Any business is only as good as it’s customer base, so it’s natural that a lot of your efforts when you first start up your own business are spent sweating away at your contacts list, trying to build a customer base. Those nervous few months trying to net key clients, get the ball rolling with invoices and see some much needed cash flow coming into your company can be quite nerve-wracking. You can never quite rest on your laurels, which is why converting existing customers to advocates, attending networking events and working with other complementary businesses is key – and women in business are especially good at it. If you don’t have solid lead generation tactics in place, you can find that workflow is unpredictable – you are either flat-out busy with a few large projects and no capacity, or you don’t have enough work coming through the door. The aim should be to generate enough of a customer base to ensure that work is fairly steady at any given time. As a crucial part of your operations, you cannot afford lead generation to be left to chance. Constantly be identifying new steps you can take in order to put you business in the best position possible – like these handy hints below:
Create a Content Plan with Goals
Your hardest working creative asset? Your added-value content. Creating quality pieces which really connect with your audience and help them out works on so many fronts. However, you do need to be very clear on what exactly you need it to do for you. Setting out some KPIs as a first step is essential to inform precisely what you need. For some businesses, authoring articles on LinkedIn and white papers is a great way to connect with potential customers and position you and your business as thought leaders in your industry. For others, the focus may be on polishing up their Instagram feed, creating and promoting events on Facebook, producing video content to push traffic from YouTube to their website or running a successful blog. There are many avenues available, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be present on them all -it’s far better to narrow your focus to a couple of things and do them extremely well.Listen to your audience to understand what content they want and what mediums they want to be served it in. You could conduct a focus group, add a poll to your channels, get some quantitative data by running an incentivised survey on your website or conduct some social listening. Generating leads with content works because you are attracting, engaging and converting people who want to hear about you and what you do. Marketing and sales need to work clearly together towards pre-defined goals. Mapping out your user journey and understanding how to get people further down the sales funnel really is a collaborative effort.
Create Pages Which Convert
Your landing pages do a lot of the heavy lifting on your website, so you need to make sure they have a high strike rate at converting casual browsers – whether you run an ecommerce site with the goal of getting a basket check-out or you want the telephone to ring with interested enquirers. Improving the pain points on your website in a systematic way can be as simple as using eye tracking software to measure where people are looking as they navigate your way through your site. Make sure all the basics aren’t letting you down – you must have a clear Call To Action (CTA) on each page that is located above the fold, mobile and tablet-friendly responsive design is an absolute must, as is being clear about exactly what the sell is, and making your contact details easily findable.
Perfect Your Inbound Marketing
With the heavy focus on digital platforms to drive sales, don’t forget the effectiveness that a telephone call or a face to face meeting can have for helping your business to stand out. Cold calling might feel like an old-school tactic, but it’s changed a lot now. Where it used to be step one, telephone lead generation can now work together with email campaigns or other digital outreach work. Instead of using the theory of probability, telephone practice is now to send a sales pitch email first, and making it easy to request a callback. If a customer takes the few seconds to fill in that form, you instantly have a warm lead and a much more relationship-focused way to make contact. If you also follow up those who didn’t fill it in, at least your company will be on their radar. Using a tool like mojo dialler can make sure that you aren’t wasting staff time calling numbers with no response, leaving more time for dealing with productive warmer leads. At every step of the process, you should be questioning how you can add value for the customer – if you’re doing this effectively, then it doesn’t feel like a sales funnel process to your prospects, but more like organic engagement.
Work Those Success Stories
A well-timed, appropriate case study can do wonders at helping to garner warmed-up leads, ready to go. The value which people place on personal recommendation – even if the person doing the recommending isn’t personally known to them – is sky high. The success of sites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp clearly demonstrates that. So if you can pull together some well crafted case studies, with a range of specific scenarios, and use data analytics to match the case study example to the wants or needs of your new lead, then that can exert an irresistible pull. An effective case study will be concisely written, pertinent to the customer’s own situation and demonstrate a clear and quantifiable return. This form of social proof is a great way to set your sales team up for a warmer introduction, by removing some of the potential objections and pointing out the value to the customer’s situation before you even properly start with a pitch.
Get into the Social Swing
We all know that social media can be a hugely powerful tool, but are you really leveraging it properly? If you haven’t set up a regular posting schedule, and you’re still operating in a piecemeal fashion when it comes to your brand’s social engagement, it’s time for a rethink. Studies show that the regularity with which we post on social media is an important aspect of developing a good following and selling successfully on social platforms. You need to share your own content and that of others on a regular basis. Taking a measured approach will improve your visibility with prospects, help you work the algorithms that dictate what content your audience sees in your favour and improve your metrics on other sites such as LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index. Getting to know your online audience can provide a huge amount of value to your business. You can use the platform to test out ideas, conduct informal opinion polls about potential new products or services, find out what common problems your audience is experiencing and even try out some social listening to find out what people are saying about your brand. All this is only possible if you have a good level of engagement. Don’t make the mistake that so many companies still do, of using social media only as a platform to push out sales messaging. Interaction, dialogue and two-way debate is at the heart of these platforms, so you must have a strategy which treats them as such. Be a part of the conversation and you will find opportunities to promote yourself occur naturally, or can be related to current events, or at least interspersed with other content.