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Lead generation and customer acquisitions are the bread and butter of all businesses. For startups and sole traders who are just beginning their journey to long-term success, these are also two of the biggest challenges you’ll face.
Luckily with the right set of strategies and a bit of home-grown innovation and effort, you can pinpoint prospects and convert them into paying customers. So with that in mind, here are some straightforward options to experiment with yourself.
The one mistake that a lot of new businesses make is to put all of their eggs in one basket when it comes to marketing, and only focus their efforts on one or two channels for lead generation and promotion.
As this guide from Incfile explains, part of starting a business is about trying as many approaches as possible to see if there are particular channels where your marketing makes the biggest impact.
Crucially, you shouldn’t be overawed by the allure of digital marketing, and should also consider how traditional, physical marketing channels can come into play when you’re fishing for those all-important first customers.
Ultimately you’ll probably settle on a hybrid approach, combining old-school and new-fangled marketing methodologies to great effect. But the point is that unless you take a range of channels for a spin, you could be missing out.
So in addition to building relationships with leads via social media, don’t be afraid to design print ads and run them in local publications, or even extend sponsorship to events and other community-based experiences.
For startups with a bricks and mortar presence or a specific geographic area of operation, such tactics will be invaluable in the early stages.
Selling your products or services to people who are entirely unfamiliar with your brand is tricky, especially if you’ve only just hit the scene and are competing with better-established rivals.
There are a few ways to bring would-be customers into the fold and prove your worth without requiring them to part with their hard-earned cash, and discounts or freebies are applicable in this context.
Let’s say you launch a free trial of the service you provide on a short-term basis. The hope is that this would get prospects interested up front, and then they’ll ideally enjoy the experience enough to pay full price at the end of the trial period.
You could also offer discounts on goods and services to all early adopters via lead magnets, or have a limited number of items available at a discount.
Whatever route you take, showing generosity and a willingness to meet prospects halfway will remove any hesitance from the equation.
Almost every business will make its first sale either directly to a friend or family member of the owner, or to a person who is put on its radar by the aforementioned networks of contacts.
You shouldn’t be sheepish about hawking your startup to the people you already know, because this is good for lead generation as well as for ironing out any unforeseen kinks in your operations without being exposed to customers who are total strangers.
We touched on the importance of trying different marketing channels earlier, and the one certainty is that if your business has a website and a blog, it will feel like less of an unknown entity to the first customers who encounter it.
A site that is professionally designed and packed with content that’s relevant to your target audience will set you up as a trusted authority in your area of expertise.
And while it’s obviously helpful to mix sales strategies in with this, you’ll benefit from being a purveyor of unambiguously useful, objective information as well.
It’s the difference between earning traffic for your site organically and having to pay to promote it. People who’ve clicked through because someone independently shared your content on social media, or because it appeared on Google’s SERPs, will be more likely to convert and will feel like they were responsible for making this decision, without being manipulated through marketing.
A call to action is a tool every business must use if it wants prospects to go through with a purchase. Most people won’t act without prompting, and there are ways to weave CTAs into every aspect of your marketing.
For example, if you create a blog post, concluding with a recommendation for readers to check out the products and services you offer which are relevant to the topic at hand will work wonders.
Likewise, if you design a print ad, having details on how people can get in touch to take advantage of the deals you are promoting is vital.
Lead generation and customer conversion cannot be done without also paying attention to how effective the specific strategy has been.
In the case of digital marketing solutions, you’ll be able to use analytics to see where your successes lay. From this, you can make the most of these unquestionably impactful tactics to inform the way you shape your efforts going forward.
It’s obviously easier to track the customer journey when digital platforms are involved, but you can still get a handle on traditional marketing campaigns through the use of things like unique offer codes that are tied to print ads. Once again, being varied in your approaches will work wonders.
Lastly, you have to be patient and persistent in your pursuit of leads and your courting of customers. Don’t be discouraged if you try a few tactics and they don’t bear fruit, or they deliver less than ideal results. Every setback is an opportunity to learn and should suggest what changes you can make to do better in the future.
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