Businesses, like people, have a reputation and a “good name” to protect.

Looking at marketing campaigns and lead generation strategies nowadays I often wonder if businesses care about their good name. Has the quantity of leads become more important than the quality of leads? Are there any of us who don’t receive indiscriminate and unsolicited cold call on a regular basis? Who hasn’t been told they’ve won a prize just to realise the offer was only there for the purposes of obtaining your contact information?

These tactics may be fine for large organisations selling commodities. Small hit rates with a wide base may work for them. When it comes to SMEs however, these tactics are not advisable.

Digital marketing allows small business to be more visible and compete better with big businesses than in the past. SMEs often sell niche products or services. The bottom line however is that if there is no competitive advantage through customisation, quality or services, the smaller business will lose out to the larger one due to the economies of scale.

Entrepreneurs are busy people. As their businesses grow they often have too much to do and don’t have time to go look for customers anymore. There are many different marketing tactics that are being sold to business owner every day. Entrepreneurs often take the “band aid” approach and engage expensive digital tactics in order to generate more leads. These tactics are sometimes more suited to big business than to SMEs and are thus often ineffective.

SMEs should be careful with their lead generation strategies. They need to be focused on keeping their “good name” intact when they go into the market place and look for new leads. Does this mean they can’t use aggressive lead generation tactics? Not at all-they just need to ensure that they keep their efforts focused on creating good leads through acceptable means instead of just creating leads.

SMEs, just like larger companies need strategic marketing plans. They need to integrate traditional and digital marketing methods in a focused and ethical way. Don’t just “throw wheat at a barn door” and hope it will stick. Focus your message on your specific segment and create a message that is both attractive but also builds confidence in your company.

SMEs don’t have the staff to sift through hundreds of leads to qualify them. Rather ensure your tactics bring a smaller number of good quality leads than hundreds of dubious quality.