Answer: Sales mean revenue and that is, in fact, the driver of all businesses, small and large. There are basically two sources of revenue with your current line of offerings: Selling to existing customers — either more of the same or different products or services than they are currently buying. And selling to new customers, where you have to generate the opportunity to sell them, which starts with a lead. In order to achieve both you have to have very specific but different strategies and accompanying tactics. The one commonality is that your offer to potential buyers has to have added value for your customers and prospects.
The byword for lead generation during the pandemic is “creative.” What worked in the past may not in this period of changing consumer patterns and behaviors. Check out these ideas that you can customize to your business and the unique seasonal environment in which we all live and work.
Review your website’s call to action and SEO (search engine optimization). Do a Google search on your business to see where you rank in the search results. If you are not 1, 2 or 3 then you might have your webmaster or whoever is responsible for the maintenance of your website check out the SEO, the links and keywords — the words people type into a search engine to find what they are looking for. McKinsey calls the top search results (1,2,3) the “initial consideration set,” which will lead a buyer on a journey of investigation and learning. Having high value “keywords” also guides leads to you. Keywords should describe who you are, what you do and what you offer. The one big mistake small businesses make is that they create a website or have one created and don’t maintain it.
If you are not encouraging buyers to leave reviews on sites with links back to your website, you are missing opportunities.
Become a knowledge leader. Buyers are thirsty for knowledge. They want to know the details behind the “headlines.” They want answers to their questions, like “why does the food on the top shelf of my refrigerator freeze?” Your website can be the FAQ center for buyers or prospects. When their questions are answered, the value of your business increases incrementally, since you are providing a service beyond the product you have sold them. You might feature experts in the field with blogs contributed by them. You might find some YouTube videos to post that answer frequently asked questions posed to you. You might post articles by major manufacturers or links to major manufacturers’ websites that have articles, posts or blogs that might be of interest to your customers and prospects. Remember, always have a call to action button so they can contact you.
Offer something of value for free that connects you to them. You might offer a handy checklist on springtime lawn prep or fertilizing or tips on watering different flowers, shrubs and grasses. When you offer prospects and even customers something of value that helps them address their “pain points” they may not even consciously know exist, you are creating a value proposition for them and a link to you. This value-added connection might be a quiz that tests their knowledge about soil preparation. At the end, you might offer them a checklist to help them prepare garden soil for planting in exchange for their contact information. That becomes a lead to the next sale.
Measure what’s working and do more of it. As a marketer you have a number of tools, both traditional and digital, to generate leads. Make a list of all those vehicles you are using. The Sunday Cape Cod Times, The Register, postcard campaign, local event sponsorship, Facebook and LinkedIn posts, online promotions, or an email campaign. Then, keep track of results. Tom Watson, of IBM, said to manage it, you need to measure it.
Give something of value to generate a lead. The key is “something of value.” If you offer junk, you get junk leads in return. The biggest issue with giveaways is that they are over-attracting and nonselective. However, if you create a white paper or a checklist that applies to solving customer problems, you will find those who take advantage of the promotion will be those who are qualifiable. Not qualified, but qualifiable. You can also offer a free trial of your product or service, which gives you the opportunity to demonstrate and prove the value of your offering. That exchange may result in a qualifiable sales lead.
Offer a challenge or quiz. If you offer a quiz to your website visitors it gives you an opportunity in a creative way to learn more about them and obtain contact information. When done right, you can give and get at the same time by giving them information while you collect lead data.
What digital tools are available to small businesses to generate leads? HubSpot Marketing starts as a free tool that offers forms, pop-up forms, live chat and chat box that will aid in capturing, storing and nurturing leads. And it will plug into HubSpot’s CRM or can be connected to your CRM, email tool or data platform in place.
Intercom is an on-site messaging and chat feature to engage on-site visitors and collect their data. Once in the system, their behavior can be analyzed so you can create “trigger messages” to accelerate their onboarding as a viable lead.
Mailshake is an effective tool for outreach marketing. It helps automate, personalize and optimize your emails for sales development, content promotion, link building, PR and even fundraising for nonprofits. It offers ready-to-use templates that can be used with modest customization. Qualaroo is an on-site polling tool, which can no only collect user feedback that can be used to improve the customer buying experience but also to collect lead qualification data using a pop-up form.
Contributed by Marc L. Goldberg, certified mentor. Sourced: “16 Creative Lead Generation Ideas,” Allie Decker. Hubspot Marketing, “The 15 Best Lead Generation Tools in 2020,” Alex Birkett. For free and confidential mentoring to jump-start your lead generation, contact SCORE Cape Cod and the Islands, capecod.score.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 508-775-4884. We go where you are!
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