Whether you own a small business, or are responsible for getting the word out about the product or service your small business provides (or both), you’ve likely realized that marketing is crucial for lead generation, and ultimately affects your success.
We’ll discuss strategies to improve your:
- Social media
Want a PDF of the comprehensive guide? Download Now!
Defining your brand
Lead generation efforts are better informed when you define your brand. Ask yourself, if your company were a person:
- What would it look like?
- How would it act?
- How would it stand out?
- Would it have a mission or higher purpose?
When defining your brand you should also consider:
- If your product or service has special features you can incorporate into the brand.
- If there certain qualities you want to associate with the business.
Logos, tag lines and business cards are commonly recognized pieces of your brand. And that’s for good reason—these are important aspects of effective branding.
Here’s how to do this on a budget:
Logo: Hire a designer on Fiverr to create a logo for you—many will create a logo for just $5.
Business cards: Vistaprint creates and sends a package of 500 business cards starting at about $8.
How to differentiate
As your company grows, you’ll learn what makes you different from your competitors. Continually gather information about your differentiation points (from customers, prospects, and employees) to keep your message fresh and relevant.
Ask the following questions to elicit clear differentiation points:
- What's the most important quality of your product or service?
- Why is it better than what your competitors are offering? List some of your advantages.
- Why do people choose your product or service over another?
Creative brand ideas
There are many creative ways that small businesses can promote their brand on the cheap to generate leads. To start, try one of these ideas:
- Create a fun or catchy slogan that will stick in the heads of customers and prospects
- Make one or more videos that capture your company story and essence. (Creating videos on your smartphone is a great budget option)
Brainstorm creative ideas to extend your brand, but make sure the initiative matches your company story in order to be an effective branding strategy.
**Remember, your brand projects who you are as a business, and that directly affects who you attract to your business… or who you dissuade.
Get customers involved!
You know your brand is successful when your customers become evangelists! Focus on building your customers into an involved community; they may become fans of your brand and promote your products and services to others. Encourage this behavior by finding free or cost effective ways to reward your loyal brand ambassadors.
Here’s a tip:
Give customers a reason to tell their network about you. It may be because of a funny video you’ve shared, or an informational article you recommended. However, it can also be as simple the way you do business, such as offering exceptional customer service that makes people talk.
As a small business owner it has never been more important to have a strong online presence.
Focus on more than simply being online. Potential customers look for (and judge) your digital storefront before even talking to you. This is why it’s crucial to build a website strategy that rocks.
According to Google, mobile traffic has outpaced desktop traffic in the U.S. What does this mean for you? If your site looks great on desktop, but is unreadable on a smartphone or tablet, you’re leaving money on a table.
Here’s a tip:
If you don’t know if your website is responsive, test it! Look at your website on your desktop, then view the same page or pages on your cell phone.
If the site looks great on one, and less than perfect on another, you’ll need to update. But don’t worry, there are many free and easy website design tutorials that can help you.
Your website is a conversation between you and your visitors, not simply an online brochure. Guide your visitor to a desired outcome, whether it is another page, an email opt-in or an online purchase.
Small business websites can increase search engine rankings by creating a large amount of relevant content, but make sure your content doesn’t overwhelm your visitors.
Here’s a tip:
Ensure that your blog posts are categorized by topic so people can easily find what they are looking for.
You can also categorize other resources (like videos, ebooks, slideshares, etc.) by topic, intended audience or even content format.
Make your info easily accessible
Website visitors shouldn’t have to work too hard to find the information they want. For example, if you own a restaurant, put your hours, address, phone number and a link to your menu on the home page.
When a new website visitor comes to your page, what information would they need to know about your business to make a buying decision? Make the path to purchase as easy as possible for your visitors.
Here’s an example:
If you have a yoga studio, put a big link on the home page that says “Interested in Your First Yoga Class?” that directs visitors to a page explaining what to expect from your classes and how to sign up.
Be quick about it
Website visitors are impatient. If a website takes more than a second or two to load, your potential customers will hit the back button and find one of your competitors instead. This is not good for lead generation!
Check out Google PageSpeed Insights to see how you can speed up your site.
Too many plugins slow down your small business website. As you modify your site over time, you probably collected plugins for various tasks. Plugins can be great, but only use the ones that are absolutely necessary and update them regularly.
Google wants to be the most relevant search engine. In their effort to do so, they offer small business owners amazing free tools to feature their websites.
Make sure you register your business at Google.com/business, and include your website, address, phone number and other relevant information so that you’ll come up in featured search results.
Sometimes it’s hard to see the problem areas on our own website. Fortunately, there are some excellent analytics tools that help us understand how visitors interact with our site, and track how various changes perform...
We love HotJar for their heat maps that show you exactly what areas of your site people click and hover on, and which items people ignore completely. When paired with an A/B testing tool like Optimizely, you can design a site that your visitors love to use.
SEO needs to be part of your marketing strategy if you want to drive free traffic to your website. Here are a few strategies to get you started:
Complete keyword research for every piece of content that you publish, then implement the right keywords. These keywords should be long-tail (3 or more words) for easier ranking opportunities.
Layer keywords throughout your content to ensure your website ranks when your prospects search for those terms.
When other websites and blogs link back to your content, it’s usually a good thing. However, backlinks from sites with low credibility, or spam sites, can hurt your search engine rank.
Many people look to image searches for quick and visual answers to questions, instead of reading through a blog or article. Optimizing your images with alt text, which is text that search engines read to understand what the image is about, builds your rank across the board.
Having a strong content marketing strategy is an easy way to build value and credibility for a small business, driving more leads by sharing expertise. Here’s how to build the foundation for a successful content strategy:
Your content doesn’t have to be super long or in-depth. It has to be one thing: actionable. Many marketers think that all content published by a company should be a deep think-piece, a thoroughly researched white paper or something of the like.
It’s time to think about content marketing in a different way.
Actionable content allows your readers to make immediate changes in their day-to-day routines. When creating actionable content, ask yourself:
- What content can you create to make a reader’s life easier?
- What content tools can you build or create that your prospect could use to improve a process within their business?
- When creating less actionable content, like an ebook, what can you include for your prospects to take away and use?
One of the most effective ways to generate leads on a budget is creating content that expresses your brand and voice as a company. A great place to start is with a blog, sharing expertise, advice and information that your potential customers would find beneficial.
Create, create, create!
As you create that type of content, you brand yourself as an expert in your industry and as someone trustworthy. This is an incredibly effective strategy for lead generation, as it allows you to be seen as a voice of authority and keeps visitors coming back for more.
Use a site like WordPress to host your blog for free.
You can also expand your content creation to pieces such as ebooks, infographics, checklists and other resources that would appeal to your audience. This extends your brand and generates leads if you require a form fill before downloading the content.
So many companies spend hours creating a content offer, publishing it, promoting it for a week on Twitter, and then they move on to the next campaign. Does that seem like a waste to you? It should.
Promoting your content should take place over a series of weeks after you publish it and then still happen consistently after the “newness” wears off.
Repurpose, reuse, recycle
At Accelity, we constantly promote our content on social media, via email and on our website (to name just a few channels)—just because content may seem old to us doesn’t mean it’s not useful to prospective clients.
Partnering with thought leaders allows business owners to connect with likeminded people in the industry and has the added benefit of free content promotion.
More airtime for your content >> More traffic to your site >> More lead conversions
The point of websites today is to act as a lead generating funnel. If your website isn’t serving its purpose, it’s time to examine the conversion points on it and make sure you’re giving prospects plenty of places to identify themselves to you.
Possible conversion points include:
- Placing calls-to-action (CTAs) on every page with forms
- Creating a resources page or library to house your content offers
- Placing related content offers on every page of your website
- Including CTAs at the end of every blog to lead the visitor to a form
Small businesses need to accomplish a lot with limited resources. Social media marketing is a great way to reach a large audience at little to no cost. Learn more about how to make social media work for you.
Strategy is the best story you can tell
Building a deliberate social media marketing strategy means that you define the:
- Type of content you want to share (your own and third-party)
- Voice you’ll use
- Persona you will have
What’s the story you want your brand to tell? Your social media presence should express that story.
Of course, simply having a presence on sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram can generate leads, but adding paid advertisements will give your lead generation efforts a boost.
Pay to play
There are many different paid ways to generate leads, but compared to traditional methods, social media is making it more affordable than ever to earn new leads. It can even save you up to 80% of your lead generation costs.
Creating ads on these sites is a very cost-effective way to:
- Increase site traffic
- Increase number of leads
- Increase overall company visibility and value
- Increase blog views and content downloads
The list goes on! Even spending $50-100 a week on ads will bring B2B small businesses powerful results.
Enter our sweepstakes!
Contest posts receive some of the highest engagement rates because, well, who doesn’t want to win something? Tools like Rafflecopter and Rignite make it easy to manage social giveaways and further increase post engagement.
Ideas for social contest entries could include having your followers:
- Like your pages on all social platforms
- Share your posts
- Caption an ambiguous photo
- Use hashtags to get a campaign trending.
These are all great low-cost ways to drive leads to your business!
Video a go go!
Videos are the fastest growing type of social post—the rise of mobile video allows the medium to reach people anywhere.
Think of the lead generation possibilities!
A number of social platforms offer different ways to create and share videos.
Instagram is good for short-form video, whereas Facebook and Youtube are used for lengthier videos—in fact, Facebook now accounts for over 80% of all video interactions on the popular social media platform.
Posting videos offers limitless opportunities for visual content and storytelling, like how-to videos, tips and tricks, branded advertising, and behind-the-scenes looks.
Here’s a tip: Use a service like Wistia to convert even more leads with your videos! Wistia videos allow you to add forms that drive video viewers into leads.
Screw it we'll do it live!
Why live stream?
It may seem scary, but live streaming allows you to have a conversation with your audience in real-time (such as a Q&A session), humanize your brand, promote new products and stream events in real time.
Check out all our content
At Accelity, we believe B2B Small business marketing should focus, first and foremost, on generating leads. We hope the strategies here will inspire you to try something new, take a risk and, ultimately, drive leads!
For more information on B2B small business results-based marketing, check out www.accelitymarketing.com.