistent enough to sustain you. And there isn’t anything wrong with that. The need for immediate money can sometimes hamper your actual ability to grow your business.

Now if you are planning for your 2018 year of growth these strategies are for you!

My favorite 5 strategies are

  • Create Lead Magnet(s) that connect
  • Put Calls to action all over my website
  • Design my site with the user in mind
  • Engage and relationship build in Facebook Groups
  • Leverage the Traffic Driving Power of Pinterest

Now I’m going to go over these in detail, each one of these could be their own post but for the purpose of this article I’m going to cover some of the basics (feel free to ask follow up questions in the comments!)

Lead Magnets that Connect

Having a download on your site for people to opt-in for is a great lead generation strategy. But just any old opt-in won’t do.

You need a lead magnet that connects your solutions with your audience’s problems in a way that they can understand.

This means getting to really know your audience, doing some research, testing a few ideas, and figuring out how you can make whatever your idea is unique. Because I guarantee you that someone else out there has done 25 Email Subject Lines as a download.

But what can you do to connect with your audience? Make it unique and memorable for them.

I’ll use me as an example.

Instead of 25 Email Subject Lines which is very generic, I would test out some titles along the lines of 25 Surprising Email Subject Lines to Promote Your Services or 25 Amazing Service-based Email Subject Lines to get your dream clients opening more of your emails.

Now the idea is the same but I’ve connected my opt-in with a problem my potential clients are having. Promoting their services or getting higher open rates on their emails.

Calls To Action & my Website Strategy

Another of my favorite strategies is putting calls to action everywhere on my site.

Spoiler alert! These aren’t always opt-ins or buttons!

Say what?

Yep, I want to constantly be inspiring my audience and user to take action.

Which could mean all sorts of things like…

  • commenting on a blog post
  • following me on social media
  • clicking on another page in the user journey
  • sending me an email
  • scheduling a free consultation
  • reading older blog content
  • sharing blog content
  • etc

The list could go on and on. I like to provide a variety of ways for my users to interact with me because they may not be ready to schedule that free consultation but they want to make sure they find me again so they follow me on social media, or they may have a question that I didn’t quite answer in the blog post.

Every person is different so I really like diversifying and not relying on one basket for all my eggs.

Design my Website from the User’s Perspective

This strategy is wonderful and can help you stand out from the crowd online.

My website is most definitely about me and is supposed to showcase me. BUT I approach the design and functionality from the perspective of the people who are coming to my site.

I’ve done things like analyze if more people are mobile users or desktop users so that I can optimize that experience.

Or analyze what social media platforms are driving the most traffic and to where so that I can make the most out of that particular blog post or landing page.

When I write my content I ask myself what would my audience want to know about this particular point I’m trying to make? Especially if we’ve never interacted online before? I want to make sure I’m not glossing over important information and that I’m being clear so that people can connect.

Engage & Relationship Build

This is what makes running an online business fun for me. It’s great to want to put out content and keep updating my website with new information but when I work from home alone it’s important to find ways to grow relationships with others in the online community and genuinely engage with them.

I try to focus on being helpful and getting to know people rather than connecting with someone so that I can sell them something. Mostly because I hate when people do that to me.

And you can totally tell if someone is being genuine or just trying to make a sale, trust me. There is a better way to do it.

This doesn’t mean that I offer up my services in these communities for free. I just focus on the relationship part first and then if it comes up that there is something I can help them with I make the offer. But it’s only after I’ve gotten to know them a bit and helped them out.

Leverage Pinterest

Pinterest is another long-term lead generation strategy because the content has a longer lifecycle on this platform. That means that the work you put into it now will continue to pay off again and again.

It did take some time, in the beginning, to get my new strategy set up but now I spend about 10 minutes a day marketing on this particular platform and I continue to see more and more results.

You want to make sure that you have identified your SEO keywords so that you can go through and optimize your boards, profile, and pins with these keywords. If you need a place to start your research you can do the following:

Search on Pinterest, for example, “content marketing”

Then review the boxes that pop up underneath for additional keywords or ways to make your shorter keyword into a long-tail keyword like “content marketing tips” “content marketing social media”

Do this for different words you want to rank for. I just can’t help myself I have another example!

If you are a wedding planner you may start out with the list of words like this: weddings, brides, wedding decor, wedding centerpieces, wedding design, wedding planning, wedding coordination

Type each of these in and keep drilling down into the keywords. This will not only give you a great idea for what your Keywords should be it will also help you plan out additional content to create.

 

 

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Post Title - 5 Amazing Lead Generation Strategies to Grow Your Business
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6 Reasons Why Your Content Strategy matters for your service-based business

Flay Lay office supplies - 6 Reasons Why Content Strategy Matters for Your Service-based Business

Content, content, content…

So much to create for your service-based business.

Maybe you want to…

  • promote your services
  • grow your community
  • increase your visibility online
  • engage with potential clients

Maybe you want to focus on some of them, maybe all of them. But boy that is a lot of content to create and manage.

Which is where your content strategy comes in. Besides making your content easier, in general, to create it also has a few other important characteristics that help you build your online presence which we will get to in just a second.

But first, let me ask you a question.

When was the last time you sat down and planned out your content calendar? And not just what you are going to post when and where but HOW it supports your overall business goals?

We as service-based businesses don’t have time in our busy schedules to create and share fluff with our audiences. So again when was the last time you looked at how the content you are putting out ties into your goals?

Or do you just post to post because that’s what everyone online says you need to do to grow your following and build your brand?

Overall your content strategy helps keep you on target with your big business goals and every so often you should check in with yourself to see that everything is still in alignment. Now onto why your content strategy matters and how it is important to your service-based business.

Gives you a goal and purpose

Like a mentioned above your content strategy gives you a goal and purpose to work towards every time you create content for your business.

Without knowing what the goal of a piece of content or the purpose of a content campaign you are putting out you’ll find it really hard to keep consistent and focused. You’ll have a harder time planning and your content may be all over the place confusing your audience.

And a confused audience is a no-no because they won’t be pulling out their credit cards ready to buy they will be scratching their heads wondering why you are talking about hair care all of a sudden when you’ve been talking about cooking on your blog.

This isn’t to say that your content can’t change and adjust it just means that you are changing and adjusting with a purpose not willy-nilly.

Create regular content

Having your content strategy matters to you creating regular content for your audience.

It helps to know what is coming up when you sit down to make content for your business but also that you are creating content regularly around your zone of genius.

This is really important to establishing yourself as the expert in your niche and making sure that you aren’t overloading one topic too much.

How do I know?

This happened to me.

I thought I was doing a really good job of rotating through branding topics, web design & strategy topics, content creation, and social media marketing only to find out I was really relying on content creation too much.

Therefore confusing people with what I did rather than helping me stand out as the business with the solution to their problems.

Ouch. I saw a LOT of people I connected with online hire other designers for graphics and their website because they associated me with only creating content.

I’ve since adjusted my message and reworked how I tie all these things together and it has helped tremendously.

Just having that clarity and regular content is consistently filling my calendar with new leads who know what I can do to help them.

Creates a consistent experience

I really want to say a consistent client experience here but it is so much more than that. Your content strategy helps you show up consistently from the very first time someone lands on your site all the way through client workflow and follow up.

When you have your content strategy in place you aren’t showing up differently in different places online, everything is coming back to your goal and your purpose.

That way your audience and clients know what they are going to get from you and have a great memorable experience that keeps them coming back to your website for more information…not forgetting who you are when they click away.

See what is working and what isn’t

We want to spend more time being efficient and effective with our businesses right?

Well, your content strategy can help you do that.

Any time you set a goal you are setting yourself up to see what is working and what isn’t working with your content. You may think you know what topics are going to hit home and connect with your audience but until to sit down and test it out you don’t really know for sure.

This also is really important for when you are making directional changes because you may find more information you can cover about a topic just by analyzing what people are interested in on your site.

Makes marketing easier

Having a strong content strategy can make everything about marketing your service-based business online easier.

It makes planning a breeze and lets you plan your promotional content to be in line with your valuable content.

It’s nice when everything plays well together and feel like the natural next step for your audience. Again you wouldn’t want to be talking about hair care and then start promoting an ebook with cooking recipes. This kind of incongruency leads to a lot of questions and makes people wonder if you really are a legitimate business.

Builds your brand

Having your content strategy helps you build your brand online because you are fully showing up in your zone of genius and remaining consistent. That allows you to build the know, like and trust factor with your audience.

And when your audience knows you then you are more likely to get in front of more eyes because your audience is recommending you, sharing your content, and becoming your superfans!


If you found this post helpful I’d love it if you would share it with your audience on Pinterest!

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Post title - 6 Reasons Why Content Strategy Matters for Your Service-based Business
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Behind the Scenes: a peek at my brand strategy client process

Top down view of desk with office supplies

Everyone likes to see what things are going to be like especially when it comes to online businesses. How does the process really work? What do you actually get? How are we going to stay on track with this service?

I know it and you know it so I thought I share a behind the scenes peek at my design process. I follow this same rough workflow for branding projects as I do web design projects. There are of course a couple differences but the broad strokes are the same.

Let’s dive in!

Inquiry/Approval

Once we’ve had our initial discussion about what the project needs and the best fit as far as my packaging goes I’ll send my clients a quote to review ALL the details of their investment.

Once that has been approved I send the contract and invoice for the first half of payment. This get’s the client’s start date booked on my calendar for my next available opening, this date we will have the client’s strategy call to discuss specifics and brainstorm for the project.

Then comes the fun part! I send some homework to my client that needs to be completed prior to the start date of the project. This is fun homework I promise.

This consists of a questionnaire to help get my clients to clarify their ideas, start building visual inspiration, and tease out any ideas that they may not otherwise consider.

Also, right at the beginning of the process I also set my clients up with a client portal for the important business documents and a Trello board with deadlines and to-do tasks for the project.

Client intake information

Let’s talk about the kind of information I need from my clients to get started.

I typically send a questionnaire like I mentioned earlier to help clarify ideas and get some structure to the project started. This could include things like who is the audience for this project? What are your values & mission? Who are your competitors? What is your unique selling proposition or position in the marketplace?

I also intake certain contact information and help set a preference for communication during our project.

Now is also the time that I will give my clients a list of resources and materials that I need to get started. This allows me to get started on the start day because I can’t start without content from you.

Collaborative inspiration

During this time where my clients are waiting to get started, I also send some information on how they can get started gathering up visuals and helping tell me their likes and dislikes.

This is such a valuable part of the process because not only does it help me understand my clients wants and needs in a different way once they start adding to it I can decipher what their style/mood/personality from the project is and add some additional visual ideas to the mix for consideration.

My goal as a designer is to make sure that the process is collaborative and that we are on the same page the entire time. One thing I hate about the industry is that I often see people hand over their money to start a project then never hear from the provider until the end. At which point the product isn’t what was needed or there was a fundamental mismatch between ideas. I make it my mission to communicate throughout the project as well as look at the relationship as a collaboration.

This collaboration helps bring you the best end result as possible not only hitting your goals but having a strategic perspective from what the user is going to experience.

Mood board

Now that I’ve gotten all this information from my client I take some time to review everything and develop a mood board for the project. This will include things like textures or feature ideas, photography or elements that elicit the mood and look for the project.

This is a really fun part of the process because we can start to see how everything ties together.

Pencil sketches

This part of the process I start developing the ideas for how the final project is going to look and I do it in pencil. The act of drawing up ideas and different elements from the inspiration helps me see even more possibilities and opportunities to help bring the vision to life.

At this point, I’ll pick the best 3 – 4 options and present them to my client as pencil sketches.

Why leave them as sketches?

Well because I’ve noticed that clients can sometimes get hung up on the nitty-gritty details if the presentation looks to final than focusing on the overall idea at this phase. The nitty gritty details will come later but keeping it as a pencil sketch allows for more communication and less feeling like the idea is set in stone.

Refined digitized sketches (black and white)

Once the overall direction has been decided from the pencil sketches I take the chosen design and digitize it.

Digitize is just a fancy word for taking the graphic from a sketch to a computer file.

Now the graphic will be much more refined and more concrete. There may even be a few more iterations at this phase depending on what the graphic looks like and any other layouts/options that you may have.

From here I’ll get 2 rounds of feedback from my client about the nitty gritty and things they like/dislike. I try to stay away from things like

  • make it pop – pop isn’t a design term please stop using it use visual weight instead
  • make the text bigger
  • make the whole thing larger

Because these aren’t really helping me bring your idea to life, I’d rather help my clients use language like

  • I think this text gets lost
  • The balance between this element and that feels out of sorts
  • I don’t like the way the text curves here..etc.
  • These are design feedback responses that I can use to help us get to the final product

Oh, and I haven’t even touched on the fact that at this stage the logo is still black and white! This is so important because like in the pencil sketching phase there are certain elements that I need clients to focus on and right now color is not one of them. Right now I want to find the right layout, balance, and elements of the piece not if this green is too kelly green and not enough yellow-green. That comes later I promise!

Adding color to one or two logos

Now that we have a solid direction on one or two logos I go in and add color in various ways to bring your brand colors into the logo. This may seem like it creates even more options for you but it is nice to see a little variation in how color can be applied to the piece.

I want to make sure during this phase that the color your name is in, for example, doesn’t blend into the background or make someone’s eyes hurt because it is too bright.

This phase means we are in the final stretch! 

Making secondary logo/patterns/elements/collateral

Now comes a slew of other collateral that I create based on the choices the client made for the main logo.

Depending on what the particular client needs I’ll work on a secondary logo, patterns, brand elements and other collateral to make sure everything ties in and is cohesive.

Are you my next dream client? Let’s get started!

Blog Post Title - Behind the Scenes a peek at my brand strategy client process
Top down office supplies - Behind the Scenes Peek at my brand strategy client process
Blog Post Title - Behind the Scenes a peek at my brand strategy client process
Top down office supplies - Behind the Scenes Peek at my brand strategy client process
Why I deleted 1/2 my email list…

Does your email list growth feel stagnant? Does it feel like you get some you lose some but your email list numbers stay the same? Do you want to see more engagement with your email list? Try this...

This last fall I deleted half my email list.

It was scary and terrifying and even though I truly believe that numbers on my list of following my social platforms is the best indication of success… it still felt terrible getting rid of them.

I was felt like I had a certain amount of clout with the number I had.

But there came a point….

When I had to be honest with myself and ask the hard questions like…how are you serving these people if they never open your emails?

AND you’re paying for them to be on your list and they don’t even care.

It was time to do a little cleaning.

And something really interesting happened, I’ll tell you about it in just a second.

So once I made my decision I gave people 2 weeks to stay on my list. I sent two emails out to try and get their eyes on my email and re-engage them in my list.

Surprisingly some stayed. Some clicked the link to stay subscribed but the majority never opened the email.

It was then that I felt confident I was making the best decision for myself and those on my list. I never want to be clutter in someone’s inbox so I’d rather not just email week after week bugging you. I felt good about letting them go. Make room in my list for people I could serve and their inbox for whatever it is they needed.

So I hit delete. And didn’t look back.

I worked on serving my list and the people who remained.

It was about the same time that I was able to redirect my business focus and get really specific about how I help people.

And my list started growing again. It had been stagnant for a while. I’d get a few then a few would unsubscribe.

After I deleted the segment of my list that was disengaged my list started growing again.

I was starting to gain more leads who were interested in the content that I was putting out!

This was huge for me because while you don’t need a huge list to be successful you do need people who engage with the content you are sharing and not just ignoring or deleting without opening your email.

Letting go of the clutter really helped me mentally get more clarity around my brand. It’s position in the online space and how I can serve the community better!

So I want to hear from you, have you had an experience where you let go of clutter and saw BIG improvement in your direction & clarity? Let me know in the comments!


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Does your email list growth feel stagnant? Does it feel like you get some you lose some but your email list numbers stay the same? Do you want to see more engagement with your email list? Try this...
Does your email list growth feel stagnant? Does it feel like you get some you lose some but your email list numbers stay the same? Do you want to see more engagement with your email list? Try this...
Does your email list growth feel stagnant? Does it feel like you get some you lose some but your email list numbers stay the same? Do you want to see more engagement with your email list? Try this...
Does your email list growth feel stagnant? Does it feel like you get some you lose some but your email list numbers stay the same? Do you want to see more engagement with your email list? Try this...
15 Signs it’s time to stop doing your own web design

Are you a small business owner or blogger and you can't decide if now is the time to finally hire a designer to help you bring your web design to life or if you are still in DIY mode? Read this article and find out the 15 signs that it is time to stop doing it yourself and get some help!

I get it, sometimes its really nice to just sit by yourself and build your dream in isolation. Sometimes it is even necessary to build things for yourself for a time.

Maybe you aren’t really sure of your direction yet so you don’t want to invest in a custom web design and development if you aren’t ready.

Maybe you just don’t have the funds yet and want to stay as trim as possible when you are getting started.

But there does come a time when you need to take a step back and evaluate if you are indeed ready to hire out the design. Here are 15 signs that the time is now…

When is it time to hire a web design expert?

  1. you are embarrassed by it
  2. you know you need to update it but you just can’t find the time
  3. you hate working on it
  4. you don’t include it in your content strategy ie. never drive traffic to it
  5. it feels like the weak link
  6. you just wish everything was cohesive
  7. you keep struggling with getting this one thing to work
  8. you want it to look a certain way but your efforts always fall short
  9. you wouldn’t hire you if you came across your website
  10. your business is growing and your website needs to keep up
  11. you don’t have time to fiddle with that thing that’s broken or you’re frustrated with technology
  12. you’re spending more time fiddling with your website than working with clients
  13. you’ve got lots of ideas but need some help organizing and sorting through for presenting it in a clear consistent way
  14. you know what gaps there are in your skills and you know what your business needs
  15. you’re not interested in DIYing your website for a moment longer

It’s important, to be honest with yourself and hire a designer when it is time.

Why?

Well not only do you get a non-income producing time-intensive activity off your plate you get outside perspective and expertise that comes from someone who does this stuff day in and day out. An expert who can guide you to making the best strategic website decisions based on your website’s primary goal.

Hold up…

My website isn’t an income producing activity???

No working on your website and fiddling with the design over and over does not help you sign clients.

Having a purpose-driven website in place can help you attract leads but it is still just a tool to help you market your business, position yourself and your expertise and connect with your community.

It is a piece of the puzzle but not the entire puzzle and if you are spending all day every day fiddling with HTML/CSS or plugins you aren’t ever going to sign clients because you aren’t engaging with them.

Handing off your design allows you to use that time to book more discovery calls, engage more with new leads, follow up with past clients… etc.

Your website is an important marketing tool but it may not be the best use of YOUR time and we all have a limited number of hours in the day. Let your web designer take it off your hands so you can use your time to make money, book more clients and grow your income.

Oh gosh that was quite a rant… but it is true.

You’ve only got so much time on your hands.

Look at it this way. Say you create 15 graphics a month for your blog and social media channels. How much time does that take you? Maybe 5 – 8 hours? Maybe more?

What if you could get that back by handing off your monthly graphic design work? On retainer for say 5 hours a month, I can help you create 32 graphics. That’s more than double what you were making and you’re saving yourself 5 hours to market a product, get on the phone with 5 potential clients maybe develop that course you want to make but never find the time.

Over the course of a year, you’ve saved yourself 60 hours.

60 hours!!!!! To do more client work with or just take time for a little self-care.

I know that it sounds amazing to start out with a budget where you can hire enough people that you can delegate but start small. Take a look at your list and see what you spend a TON of time on. Then be honest with yourself…I know this part is going to be hard. But take a hard honest look at what you’re putting out for your business. Are you really doing a quality job on every piece of your business?

Now if you are saying that yes you do everything at a high quality and you are doing it alone…I’m going to call you on it.

It’s hard you either aren’t doing something at all or you aren’t excelling in your zone of genius.

You do what you do best for your business and let your designer handle the rest. You will start spending your time more efficiently working in your zone of genius rather than pushing pixels around a screen all while trying to stay cohesive and on brand for your business.


Did this list resonate with you?

If so it may be time to talk. I’ve can help you with a single project or put together a retainer package that fits your needs! Schedule a free consultation call here to see what best fits your business needs and direction!

Are you a small business owner or blogger and you can't decide if now is the time to finally hire a designer to help you bring your web design to life or if you are still in DIY mode? Read this article and find out the 15 signs that it is time to stop doing it yourself and get some help!
Are you a small business owner or blogger and you can't decide if now is the time to finally hire a designer to help you bring your web design to life or if you are still in DIY mode? Read this article and find out the 15 signs that it is time to stop doing it yourself and get some help!
Are you a small business owner or blogger and you can't decide if now is the time to finally hire a designer to help you bring your web design to life or if you are still in DIY mode? Read this article and find out the 15 signs that it is time to stop doing it yourself and get some help!
Are you a small business owner or blogger and you can't decide if now is the time to finally hire a designer to help you bring your web design to life or if you are still in DIY mode? Read this article and find out the 15 signs that it is time to stop doing it yourself and get some help!