As a small business owner, you know that your company lives and dies by its customers. Scary as that sounds, it’s the way every business functions, and it can actually be beneficial: in some ways customers can become important allies in the fight to grow your business. The strategies below can bring you the leads you need right into your office--sometimes with the help of ones you’ve already converted.
1. Build Referral Partnerships
The easiest way to do this is to ask customers if they’d like to provide a testimony, write a review, or if they’d be willing to refer you to anyone else they know who could use your products or services. It’s best to check in with them via email a few weeks or a month after a purchase and make this request. (Don’t forget to include a link where they can take these actions.) Just make sure you aren’t pushy and only send this request to customers who you know are happy.
Alternatively, seek out relationships with businesses that are complementary to yours. For example, if you’re a graphic designer you could build a partnership with a local print shop where customers could have their business cards, flyers, and event invitations that you create printed out. In turn, that business could send you customers who need items like these designed.
You can even build an alliance with a competitor, because if you can’t deliver what a customer is looking for, you can send them to someone who can. You couldn’t make the sale in good faith anyways, and you’ll come off as helpful and resourceful-all while getting a few customers coming your way from the competition as well.
2. Maximize Online Presence
Many small businesses aren’t sure what entails a strong online presence. If you do these things you’ll be on the right track:
- Have a website built with search engine and user experience optimization in mind
- Participate on social media networks where your ideal lead spends time
- If you have a physical location that depends on foot traffic, create local listings.
- Respond to customer reviews
- Regularly update your blog with informative, interesting posts
With the exception of the blog, most of the work is upfront and well worth it: a robust online presence can attract customers to you instead of having to put yourself in front of them.
3. Nurture Leads
Not all leads are sales ready, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore them until they are (or until they drift off and lose interest.) Instead, create an email campaign to nurture those leads through the sales funnel by offering them valuable information that shows you as an expert at what you do. Tracking email opens and website activity during the campaign will give you insight as to who’s responding and ideas for improvement.
4. Get Customer-centric
We know we should always keep our customers as the number one focus, but sometimes we get wrapped up in details and lose sight of this mindset. For every decision consider how it would affect someone who might buy from you, and you’ll be able to gear your business toward attracting all the leads you could want.
Generating leads as a small business doesn’t have to be frustrating. By trying out these tactics you’ll see new customers buy, existing customers come back, and your business grow as a result.