Have you ever thought about the ways businesses reliably increase revenue?

Not the tactics, I mean the strategies?

There are lots of ways of carving up the idea (and lots of alternative ways I do myself at times) but for now I just want to frame it one possible way: To increase revenue you must either increase the flow of new leads or increase the lifetime value of existing customers.

You can increase profit by reducing expenses even if revenue remains the same, but no business was grown by cutting expenses. Sometimes it’s definitely good to cut expenses, but only so long as it doesn’t undermine your ability to increase revenue.

When it comes to increasing the flow of leads, there are 7 key marketing approaches I see reliably working:

  1. Search engine optimization to draw a steady stream of folks to your website articles and hopefully have set up your site to funnel people toward some desired action (usually joining your email, but maybe joining a group you host or even an initial small ticket purchase).
  2. Advertising, where you simply pay for traffic. And by this I don’t only mean social media ads bought from the platform makers. There is more opportunity here than most people realize.
  3. Appearing in front of other people’s audiences (influencers), whether offline or online. This includes tradeshows, public speaking, guest blogging, being interviewed, etc.
  4. Content marketing: email marketing, blogging, and social media sharing, especially if viral or within community.
  5. Offline events. Inviting people into a space and an experience you create for them.
  6. Outbound sales, where you skip the marketing relationship building and just go straight to the sales process relationship building.
  7. Networking/socializing/word of mouth – I’ve added this after the discussion under Paul’s initial comment and then a couple others. This is one that encompasses a lot of what ultimately moves the needle for people. Whether we’re intentionally going to an event solely to market (the kind of networking that makes most people groan and ask if they have to) or whether it’s just socializing in your community and having a good answer when people ask you “what do you do?” this one is a biggy for a lot of people, and will always be a powerful method because everything that comes to us ultimately comes through other people.

Adjunct Tactic: Word of Mouth Referrals – Since this doesn’t usually create a strong, steady stream of leads as a standalone approach, I don’t consider it a strategy in and of itself. I consider it more a tactic that should be worked into any lead generation strategy you’re using. The one exception would be affiliate programs, where you have people earning substantial money themselves by selling your product or services.

These are all scalable lead generation methods that can stand alone as complete marketing strategies. In the next article in this series I will be talking about how you can combine them for even greater effect.