3 Killer Lead Generation Channels

The real magic comes when you combine them.

By Michelle Long and Sandi Leyva

I want to share with you the highest ROI channels for lead generation. Let me define channel.

What I mean by channel is a marketing source. For example, your website is a channel or if you send a newsletter, that’s another channel. Referrals is a channel, Google search is another channel, search engine optimization is another channel and those are the different channels for lead generation.

MORE SMALL FIRM GROWTH STRATEGIES: Your Existing Clients Are Your Best Leads | Need More Business? Focus on Referrals

Some marketing channels are fabulous but they’re not good for lead generation. Social media is one example of that but there are many, many exceptions. A blog is probably another best example of a perfectly good marketing channel but very poor for lead generation, but again it varies.


Referrals are a great lead generation channel. Believe it or not, we get more referrals from accounting professionals than we do our current clients. We get more referrals from accounting professionals than we do other sources.

We definitely get referrals from current clients and then other sources, which could be other professionals like bankers and IT people. We can also get more business from them than our clients in some cases. You might also get some great referrals from your leads groups, those who are in BNI, which stands for Business Networking International and you can find a local chapter near you. I think it’s about $500 a year to join.

You can offer rebates back to your clients for referrals. I used to give an hour free when I was hourly billing for web design, but I don’t think it matters. I think people like to do each other favors and so I think if you do have a particularly huge source then I’d definitely recommend that you send the a gift card…those who are financial planners have like a $20 limit but in most cases we can at least send a gift card or something really nice, maybe take them to dinner or something like that.

In asking at a conference where the largest amount of your referrals come from, I was surprised that

  • more than half of you get most of your referrals from clients, which isn’t what I just said.
  • Twenty percent get them from other accounting professionals and then
  • 20 percent of you listed a lot of different places like friends and family, etc.

Another lead generation channel that’s fantastic for you is an online channel. That includes a lot of different things and a few of you are extremely brave and have created videos.

Video is fantastic and it can transform your life. As a matter of fact, I had a friend – this is such a great case study – who it was Ice Day in Dallas and their family made a video. He had a daughter who is like a Generation Y and this friend is a professional speaker. So all they did was put on some fancy music and danced in their kitchen. This video went viral because one of our friends is Dave Leiber, who is the watchdog for the Dallas Morning News, and he published it after he got 100,000 views. The darn thing went to over a million views.

Now if you know how to monetize something like that then it’s amazing. So what I really do recommend is that you look at getting brave about doing video. You don’t have to put your face. Most of you are teaching software anyway and so all you have to do is put a slide show together and show that. It doesn’t take as much bravery as it does to have your face in front of the video camera and shoot that way.

What kind of videos do you post, how-to’s? Yes, absolutely, just things that show a little about your expertise but don’t give away the farm. You might also talk about where the client’s pain point is and some tips around that. So when you connect with that client’s pain point you’ll be better off.

By the way, Google owns YouTube and so when you do a YouTube channel it ranks very high. You put some keywords around it like bookkeeping or QuickBooks or tax and you have it made.

A website is another fabulous way to generate leads. You probably do need to do some search engine marketing these days, search engine optimization. Another way to use online is email marketing and this is highly underutilized in the accounting profession. Sending out a newsletter and I definitely recommend you do that.

Many of you told me that you get a lot of leads from your Pro Advisor profile, so having that certification and software partner profiles – many of you are partners and doing wholesale billing for QBOA now and Xero and some of the other solutions out there.

A blog is not as common because most of us don’t like to write, but we’ve seen this be very profitable. I have a friend of mine who uses Slide Share and is making six figures from that. So if you know about the online world and know a little bit about Internet marketing and do it very professionally so it works for our profession, then there is a lot of money to be made from that.

You can also purchase paid ads through Google and lots of other places.

The real synergy comes from when you combine key lead generation channels. For example, on your website, one way to combine online and referrals is to put testimonials on your website. Don’t be afraid to ask your clients for testimonials and get their permission to post them on your website; it will make a difference.

Posting your awards on the website is another way to combine channels and that also builds reputation. Having video on your website combines channels. See? There are lots of things you can do.

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