How to avoid relying on leads from within your referral network - and use digital to grow your reach

For a well known and well respected small business, it’s easy to rely on your existing referral network to attract new leads. When you have a strong network of clients and contacts, relying on this for all of your lead generation can be easy to do.

But if you want to truly grow as a business, attracting new and different prospects, you’ll need to generate leads from outside of your existing referral network.

We recently spoke with a very well respected local company that has relied on its referral network for a long time - and quite expectedly, as it has brought in a lot of revenue for the business. However, they’ve started to become aware that this pool of leads isn’t as sustainable as it once was - because of the ‘new rules of selling’ that the changing B2B buying behaviour.

Developing and changing their digital approach can change this and help them, and you, to stop relying on leads from within your referral network. Here’s how:


Implement an Active Website to capture new lead data - from new customers who you may have never encountered before

First things first, your website needs to be excellent at converting visitors into leads for you to follow up on. To do this, a standard, passive website isn’t enough. You’ll need to implement an active website.

Implement active website

The business we talked to currently isn’t able to gather lead data from their website, so even being aware of potential new leads from outside of their referral network is difficult.

An active website can be optimised to inform, engage and encourage visitors to interact with you.

If you can implement an active website, you can much more effectively invest in strategies like Google AdWords, with the knowledge that traffic driven to your site will be more likely to convert.

For leads outside of your referral network, you need a website that concisely explains your services and gives prospects the confidence to trust your business.

These leads don’t have the benefit of powerful referrer testimonials to reassure them, they need to be presented with a website that can do the job.


Drive relevant traffic to your site - attracting new leads from new areas

Once you have an active website, capable of capturing data from visitors and informing their research process, you can begin to invest in driving traffic to your site.

Drive relevant traffic

Without an active website, visitors may not be convinced to share their details or engage with your site.

They’ll simply turn up, look around, and leave.

The family run business we’ve been talking to, initially wanted a PPC campaign to attract new leads. However, with their current site, we weren’t convinced that it would be efficient for them - as the traffic they would attract may not convert.

With an active website, you can drive relevant traffic to your site (attracting new leads from outside your referral network) and actually convert them.


Develop a strong brand through digital

As mentioned earlier, leads from outside your referral network may not have been provided with strong client testimonies to convince them of the value you can add. They may have just arrived some search or social and not spoken to anyone you’ve worked with previously.

Develop strong brand

This means you’ll need to use digital to provide customers with this confidence and allow them to reach the point of becoming a customer.

You can use social media to grow and develop a strong brand outside of your network. This gives leads various touch points at which to reach your business. It can also provide them with social proof from existing clients and give them a clearer picture of your brand.

In the case of our local business, they currently have two sites and over a hundred employees, but no real digital presence. This means despite their success and the strength of their brand offline, their brand isn’t that strong online.

Using digital touch points to grow your brand allows your business to interact with potential clients across multiple platforms and create that strong brand presence.


Key Takeaways

Digital can be incredibly powerful for generating leads from outside of your existing referral network.

It can help you capture data and inform leads through an active website, as well as developing your brand and reaching out to new prospects.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how digital can help you attract leads from outside of your referral network, feel free to get in touch and a member of our team will be more than happy to have a chat with you.

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