No matter what business you run or product you sell, lead generation should be one of the top priorities for any growing business. A steady stream of leads is necessary to steadily increase your consumer base and by extension your revenue and profits. Furthermore, your business needs quality leads as much as quantity, so less effort is expended turning a lead into a sale.
While your business should already have a lead generation strategy of some kind, that strategy must change with the times and be constantly updated. Here are a few smart ways to stay ahead of the competition.
Revamp your SEO policies
You probably already know that a strong search engine optimization (SEO) policy is critical to funneling searchers to your websites and creating eventual leads. But what you may not realize is that SEO policies which may have worked just fine a few years ago are no longer as effective today. Google is constantly updating its algorithms.
For example, Google now looks at web pages to see that they are offering truly informative content as opposed to spamming keywords to attract interest. When someone clicks on your website, you only have a few seconds to attract their interest before they decide to look elsewhere. That means your website must quickly load and be able to answer inquiries as fast as possible.
Search Engine Land has some great advice for how your SEO policy should change to attract attention and leads in 2018. But in a nutshell, Google is moving towards something more organic, as it tries to find the pages with the best content instead of those who try to manipulate algorithms with keywords.
Content, Content, Content
The above section should have made it clear, but content marketing is one of the most effective tools which any small business can use. The goal of any marketing campaign is to show that your business knows what it is talking about and is in a position to help. By creating solid content, you can show instead of tell that ability to help.
There are a wide variety of content options from webinars to blogs to posting videos, so how do you know which content will work the best? In general, video and images are more effective than text and should thus be your default option. But the only way to know is to know your specific audience, and that requires data. Use different kinds of content, and track them with Google Analytics to figure out which formats attract the most attention.
Create Easy and Friendly Forms
Attracting potential leads to your websites with quality content is only the first step to creating a lead. What you really want is for the potential lead to give you their information, so that you can continue to send them quality content and make them better leads. This means that your website should have a web form which pops up as soon as any user visits for the first time.
But because no one likes web forms, the form must be designed to be as friendly and easy to use as possible. Make the “Submit” button highly visible, explain why you are asking for information and how it will benefit them, and keep the number of fields to a minimum. The UX Blog has some useful tips for how to design a form to be as appealing as possible.
Don’t Forget the Real World
Social media and digital marketing are increasingly important, but there remains no substitute for face-to-face communication in every part of business and especially in marketing. As the Houston Chronicle notes, business professionals believe that personal communication builds stronger relationships and allows people to use nonverbal communication.
If you are struggling get a good amount of lead capture for your tree service business or other “bricks-and-mortar” company, then look offline. Go to business networking events and ask current clients for potential leads through references. Some marketers are unsure how to do this without annoying the client, and I would say that you should not directly call clients and ask for references. After you have done a job for them, ask if there is anyone they know who might be interested in your services and why. From there, you can ask for their contact information and create another lead.
Never Buy Leads
This is less a tip for how to get leads and more a tip of what not to do. As organic lead generation through quality content and gathering data can be slow, your business may consider buying lead lists.
I cannot stress enough how terrible an idea that is. Lead lists have been sold to other, similar business as well, and are essentially the same thing as cold calling as the people on those lists have no clue who you are. Far from winning a customer, you will just as likely turn them off from ever dealing with you.
Building your own lead list is undoubtedly challenging. But with good content and patience, you can create a list which is uniquely tailored to your business’s interests.