Getting lots of business leads isn't enough to grow your business. You have to get lots of high-quality leads — leads that fit your ideal customer profile. But how?
If your business is in a constant struggle to generate better-quality leads, you're not alone. About three in 10 marketers in a recent survey say generating high quality leads is the biggest challenge they face. Here are five steps to help you overcome that challenge.
Tap into your existing customer information and sales records to identify your most profitable customers. These aren’t necessarily the customers who spend the most money, but the ones whose purchases generate the most profit. Then look for key characteristics those best customers share. That might include location, household income, demographics and more. Use the information about their common characteristics to create an ideal customer profile. For example, your ideal customer might be a city-dwelling single man in his 20s with an income over $100,000.
Using your ideal customer profile, do some research to find out what those ideal customers are most likely to do online and where they spend their time. For example, do they watch YouTube? Are they active on social media and if so, which social networks? Where do they shop online? What online and off-line media do they pay attention to? What search terms are they likely to use?
Conduct keyword research to see what search terms your ideal customers are most likely to use when searching online. Then use those keywords throughout your business website, as well as your online content, online advertising and social media posts. Search engine optimization will help your website and other online content show up higher in search results, attracting more of those ideal customers.
Online reviews are the modern equivalent of word-of-mouth. They boost your business’s reputation and, if they’re positive, help attract more leads. In fact, 72 percent of marketers say third-party review websites are effective in generating new leads. The secret to success: Respond to bad reviews before they have a chance to negatively affect your rating. Keep a steady stream of new reviews coming in, too: 77 percent of consumers believe reviews more than 90 days old are irrelevant. (Online reviews are just one way to make your business stand out; here are three more ideas for surpassing the competition.)
Attracting more of your ideal customers is just one step in doubling your business. Keep in mind that even though you're getting better leads, not all of them will be ready to buy. Focus your efforts on the ones that are closest to making a decision by learning how to prioritize leads. A lead generation solution that automates lead management and response will make it easier to stay in touch and convert leads into customers.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship.