A Small Business Guide to Turning Leads Into Sales

by April Maguire

4 min read

    It’s no secret that today’s consumers are savvier than ever. In fact, a recent study shows that between 30% and 50% of leads a business receives are not yet ready to buy. As a result, businesses must put increased effort into turning prospective and one-time purchasers into long-term, loyal customers. To accomplish this, businesses must focus on nurturing those leads and turning them into sales.

    Lead nurturing refers to the process of communicating with buyers in order to increase their product knowledge and overall business confidence, and it’s a crucial step for modern marketers. Here are some tips to help small business owners turn every prospective lead into an actual sale.

    Be an Authority

    Looking to build confidence among your target market? One of the best ways to turns leads into clients is to establish yourself as a leading authority in your industry. As a small business owner, you can showcase your skills by posting well-written content to your website, blog or social media page.

    For best results, make sure the majority of your content is educational rather than promotional. Additionally, you can be a guest blogger on third-party sites, submit content to industry magazines and publications, or even host educational seminars for members of your community. For example, a restaurant could hold an event to discuss the advantages of buying local produce.

    Segment Your Messaging

    Today’s customers are as varied as they are selective. As such, the most successful businesses take time to segment their messaging based on factors such as age, sex, location and product interest because they understanding that different customers have different needs and wants.

    Because segmentation lets you tailor your messaging to customers’ past interests and behavior, it increases the likelihood of a sale. It also personalizes your messages and shows clients that they are more than just a number on your client list. On top of that, you’ll likely have a greater chance of turning leads into customers if you speak to them in their own language.

    Automate Your Processes

    Think you don’t have time to segment your messaging? Automated software tools from HubSpot and other marketing giants enable busy small business owners to create multiple email lists and send them to segmented portions of their client list.

    For example, you can preschedule messages to be sent one week, two weeks and/or a month after your first encounter with a customer. Additionally, online retailers can automate messaging to remind customers that they have unpurchased items in their virtual shopping carts. For best results, limit communication to one email per week so leads don’t feel overwhelmed or annoyed. As an added bonus, according to recent statistics, automated lead management offers a 10% bump in revenue in the first six to nine months.

    Utilize Social Media

    Most business owners recognize that social media is a great way to connect with customers. However, you may not realize that social sites also offer effective platforms for lead nurturing.

    Along with posting educational and relevant content to build authority, companies should respond to user comments and questions on their social pages in a timely fashion. You should also encourage selected employees to do the same, but only if you’re confident that they can speak competently on behalf of your business and brand. You can also generate interest and boost followers by hosting a contest or other event on Facebook or Twitter. Doing this helps show leads that you aren’t just a business, but that you’re also a group of people that cares about its clients.

    Additionally, businesses should be sure to include social media widgets on their websites and at the bottoms of all email communication. The goal is to integrate all your various marketing media while directing prospective buyers back to your website.

    Check Your Content

    Of course, there’s no point in directing leads to a website if it lacks the supporting content needed to close the sale. Today’s companies must create content via online articles, blogs, videos and infographics to back up the claims made during the lead-nurturing process. Rather than simply encouraging customers to buy now, the best content answers readers’ questions and concerns while providing a call to action that directs their next steps.

    Furthermore, a strong content marketing strategy recognizes that not all leads occupy the same spot in the buying cycle. While some leads are still deciding what products will best meet their needs, others are ready to hear why your brand outperforms the competition. To maximize sales, small businesses should strive to create content that supports customers in various positions of the buying cycle.

    Just remember that many customers are savvier than you might want to admit. Make sure that your content is relevant, helpful and/or entertaining, as readers can spot disingenuous content from a mile away.

    Be Personable

    Small businesses face many challenges during the early stages of development. However, operating a small business offers various advantages as well, including the opportunity to connect with potential clients on a more personal level. Comparatively low-tech, handwritten notes and personal phone calls show prospective customers that you care about their needs and wants while offering valuable insight into your business’ target market.

    From social media messaging, to weekly newsletters, lead-nurturing methods can be simple or complex, personal or general. However, the goal is always the same: to build long-term, lasting relationships between buyers and sellers.

    To further increase the success of your lead nurturing, see our article on tips to improve your online marketing.

    Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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