Millions of local businesses live or die with their efforts to generate more leads and customers by whatever means they can afford. And customer acquisition in an increasingly web-driven world can be a complicated and confusing task. Here are eight smart moves and best practices to expand your thinking and help you use tools and opportunities that may already be at your disposal:
Perfect Your Profile
Your online profile – or business description – is a highly visible, easily findable picture of you and your business that can also help you generate leads. So it makes sense to get your profile as close to perfect as possible so customers can find you easily, see what you offer and when you offer it – and choose you over the competition. But many local businesses aren’t tapping this free and fruitful opportunity.
Give Your Message More Muscle
No matter which marketing channels you choose, you should make your message as powerful as possible. Everyone in your workplace should know your basic business message and be able to communicate it with clarity and passion. Start with a “rally cry” of some kind — a small, repeatable phrase or slogan that promotes your product, idea or business. Fine-tune all of your messages. Edit, revise and hone each to be as punchy as possible. Coordinate key phrases by using the same language in your print ads, digital listings and mobile messages. For maximum impact, repeat critical messages verbatim whenever you can. Take time to carefully craft a few messages with catchy words. Memorable messages don’t usually happen by accident.
Move Up With Mobile
Mobile is today’s fastest-growing internet search trend and is having a major impact on how customers find local businesses – including yours. More than 40% of mobile phone users search for information on their phones and that number grows daily. Making your business profile findable to customers on the go will help you generate more leads and more customers.
Wake Up Your Website
The competition for getting customers’ attention online gets tougher by the day and having a web presence that works for your business is vital. If you want to grow your business, you can’t have a website that’s dead in the water. Want people to order? Then make them an offer! Many small businesses forget to include specific offers or a call to action. You could, for example, offer free samples or quotes, a free newsletter, or discounts geared to what your customers need.
Coordinate Your Channels
A piecemeal approach to acquiring new customers is often ineffective. To achieve better results, make your marketing efforts work together, including online listings, business profiles, print and digital directories, business video and mobile visibility. Working with a marketing partner that can help you coordinate all these options — saving you time and money — can be a smart move.
Dig Into Your Data to Understand Customers
Take advantage of 24/7 access to detailed data on the leads that your listings are generating; track visitors to your online profile as well as the calls and emails. Use this information to see where your best leads are coming from and what marketing messages and approaches are working best. Shift your marketing mix to the channels that are proving to be the most effective for your business.
Testing … 1, 2, 3
Try different ways to capture customer attention and generate more sales by changing prices, offering discounts and creating online coupons. And don’t assume you know how customers will react to the price changes and discounts. You may be surprised. Testing different offers and tracking the results can be another smart move.