Collin County Texas is rather unique from a marketing perspective. With a population over 3/4 of a million people, it has a mixture of high technology, local service businesses, agriculture, families who have lived in the area for generations and people moving to the area everyday from all over the United States and other countries. There is a major problem however for many businesses in the area…
… how to reach most of those people easily and quickly!
I Have A Problem Reaching More People In Allen, Frisco, McKinney, Plano And The Rest Of Collin County. I Am Just Too Busy Running My Business! How Do I Just Get More Leads And Referrals?!?
If you have sentiments similar to that statement then you may have considered using a lead generation company or service to help you. There are local-specific companies, internet marketing companies with a pay per lead or pay per appointment model, some will generate leads based on revenue sharing (much like a commissioned sales person), and there are national companies which can generate leads in your industry. Before you choose one of these there are some questions to ask yourself.
I will get to those in a moment. Before addressing those questions, please take a look at some of the “big picture” or “birds’ eye view” elements specific to Collin County Texas versus the rest of the Dallas Fort Worth area.
Challenges For Collin County Local Businesses When Attempting To Get New Leads And Prospects From Within Collin County
Unlike Dallas County and Tarrant County – which both have established television, print, radio and other dominant sources to reach a good percentage of the county’s population – Collin County is behind in that regard. This is not to knock on the hard work of those who work in Collin County media establishments. The challenge they face everyday, just like the local business owner attempting to reach those in Collin County, is fragmentation of trusted sources of information.
All you have to do is talk with people in Frisco, McKinney, Plano, Allen, The Colony, Prosper, Princeton, Fairview and other Collin County communities. Ask them one simple question: “Where do you go first to find out good resources in the local area?” You would be surprised at the breakdown of what people trust. Here are just SOME of the replies you will get, assuming you ask a broad range of people across different demographics:
- their friends and family
- the search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.)
- Craigslist and other classified ad sites
- the newspaper
- Daily deal sites (Groupon, Living Social, etc.)
- online coupon sites + coupon books
- Restaurant.com and other restaurant review sites
- Google/Yahoo/Bing maps with the reviews
- local radio station
- upcoming event and “things around town” websites
- chamber of commerce
- a specific DFW online directory
- an ad on a local website
- a particular mobile-friendly (smart phone friendly) website or application (“app”)
- many others
As you can see, the result changes depending on what is being sought in addition to the demographic/psychographic traits of the person you are asking. Going forward into 2013, you will see a greater emphasis on review-based information. This is a change going forward to start to “weed out” the businesses who rely on image rather than results.
How far will this go in 2013 at the Collin County level? It depends on the audience. With more tech-savvy people moving into the area everyday, play it safe and generate reviews as much as you can on multiple places – not just your website. Getting favorable reviews, ideally with actual results within a short period of time, will be a terrific asset. Get these on your Facebook page, Twitter timeline, YouTube videos and channel, Yelp page, LinkedIn profile (and company profile), Google Places, Google + Local business page and more.
Sadly, many local business owners and executives feel overwhelmed that they have enough on their plates just focusing on running their businesses, managing cash flow, dealing with employees and trying to have some semblance of a life outside of work! Ideally, they would love get referrals and non-referral prospective clients and customers everyday; but the reality is that it just doesn’t work that way for a respectable percentage of businesses in the area.
Going outside of your business and paying for qualified leads can be a smart move. There are some pitfalls, though, and those pitfalls have hurt other businesses across the country. The first step is to ask yourself a few basic questions in order to achieve “wisdom” instead of “experience” — so that you can learn from the mistakes others have made instead of paying a “tuition cost” to gain the same knowledge!
5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Hiring Any Lead Generation Or Commission Sales Generation Outside Company/Service
Let’s keep this simple. Here are 5 questions to ask yourself, although you are welcome to ask yourself more targeted questions in order to help you grow your business across North Texas in 2013:
- How many leads and prospects generated from an outside company or service can I handle in a given day or week? Also, what is my current conversion (closing) rate on inbound calls or e-mails from people who were not referred to me by friends or my clients?
- How are the prospects “qualified” and tracked? Am I going to pay only for qualified leads which are transparent to both sides?
- Is the service I am thinking about using offering exclusive leads or non-exclusive leads? If “exclusive”, how much exclusivity do I get and do I have to pay a premium for it?
- If the service is providing me non-exclusive leads, how difficult will it be for me to reach the prospective client/customer in a timely manner to have a meaningful discussion?
- Do I have a way to follow up with prospective leads even if they do not use my service or product after the first time I become aware of them? Do I have enough to convince them to join one of my lists (e.g e-mail newsletter, LinkedIn, Faceook page) in case they are dissatisfied with the service they first choose in order to get them to use my service the next time?
Obviously, there are more questions. Many business owners in Collin County who have used lead generation services, however, when asked these questions have told me that it was the first time they have ever thought about those questions. They just stampeded into a paying for a service which might not have cared enough to make sure that those questions were addressed properly. Since the deal has to make sense for both parties, the lead generation service requesting that the local business owner pay for leads should care enough to make sure that everyone’s best interests are covered and are as transparent as possible.
What About A Daily Deal Site? I Love Using Those Coupons And Would Love To Have All Of Those People Calling Me To Do Business
This is a great point many local business owners have made. To get even 80% effectiveness from a daily deal site, though, you need to be EXTRA careful. Since you only pay on the purchase of the discount, and not just pay for leads, this should be a “no brainer”, right?!?
There are many factors which come into play here, including:
- Is a daily deal site the best way to reach your prospects, or are there better ways?
- Will such a deal, once thousands of Collin County residents know about you, actually “cheapen” your image and take you further away from a “trusted advisor” status and more toward a “commodity” status?
- Do you have any of the 8+ ways to maximize the likelihood that a daily deal site customer will become a long-term customer, paying as close to the regular price as possible?
- Is your staff trained to handle the influx of new customers should it work?
- Do you have methods to maximize the odds that you get more positive reviews than negative reviews once you gain the greater exposure?
- Do you have a unique tie-in with a news story or other event that “dovetails” with the daily deal promotion in order to get even greater exposure across Frisco, McKinney, Allen, Plano and the rest of Collin County and DFW?
- Do you have any strategies to get images, videos or audio from the daily deal and use it for further marketing purposes?
As you can see, by taking a few minutes to think things through properly you can make an educated decision about generating more leads and prospects. Again, Collin County residents are fragmented when it comes to how they make buying decisions due to its relatively unique situation unlike most U.S. markets. By asking these questions you can put yourself ahead of some of your competition and take high-odds actions in 2013 to grow your business.
Should you want any help with the topics addressed in this post then you are welcome to contact me with your questions about your specific situation. With over 60 methods to reach people in Collin County, we should be able to customize a plan of action which makes sense for everyone and keeps the risks to minimal levels.
I hope that this helps you and your colleagues and friends in some manner. Please let me know if you would like to see more content on this topic. If so, I will add it to the queue of upcoming topics regarding local business marketing in 2013.