Strategy to find future customers and grow your business in a cost effective manner
How do you reach new customers on an ongoing basis?
Whether you are a business-to-business (B2B) company or a business-to-customer (B2C) company, the constant challenge is to find new customers. Running paid campaigns achieve this well enough, but you cannot afford to run them all the time. So how do companies get new customers?
The first step is to get new leads.
'Leads' are defined as people or companies who are your prospective customer. Leads have an interest in your product or service, but may not be ready to buy yet.
Why do you need to generate leads?
You may wonder why you need to invest in acquiring leads, when you can directly get customers who will buy from you. The main reason is because the customer behaviour has been changing over the decades. Customers - whether deciding to buy for themselves or for their company - go through a long decision-making cycle. Customers these days spend time to research the company online, read reviews, follow their social media pages etc. before they buy. According to a study by Harvard Business School, a B2C customer needs to engage with a brand 6 times (average) before they decide to buy. For a B2B customer, this cycle is longer at 13 engagements. If you manage to capture them as a lead during this cycle, you can influence their decision making process.
Inbound marketing is a strategy that attracts customers by providing them valuable content. By creating content that the customers value, you influence their decision to buy from you. It is one of the most cost-effective strategies to market your business to strangers and convert them into customers and promoters. A successful inbound marketing strategy captures leads for the business. Here is a graphic on the various inbound marketing strategies. This applies to both B2B and B2C companies.
Lead generation strategies
How you acquired leads depends on your business. In a nutshell, the strategy can be determined as follows:
Think about what value you add to your customer. As an example, an organic cosmetic brand protects the customers from harmful chemicals. Or an accounting app helps small businesses manage their finances better on a commonly available device.
How can you make your customers aware of this value? Taking the same examples, the cosmetic brand can write a series of blogs about the health benefit of the key ingredients they use. The accounting app can provide online demos of their software for various types of small businesses.
The most important step now is to capture the information of those customers who are interested in reading the blog or attending the demo. Provide a simple sign-up form, with not more than 3 fields. A blog signup would only need the email address, while the demo would need name and email ID from the lead.
Once you have the contact information of the customer, it is time to execute what they signed up for. Send them the information they requested within 24 hours so that they do not lose interest.
You need not rely on just one way to collect leads. Use as many lead collection mechanisms as you think would be suitable for your customers.
Once you define your lead generation strategy, it is time to engage with them regularly. In the coming weeks, I will discuss those strategies.
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