If you’ve spent much time talking about business growth you’ll have no doubt heard about the value of leads. Leads are potential customers, or prospects, who have shown some interest in what you do and, most importantly, you’ve collected their contact details.
When nurtured correctly, leads can turn into business, so it’s worth gathering leads as much as possible. Once you become aware of it, you’ll realise there are more leads entering your world than you think. Consciously collecting contact details and nurturing these leads becomes a valuable practice.
It’s worth investing in a customer relationship management (CRM) tool and knowing how to use it for your business. Linking this correctly to your email system can save time and ensure potential customers don’t fall through the cracks.
You can build your contact list in a number of other ways, such as through networking, online promotions and targeted cross-promotion activities.
At industry events and tradeshows you’ll meet a lot of other business owners who work in the same space. Be sure to take their business cards, connect with them on LinkedIn and add them to your CRM with a note to remember where you met them. Cultivating these small habits can grow your list in a short amount of time.
If you already have a list of current and past customers, make sure you have their details on your contact list. Your staff may have people who they have spoken to who would also appreciate the content you can deliver. Don’t forget to put these people on your list.
Get yourself into the mindset of being ready to share your content with people. You never know when someone will express an interest in the work you do, or mention a problem you can solve. Offering to send an article that will help a prospect is a softer way of maintaining contact rather than being in full sales mode. Because you’re sharing useful content, your new contact will appreciate the effort you have made to assist them.
Offering something for free on your website in exchange for contact details is another great way to not only build a contact list, but to collect the details of people who have already shown some interest in your business. Spend some time creating a white paper, ebook or detailed thought leadership article that is worth downloading.
If you don’t have the time or skills to create something worthy of being a download option, consider outsourcing the creation of this. If you’re asking someone to provide their details in order to access a piece of work, you need to make sure it’s of high value and good quality.
If you’re only offering your white paper or ebook on your own website you’re selling yourself short. Taking advantage of social media, search engine marketing (SEM) and ensuring your site is optimised for traffic can greatly enhance your results. Greater results mean more downloads and more interested names on your contact list.
You could also generate leads through sharing your content on other relevant sites or within the newsletter of a business in the same or a related industry. This is a good way to gain exposure to potential customers who haven’t heard of you yet. Once you get their contact details (either through a newsletter sign-up option or via a download), you can put these prospects onto your own nurture track.
Don’t let leads go to waste
Once you’ve collected leads, be sure to follow up with them on a regular basis through some sort of nurture system like a targeted email newsletter. Not all leads are ready to buy then and there, but you can increase the likelihood leads become customers with a solid nurture strategy.
Lead nurturing is all about providing value to your prospects. You know your market and your customers, so you should have an idea about what their pain points are. Lead nurturing is not constantly bombarding your email list with a list of your product features. Nothing inspires someone to hit the unsubscribe button faster than unsolicited, useless marketing material.
On the other hand, sharing content that provides value to your potential customers, or something that solves a problem for them, will have them eagerly awaiting the next installment from you.