In our recent 2019 Marketing Survey Report for Small Business Owners, we discovered some intriguing insights. One of the more interesting aspects of the report is what companies’ are saying about their top marketing goals in 2019. The top goal for those surveyed was increasing sales, which makes sense, of course. But if we look at how many also selected collecting leads, there’s quite the discrepancy.
37% want to drive sales, and only 18% are planning to collect leads to drive those desired sales. Driving sales is best done by collecting leads! Retaining customers is just behind driving sales with 28% of responses, which is understandable. It’s always cheaper to retain customers than to find new ones, so retention should be a priority.
We also want to address the 26% who want to build brand awareness. Many small businesses have large competitors, so building brand awareness is essential to a company’s longevity and growth. It’s also the foundation for an effective sales strategy.
Building a Sales Foundation by Increasing Brand Awareness
Do you purchase from the company you know, or the company you have no context about? Your likely answer is the one that you know, whether it’s an ad on Instagram or a helpful guide from their website. Very few people purchase from a brand with no awareness.
Brand awareness can best be described as how familiar a company’s audience is with the distinctive qualities and image of the brand’s product or service. You can leverage this by realizing the power of a well-built brand and how you can increase awareness within their target demographic. Increasing brand awareness requires content development and marketing strategies, and is required before a brand will successfully increase sales.
Specific outlets for increasing awareness within your chosen audience varies by age, but the techniques remain the same:
- Maintain an active presence on social media.
- Participate with industry events, whether in person or via Twitter chats.
- Engage with users on industry-related hashtags.
Once you build the foundation, then you can begin implementing sales techniques to help you reach your 2019 business goals.
How to Drive Sales by Collecting Leads
When you focus on collecting leads as a part of the sales process, you gain valuable qualifying information. You get their name and email, yes, but you can also ask for their company name or zip code, which informs you whether it’s worth pursuing them as a lead. It’s important to not make these lead forms too complicated so people are still inclined to fill them out, but many are still willing to provide a business name or zip code.
Now that we’ve established that lead-generation is a priority, it’s time to implement it. Here’s an example of a lead generation campaign:
- Customer is served an ad for a guide relating to your industry.
- They click on the ad, which takes them to a landing page with more information.
- They enter their name, email, and company name into the form.
- They are automatically emailed the guide, or the next page gives them a click to download.
- Their email is automatically added to an email sequence.
This email sequence includes additional information related to the guide while also offering more information about your company. These are typically four to seven emails long, each spaced three to five days apart.
We recommend also including personal follow up emails. The feasibility of this depends on the lead flow, but it’s attainable for most small businesses. It can be as simple as taking 10 to 15 minutes each day to email new leads and introduce yourself.
At the end of the email sequence, you include a call-to-action to purchase your product or sign up for your service. This typically includes a deal like 20% off or a free service, but it isn’t necessary. After all, you’ve spent the last four or five emails and the content offer itself showing that you have value within your industry, so those who open the last email are typically ready to purchase.
This lead collection process fulfills the top goal of many businesses–increased sales–while also implementing an automated process that nurtures leads from prospects to brand evangelists. Once you convert these leads, though, it’s time to retain them.
How to Retain Customers while Increasing Sales
Retaining customers while increasing sales is possible, but it takes a well-executed strategy to be successful. Let’s assume that you’re also working on increasing sales through your lead generation, but want to increase your customers’ Lifetime Value. This requires splitting your focus between long-term customers and new customers.
Long-term customers are those who know your product offerings and appreciate the value you bring to their lives. New customers may still need convincing to become a repeat customer, which is why your messaging to them will be different.
Your long-term customer segment for your email list can benefit from:
- Early access to new products
- Offer to join a membership program if they have yet to opt in
- Special pre-sales
Your new customer segment can benefit from:
- Introductions to other products (This is typically based on what they’ve ordered.)
- Offer to join a membership program
- Invitation to connect on social media (Even if they discovered you on social, they may not follow you!)
- Additional information about your company
The key for retaining customers is to continuously provide value. By remembering which customer segment you’re writing for, you can instill this value in every piece of content you share. If you haven’t created customer personas yet, this is the time to do it. Then, when writing an email or planning an Instagram post, you can focus on that persona and answer, “What would they be interested in?”
Creating a multi-pronged marketing approach like this takes more time and a more complex strategy. But when completed efficiently, the results will outweigh the additional time and cost required to create the content and implement the needed tools. This marketing strategy puts as much emphasis on brand awareness, lead generation, and sales as it does customer retention, because it sees the value in all three. Your customer base is multi-faceted, so your marketing needs to be as well.