Contrary to the belief of some GSA Schedule holders, GWACs do not automatically cause an influx of qualified inquiries. There is a common misconception on the part of new contractors that GWACs sell themselves. If you have any GWAC (SEWP, GSA Schedule, ECS, etc) you need to generate leads.
Some traditional lead generation methods may still work, but are probably more expensive than they used to be. For example, direct mail was popular from the 1970s through the early 2000s, but the price has skyrocketed.
So, what still works?
Trade shows, in-agency & other events: Events, when properly selected to match what you do with what the attendees buy, are still among the top performers. If you select the wrong event for what you offer, you waste both time and money. Speaking as well as exhibiting allow prospects to find you. Simply attending offers a much smaller opportunity to be found. Caveat: there are a number of events that promise much and deliver little. Do your homework, ask questions, and check the pedigree of the event producer.
White papers: White papers have been around a long time, and they continue to produce qualified leads. The white papers can be placed at your web site, on the web sites where prospect traffic will occur (like Government Computer News, Federal Computer Week or Washington Technology), or they can be promoted in other ways.
Email: Email remains a productive way to get messages to targeted audiences as long as you remain well inside the “do not spam” rules. Federal agencies were among the early adopters of spam filters and black lists, and many people choose to ignore this and email away with any list they can get their hands on. Simply having an email address is not permission to use it.
eNews programs: e-Newsletters or ezines are another popular way to share information about your company, products, services and general industry information. Done well, these are excellent customer and prospect communication tools.. While it may take a while to build a subscriber base, the “opt-in” nature of these is a major part of what makes them work. Another facet of this are news releases sent direct out through the web, using tools like PRNewswire
Webinars: Among the fastest growing of all marketing tools is distance learning – sharing information through platforms like webinars. Several things are appealing about webinars. You can attend without leaving your desk, you can ask questions if you attend the ‘live’ version (KZO Innovations offers a tool where attendees of archived webinars can ask the questions), they are available ‘on-demand’ and they are much less costly to produce than live events.
Social networks: Among my favorites are social networks like LinkedIn, TFCN and GovLoop. LinkedIn has over 55,000,000 business professionals as members, and among these are tens of thousands of federal, state and local government officials. If you learn how to use these valuable platforms properly, prospects will begin to find you. TFCN and GovLoop are both under 20,000 members but are focused exclusively on government.
Blogs: Blogs are a great way to share your expertise with the world, get higher web rankings, attract partners, prospects and gain recognition. Done well these are more than worth the time and effort, Done so-so or poorly, and you can destroy your reputation.
Podcasts: Podcasts are usually 8-15 minute audio programs addressing a single topic. Think of them as audio white papers and the value should become apparent. People digest information in different ways, and fewer people seem to be reading as much. Make your information available in as many formats as necessary to reach the broadest possible portion of your niche.
Videos: YouTube has gained enormous popularity and many businesses (including B2G) are suing pithy videos to gain attention.
Too often senior management is reluctant to try anything but the “tried and true” methods with which their business was built: space ads, events, face-to-face networking at association meetings, etc. While these are still valid, the new methods of PR and marketing are surpassing the older ways rapidly. Marketshare can be gained or lost by not reaching those most likely to want your products or services in the ways they prefer to receive information. You don’t generate leads by wishing yesterday’s methods still worked.
Mark Amtower can be reached atMark@FederalDirect.net
this article appeared at www.WashingtonTechnology.com