The end of a year — and the start of a new one — always puts sales top of mind. It’s your last chance to achieve any goals that you set for yourself, as well as to set the bar you’re aiming for in the future. It’s the best time to think about which tactics have been a big win for you and what sorts of things you might want to add to your repertoire moving forward.

2020 was rough, and many small businesses didn’t meet their sales and marketing goals. If you’re one of them, you know that in order to keep your business afloat, always looking for new and creative ways to evolve, expand, and keep the money coming in makes all the difference.

Small businesses are near and dear to us, and we’re focusing some content on how to help them tackle their sales issues head-on. Part of doing so is building a new sales pipeline that focuses on different approaches that will yield as much return as possible. Another is ensuring you’re prospecting efforts are thorough and well-executed.

But another large component to turning sales around is doing everything you can to generate and convert those on-site visitors. When you execute your external efforts the right way, you’ll generate tons of traffic back to your site, and you’ll want to capitalize on that traffic.

So as we look ahead, here are some of our best ideas for generating and converting more of your leads in the year to come.

1. Tap Into Your Existing Customers

Happy customers are the best customers. Not only do they spend more money more consistently, but the relationships that you build with them also open up new opportunities for bringing in more leads. And now more than ever, it’s important to cultivate your relationships with your existing customers and to look for ways to branch out those big wins into new avenues for conversions.

Some ways that you can capitalize on successful relationships for more sales include:

  • Upselling your existing customers on packages or products that will provide them with more value
  • Writing thorough case studies and publishing them on your site, social media, and adding them to your drip campaigns
  • Customer referral or client appreciation programs that encourage existing customers to refer members of their network

Use a marketing automation platform combined with a CRM to simplify the process of both tracking your customer successes and satisfaction and discovering just how easy it is to turn one great opportunity into several. You can dig into your customer records to see previous transactions and track their progress to determine if they’re a good fit to reach out to for referrals. You can even create a new list within your marketing automation and CRM tool designated for the leads obtained from customer referrals and case studies. This will enable you to send them dynamic and personalized content that focuses on their needs and eventually converts them to customers.

2. Create New Content

Creating content should always be a part of your marketing plan. But when it comes to doubling down on certain efforts, it’s smart to look at the content you’re creating and adjust it based on your new goals. And there’s no better tactic at engaging new leads and nurturing them towards a conversion than high-quality content.

Align your sales and marketing efforts so that your marketing team can create content that addresses your audience’s big challenges, pain points, and interests. Then, use that content in sales conversations and email outreach, including both individual outreach and drip campaigns or other nurture strategies. Now is also the time to bring social media further into the fold, using it not just as a place to connect with more leads but as a platform for putting your content to further use (more on that later).

3. Create Gated Assets

Gated assets can be hugely effective at helping you generate leads. Again, look to both sales and marketing to align this content with your larger goals. Also examine well-performing content that you already have that might serve well as a gated piece or as inspiration for similar content.

For the most success with your gated assets, make sure they offer something of unique value that your audience won’t be able to find elsewhere. Some examples include original reporting, in-depth how-to guides, ebooks, as well as comprehensive, research-driven deep dives into the topics that matter most to your customer base.

Simply adding these gated assets to your site isn’t enough. Sure, they’ll generate some leads on their own, but it won’t be many unless you make it clear to your audience where they can access them. You have to introduce these assets into your social media strategy with dedicated and thoughtful social posts to your networks. It’s also smart to host webinars that promote them and partner with other brands on these webinars to tap into their network. Make sure you also put some paid advertisement behind your most critical gated assets to generate as many new leads as possible.

4. Update Your Social Media Strategy

Looking for a great way to cast a wider net and get more leads? Turn to social media. Your social channels present a huge landscape that’s filled with prospective clients — you just have to make sure to put it to use.

Take a look at your current social media strategy and make sure you incorporate essential lead-generating content from your site. As mentioned in the previous point, share gated content on your social pages regularly, as well as links for setting up demos and/or scheduling a call with you to learn more about your product or service offerings. The more lines you cast, the more bites you’re likely to have.

Don’t be afraid to get creative, either. Encourage engagement by using hashtags and by tagging other brands with similar audiences. Make sure you also follow the right brands and accounts and interact with their content through comments or reshares. By making your brand known on the pages of other accounts, you can get them to share your content, as well as put your brand in front of their followers.

5. Get Links Back to Your Site

Getting links back to your site isn’t a happy accident. Yes, brands will link to your content in their articles if you’re creating compelling, stat-driven pieces. But, that doesn’t mean you still shouldn’t employ certain tactics to get more links back to your content.

Tap into the publications and blogs that your audience reads, then reach out to them to see if it would be possible for you to contribute original content. What’s essential here is to pitch them high-quality, unique content that you know their audience will find useful. Once you get their go-ahead, make sure you include at least one link back to your site, preferably an applicable blog post. This will create a trail for new leads to sign up for your emails and/or see what else you’re all about.

In conjunction with these efforts, keep an eye on opportunities for your content to be included in articles other brands are creating. Sign up for various newsletters and regularly check publication sites, tracking articles that relate in some way to content you’ve created. Then, reach out to these sites to see if they’d be willing to include a link to your content, explaining why your content will help increase the piece’s value.

6. Use Videos

People love videos. In fact, over half of consumers will reach out to a brand after viewing one of their videos. If you don’t have video content including in your marketing strategy, it’s time to start looking into it.

Start by creating marketing or tutorial videos that give prospects a more in-depth view of your company, your service offering, and/or your product. Make these videos easily accessible on your website and share them to create engagement and interest. Keep the tone light but informative, and follow some basic rules to make them as engaging as possible — including bright colors, eye contact with the camera (if you’ll have anyone on camera), and captions to make your video accessible to people with hearing impairments.

There is video software out there that even beginners can use to create and edit beautiful, high-quality video content. You don’t have to be an expert to incorporate this approach, however, if your team is small and you have the marketing dollars, you can always look into outsourcing these efforts, too.

Don’t get stuck with a less-than-exciting inbound funnel. Keep the leads coming in so you can look back on 2021 as one of the most successful years for your small business. There will always be new ways to find new leads, but the tips above will help ensure you’re getting started in the right direction.

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by Benchmark Team