Building a consistent small business lead generation process is a marathon, not a sprint. It is all too easy to get impatient and inject a pushy sales message or two, but that is usually a mistake. Your hard-won small business reputation can be destroyed in an instant.

Let me give you an example from personal experience. I always set aside time each day to read blogs and articles from authors I have grown to trust over the years. For many months I regularly read content from company X. I was evaluating them as a possible supplier of a small business marketing tool.

Recently it was obvious company X had decided to cut down on the resources required to keep their blog up to date and guest posts were more common. Given the effort required to run a content marketing process that was understandable, to a point.

Unfortunately for them, they had not allocated the resources to quality check that third party content. On reading the blog one day, it was obvious the guest post author had very little experience of the subject. He was simply regurgitating the standard information (much of it incorrect)  that could be found online.

A quick check of his various online profiles and website destroyed his credibility. It left me feeling disappointed and more than a little annoyed that a company I had trusted until then could serve up such rubbish. The damage was done. From then on when their posts appeared in my blog reader they were ignored.

I did buy that marketing tool I mentioned but from a competitor. Are they going to lose sleep over my lost sale, well no, but I would bet I am not the only one.

A huge amount of effort went into their blog before they tried to take short cuts and lost their quality control. The results of much of that effort, I guess, will now dissipate over time.

It can be tempting when times are hard to cut corners; slip in a pushy sales message or two, or become more of an irritant to potential customers than a help. Before taking that misstep think long and hard about the potential damage to your small business reputation and its potential long term impact on your sales. The damage may not be recoverable.

Some small businesses rely heavily on word of mouth to generate new enquiries. Those new sales leads are built on both how the business performs (nobody will refer a company delivering poor service) and their reputation. People will often refer based on a small business reputation alone.


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