by Ali Brown
As a small business owner, you know that keeping your marketing funnel –your stream of prospects– full is essential for sustaining your business. I’ve spoken often of the merits of:
- Building your contact list of potential clients/customers
- Communicating regularly through an ezine (email newsletter)
- Posting valuable content on your blog
- Connecting through social media marketing (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
If you’re doing all this, but still struggling to convert prospects into customers, here are some additional strategies for you to implement:
Back to basic methods work:
1. Call. Sometimes we get so wrapped up with our status updates, tweets and email broadcasts that we forget the most personal connection that you can make with someone: calling them up and having a live conversation. Don’t go for the hard sell though, instead connect and listen.
2. Send a personal note. In a mail box full of bills and ads, a hand-written personal note is golden. If you have a special event or promotion to tell someone about, consider the personal touch of a hand written note.
3. Invite someone to coffee. Face to face bonding goes a long way for making a favorable impression. Host a coffee for one or more contacts, and find out what they’re up to, and share your latest projects as well.
See people in person:
1. Host an event. Give people an excuse to get out of the house, break out a new pair of shoes, and mingle with colleagues. From an intimate gathering to a big production, you’ll make a big splash by bringing people together to connect and collaborate. Make it worth their while to attend by offering a discount, incentive, or complimentary information.
2. Invite the locals. Speaking engagements are terrific list builders, and when you do speak, whether it’s at the local chamber or a larger event, let everyone know. Send out a targeted email to your prospective customers in that area, and they’ll feel special and want to attend. Similarly, if you are attending an event, let your contacts know that you are going and that you hope to see them there.
Get more personal:
1. Send a personal email. You’re probably using an email broadcasting system, and that’s great, but it’s even better to regularly reach out to your top prospects with personal emails.
2. Survey your prospect’s needs. If what you’re doing isn’t working, find out why. Survey your potential customers personally by phone, or set up a survey (Check out Survey Monkey) and email it to your customers. Keep the survey short, carefully select your questions, and get assistance from a pro if you need it. Reward them in some way for taking the survey, and you’ll get better results.
3. Be super-responsive. It’s all about connecting with the people on your list to build their trust over time. One way to achieve that is to respond to every email, Facebook post, and Twitter tweet that you can possibly manage, and within 48 hours. (You may need an assistant or a team to help you with this.) Even though you can’t make everyone happy, respecting them with courtesy will make a lasting impression.
Offer them more:
1. Present bonuses. Add bonuses to your sales page if your customers sign on by a certain date.
2. Offer discounts. Make discounts available for certain circumstances to entice buyers.
3. Extend deals. Everyone loves a deal, so join forces with a joint venture partner, and offer customers a two-for-one offer.
4. Provide fast action bonuses. Reward early purchasers with fast action bonuses of special gifts.
5. Hold a drawing. Enter all customers in a contest for an enticing grand prize.
6. Make it easy. Deliver stellar customer service that makes doing business with you a pleasure by devising ways to make it easier for them. (Example: If a customer has just purchased a spot at your event, offer to make their room reservation for them.)
1. Deliver fabulous content. Make sure that your ezine, blog, Facebook, etc. has valuable content your readers can use, so they want to stay connected with you.
2. Reward referrals. Word of mouth from existing customers can be your most effective sales tool. Reward clients who refer you by offering referral fees, or better yet, create an affiliate program.
3. Offer options. Provide products and programs for every level of customer. Even though entry-level programs can be a “loss leader,” it’s a way to get people in the door, build trust, and eventually this pool of people may join at a higher level later.
Connect in every way:
1. Friend them. Create a Facebook Fan page that’s attractive to prospects and “friend” everyone and reinforce connections.
2. Follow them. Create a Twitter account and tweet away. Provide leading edge and engaging messages that attract followers.
3. Share. Share personal snippets of your life to keep people engaged with you to create a relationship.
As the economy continues to pick up, those who go the extra mile with their prospective clients will enjoy a higher customer conversion rate. Be personal and generous, offer fabulous incentives, informative content, and connect in a variety of ways. Then watch you sales lift and your spirits soar.
© 2010 Ali International, LLC
Self-made entrepreneur and Inc. 500-ranked CEO Ali Brown teaches women around the world how to start and grow profitable businesses that make a positive impact. Get her FREE weekly articles and advice at www.AliBrown.com