Most growing businesses need to get more sales. And to get more sales, you need more leads. But where do they come from? Once more traditional word-of-mouth and print advertising dries up, where do you turn?
The answer you’ve probably already heard is online, where sales and marketing go hand in hand. Your current customers already spend their time online, but it’s where your potential customers are too.
Let’s expand on that a bit.
In this blog we’re going to talk about how and where you can get new sales leads online. By that I mean potential customers you can talk to and engage with. There are many ways you can achieve this, for example, drive more traffic to your website, connect with potential customers on social media, or be found on the first page of Google... The opportunities are endless!
Let’s start online. How can you drive more traffic and leads to your website? Digital advertising on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube can drive hundreds if not thousands of visitors and leads to your website overnight. I know of no other form of marketing that can do that. It gets your brand, product and message out there to a potentially huge audience of customers.
It’s not without its risks, but the key is understanding and having the technical skills to target the right audience for your business. In addition to that, having the creative skills to produce a fantastic advert. Get it right and you can reach a whole new audience of customers overnight.
Search Engine Optimisation
Is a powerful tool to increase your search engine ranking thereby driving more traffic and leads to your website. Its purpose is to increase the quality and quantity of your website traffic by increasing its visibility to people using a search engine. SEO is an ongoing piece of work designed to improve your ranking, as opposed to driving traffic through paid advertising.
It does need time to work and build up, so it’s not going to happen overnight - but it is highly effective. One point to note, which is a real bugbear of mine, is the number of companies that employ SEO that drives traffic to their site, but their site isn’t designed to convert those customers into enquiries or leads. A complete waste of money. If you aren’t getting leads and enquiries from your website, read the guide on converting leads to enquiries first.
Ok. We could have a whole guide on social media and maybe it’s the next one I write, but all I’ll say here is that it’s a much under-utilised tool by many companies. Why? I think there is still a lot of skepticism about what social media can actually deliver. It’s time consuming, and takes a considerable amount of time and effort.
Why bother? It’s where your customers are looking for information, advice and help. It’s where these conversations take place. It’s the best place to engage with potential customers. It’s the place to share advice, information and to support people. It’s not just about pushing your marketing and promotional messages at people to see if they bite. It should be a platform for you and your business.
It’s also about taking the time to engage with others and react to their posts, content and conversations. You wouldn’t for example, walk into a room and shout out your elevator pitch and then leave (if you would then I would advise you stop doing this). You would introduce yourself to the people in the room, have conversations with them and see where you can help them. Social media works in exactly the same way.
Another important often missed opportunity social media offers is the chance to comment, respond and engage with others. Don’t just consider what you are going to post, instead comment on others' posts and blogs, particularly those who you want to engage with.
This is a biggy. There is a whole industry of marketers whose entire purpose is to produce content. It is the mill of the marketing industry. No sooner have you produced one piece of content, then you’re on to the next. Funny, because I’ve never ever wanted to be a writer. My gran was an author, and I saw how much work it took and how isolated a job it is. However, content is the mainstay for many a marketer.
Anyway, content, why is it so powerful? That’s because our customers are hungry for information. They no longer want to have to speak to the salesperson to find out information about a product or its price. More importantly, to determine if it’s the right one for them. Instead, they want to research it for themselves. They are independent and savvy. They will research and make their decision before they speak to you.
The only option this leaves you with is to share relevant and valuable information that educates your audience. Lead them to the conclusion that your product or service is right for them.
This can include blogs, guides, videos, case studies, checklists and interviews. Every one of them has to educate your potential customers and offer them value.
What’s important to remember at this stage in the sales funnel is that the purpose of your content is about raising awareness with potential customers. Not awareness of your brand and service, but awareness of the problem they have. At this stage in the sales process, potential customers are only aware of the symptoms of their problem or challenge. For example, in our case potential customers are aware of a lack of sales, the value and quality of the work/customers they have and of enquiries.
What they don’t necessarily know is how to resolve any of those challenges - or the options available to them. Therefore, they need content that recognises and addresses these challenges.
Really a whole guide in itself. You see what I mean about content?
So, where can you start today?
The simplest answer is to play to your strengths and know what you want to achieve. Do you already have a strong social media following? Then focus on creating some useful content to share. Engage your audience, answer their questions. Be the most helpful business in your local area or industry.
Starting from zero? Don’t get overwhelmed trying to start everything at once - start small with some paid advertising to build you audience.
Still not sure where to start? Take our quiz, it will ask you some questions about your business and in return it will send you some personalised recommendations.