What is a good way to start drumming up business for B2B? I've thought of a few ways such as joining the local chamber of commerce for the city i'm targeting (with the intent of getting to know the local business owners) and hiring a salesman to go out and do his/her thing.
What are some other ways to start aquiring leads and/or clients? I'm selling a one-time service with possible maintenance, not a product(s).
Restrictions are: Low budget, clients have to be local (100 mile radius).
Inbound Marketing Have you heard of Inbound Marketing? It is perfect for finding great B2B leads on a low budget. According to some research I read, inbound marketing-dominated organizations experience a cost per lead 62% lower than outbound marketing-dominated organizations.
Inbound marketing leverages the fact that consumer's behaviors have changed recently. People used to go to the yellow pages when they needed to find a service, now they go to Google. They used to just ask close friends or coworkers for advice about a product or service, but now they can read blogs and ask question on social media, getting tons of instant feedback.
You should optimize your business to attract the types of people that are looking for your services, rather than going out and trying to find them all yourself. It will save you boatloads of time and money.
Rather than "beating the street", knocking on doors, cold-calling huge lists, sending annoying unsolicited emails to tons of people, or sending out direct mail to an entire neighborhood, you should focus on creating content that is useful and relevant to your target customers, and you'll attract them automatically. No wasted money on yellow page ads that no one checks or pamphlets that everyone throws out.
Local Marketing Also remember that just because you're using the internet, doesn't mean it's not still "local" marketing.
Make sure your website uses lots of good local keywords so that you rank highly in search engines for terms like "houston plumbing" (if you're a plumbing company in Houston, for example). You want to make sure your company is visible when people are looking for the types of products or services you offer.
You should also fill out your listing on local merchant sites and try to include as many links to your company's main site as you can. Make sure you "claim" your location in Google Places, since those results tend to rank first for local searches on Google.
It might seem far-fetched but you could also start a blog and write articles that offer steps or tips for solving common problems your customers are facing. People might be searching for "how to fix a leaky faucet" and not "plumbing houston," but it'd be great to rank well for both of those terms to drive people to your website and thus, your business.
Building an impressive online presence is one of the most important investments you can make as a business owner. If you put a form on your website for interested prospects to fill out, you can literally generate leads while you sleep.
Get Started (Shameless Plug) There's an organization I've worked with called Inbound Marketing University that offers courses and certification, 100% for free. It's all online, and it gives you a great starting point for marketing your business online, lowering your cost per lead and growing your business substantially.
Check it out and good luck! http://inboundmarketing.com/
The chamber of commerce would be a great place to start. You can also file a press-release with your local papers about your service, and you might get some free publicity from that.
Since it's a fairly local area, you might just want to start beating the streets. As long as the service is useful, you're bound to get some interest if you show up at your customer's doors. You can also offer referral incentives to your current clients as well, word of mouth is a powerful tool, more-so in geographically limited businesses.
You could also utilize social media, and networking events to boost your exposure as well.
If you are in one of the markets served by Business News then they have a "Book of Lists" that provide a lot of information that can be helpful in targeting desired local businesses. Your local branch of the Small Business Administration can also have a substantial body of local business information that can be helpful.