What's a well-balanced diet? Easy. A diet that provides the energy and nutrition for optimal growth and development. That diet consists of many components, including vitamins and minerals. Imagine what you'd look or feel like if you tried to live exclusively on pork chops. Not pretty.
The same holds true for marketing. Imagine if you tried to sustain your lead flow using a single source. Of course the temptation to do so is there if that lead source produces in abundance. But you're taking a huge chance. Say you get a lot of leads knocking on doors. Great, until days get short and the cold sets in. Or your TV ads have the phones ringing off the hook. Excellent, until the fall when your TV spots get bumped for political campaign ads. Or maybe you've developed shows and events to a predictable science. Unfortunately, there are only so many, and they're also seasonal. Where will your leads come from when they're over?
You avoid these scenarios by developing a broad array of different marketing efforts that complement each other. Ideally you want to have several strong sources among many types of leads you're generating.
Many large companies in this industry do an outstanding job with inbound media. Some have television and radio campaigns, while others excel with direct mail, Internet, or print media. They've all found a way to make the phone ring, most of the time. But what happens when the phone stops ringing? And is it really a smart idea to have so much of the marketing budget devoted strictly toward inbound marketing efforts?
The healthy lead mix involves both inbound and outbound. Here are types of outbound lead generation that have been working well for companies from coast to coast, enabling them to diversify their marketing mix:
—Shows, fairs, and events
—Big-box store kiosks
—Local retail store kiosks
—Warm-call telemarketing (radius marketing around jobsites)
Once you've selected a new lead source to add to your existing assortment, there's one last thing to keep in mind: Change is difficult, even when it's the best thing for your organization. Just as the body of a life-long vegetarian would violently reject its first steak dinner, so will your company and your marketing department struggle to acclimate itself to a "foreign" lead source. A well-thought-through plan will enable you to persist beyond the initial struggles associated with the unfamiliar leads. Like something you're not used to eating, it tastes strange at first. Then after a while you get to like it.
—Sales and marketing consultant Tony Hoty has been a home improvement company salesperson and owner. Visit his website at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 888.447.3969.