It’s a constant battle every entrepreneur and marketer out there face; gaining a constant stream of leads that are actually worth chasing (and preferably curated in a cost-effective, efficient manner). So, to get you on your way are my top suggestions for securing your access to qualified leads.

Review your product(s) against your competitors and make it public

Post candid reviews on your blog or website of your fiercest competitors products. Concentrate on the products that are most similar in order to facilitate a fair comparison and be sure to share the reviews on social media and via PPC ads for maximum exposure.

If your product is a good fit for the prospect they will still be interested in your offering, flaws and all. Always keep in mind the need to add value to prospects lives even before they make a purchase. Providing a review saves them time and conveniently provides all of the facts in one place for them to make an informed purchase. This builds more trust than you pummelling your prospects with sales-y ads. Also, the mere fact that they were given the opportunity to make an informed decision will improve your brand image, presenting you as a knowledgeable, upstanding company. A price cannot be placed on the value this adds to a brand.

Besides, this strategy may save your company from negative reviews and complaints from unsatisfied customers who would never have bought the product in the first place had they access to such information. Your product cannot please everyone and that is ok. So, don’t be afraid of scaring prospects away. If they run, they were never meant for you.

Side note – be sure to wade in on the inevitable reviews left on your site by customers too. Have an open dialogue with them to find out what they liked and disliked and what they believe are your products’ positives and drawbacks this will help you immensely as you draft copy for your ads, landing pages, newsletter and much more.

It is also a great pre-launch strategy allowing you to critique your products finding out what parts of your product requires more work, most importantly gauge customer interest. Get stuck in!

Work with Influencers and Industry Experts

In a social media driven world affiliations and endorsements go a long way. It may be hard to believe, but people that have never heard of your product can be before can be persuaded to hit the ‘buy’ button on your site simply because their favorite YouTuber remarked that they enjoyed using your product.

There is the misconception that influencer collaborations are more relevant for fashion or physical product brands but this is not the case. How many people do you think would purchase a piece of money management software if Warren Buffet named it his go-to product for managing his budget? My guess is quite a few.

If you’re wondering where you can find such influencers, the answer is simple. Go where your customers hang out online. This could be Medium, Reddit, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or even Snapchat,. It all depends on how they like to socialise on the web.

Whilst the opportunities are plentiful it is important you engage in collaborative efforts with a clear strategy in mind. Take the time to find influencers and experts in your niche that have an engaged following, don’t just look at follower count as when they are viewed in isolation they can be pure vanity metrics. Ask – do they post often? What kind of content are they posting? What brands are they currently working with are their followers engaged or is it a load of comments from bots? What kind of comments are they getting? These are just a few of the kinds of questions you should be asking before working with them to ensure both your precious time and resources are only allocated to collaborations that will push your business forward.

Some may ask for payment, a whole post can be writing on negotiating collaborations with influencers, But as a general rule, when you are first starting to use influencers, don’t go too crazy shelling out the cash. Opt for medium-sized or even micro influencers with engaged followers and work your way up to the big boys and gals once you’ve learned the ropes (if your company is new to collaborations).

Join forces with other brands within your niche that are not in direct competition with your company to grow your following and email lists through running competitions, popups, webinars and anything creative you can rustle up. Be sure to funnel the traffic generated to a dedicated landing page where can field prospects email addresses and start warming up those leads.

Introduce generous affiliate programs to motivate influencers, bloggers, and vloggers to promote your brand to their audience. Incentivising promotion can rapidly increase your access to prospects even if you are justs starting out or have a small business. This is because you are capitalizing on the audience of your partners who have already done the legwork required to build a following. When implemented correctly it can be a win-win situation for all.

Show your expertise on Question & Answer platforms + forums

Seeing as you’ve started a SaaS business, I’m gathering you are either an expert in your chosen niche or have learned enough about your subject area to offer guidance on queries those starting out or stuck. Take the time to answer questions from those in your target market. Before you begin dishing your wisdom be sure to optimize your profile so that it leads prospects to your site. Make no mistake about it, this strategy will require a lot of upfront work and dedication but you can reap multiple rewards such as positioning yourself as the  authority in your field, acquire leads without forking out tons of money and build an audience of your own that you can confidently pitch at a later date,

But before you begin dishing out your wisdom, optimize your profile on the forum or platform with your name, a keyword-enriched description of your job title (and a link to your company website or lead capturing landing page. An optimized profile will be the driver in leading prospects to your content online. So, think about the kinds of words they would be looking for and include it in your profile.

Guest post on blogs and nab guest spots on podcasts

Contrary to popular belief, guest posting and podcasting are reserved only for the aspiring writers and presenters among us. Repeat after me, I will never be too big or too small to guest blog or feature on podcasts. They present a reliable avenue to generate warm leads for an indefinite amount of time (or until the content is removed from the blog or podcast’s site).

Remember, we are trying to build your brand and so we need to get out there and get you noticed. This may send shivers of horror and dread down your spine if you are an introvert or not comfortable with networking situations. However, you can tackle this by reframing intimidating challenges into glistening opportunities for you to show off a brand you’ve worked extremely hard to build and are very passionate about. Don’t pass up the challenge, use it to grow personally and professionally to increase your business’ reach.

Make a list of the blogs and podcasts that your target market visit and look through the kinds of topics being debated and which ones were most popular, received the most comments and the dialogue in those comments. Use this information to generate a couple of ideas you can pitch to the editors of these sites send it to the specific editor in charge of your subject area directly not using the standard ‘write for us’ contact forms or email address. these forms and generic email address often send your hard work into the freelancing pitch abyss never to be seen by anyone again. Jorden over at Creative Revolt has a great post on how to pitch for guest posting spots, be sure to check it out.

When it comes down to it the most important thing is choosing to take action on the ideas above as well as your own. So get started, now!

That’s all for now folks. Stay tuned for Part Two…

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