By Rieva Lesonsky
No matter what industry you’re in, I’m willing to bet that finding enough leads is an ongoing struggle. How can you keep your sales pipeline full? First, make sure you’re devoting enough time to lead generation. Second, try the tactics below. (I’ve ranked them from simplest to more difficult so you can get started getting more leads right away.)
- Ramp up the phone calls. I’m always shocked at how many small business websites hide their business phone numbers! How can you expect to get more leads if prospects can’t reach you? Even if your phone number is on the home page, that’s not good enough—it needs to be at the top of the home page so prospective customers see it right away. (Better yet, put it on the top of every web page.)
- Ask for the action. Whether it’s your business website or your print or radio ads, don’t just hint at what you want customers to do—spell it out! All of your advertising and marketing efforts should include a clear call to action. On your website, it every page should include its own call to action — whether that’s “Shop now,” “Call for a quote,” or “Make an appointment.”
- Tap into satisfied customers. You probably buy lots of things based on referrals from your friends and colleagues, right? Well, it’s the same for your potential customers. Set up a system for gathering referrals from your satisfied customers and clients. (Make sure they’re satisfied — that’s important!) Then quickly follow up with those referrals to gauge their interest and provide more information about what you sell.
- Use local search. Does your business rely on a local customer base? Then being listed on local search directories can generate more leads. Visit relevant local search directories to claim your listing and completed by providing the required information, such as your businesses phone number, address, hours of operation, photos, menu and more. Make sure to include relevant keywords that your target customers use when searching for companies like yours.
- Make it easy to call you. If your business website is mobile-friendly, and I sure hope it is, adding a “click to call” button makes it super simple for prospective customers to call your business right away when they discover you during a mobile search. Remember, mobile searches don’t just happen when customers are out and about — think about how often you look something up on your mobile phone from the living room couch.
- Try pay-per-click advertising. If you’re not already using pay per click advertising, you’ve got nothing to use by testing it out. One big advantage of this form of advertising is that it lets you set an advertising budget and target prospects very specifically so you know you only reach the exact audience you want. Visit Google AdWords and Bing to learn more about how to advertise online for more leads.
- Get social. Social media isn’t just for getting “likes” anymore. More than two-thirds of marketers who spend at least six hours a week promoting their businesses on social media say they generate leads that way, according to Social Media Examiner. If you sell to consumers, Facebook is the best way to go; both LinkedIn and Facebook work well to generate leads for B2B companies.
- Use content marketing. Whether you sell to consumers or businesses, content — that is, information — that educates your prospects about how to do something better, how to solve a problem or how to fill a need is today’s hottest marketing trend. (Of course, that content should also subtly sell how your product or service benefits your customers.) Content can range from a blog post or Instagram photo to a white paper or online video. Poster content in places where your target customers spend their time and use proper SEO to guide them to it. While creating good content may require hiring outside contractors, its ability to generate more leads can be worth it.