No matter what kind of business you run, you need leads. But getting them is always a challenge. People won’t just flock to your business automatically (unless you’re very lucky).
Most businesses wind up going to marketing agencies and paying a hefty retainer every month. But is this the only way to succeed? Or is there a better approach here?
In this post, we take a look at some of the ways that you can get more leads without spending a small fortune every month on marketing. Take a look at these ideas for sales, customer retention and brand awareness.
Weed Out Your Weak Ads
A lot of small companies are running weak ads on Google and social media platforms, hoping that the simple approach will attract customers and boost their business. But because of the competition – and the fact that so many small firms are using agencies – that’s not always what happens. Instead, your ads wind up getting seen by the wrong kind of buyer, leading to wasted dollars.
Simple ads aren’t necessarily weak. In some industries, simple communications with customers can actually be an advantage. But you can massively miss the mark if you’re spending too much fighting for specific keywords or displaying your ads to the wrong demographics.
Sometimes, weeding out your weak ads is something you can do yourself, but often, you’ll need to employ the assistance of a professional. Yes – it’ll cost you a little bit of money upfront, but they’ll be able to get your advertising costs down over the long-run and deliver better results.
You don’t need to hire them on retainer either. You just get them to do one-off freelance or contractual jobs for you every few months when your marketing approach needs a change or update. It shouldn’t be a huge amount of work.
If you want to avoid this cost entirely, you can try using some of the third-party tools out there. These can show you your current ad metrics and offer advice on the shape your campaign should take.
Hire A Brand Ambassador
Trying to do your own in-house marketing is a massive challenge. Acting as your brand, you have to find ways to convince your leads that you offer a genuinely compelling service. And for a sophisticated modern audience, that’s a challenge. Everyone knows that you’re going to plug your own products every time.
But when you go through a brand ambassador, you sidestep this issue. Instead of doing your advertising yourself, you get your audience’s peers to do it for you.
Peer-based marketing is usually substantially more effective than trying to do it yourself. Your audience is much more likely to trust somebody who has had a good experience as a customer of your company than they are to accept what you say on face value. Often, all it takes to get a lead is a single ambassador recommendation. So finding people who are willing to talk about the brilliance of your products is well worth the effort. Just a single ambassador on social media can generate dozens of leads. And often, they won’t ask for a kickback – they’re just happy to spread the message about your firm.
Start Using Social Media More
If you’re playing the PPC game right now, you’re probably losing money. There are businesses doing well from search, but they’re massive brands that can afford to hire the necessary talent to get ahead of the game. The average company is having to compete against that, and it’s not easy.
That’s why so many fledgling brands, firms and freelancers are moving over to social media. It’s much easier to make your impact felt on these platforms because of the ability to build an audience directly. You’re not competing against all your rivals for space every time somebody types in a keyword.
Social media is particularly useful for brands looking to build awareness of their products. People don’t log onto social media to necessarily go shopping – although they can do this these days. Instead, they use these platforms for socialising, browsing information and reading new posts.
Businesses, therefore, need to adapt their strategies to attract customers. You don’t have to go down the direct sales route on social media. In fact, there are good reasons to believe that you shouldn’t. Instead, the aim of the game should be to make your brand appear fun and interesting. You want to do and say things that appeal to the type of customer you expect to buy front you.
If you’re struggling to get started on social media, you can take a look at the content your rivals are creating. Don’t just copy what they do. Look specifically at where they are having success. Find out what type of posts their audience enjoys then attempt to do a better job yourself.
Get Coaching On Sales Generation
Like anything, gathering leads is a craft. It is something that you can learn to do, without having to rely on an external agency. That’s why so many people in various industries are opting for coaching.
Coaching to make sales provides you with inside knowledge and wisdom to build up sales organically, instead of trying to force it via PPC. And it’s something you can have tailored to your industry. HVAC and plumbing coaching, for instance, teaches tradespeople how to get more customers, without having to spend a fortune on a monthly retainer. Likewise, agency training can help virtually any boutique business learn how to reach customers through under-utilized channels.
Getting coaching on sales generation might seem like a drain on your time, but it doesn’t have to be. First, you’ll need to learn the lessons on how to do it. But over time, you’ll actually free up your week and won’t have to spend every hour of the day working to attract new clients – not what you want.
Promote Customer Referrals
Customer referrals have a similar effect on your audience to brand ambassadors. These individuals are essentials “peers” of your audience and, therefore, highly effective at getting them to convert.
Promoting customer referrals is also one of the simplest tactics you can use to gain new customers and keep your existing ones loyal. For instance, you could have a referral program where you give customers discounts every time they send a customer your way. Discounts could apply to their future purchases or even their existing orders depending on your business model.
If your brand is strong enough, you might be able to offer different kinds of rewards for referral sales. For instance, you could provide VIP access behind the scenes at your company to anyone who sends customers your way.
Arrange A Giveaway With A Bigger Partner
If you really want to supercharge your progress with marketing online, it pays to work with a big partner with an established brand. You can use their company as a platform to launch a giveaway to your audience, attracting many sales in the process.
How this works is pretty simple. First, you get together with a range of businesses from complementary sectors. One partner is okay – but you can often get bigger results when you have a round table of businesses, all looking to share their prizes with their respective audiences.
The next stage is to share your email lists and social media contact with each other – so long as you’re allowed to do this in your initial agreement with your users. You then sponsor an email giveaway with multiple other brands, offering a “grand prize” – something epic that your customers will love.
Once you have that, the world is your oyster. You can use the massive prize to leverage new customers and get a leg up on the competition. Remember, most brands are still trying to finance prizes entirely within the firm, which cuts into their margins and limits the generosity of their offers.
Get Your Audience To Create Content
Thanks to YouTube and other modern social media platforms, user-generated content is now the norm. People almost expect to see it whenever they log onto the internet.
That’s why it is now working for brands. They just find a way to incentivise their audience to create promotional content and run with it.
There are already several platforms that make this process easy for business. For instance, BuzzFeed has its community posts that allow members to share their ideas and talk about what they like. There are also other sites as well, like HerCampus.
Some brands have already used this type of marketing to great effect. Doritos, for instance, hosts annual contests where customers compete to produce a video that will form part of its Superbowl ad.
You can see, therefore, from this list, that there are countless ways to get more leads without spending a lot of money on advertising. It just requires a little creativity. A lot of these methods feel riskier than just doing marketing the standard way – and they are. But they’re also much more effective in terms of dollars and cents over the long-run.