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Dec ’18/ Jan ’19 Article: Where’s my money at? – The blurred line between LEAD GENERATION and CONVERSION

Published in the December 2018/January 2019 issue of Your Business Magazine

Small business owners are often reluctant to invest money in marketing mainly because marketing has always been perceived as the “glam child” of the business. The reality is that whichever way you choose to look at it, your business’ leads generation and conversion are driven by focused and measurable marketing efforts. Articulating the need that your product or service offering is addressing, crafting powerful marketing communication, pin-pointing your target market and understanding their media consumption make up the foundation of a clever marketing campaign that has the potential to yield the desired outcomes and to save your business money in the long run. 

Before investing in a marketing campaign, be crystal clear about the campaign objectives and the metrics that you will use to measure its success. Ask yourself if the proposed marketing strategy’s objectives address the challenge that your business is facing. Furthermore, take a closer look at your customer journey in order for you to find out what hampers your prospective customers from investing in your offering – where about in the pipeline is your income stuck? Use that insight to build on to your planned activities around sales and marketing going forward.

I recently received a request to assist with crafting a marketing plan that will take a product to market. Instead of requesting for a confirmation of the size of the marketing budget, I asked for the client to start with providing me with an indication of the number of units that they had sold, their sales target and the number of unconverted leads that they had generated for the product over time. It would cost the client less to convert prospects who have previously shown interest in the client’s offering as compared to attempting to lure customers who might have no prior knowledge about the product let alone have any interest in it. 

What I discovered in the process was that contrary to popular belief, the problem does not always lie in the marketing strategy but often, at times, small business owners have a challenge in converting leads into sales. You don’t need an award-winning marketing strategy as a small business, your marketing strategy must help you figure out how to bring in the money and keeping your customers coming back for more.

As a small business owner, never fall into the trap of confusing the need to generate leads with having to convert the leads that have been generated. At times, businesses invest money in generating leads instead of in the resources and the time required for leads conversion and customer retention. While your campaign results may exceed the anticipated number of leads, the leads report is futile if you are not planning to push the envelope when it comes to converting the leads. The advantage in smaller business environments with close-knit teams is that it becomes easier to combine sales and marketing team efforts or even have one team focus on both sales and marketing.

Remember how one button on Amazon’s website changed the business forever? The business’ annual revenue increased by $300 000. By reviewing their customers’ online purchasing process, Amazon discovered that prompting their site’s users to login was tedious and enough to have prospects abandon their carts instead of checking out. That is where Amazon money was hanging. Invest time in a similar exercise. Minimise lengthy processes that make it tedious for clients to conduct business with you. 

Simplify and reduce the amount of time that clients consume when completing a transaction with you – from having shorter forms to fill out to introducing convenient payment methods. Observe, monitor the feedback and the conversion rate. Remain agile – use the lessons learned about your clients along the way and ‘tweak as you earn’.

How to convert those existing leads…

1. Compare the leads list against the sales report. 

Check which of your leads are yet to be converted into sales. Every customer of yours is currently in a different phase of their relationship with your business. Categorise your clients accordingly and be specific about what you wish to achieve within each client category.

2. Decide on the best platform for you to remarket to the unconverted leads.

Select platforms that will give your prospective clients a sense of closeness to your business without having them feel that their privacy is being invaded or compromised. An unanswered SMS or Whatsapp text to a loved one is most likely to be follwed up through a call. You might have intially distributed a bulk promotional mailer to your prospective customers, consider a personalised email directly from your most relevant team member. Explore affordable and easy email distribution processes such as Microsoft Mail Merge Wizard in order to avoid tedious and time-consuming methods. Remember to comply with the Protection of Personal Information Act. Try incorporating brief content that will remind your leads why you are contacting them and how you received their contact details (“You enquired about our spa treatments in October 2018”).

3. Choose your metrics for measuring the success of the campaign.

If you plan on making use of personalised emails to your unconverted leads, consider activating a Microsoft Outlook rule that automatically direct email responses to a different folder in the mailbox. This will make it easier for you to measure the return on investment and to prioritise this process in your day-to-day activities.

4. Craft your communication.

Keep your message fresh, engaging and interesting without sounding long-wounded. Keep it simple, include all the details that will help your prospect make an informed decision and have a clear call to action.R


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