We’re just a few weeks from 2021, which means small business owners are knee-deep in holiday preparations while also planning for the new year. With many small businesses adjusting on the fly in 2020, business planning will look a little different this year. The pandemic threw us all for a loop with the immediate need for contactless solutions, remote working, and other health and safety precautions. Because of this, small businesses have not only learned new ways to operate, but also new ways to generate leads.
The good news is your potential customers and clients still need you and are looking for ways to get in touch with your small business. Research shows that lead generation is still an essential marketing strategy, but has shifted even further in the direction we were already heading – with a focus on digital optimization, personalization, and quality service.
In other words, your clients want you to be easy to find. They also want service customized to their needs and an exceptional experience from every touchpoint with your brand. In this post, we take a look at how the times have changed and how to build a lead generation strategy that drives your small business to new heights than ever before.
When was the last time you updated your website? What about your social media profiles? Chances are, your services today are different than they were even a year ago.
Maybe you started offering free delivery options or have changed your hours. You might have added a 24/7 live answering service to assist with additional call volume, meaning your customers can now speak with your business around the clock. Your top service (which is displayed all over your website) might not even be your top service anymore.
Whatever changes you’ve made in 2020, make sure you’re showcasing them to your audience. People will appreciate your creative solutions during this time, and they’ll have a lot less questions for you if you’re putting it all out there for them to find on their own.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
While you’re making changes to your website, it’s a good idea to make optimizations that enable you to be found easier in web searches. Site speed, low mobile performance, and a large number of other factors could be hurting you and it’s a best practice to make adjustments fairly regularly.
It’s difficult to generate leads when your business isn’t ranking. This SEO guide for small businesses can help you get started, or there are plenty of SEO agencies out there that can help.
Customers often see and make a purchase from small business partnerships. Co-marketing, or partnering with another business, is typically a win-win and a super popular way for local businesses to generate leads they might not have had access to otherwise.
Some examples of co-marketing would be hosting a “how-to” event with a complementary business or creating a co-branded product. Consider what businesses around you would have members of the same target audience, and reach out to see if there’s a potential opportunity to work together.
Social Media Communities
The use of social media communities as a lead source has exploded. People are now taking to social media to get recommendations or advice from their friends or groups that they trust. (Another reason to get your profiles up-to-date!)
While it may seem time-consuming to keep an eye on social media communities, it’s worth the effort. Identify the top active groups in your area or industry and occasionally chime in with unsolicited advice. This also establishes you as the expert in your field, and can gain you a new audience you hadn’t tapped into before.
Contests & Giveaways
Another great way to generate leads is to host a contest or giveaway for a free product or service. You can advertise the sweepstakes and gather contact information to draw a winner or even have your current network spread the word for you.
Either way, you’ve now gained a brand new list of leads to nurture AND your winner is likely to do business with you again if they like your service.
Retained customers might not qualify as new leads, but keeping customers you already have is one of the best ways to increase revenue for your small business. In fact, acquiring a new customer can cost up to 5x more than retaining an existing customer.
Making customers feel valued is the answer to achieving improved customer retention. But how do you do that? It’s all about the experience you provide. By giving your customers a consistently exceptional experience, being available via multiple channels, and personalizing service is a sure way to keep your customers coming back (and referring you to others).
There’s no better time than now to change the way you drive new business. Your prospects are looking for your service, but they may be doing so in different ways than they did prior to the pandemic. By updating and optimizing your digital presence and revamping the customer experience you provide, you’ll generate leads that convert to customers that last a lifetime.