Once upon a time, the world of sales leads consisted of attending business social functions and collecting business cards while hobnobbing with others in the industry. While happy hour remains an excellent time and place to garner a few leads, the Internet has paved a completely new way to develop sales leads.
Using the Internet wisely for a few hours now can do more for you now than hours of endless social functions could do for you back then.
Develop Your Website
To begin with you must have a strong website. The site should be crisp and clean, with attractive visuals. The content on the site should be logically arranged and the site easy to navigate and search. A website gives you a valuable opportunity to demonstrate your expertise in the field and encourage visitors to opt-in for more information – an enormous potential source for leads.
Offer visitors the chance to “sign up” for a newsletter, special download or deal, or an event offered only to ‘members’. One of the biggest keys to Internet marketing is the understanding that people like to feel as if they are in on a secret and are getting something that others are not. Encourage them to opt-in, thereby collecting a wealth of lead information, and give them something good in return, such as a sneak peak to an event, a deeply discounted deal or something similar. Use your website to demonstrate that your company is the leader in the field.
Set up an area for articles, FAQ and information and populate this page with smart, informative, useful information. Use targeted keywords that others might use on search engines to increase your web page ranking on search engine results, but don’t go overboard. Using keywords two to four times within any article is enough and will not look as if you are deliberately inserting a keyword into every other sentence to generate better search engine optimisation. Ask website visitors to sign up to receive a blog post that you send out once every week or so. This provides yet another source of leads and allows you to continue to demonstrate your expertise in the market and your knowledge about recent developments and news as well.
Your next powerful Internet tool when it comes to sales leads is social media.
Regardless of whether you think that Twitter is for ditzy celebrities and Facebook for computer-obsessed teens, the fact is that social media is one of the most powerful methods of reaching an audience in the world today. Over 80 per cent of Australian business people have a profile on one of the social media networking sites, and over half said that social networking sites influenced their buying decisions. Moreover, social media sites are growing faster than ever, with over 50 per cent of Twitter users having just joined less than a year ago.
In other words, social media presents you with the opportunity to reach an enormous audience and garner sales leads. If you have not already done so, set up a business profile page on each of the social media websites (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest). Populate each page with attractive images from your business, include contact information and add a button to your own website.
Then let people know that you are on the social media sites and you want to connect with them. For example, send out an email to your contacts and offer them a discount or a deal if they “Like” you on Facebook or “Follow” you on Twitter. Encourage them to pass it along to others. Good deals spread like wildfire across the web – take advantage of it.
Stay active once you have built your little social media world. This takes a regular time investment but the ROI is usually worth it. Post relevant, interesting comments to other people’s pages that relate to you and your business. Comment about industry news and provide your take on the situation. Ask questions of others and encourage them to ask questions of you. Keep your pages updated with new content, pictures and information and make sure your content is relevant and interesting.
One of the most important social media websites for any businessperson is LinkedIn, built around the concept of helping professionals expand their professional network. Set up a solid personal profile and start linking with others that you know, and then look at their contacts to see if there are more people you might want to meet. You can request an introduction and slowly start building a bigger, better network simply through online introductions alone. In addition, LinkedIn has many groups that you can join that targeted at your industry, market and expertise, which are excellent sources of information, networking and sales leads.
While generating organic traffic to your website and increasing your visibility thorough social media websites are essential steps to increasing your sales through the internet, you may need to add a little extra by paying for online ads.
You can also use a paid SEO service that will bring the traffic to your site.
Spending some time on the internet to develop your online presence is an investment that pays well and can continue to produce leads on a regular basis.