It’s the question that teeters on the tip of every business owner’s tongue when they consider leaping into the digital space for the first time: how can the internet help me generate more leads?
Typically, the thing to do is to build a website. Having an online base where customers can make purchases or receive services is logical for any business wishing to grow digitally.
But what if you don’t have a website yet? What if you don’t have the budget? What if you’re still skeptical about online? What if you don’t trust the internet?
There are plenty of small business owners that think along these lines and us simply telling you that you need a website might not necessarily be the way to break you into the digital landscape if you’re hesitant or uncomfortable with it. There’s a plethora of opportunities out there that’ll let you dip your big toe into the ocean of the internet without having to go through the expenditure of creating a website straight away. You can warm yourself up by trying some of the following:
Register to Google My Business1
When you register with Google My Business, you’ll give your business a great chance of being found online through:
- Being featured on Google Maps, so potential customers will see your business location when browsing the map
- Showing up in Local searches - If you have a restaurant in Seattle and a user searches for ‘restaurants in Seattle’, you’ll give yourself a good chance of being in the right place at the right time on the Google search results pages
- Having a presence on Google Plus, Google’s social network with over 300 million users2, will help your business tap into new markets through engaging with users there
Create a Facebook Page
Facebook now has over 1 billion monthly active users3 so, chances are, there’s an untapped market for your small business there somewhere. To generate leads on Facebook, there are a few tools at your disposal, including:
Brand Pages. Through creating a brand page, you’ll have your very own space on Facebook. From here, you can post pictures and videos, write articles or updates, share product deals and special offers, service enhancements or changes and engage with potential leads
Advertising. You can use Facebook advertising to reach a wider audience for your page. In theory, the more people that discover your page, the more potential you have to turn those followers into leads
Get a Twitter Handle
Twitter is a great place to generate leads through:
- Engaging with users in real time. People respond quickly on Twitter. Five minutes is a lifetime. That’s great because you can have a natural conversion with people and build relationships in real time.
- Handling customer complaints and queries. Repair relationships and show potential leads you care
- Share photos and articles that you enjoy and show potential leads some of your brand personality
- Share company news and updates to keep current and potential customers in the loop, bringing them closer to your brand
Plus, you can also use Twitter to conduct competition research. Find out what your competitors are up to: What are they doing? How are people engaging? Can you learn something from them? Can you do better? This will help you stay on top of your game and develop your Twitter marketing approach.
Yelp for Business
Yelp is predominantly used by hospitality businesses such as pubs, bars and restaurants and is a place where user’s can leave reviews of your business and upload photos. Yelp is a great way to encourage word of mouth and generate leads through:
- Responding to customer reviews and strengthening relationships with current or past customers. This is a great way to show potential customers that you value your customers and don’t take them for granted4
- Uploading photos of your business to show potential customers what to expect and show off your facilities, food, venue etc.4
Plus, similar to Twitter, Yelp is a great place to conduct some competitor research based on actual user feedback.
Join Trip Advisor
Similar to Yelp, but broader, Trip Advisor caters for the hotel, hospitality and tourism industry5 and again allows customers to leave reviews, upload photos and rate your business. Potential customers can search for or stumble across your business and these peer reviews can help you generate enquiries.
Again, as with Yelp, be sure to respond to customer reviews and ratings, as it shows potential customers that you’re attentive and that you care. It also gives you a chance to repair negative reviews and relationships.
Foursquare is location-based app that allows your customers to ‘check in’ to your business and share their location with their friends across Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. On Foursquare, you have the potential to connect with 20 million people6, each of who may have hundreds of friends, fans and followers who could help amplify your reach further still.
More or less any business with a physical location can join Foursquare, providing you fit into one of the following categories6:
- Arts & Entertainment
- College & University
- Nightlife Spot
- Outdoors & Recreation
- Professional & Other Places
- Shop & Service
- Travel & Transport
Once you’re on Foursquare, you can offer discounts, promotions and special offers to customers who check in, which will also help encourage potential customers to check you out.
Scratching the Surface
These services are only a drop in the ocean compared to everything that’s available online to help your small business succeed without having a website. Of course, a website would pull all of the above together, integrate your entire digital strategy and provide the hub for all of the above activity to center around, but you don’t have to have one straight away in order to benefit from the services that are out there at the moment.
However, if you want to jump straight in with the creation of a website or if you’re familiar or use all of the above and want to pull everything together in one place, then give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.