I was recently asked to participate on a panel during a global entrepreneurship event to answer questions from entrepreneurs growing their start-ups on the topic of generating leads and driving sales.
Realizing that there would be business owners representing different industries, products, and services, I wanted to share content that would provide value while being universally applicable in some way.
My goal was for attendees to apply a few new tactics to incorporate into their overall digital marketing strategy to generate more sales for their businesses.
Putting together my presentation, I zeroed in on a few key areas that I will share here to help other business owners thrive with their digital marketing efforts.
Below are a few areas I recommend focusing on:
1. Gaining the Trust of Prospects with Social Proof
We already know that online research is the first step in the sales process in most cases these days.
Whether it is picking the product with the most five-star reviews on Amazon or reading testimonials, they help us evaluate vendors before deciding to make a purchase.
One of the most important critical pieces of a robust digital presence is social proof to gain the trust of your prospects.
Here are a few different ways you can add credibility and influence sales even while you sleep. They include:
- Google reviews
- Client testimonials
- Social cards with industry stats/customer quotes
- Case studies
- Media coverage
- Customer referrals
- Portfolio of your work
Depending on your industry and business model, pick a few of these different “trust accelerators” and get them activated on your digital channels. Where appropriate, share and amplify.
2. Growing Traffic and Conversions
Websites have become storefronts to sell brands’ value proposition, often before people engage with a person from the company. Before you get excited to ring the cash register, some work is required. Before you end up with conversions, you need to grow your traffic first.
Here are some tried and true methods for growing your traffic on the web; they include:
- A Google My Business listing
- Optimizing pages and content for SEO (try Yoast if you use WordPress)
- Regularly publishing new content (blogs, adding new pages to the site)
- Paid campaigns (Facebook interests/demographics based, Google search, remarketing to past website visitors)
- Organic social media (original content, leveraging hashtags, participating in communities, cultivating relationships)
- Calls-to-action (CTA’s) throughout your website and on social posts
- Measuring success (Google Analytics/Conversion goals)
3. Content Creation and Amplification
Being interesting, educational, and providing value is what all brands do to attract prospects. Whether it is posting an educational blog, sending out a newsletter or impressing a customer so much they tell all of their friends who want to buy from you, your messages matter.
Most importantly, content allows you to sell at scale to an audience.
Below are a few places where you can influence and educate your prospects. They include:
- Organic social media that encourages engagement and shares
- Paid advertising campaigns (key benefits, clear call-to-action, landing pages) on Google Ads or Facebook
- Newsletters that provide real value (engage customers & prospects, manage relationships & soft sell at scale)
- Blogging to build trust and generate leads (grows organic traffic, can be shared in newsletters)
- Guest blogging (reach new audiences, improve authority, position for thought-leadership)
- Videos (educational, product launches, instructional, brand explainer)
Content marketing is the way to engage with prospects, build their trust and encourage them to buy. Share what you have expertise in and the outcomes people will get working with your product or service.
4. Email Marketing to Engage Prospects & Customers
If you provide value and share useful information that will educate your customers to buy, they will develop a relationship with your content.
Regularly sharing valuable information builds trust. A list you develop is an investment in an asset you own that isn’t channel-dependent. It can’t be taken away from you by an algorithm change.
A few highlights of why you should get started or actively maintain your email marketing includes:
- A cornerstone marketing strategy to amplify all digital assets and campaigns
- Start a list of customers and prospects and nurture them at scale
- Develop a lead magnet to grow your list (free gift/guide)
- Not platform-dependent, you own your list forever
Email marketing has one of the best ROIs on digital marketing activities, and for a good reason. It allows you to develop and maintain an audience that wants to hear what you have to say. Watch your stats and what topics perform best, and double down on what works. Don’t be too salesy; provide real value, and watch the wallets come out.
Test & Learn – Digital Marketing is a Long Game
Like anything in life, consistency of execution peppered with some patience will take you where you want to go. Results compound with each refinement you make based on your insights into implementing your digital marketing tactics.
Testing and learning from your activities are what separates exponential results from giving up and thinking something doesn’t work.
Here’s why you should test and learn different tactics:
- Executing a variety of tactics at the same time increases your chances of success
- Test different approaches as your opinion matters less than hard data from your outputs
- Measure and optimize. Analysis of why something may not be working. Tune or regroup where appropriate
- Double down on what works- if something is working, keep it up (common sense isn’t always so common)
- Your next customer may not be who you expect, be open to possibilities and randomness
What Are Some Best Practices for Converting Leads from the Web?
What do you do once you get some engagement on a digital channel and an inquiry on your website?
Here is a shortlist of some best practices to help you convert your online prospects into paid customers. They include:
- Responding very quickly to inquiries on your website and social media
- Having a brand voice that replies to reviews and comments on social
- Having a clearly defined sales process from signing contract terms and conditions to having a smooth onboarding process (what comes next)
- Nurturing with a newsletter/email marketing campaigns until they are ready to buy
There’s a lot to unpack here, but the goal was to get you thinking of different approaches you can implement that will help grow your overall digital presence and advance relationships with both your customers and prospects.
If you are done holding yourself back and want to explore creating a strategy and outsourcing some of these pieces so you aren’t leaving opportunities on the table, contact us to arrange a consultation to chat in more detail.