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There are numerous effective methods for getting leads that will then turn into customers. Social Media, of course, is the latest method, and it is very effective, but it does take time.
First of all, I want to dispel the idea that marketing is quick, easy and cheap. There are methods that will get you leads more quickly than others, but all marketing takes some time and effort, and especially knowledge of what works in different situations.
Did you know that IBM and Microsoft, arguably the two most successful technology companies in history, spend about 21% of their revenues on marketing and sales? And each of them spends about 15% of revenues on R&D. This means they each spend 50% more on marketing and sales than on R&D. What is your ratio?
This fact is significant, because neither one of them has ever been accused of having the best technology. But what they do have meets marketplace demands, and that is the key. Marketing and sales are the lifeblood of your company, not more features. Apple is another classic example of a great marketing company.
I see too many technology companies spending months and years putting in the latest feature, thinking that a better mousetrap will have people beating a path to their door. You need to meet marketplace demands, but more importantly, you need to show how your mousetrap will benefit people who buy it.
So then, what are five effective methods to get more customers? First, remember you need to build a relationship of trust before anyone will buy from you.
1. Current customers: Remember it takes trust before anyone will buy from you. You have already spent months and years developing that trust with your current customers. So, build on that trust, and sell them more. It can be more of what you’ve got, like another module. Or it can be more of what a partner can bring to the table, to help your customer succeed.
One great way to stay on your customer’s radar and potentially up-sell them is via email marketing. You can use tools like MailChimp, Aweber, Constant Contact and others to create and segment customer lists. Use the templates provided to make your emails look spiffy and viola, you are in business! You can even see analytics on who has opened your emails, thereby narrowing down your list of suspects that may be interesting in purchasing your new product or service.
Read up more here: 5 Reasons email marketing crushes Social Media Marketing for B2B via the KissMetrics Blog
2. Past Customers: depending how long you have been in business, past customers are the second best source for new business. Call them up. Ask them why they left. Talk about their current issues, and discuss the way you have grown and demonstrate to them how you can help them again.
As a bonus, improve your product or service based on the feedback you receive from these past customers. Using tools like SurveyMonkey, KissInsights, PopSurvey and others, you can have them answer no more than 3 questions about what might convince them to give you a try once again.
3. Referrals: you should always be asking for referrals, especially after you sign a new order. But you need to tell each person that refers you who your ideal customer is, and why they would buy from you.
Grasshopper – the company that sells virtual phone systems attributes the majority of their 100,000+ users to referrals. Their ‘Tell A Friend’ link shares across various social channels as well as email. You can also use referral marketing tools like Extole or even build a grassroots referral campaign via email marketing programs like MailChimp.
4. Freemiums: These are free premiums you give away on your website, like a white paper, technical guide, or software download. People must give you some contact information, like name and email address, before you give it to them. But once you have this contact information, then you start a relationship with them, to turn them into customers.
Check out this example of a free CSS Slider that was created by one of the team-members at Wagepoint that resulted in 4000+ tweets in 3 days!
5. Social Media: Social media takes longer, but it is built on the premise of referrals and word of mouth. People buy from people they trust, and if other people are talking about your company and its products and services, then they are more likely to buy from you. Also, research has shown that over 85% of people are more likely to buy from your company, if you are on social media networks.
Don’t know where to start? Check out the recently launched Brandify that was created to solve the ‘ok, I get that social media is important but where do I begin’ problem. Best of all, it is free – for now.
As you can see, this is only a tip of the iceberg, as far as the number of marketing methods you can use to get more customers. But you do need to invest, if you want to be successful, and you need to invest about 20% of your revenues, if you want to play against the big boys of business.
Do you have any creative ways to get more customers to try or buy your products/services? Do share in the comments below!
About the Author – This guest post was authored by Ian Dainty, a business coach with over 38 years of experience in the B2B space. Check out his sage advice at www.b2bbusinesscoach.com.
Toolkit tips brought to you via Wagepoint.