Having a constant flow of leads is the lifeblood of any company, especially small businesses. The genuine prospect of sales helps your business to grow and gets people talking about you. Lead generation is a low-term process that takes commitment and careful planning to ensure success. Here are six steps to generate leads as a small business.
Know Your Customer
As a business owner, you need to know exactly who your customer is. Develop a clear picture in your mind about them and write down a profile of who they are. This includes but is not limited to age, gender, geographical location, interests and income bracket. You should be able to clearly answer who your customer is and what do they care about.
Knowing your client allows you to figure out how your product or service can make their lives easier. This leads to development of your Unique Selling Point (USP) and lets you set yourself apart from your competitors.
Make a Plan
If you haven’t already, it’s vital to have a marketing plan so you know exactly what to do once you have leads. This includes how to retain customers, what your realistic, quantifiable sales goals are and how you will measure success.
Keep your plan up-to-date by keeping up with marketing trends and regularly evaluating how well you and your company are doing with the goals set out.
Going for a “stab-in-the-dark” approach to your lead generation is not recommended. Sure it’s great to have your name in as many places as possible but your marketing budget needs to be justified against the number of quality leads they produce. Promoting your brand can be costly so it needs an appropriate amount of care to be successful. Choosing promotion platforms that align with your target audience is the first place to start. For example, it’s no use to spend thousands promoting your car cleaning services in a publication aimed at cyclists who don’t own cars. It’s unlikely to create any leads.
HOMEMAKERS is an ideal promotional platform for home lifestyle business including home improvement, home decor, home appliances and home services. As a trusted source of information for homeowners across South Africa for over four decades, we are able to put your company in front of the right audience. Our national audience of discerning homeowners use our publications (HOMEMAKERS and Remodel), mobile platform (HOMEMAKERSmobi), online directory and expos (HOMEMAKERS Expo) to find the local experts they need to transform their home.
A Wealth of Information
Gain as much information as you can from your leads to ensure you can deliver the best service and develop a database. The simplest way to do this is by directing people to a contact form on your website.
A contact form will avoid having to call or email your client back and forth to get information. It is an ideal way to draw people in, allow them to ask questions and get more information about your products and services. Providing an incentive such as a free quote or discount is a good way to encourage people to connect with you.
It is vital that all information is safely stored and that all data collection is compliant with the Protection of Personal Information (PoPI Act). Ensure that you make it clear you are collecting personal information, are storing it responsibly and give people a simple way to opt-out, check or remove their information. Failure to comply with the PoPI Act is a serious offence that could end in a hefty fine or a jail sentence.
Build Relationships: Communicate
The key to business success is retaining the clients you get from leads. The best way to do that is through relationship. Building a healthy working relationship with your leads from the start creates sales.
Building relationships is about making a personal connection. You need to humanise your company, this makes it accessible and helps establish trust. Communication is important, whether you meet people in person at events such as HOMEMAKERS Expo or through an online contact form, you need to ensure that communication is maintained.
In the digital age, the use of email and social media is the easiest way to build relationships. A monthly mailer with your latest specials, interesting information or latest news helps keep your business at the top of people’s minds. As stated above, you need to ensure you send your mailer out to people who have subscribed or opted in to receive it and give them a simple way to unsubscribe should they wish.
Social media such as Facebook helps the public to find you easily and get basic information about your business. This helps to decide whether or not to use your products or services. Use this free platform to engage with leads, create conversation and do market research using tools like polls. Having an online presence is vital for lead generation in the digital world. It is relatively simple to operate and highly affordable. The creation of quality content over a lot of poorly thought out posts can also make a big difference.
Build Relationships: Think Visually
Linked to social media, is the use of visual tools such as Augmented reality (AR). AR is perfect for home improvement businesses as it allows you overlay images in real-time using your smartphone. For example, a potential client can see what different paint colours will look like on their wall by scanning the room and virtually painting it. This gives people the chance to see the potential change your products or services could make to their home.
Generating leads takes time, careful planning and knowing exactly who your client is. For small businesses, constant lead generation is what will keep your business going and growing. You need to:
- Be smart about where and how you promote your business.
- Stay on the right side of the law when collecting information.
- Build relationships that lead to sales.
- Use technology to your advantage.
Got questions? With over four decades experience, we are South Africa’s top print, events and digital lead generation experts. Contact us today.