Ask any small business owner the goals of their online marketing campaign, and increasing sales is probably high on that list. Online marketing can boost online lead generation, especially if your small business actively posts on social media, communicates with past and potential clients via email marketing, and directs customers to optimized landing pages with calls to action and contact forms.
But what good is it collecting leads online if you don’t spend the same effort on converting those leads into sales? Your marketing is only effective if you put the time into courting and landing sales found via online lead generation.
You might think that you can apply the same principles of traditional lead conversion when converting online leads, but that isn’t true. Just as your online marketing strategies must differ from traditional ones, when courting leads online, you need to employ different tactics.
Online Leads: How To Reel Those Customers In
When you’re fishing for leads online, you can’t allow your customers to take the bait and then leave them hanging on the line. If you don’t reel them in quickly, they’ll swim away. A study by the Harvard Business Review found that contacting online leads within 1 hour after their inquiry was 60 times more effective than responding to online leads within 24 hours and 7 times more effective than responding to online leads within 2 hours.
On average, it takes 31 hours for companies to respond to traditional leads. This long response time simply won’t cut it with online leads. It’s key to respond to your online leads within 5 minutes, preferably by phone. To motivate your sales team and track success converting online leads based on response times, be sure to record when you receive all online leads, when you respond to it, and the conversion result.
Don’t Wait for the “Right” Responder
It seems logical that most companies would adjust their procedures because of the above data about online lead generation response time — but in some cases, a small business fails to promptly respond to leads online because the “right” salesperson isn’t available. Even if your sales team specializes in pitching different services, they should all be skilled enough fishermen that they can manage a solo catch outside of their primary focus area. It doesn’t matter if one salesperson contacts the online leads first and then another salesperson follows up to close the deal — just focus on a prompt response when courting customers from online lead generation.
Prepare Your Sales Team
The 5 minute response time for online leads seems good in theory — but you might wonder how you can mobilize your sales team to respond so quickly to contacts found via online lead generation. You simply have to provide the right tools for their tacklebox, and soon your sales reps will be reeling those online leads in! Brainstorm with your sales team and employees — what are the most common inquiries asked by online leads? Then draft up an email response for each so that your sales team can instantly, easily reply to every inquiry without having to draft an answer each time.
Be Persistent, Not Pushy
You can’t just tug your fishing pole a few times and expect your online leads to magically convert. It takes persistent, measured contact to turn them from online leads to committed customers. You should act as a resource for your online leads, providing detailed answers to their inquiries, along with any additional information you feel is relevant.
Don’t be pushy — hounding online leads will make them weary — but do check in with your leads and establish a relationship. You can ensure that you’re not being too pushy by keeping a record of when you contact your online leads and how they respond. If your calls and emails go unreplied, it’s probably time to move on to the next catch.
Pre-Qualify Your Online Leads
Just like fish, some online leads will bite harder than others. Your online lead generation must pre-qualify your leads in some way so that your sales team doesn’t waste efforts on online leads that never intend to get hooked. Try adding an additional question to your online contact forms requiring leads online to specify what products or services in particular they’re interested in. This will help distinguish the more serious buyers (the prize-winning catch) from the marginally-interested browsers (or darting minnows).
If you’re investing time and money in an online marketing campaign, it’s crucial that you also dedicate time to converting online leads garnered by your advertising efforts. Don’t let your customers get caught in another net — focus on catching those online leads today!