Getting new customer leads is exciting, but that enthusiasm can quickly wither when you don’t know how to best convert leads into new clients.
When this becomes the trend for your small business, you immediately ask, “why?” before seeking out solutions to combat your lack of sales from leads, you should be aware of some important sales conversion facts:
Online leads do not automatically translate into sales.
Per Marketo, only 25% of leads ready to buy from you.
1/4 of leads are qualified, meaning approximately 75% aren’t your ideal customer.
Now, don’t let these numbers frighten you. In addition to this, you must understand the psychology behind the lack of leads turning into sales.
The Real Reason Why People Won’t Buy from You
There are four primary reasons why small businesses fail to convert leads online. These sales barriers are as follows:
Trust: People don’t trust themselves, so how do you expect them to trust you immediately upon connecting with your business for the first time? Traffic to your website may not always translate into sales if your leads are reluctant to buy from you. The absence of trust can stem from a lack of proof showing you do what you claim, lack of contact information, a poorly designed website, or non-targeted content.
Authority: If you don’t establish yourself as the authority in your field, through quality content, you will find it quite hard to gain customers, because they may see you as untrustworthy.
Money: If your price doesn’t match the perceived value of your products or services, you are likely to miss out on sales.
Time: If the customers feel that the time is not right, they are likely not to purchase.
Turning Leads into Sales: 4 Key Strategies
There are four solutions for converting online leads, which when used together, can increase your sales conversion rates:
Sales Qualification Process
Email Marketing Solutions
#1. Develop Trust with Social Proof (Testimonials and Reviews)
Building a reliable brand will ultimately make it easier for you to market your product or services.
One of the best and easiest ways to build trust is through social proof, specifically reviews, and testimonials from your current or previous clients. Social proof will not only confirm that you’re talking the talk, but that you’re walking the walk.
When someone encounters your brand for the first time through your website, you need to: 1) show that you’re an authority, and 2) provide social proof.
Let your current customers sing your praises by encouraging them to write a review or testimonial through email, on Yelp, Facebook, or any other relevant review site. For those “special” reviews, showcase them on your website. Do not worry about getting one or two negative reviews.
This might work to your advantage, in that, they persuade leads to believe that your reviews are reputable. If people see that others are buying your products and enjoying them, they can be persuaded to follow suit.
Invest your time in writing well-researched and helpful blog content and eBooks. If your leads find that you are knowledgeable in your industry and in the various products that you’re selling, then they will believe in your ability to provide quality products.
You can hire marketing agencies to write blog posts for you. Or, you can learn simple shortcuts and time saving templates to train you and/or your marketing assistant to turn your knowledge into written blog articles for your business website.
#3. Utilize a Sales Qualification Process
One of the most crucial strategies for converting leads into sales is to have a qualification process. Lead qualification is the evaluation of the ability of a lead to purchase from you.
The qualification process involves gathering the necessary information about your leads to move them through the sales process. There are three types of leads: Information Qualified Leads (IQL), Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL), Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). How each is determined varies from business to business. Once your qualification metrics are defined, only then will you be able to take appropriate action that will convert your leads into sales.
Using a sales qualification process prevents you from coming on too strong and putting off potential clients. It also helps your sales team save valuable time and instead focus it on customers who are ready to buy.
Email nurturing is one of the greatest tools that you can use to convert leads into sales.
It’s all about leveraging marketing automation to follow up and remain in contact with any leads that come through your sales funnel. If you follow up with leads within 5 minutes, you are 9 times more likely to get a sale.
Strategically sending your clients or customer regular emails will drill information about your business and your services or products into their minds. The more they hear from you, the more they are likely to buy. You want to send targeted emails, to targeted email lists, based on where they are in your sales funnel and how they interact with your emails.
These emails can be anything from newsletters to content offers. The purpose of this strategy is to guarantee the right lead is receiving the right email at the right time.
The Bottom Line
Today, even though most marketing efforts are online, customers still need to feel that personal touch. By incorporating these few lead conversion ideas into your business strategy will help to ensure that you not only have thousands of people stopping by your website, but you will have them laying down their money!
QUESTION: What is your favorite strategy that’s been working for you in your business when it comes to converting leads into sales? Share your comments and questions below.
Author Bio: ShaDrena Simon is a digital strategist and inbound marketer for Yokel Local Internet Marketing Inc. You can reach her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
How do you know whether or not you created the right action plans that will help you achieve your business goals most effectively? That’s this week’s question submitted by Stacy from Atlanta, GA.
Reality is, if you’re pursuing a new goal that you’ve never achieved before, you just won’t know what you don’t know. You could certainly move forward on pure intuition while trying to piece together bits of tips from various free content you’ve found. However, I don’t recommend doing that.
Trial and error always ends up being way more time consuming. And for most people, it usually leads to making costly mistakes. It’s an age old truth.
There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 14:12
The risk of prolonged lack of progress and costly mistakes, for many people leads them to give up which means the death of their dreams.
I don’t want to see “death of a dream” happen to you. So, let’s dive right into this week’s episode to help you:
Create Right Action Plans to Achieve Your Business Goals
What is your brand? … Do you know how you’d answer that question? Having a strong brand is an important part of your marketing plan, but as small business owners you can’t approach branding the same way as the “big” businesses can.
But, that doesn’t mean small businesses should skip branding.
Eight top branding experts share their small business branding tips to help you stand out from your competition.
Dan Antonelli gives emphasis on positive brand impression in his article Why Small Businesses Need Strong Logos
First, make sure that your logo is clear and easy to interpret, because you don’t have the years of brand recognition behind you that ensure that people will associate your name with your product or service.
Second, unlike large companies, you don’t have the large advertising budget required to brand icons too generic to help consumers understand the nature of your business.
In short, then, your logo needs to convey what you do and who you are, and leave a positive brand impression. That’s why small business logo design is a different animal from corporate logo design. Corporations can throw enough money into marketing to ensure that people associate any symbol or graphic with their name.
Small businesses don’t have that luxury: Each impression is so important. You need to very quickly connect with your audience members and give them something to latch on to — at the same time that you give them something disruptive in your competitive space.
Business Branding Tips – #2. Assess how you’re positioning your primary product or service within the marketplace.
Daniel DeMeo shares from his article Four Tips for Enhancing Your Small Business Brand
This applies whether you’ve been in business a year or for over two decades. While conducting an exhaustive customer perception study of your firm may not be something you want to invest in at this time, there are less formal ways you can evaluate how the market perceives your brand and your offerings.
Develop a formal panel of your most loyal customers to understand why they choose your brand and what it is they believe your products and services represent in the marketplace. Is it your quality service? Commitment to the local community? Your low prices? Getting to the heart of why customers stick with your firm will help you understand better what you are doing correctly and what messages you may want to adapt, based on how your business has evolved over time.
Ross Kimbarovsky’s article on 10 Tips To Help You Build A Successful Small Business Brand says
What you say is important, but don’t overlook how you say it. Your company’s “voice” is the language and personality you and your employees will use to deliver your branding message and reach your customers. Successful brands speak with a unique voice. Think about the brands you admire – what makes them unique? How do they communicate with you and other customers? What do you like about their voice?
Business Branding Tips – #4. Don’t try to mimic the look of chains or big brands.
According to Ten Ways to Build a Brand for Your Small Business by Dan Einzig
Try and carve out your own distinctive identity. There is a big consumer trend towards independent establishments, and several chains are in fact trying to mimic an independent feel to capture some of that market. Truly independent operators can leverage their status to attract customers who are looking for something more original and authentic, that aligns with how feel about themselves.
Business Branding Tips – #5. Make Your Employees Brand Ambassadors
Try and carve out your own distinctive identity. There is a big consumer trend towards independent establishments, and several chains are in fact trying to mimic an independent feel to capture some of that market. Truly independent operators can leverage their status to attract customers who are looking for something more original and authentic, that aligns with how feel about themselves, says Lou Imbriano in his article According to Branding 101: Tips for Building a Killer Identity.
Business Branding Tips – #6. Be an Advocate for Your Business – Not Just a Salesman
Caron Beesley, author of 10 Tips to Help You Build and Grow a Stand-Out Small Business Brand says
You don’t have to be the greatest salesman to succeed in business. Selling takes many forms – and being a brand advocate gels them all together. For example, many small business owners strive to be the number one salesman, the number one cheerleader, and the number one fan of their own business (you’ve got to be excited about it if you want others to be excited too). If you are passionate about your business, be an advocate for it. Use many of the tips in this blog to make sure people understand what you do, the story behind your products, what your products have done for people, your methods and mission, and all that good stuff. Invite people in!
Dean McNamara of All Star Design and author of Top 5 Branding Tips for a Small Business, says the use of professional images matters a lot in creating your personal brand.
Use professional images – you will be amazed at how much better professionally produced images make your marketing and brand look. This doesn’t necessarily mean spending money on a photo shoot (although that helps if you have the budget!) but there are plenty of great free photos online which take a little bit of searching and you also have istock; don’t be afraid to use what’s available just make sure it fits your brand (and check its copyright terms).
Edwin Dearborn, author of 9 Small Business Branding Tips, advises to use Co-Branding.
Many people will come to know your brand if you are associated with a trusted brand that they are already fond of and doing business with. Your small business brand can accomplish your marketing and sales objectives much more effectively when you tap into the complementary strengths of another brand and their loyal customer base. Mortgage brokers co-branding with real estate agents is a natural fit. Wedding planners co-branding with a florist is another. Co-branding opportunities are only limited by your imagination and hustle. Co-branding is also known as:
Combined brand marketing
The bottomline is, branding is part of a marketing plan. You can either allow your business to stand out or be easily forgotten. Like any other plan, if it is well implemented, it will result in something positive, if not, it will not work effectively.
QUESTION: As a small business owner, what is your biggest challenge when it comes to building a strong brand for your business? Share your comments and questions below.
Did you know the average time visitors spend looking at a website is less than 8 seconds? And for many websites it’s even as low as just 3 or 4 seconds.
That’s not a whole lot of time to capture their attention, interest and desire to inspire visitors to take action in becoming a lead.
If you’re ready to transform your small business website from being a cost center into a client generating profit center then use the following 7 most common website mistakes as your checklist to grading your website performance.
These are the 7 most common reasons why website visitors could be aborting your site and moving on to your competitors.
Here’s a rundown of what your website visitors could be thinking and how to fix it.
Reason #7. I have no idea what you do.
This happens when your copy is not specific enough, especially when the name of the business does not instantly define what you do.
Does your tagline clearly explain what you do and who you help?
Here are some actual examples of confusing taglines I found on my tour of websites:
X “Finding paths of opportunity” X “Envisioning the future” X “ We’re a new company and we like to have fun while working smartly, efficiently, and while constantly innovating.” X “Looking at information in new ways”
Hmmm… so would you get what any of those businesses do based on these taglines?
Reason #6. You sound like everyone else.
It’s important to keep in mind that the website visitors who are in the market to hire someone like you are most likely checking out a number of your competitors.
So, it’s not enough for you to state the obvious.
For example, if you’re a builder / remodeler it’s not enough for your website to simply tell people you do design and installation for kitchens, baths and additions.
Why not? … Because isn’t that what all builders and remodelers offer too?
Remember, you’ve got less than 8 seconds. You want to articulate your wow factor and stand out.
Reason #5. This looks like a student created your site.
You know the saying that you never get a second chance to make a great first impression.
If your website design looks sloppy and unprofessional it projects to your visitors that your services are probably sloppy and unprofessional too. It pays to hire a skilled web designer who has the graphic design abilities you may lack.
And for business owners on a tight budget there’s lots of great templates today that can quickly transform an ugly website into a gorgeous, professional looking site.
Reason #4. It’s too hard to read your website.
Why make it difficult for visitors to read what’s on your webpages? if you don’t make it easy they will be gone quicker than you can say goodbye.
Check your site for poor readability:
Fancy font styles that are too hard to read.
Crazy colors — like pastel blue lettering on bright green background.
Long chunky, verbose paragraphs.
Messed up formatting when trying to view from mobile devices.
Tiny font sizes that make people strain their eyes to read.
Reason #3. You’re not talking to me, personally.
When you’re trying to promote your business it’s easy to fall into the trap of making the copy all about you and how great you are. But, taking this “brochure style” approach doesn’t really grab the prospect’s attention because people just really care about themselves … hence, why people leave so many websites in 5 seconds.
Be sure your headlines, your sub headlines and home page copy really jump out talking about the specific problems and challenges your prospect struggles with.
If you’re a chiropractor, what’s the downsides they’ve experienced having tried other chiropractors
If you’re a caterer, what do other caterers not do as well as you and your team?
If you’re a financial consultant for family run businesses what is unique about your process that solves their cash flow problems faster and easier?
Take a good look at the words on your website. Are they sweeping generalities? Are you using words and catchphrases that could literally describe businesses in many other industries?
Reason #2. I didn’t get a sense of trust and credibility.
Remember, before you can win their business you must first win their trust that you truly are the go to expert in your field.
Here’s some common some common mistakes that could be hurting your trust factor:
Lack of compelling client testimonials from real people (not just first name last initial.)
No blog to educate readers.
No picture and bio of you the owner.
No Picture and bio of your team if you have one.
No social proof.
When you have all these things people stay longer on your website and while doing so increases their trust.
Reason #1. I don’t see a reason to keep in touch.
It’s hard to expect a new visitor to become a customer after only spending 8 seconds on your website.
That’s like expecting someone to agree to marry you after just meeting you at a social for eight seconds.
This is why it’s so important to immediately grab your visitor’s attention with a relevant, irresistible free offer that they are willing and excited to give you their email address for.
TIP: signing up for your free newsletter is not a terribly effective free offer.
Instead, here is an example of a relevant, irresistible offer:
Making an impact on social media is not an easy task especially if you do not have any social media tips from renowned experts. If you think about it, an average user’s timeline/feed gets updated with thousands of posts in an hour. This number increases drastically when users search for popular keywords. Businesses of all sizes have adopted social media platforms to get noticed. If you’re looking to stand out on social media, here are 12 expert tips to help you out:
Social Media Tips #1: Get inspired from your competitors’ content.
Social media expert and founder of RazorSocial, Ian Cleary, reckons that getting inspiration from your competitors’ content is the key to resonating with your customers. Don’t copy, get inspired and think about different angles. Different unique angles also increases the potential virality of your content.
Social media marketing guru, Jeff Bullas, says that a brand has to be memorable in order to be noticed on social media. All the text and visual content has to be high quality. Constant promotion is also the key. This will help businesses grow their audience as people are more likely to share your content.
Social Media Tips #3: Don’t try to use all platforms
Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Joe Pulizzi, says that small businesses need to have a clear social media channel. He urges brands to not make the mistake of trying to use as many platforms as possible. By focusing on 2-3 social media platforms, businesses can post better content and keep track of their results more accurately.
Social Media Tips #4: Re-purpose more popular social media posts into blogs.
Ted Rubin is a renowned social media strategist, speaker and author. By using popular social media posts for blog posts, the potential virality of your posts increases greatly and the interest among your audience is peaked.
Social Media Tips #5: Create high quality visual content
Neal Schaffer, a business social media expert, notes that pictures are a prominent part of social media. Brands that use high quality images to supplement their posts, capture their audience’s attention and turns them from random viewers into loyal readers.
Social Media Tips #6: Be consistent at posting your blogs.
Kissmetrics Founder and expert blogger, Neil Patel, has observed that brands do not need to have unique content but consistency is a must. Consistency will help you get more traffic and consequently more leads.
Jay Bear, marketing expert and author, recommends looking into “micro- opportunities.” These opportunities are very small time periods when your audience is most likely to be on social media. For example, if you’re target audience involves businessman then posting between average meeting times will get their attention. Small businesses that are B2B can use this system to get more views.
Social Media Tips #8: Hire content writers who are passionate about your field
Kim Garst, CEO of Boom Social, advises that those in charge of creating content have to be passionate about their field. When a marketer or writer is passionate, it shows in their work and becomes contagious. Users will like and share your content on their own channels and thus your content will reach more people.
Social Media Tips #9: Establish a consistent brand in all your social media images.
Canva founder, Zach Kitschke, says brands have to establish a visual style that is recognizable by their audience. To do this, consistent use of the same fonts, colors, logos etc are required. Every image doesn’t have to be the same but the tone has to remain consistent. When users start to recognize your visual style, they can spot your content more easily in a flood of social media updates.
Social Media Tips #10: Join the discussions on social media.
Mike Volpe, HubSpot CMO, recommends joining communities and taking part in discussions when brands first get on social media. Meaningful discussions will drive people to check out your account and consequently your website.
Social Media Tips #11: Share great advice on social media.
Adam Connell, an expert blogger, asks businesses to lend a helping hand without expecting any returns. By offering solutions to your users’ most common problems for free, you build trust and loyalty. Great advice will turn readers into potential customers.
Marko Saric, founder of HowToMakeMyBlog, advises that rather than randomly following people on social media, businesses should target peers and influential members in the industry to bring attention to their own blog/brand.