The world of online business is more accessible than ever before, yet without the right knowledge, it can be hard to achieve the success your idea deserves.
In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, around a fifth of all businesses fail the year after they are established.
For many budding entrepreneurs, the first major obstacle is lead generation. After all, any business will struggle to gain traction without customers, and with so many potential competitors, it can be challenging to stand out from the crowd.
Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to help your business hit the ground running. Here are a few tips on enhancing your lead generation strategy, and getting the most out of those leads once you have them.
A good place to start is with your website’s landing page. For most potential customers, this will be the first real impression of your business that they receive. Whether they find your site among their search results, or seek you out directly, it is vital that your landing page demonstrates quickly and effectively that you have something they’re looking for.
Keep menus simple, and ensure your company name and logo are clearly visible, so visitors know exactly who they’re dealing with. Briefly describe the type of products or services you offer, and encourage users to explore further.
Make sure your About page is easy to find, and contains information that enables visitors to get a feel for who you are, and what drives you. For small businesses, familiarity can be everything, and moreover, if you provide a physical service, it is important that potential customers know where you are and how to reach you.
Don’t be afraid to address your target audience directly. After all, they are the people you want to engage with, so it makes sense to tailor your brand’s voice and message accordingly. The more effectively you can connect with visitors to your site, the more likely they are to explore your site further, and respond to your call to action.
Exploring multiple marketing techniques allows you to vary your approach, and optimize your long-term strategy according to your success. For example, database marketing is a useful means of building on existing leads, by creating detailed consumer profiles which enable you to more accurately target your marketing correspondences.
A referral program is another great way to generate leads, while also giving something back to your regular customers. The power of this tactic lies in its generation of positive social proof; recommendations are often perceived as being more trustworthy when they come from within a person’s own network.
Using a generic form for lead generation is an easy mistake to make. While these forms may still capture some interest, it is far more effective to use a form that is tailored to the needs of your business and its target demographic.
Once someone is at the point of considering completing your form, you’ve already caught their attention, but you don’t yet have them on board. A poorly-constructed form could still put them off, and cost you a lead.
Think about how much you really need to ask. The length of a form can be a deterrent, so consider a format that hides questions until they become relevant. If you need to cover a lot of ground, keep users interested by mixing up the format. UI elements such as sliders and drop-down menus can help to keep users engaged by making forms seem more interactive and varied.
Wording is also important, as potential leads may be deterred by ambiguous or irrelevant questions. If a question could be misinterpreted, or is difficult to answer concisely, take the time to reword and reformat it, or consider removing it completely.
By making certain content only available after signing up, you give the impression of exclusivity, which can add to the perceived value of your content. However, it is important that the content you provide is useful, authoritative, and goes beyond the scope of your free resources. Depending on the service or products you offer, appropriate gated content might include:
If you plan to restrict access to certain content, make sure visitors can learn enough from your website to have a clear picture of what it is your business does. Once they are engaged, you can offer access to your gated content in exchange for details such as their name and email address.
Developing strategies for securing leads, and developing those leads into conversions, is a critical part of any business plan, and will ultimately underpin your marketing approach. However, it can be challenging to keep on top of everything, especially if you are a sole trader, or have only a small team behind you. Luckily, there are a range of business tools, apps, and ecommerce solutions available that can streamline everything from content scheduling, to managing referrals.
Marketing automation software can be particularly useful for retaining and developing leads, as it enables you to engage with customers via email marketing sequences. These emails are delivered reactively, depending on the actions of the recipient. This means customers receive relevant, targeted emails, relating to the products and services in which they are actively showing an interest.
Take the time to create guest posts, offering insightful commentary and practical advice, on high authority websites related to your industry. Generating valuable backlinks from trusted websites within your industry will not only improve your brand’s reputation, but is a great way to get your business noticed by visitors to those sites.
You can also connect with industry peers and potential customers by attending events, getting to know people personally, and talking openly about your brand.
Of course, as trends change, and your business grows, you will need to continuously adjust your approach. Pay attention to business analytics to track which approaches are generating the most leads, or receiving the most interest.
A/B testing is a particularly valuable technique here, as it allows you to compare two different content layouts and track which is much successful. By constantly seeking the best format for your marketing content, you will be continuously increasing your lead generation and conversion potential.
Increasing your organization’s reach does not need to be a complicated process. In fact, you can provide a meaningful boost to your business’ lead generation in both the short and long term, with a few simple adjustments to your existing strategy.
Keep this checklist in mind, and be sure to keep track of which tactics work best for you, so you can develop them further. The best way to encourage others to engage with your brand is to funnel your own enthusiasm into your marketing efforts. It may be a slow process to begin with, but with perseverance and dedication, you can provide all the structure and momentum your business needs to truly thrive.
Victoria Greene: Brand Marketing Consultant & Freelance Writer. I work with small ecommerce businesses and entrepreneurs on digital campaigns that span content marketing, social, and email. I love sharing my insights with other business owners and marketers.