Recently, local business owner Dan Starr wrote to me asking for some advice on how he could generate more leads for his business. Dan teaches piano and keyboard lessons in Tucson, Arizona and has over 26 years of experience as a music teacher as well as a career in music that spans over 45 years. Clearly, experience isn’t an issue, yet lately he’s been having a hard time finding new students.
There are many ways to get new customers; the key is trying a variety of marketing tactics to find out what works best for you and your target audience. If you want to know how to get more leads, check out the five tips below!
1. Get Started with Social Media
Social media plays a big role in lead generation. If you want to know how to get more leads while enhancing your business’ credibility, social media is a great way to do it.
Keep in mind that posting relevant content on your social media sites on a regular basis is vital to your social media success. For example, Dan could post articles on Twitter and Facebook that he finds online about music news, as well as his own blog posts (see the blogging section below), and information about his latest music specials and packages.
I checked and it looks like Dan is already using YouTube to post music tutorials, which is really great, but perhaps aiming to post a new video every month should be his goal. This way, his YouTube followers will know they can count on getting his videos on a regular basis, which will keep them coming back for more. Plus, Dan could use all of his other social media accounts to promote new videos once created.
Haven’t set up your social media accounts yet or need a little help getting them going? We have great how-to guides below that you can download for free today:
- Facebook Timeline Basics: Kick Your Fan Page Up a Notch
- Twitter Basics: The Essential Get-Started Guide for Local Businesses
- How to Use LinkedIn: Create a Profile Page for Your Local Business
- How to Use Pinterest for Business
- How to Use YouTube
2. Support Other Local Business Owners
Wish more people were supporting your local business? Think, for a second, about the type of businesses you’ve been supporting lately. Chances are, you’re guilty of choosing a chain over a local business from everything from your morning latte to office supplies.
Now, imagine if you made a real effort to switch from big-box retailers to local businesses in your town. By supporting other local business owners, you’ll start making connections. Connections that could lead to… wait for it… yes, leads!
In addition, joining local organizations in your area is a fantastic way to get your name out there and make new connections that can turn into leads. For Dan, Local First Arizona would be a great organization to join since he is in Tucson. They are big supporters of the local business community and often host their own events where members can make valuable connections.
Other great organizations to join are BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies), and Independent We Stand. You can also find networking groups in your area for small business owners on Meetup.com.
3. Become a Business Blogger
If you want more leads, it’s time you thought about starting a blog. Why? Check out what Forbes had to say about the importance of creating a blog for your small business: “If you are running a business website without a blog, you are missing out on some big opportunities to engage your prospects and increase website traffic. A static website that doesn’t change or feature new content is essentially an online brochure. In today’s social media-driven world where engagement with your customers is expected online, blogs are essential to marketing your business.”
Not sure what you’d blog about? Forbes suggests: “[Your blog content] should be of interest to your target audience and make them want to come back for more. Consider providing helpful tips, industry research, before-and-after photos, video demonstrations, client success stories, and how-to guides. Your blog should also reflect the culture of your company and should be infused with personality.”
Here’s a great article that explains how to optimize your blog posts (it says it’s for WordPress but it’s applicable for all blogging platforms): Beginner WordPress SEO: How to Optimize Your Blog Posts.
Still need a little a little more help? Here’s a free how-to guide on what blogging platform to choose, how to create must-read posts, and SEO optimization: Blogging Tips: A Beginner’s Guide for Local Businesses.
4. Update Your Web Content
You may not realize how important it is, but the content you put on your website can be the very thing that converts – or doesn’t convert – a web visitor into a customer. If the first thing a prospective customer runs into when they visit your site is a wall of content, it may overwhelm them and dissuade them from reading.
The way to avoid this is by putting the most important details you want a person to know about your business into bullet points closer to the top or middle of each page.
For example, Dan could do something like this on his home page:
- Over 26 years of experience as a music teacher
- Over 45 years of career experience in various aspects of music
- Author of 30+ music books available on Amazon.com
- One-on-one instruction of piano and keyboard available
- Available for musical performances and gigs
- Ability to teach and perform a variety of musical styles
Thanks to the above bullets, people who prefer to get right to the facts can immediately do so, while others who have more time or want more details can finish reading the rest of the page.
Bryan Laurienti, co-owner of local web development business BX3 Interactive had this advice for anyone looking to update their web content: “When you write content for your website, always think about the end result. Who are you writing for? What are you trying to communicate? What action do you want the reader to take? Even if you’re not a great writer, answering those simple questions will make your web content more relevant to your visitors and, in turn, improve your conversion rate.”
5. Get Referrals with Incentives
Do you have email addresses for your past and current customers? If so, send them an email letting them know you’re offering an incentive for any referrals they send your way. In Dan’s case, he could offer a free lesson to anyone who refers a new student to him. Or, perhaps, he could offer a certain percentage off an initial package of music lessons for both the referrer and the referee, hopefully bringing back a past customer and gaining a new one at the same time.
Sending emails and newsletters to your customers is actually pretty easy, so if you’ve never done it before, don’t worry! You can use a free program like Mail Chimp to not only design and send your emails, but also keep track of your results (like how many people opened your email and clicked through to your website).
John Jantsch for Entrepreneur.com also has a great referral offer idea you can try out on your customers. He suggests giving out gift certificates to your customers regularly: “Send a quarterly mailing to your customers and referral sources, offering a gift certificate of real value for your products or services. Tell the recipients that they’re free to forward this to anyone they choose. Many customers want to refer you; this gives them something tangible to use in the process.”
Tell us: Which tips will you try to get more leads for your local business?
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Read more: A Guide for a First-time Business Blogger