List building is one of the biggest challenges in sales and lead generation. That’s why strategies like Google AdWords and social advertising sound so exciting. Rather than worrying about a list, you’ll let people find you. They are the modern-day Yellow Pages. Make an ad big enough, and people will just call, won’t they? Yes – and no.
Why Not Just Use Google AdWords?
Digital advertising creates its own sales challenges. To secure click-throughs from ads, you must use the perfect combination of text and keywords in your ads. Business owners spend serious money trying to figure out that secret recipe.
Once contacts do click through and call you, if you don’t have any Recognition ROI and prospects only know your name from an ad, you’re immediately thrown into a competitive sales situation. How much do you charge? What do I get for it? Yikes! You or your salesperson has to be a silver-tongued fox to navigate the barrage of questions and convert appointments – or you must be a low-cost price leader.
None of that’s to say you want to stop using Google AdWords and social advertising if you are doing them. You just don’t want to rely on them as the only tactics in your lead generation process. That means you need a list.
And we’re back to the problem of how to build a list.
The List of List Building Shortcuts
You need a list for every outbound prospecting and lead generation activity you do, but nobody knows how to get “the list.” It doesn’t matter if you’re calling, mailing or emailing, you need contact names before you can begin.
When I share strategies with business owners about how to build a list of their ideal prospects, the first thing they ask for is the silver bullet approaches to create a list quickly. So, here you go – 6 shortcuts you can use to build a better list than you can purchase.
- Use other people’s lists. Think of people you know who already have a warm list. Have them send an email on your behalf introducing you or offering something from your website that requires registration.
- Ask for referrals. Ask every time you meet with someone. Expand your referral gathering beyond clients and include your network. Be prepared to share the type of company and person you’d like to be referred to so you get best-fit
- Subscribe to an intelligence-based list service. Choose a company like DiscoverOrg or ZoomInfo where they have intelligence included with the contact information. This way you can do research and pull a list based on your sales criteria while getting insight into prospects.
- Revisit old prospects. Review all the prospects you’ve worked with over the past two years but never closed. Many may not have made a decision, need more of what they were originally looking for, or may regret the decision they made and be ready to change.
- Mine your social networks. You probably already know to look through your LinkedIn connections or use LinkedIn Navigator to create a list, but what about your Twitter connections? Look for contacts from your target market who are following you and start reaching out to them. Direct tweet them on Twitter or create a prospect list and share content especially for them. Add LinkedIn connections to your traditional list.
- Contact your cousins. Review your second-degree connections on social media. Who are you connected to that knows somebody you’d like to be working with? Make a list and start sending LinkedIn invitations or requesting introductions. LinkedIn even suggests people you should connect with based on the profiles of your current connections.
Set List Building Goals
These are some simple strategies you can use to build your list. The reality is, however, there are no shortcuts to building your list. Instead, it takes discipline and consistency. Set weekly and monthly list building goals and focus everyone in the organization on it. Measure list growth and use your list to not only warm it up but to keep it accurate.
Your list is a critical business asset. Incorporate list building into your lead generation process, then monitor attrition and growth. Use whatever you have today and build from there, then don’t stop using it. Together, list building discipline and consistency equal list gold. And that converts to more appointments, more sales opportunities, and more sales – the real gold in your business.