Stories abound of would-be miscreants who sabotage their own success by forgetting a critical detail. There’s the story of the man went into a drug store, pulled a gun, announced a robbery while pulling a Hefty trash bag face mask over his head. Only then did he realize that he'd forgotten to cut eyeholes in the mask.
Or how about the bloke who walked up to a cashier at a grocery store, took out his wallet (to fill it, apparently) and demanded all the money in the register. When the cashier handed him the loot, he fled, leaving his wallet on the counter.
No matter what kind of business you’re in, the success of your company depends on your lead generation prowess. People who are coming to your website, interacting with your social media accounts, and making decisions about buying or not- they are the critical difference between plenty and famine. As your number of good leads goes, so goes your bottom line.
You know this already: sitting in front of your computer and waiting for the right leads to come to you is about as effective as catching mice by asking other mice to turn in their friends. So attracting large quantities of new leads is a settled critical event for any commercial enterprise. How then does one go about making it happen?
Free E-Book: How to Use Social Media to Generate More Leads
The internet, silly. You can use it for anything from tracking your health to entertainment to conversing with your Aunt Helen in Poughkeepsie. And you can use it to build your list of qualified leads that are most likely to buy from you.
The internet is a great way to pull in new leads and grow your business, you just need to know what you’re doing. Ready? Let’s go get us some lead generation!
1. Know Your Website’s Worth
Your website is crucial to growing your business in our fast-changing, data-driven business environment. It’s the gathering point that your leads go through to make purchases, connect with you, or gather information, and get a sense of what you’re about. Your website needs to be the image of all you want a future customer to understand about you.
Best-practice websites have an easy to follow design that is modern but not confusing. Navigation bars are easy to use and each page of your website appear in a logical manner, meeting the expectations of the viewer. Search bars are helpful when you have a large or complex data-heavy website so visitors can quickly find what they need without clicking on more than 2-3 links.
There’s another critical detail to remember. Your web design should be adapted for viewing on mobile devices. As more and more people are turning to the use of phones or tablets instead of computers, responsive design makes browsing easy no matter the size of the screen.
2. Create Interesting and Exciting Content
The design of your website is not the only important part for identifying leads. The content you post is equally as important for attracting new leads.
Not only will high quality content attract readers, it always appeals to search engines. Regular addition of new pages, blogs, articles, and the like gives you a chance to tell search engines that you are the site that should appear to searchers.
Keep your content original, creative and truly helpful. Make your content in blogs, posts, or articles interesting and sharable. Every time your readers share your content with their friends or family, it introduces new readers and possible leads to your business, and establishes you as an authority on the subject.
3. Focus on Building a Relationship
Successful businesses find that strong relationships are a major component of steady growth. Treating visitors like dollars is a sure way to prevent them from visiting your site twice. Without some kind of mutual relationship, those customers will probably never return again.
If you want loyal customers who come back time after time to read your content, engage with you and of course, purchase from you, focus on building the right kind of relationship at the right level. You’re a company, after all, not a relative or best pal. Know your customers and offer them content they can actually use. Address their challenges, identify with their successes. For opportunities to really interact with your customers, open calls, online discussions, or webinars can be a great way to get some dialog going. Monitor social media to find out what questions your customers are asking.
Relationship building can also come from showing your leads that you are a trustworthy source of information. Draft e-books or hold podcasts that provide an inside look at your thoughts as an industry leader. And of course, get those links out of social media, your blogs, your main page… everywhere!
4. Stay Focused
When you’re creating your website or drafting new blog ideas, it is easy to forget what’s actually critical- in other words, don’t forget to cut holes in trash bag. Don’t be that guy at the party who drones on and on about his agenda. Instead, be responsive! Ask questions. Compose copy that is winsome, simple and direct.
Your leads have the right to expect value from everything you produce and publish. If they find that you are posting information that is not relevant, does not mesh with their perception of you, or falls short of what they expect they WILL move on to someone who fits their expectations better. Your visitors want things to be simple and usable. They come to you with their problem and want you to solve it yesterday. If they have to wade through a pile of pointless, irrelevant information you can’t blame them for moving on, even if they have to spend more to get their solution!
Infographic: Make Your Website POP
Write down your goals - exactly what you want a visitor to in response to your website and why. Keep your content simple and clean, always pushing your customers to take the desired action to complete the goal you’re looking for. Keep the number of goals you have to a minimum so you can add as much quality as possible.
Also, don’t forget to create specific goals for your lead generation campaign. Make sure they are SMART goals:
- S- Specific
- M- Measurable
- A- Attainable
- R- Relevant
- T- Time-bound
More on that in a future blog entry.
5. Show Your Personality
Raising awareness of your brand regularly, but in a positive way means that it’s more likely they will interact with you. The trick is to do that with large numbers of people with only moderate effort. Good thing the internet has made it much easier than ever to broadcast to a lot of people in a short amount of time.
But simply posting links to your website and adding a new blog every once in awhile isn’t going to be enough. You can’t expect to grow your following when you there’s not much to actually follow.
Related: How to Write Blogs People Read
Ramp up your activity on social media. Create a blogging strategy that gives something to the reader and gives you a chance to ask them to engage. Be active, be interesting, and show you’re invested. Some of the most responsive companies respond to complaints or compliments within minutes, not days. You may not be able to achieve that without a dedicated social media staff, but you can check all your response zones once a day.
Internet marketing may seem like an overwhelming task, and it certainly is a long term investment. But if you’re looking to grow your business using tools that work, you’ll find it worth investing in. As more and more work is done online, digital forms of marketing have long ago surpassed mass media or paper-based methods.
Neglecting even the smallest of details can lead to a terrible fate, like forgetting that a simple cape can ruin your magic act in front of thousands of onlookers. Famed magician Harry Blackstone, Jr. was supposed to make 1987 Orange Bowl Queen Myrka De Llanos appear in a box onstage, but as he was about to open the “magic door,” her royal cape had gotten stuck in the elevator exposing the gimmick to the entire crowd plus the TV audience. Poor Myrka desperately tried to free herself while Blackstone moved in to block the gaze of the giggling audience.
There she was stuck halfway up, a silent indictment of the failure to pay attention to a critical detail. Her scathing glance at Blackstone upon emerging says it all.
Whether you’re juggling chainsaws or playing baseball, the critical event is catching whatever comes to you. It’s the same in business- catching the eye of a qualified lead is worth investing effort, time and money in, because your competitors are already doing it!