LOCAL BUSINESS SUCCESS CENTER

Tips, trends and marketing advice to help you grow your business.

As a small business owner, you know that the two primary ways to grow your business are to retain customers longer and to generate new business by converting leads. Digital marketing has made it much easier to identify and track leads as they interact with you online. It has also opened doors to a variety of new channels by which you can communicate with potential customers.

But what exactly are these channels, and how you can take advantage of them fully to connect with interested consumers online? Here are 5 things you can do to generate new leads for your small business:

1. Optimize Your Business Website

There are two primary ways you can improve lead generation on your business’s website: make it easier to find your site online, and make it easier for consumers to contact you from your site.

The first step requires SEO, or search engine optimization. This involves making sure that your website content includes keywords that users will be searching for when they look for a business like yours online. These keywords can be incorporated into the text of your website, your company blog, or specific landing pages you create for marketing campaigns.

The second step requires optimizing your contact page so that leads can reach you without a hassle. Make sure your phone number, store hours, and email address are easy to find. A direct contact form on your site can also help streamline the communication process for consumers.

2. Produce and Distribute Free Content

As we discussed in December, content marketing will be one of the major small business trends in 2014. In terms of lead generation, content can include open-access pieces such as blog posts and social media, as well as longer pieces of content such as eBooks, whitepapers, and how-to guides that can be downloaded only after a user enters their contact information.

This latter type of lead generation is valuable because you’re able to get more information from the customer to promote future communications. If a user is willing to fill out a form to download a content piece, they’re also more likely more interested in your product or service than a casual reader of your social channels or blog.

3. Update Your Local Listings

If you don’t host your own business website—or even if you do—having up to date, detailed local listings on search engines, review sites, and mobile apps is extremely important for generating new leads. The more information you provide to users, especially rich content like menus, product and service lists, photos, and announcements, will increase your chances of converting leads on these sites into paying customers. SinglePlatform can help you manage and enhance your local listings without the headache of manually updating your information on multiple sites.

4. Actively Manage Online Reviews

Keeping up with your online reviews is an essential factor in generating new leads. A Search Engine Land survey revealed that 72% of respondents trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, and 52% are swayed by positive online reviews.

However, no business will ever receive great feedback from 100% of its customers. That’s why it’s important for you to actively monitor your online reviews so that you can respond to any negative feedback appropriately. Not only will your participation improve customer retention and inform improvements for your business, but it will also make a positive impact on lead generation as well.

5. Share Referrals and Testimonials

As with online reviews, customer referrals and testimonials are a great way to generate new leads. Employing the power of word-of-mouth marketing by encouraging your customers to share with others—and by sharing your customers’ stories directly with your audience—can help you drum up new business with relatively little effort.

The Bottom Line

These 5 lead generation techniques will get you started, but there are a variety of others you can employ as well. Consider which strategies will be most effective for your type of business, who will manage implementing them, and how much time and money you’ll need to invest before adjusting your lead generation plan.

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