It doesn’t matter how good your product or service is, if your competitors are better at generating positive word of mouth (WOM) around the web, and converting leads, you’ll be out of business in no time. Luckily, converting quality leads into loyal customers isn’t rocket science – but it is an art.

Stop scribbling outside the lines

In the early days of Google AdWords, the main goal was to capture as many clicks as possible – but now the focus for many marketers has shifted to fighting for quality leads. Businesses attempt to “capture” leads via free trials, product demo requests, email opt-ins and more. But even if you accomplish the capture, turning that demo request or newsletter subscription into an actual sale is where things get stuck.

A recent Formstack report found that many marketers are at a loss when it comes to converting leads:

  • 64 percent of marketers don’t know where to start or how to consolidate various marketing channels
  • 21 percent said they don’t have good lead source data

Basically lead conversion is something many marketers find overwhelming. So let’s boil it down to the simplest of terms: To convert leads, all you need to do is drive positive WOM around the Internet.

Oh, is that all?

Add some colors to your crayon box

Well, it’s a big part of it. Your business needs to be everywhere. Remember the rule of seven, which states “a prospect needs to hear the advertiser’s message at least 7 times before they’ll take action to buy that product or service?” Go even bigger. In the digital world, consumers probably need to come into positive contact with your business twice as much to remember you.

Because in addition to whatever you’re doing to catch their attention, they’re being effectively cyber-stalked by retargeting ads from your competitors as well – to say nothing of the general noise they come up against in their social feeds and inboxes. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best in the business if your competitors are making more noise than you are. So you’ve got to be sure your “voice” is the loudest.

That strategy has to include mastering search, which is still the first step in getting potential leads to remember you. “An optimal internal link structure gives users – and Google – a roadmap,” says Jordan Koene of Searchmetrics, “leading them logically around your site to their desired destination.” If your links are haphazard, Google gets confused, and your site gets lost in the shuffle. So link optimization is a crucial part of the equation.

It’s one thing to work to be memorable when people stumble upon you. If people can’t find you when they’re actually looking, you’ve got a big problem.

Have a little fun

But creating brand awareness also involves creative social media strategies and content marketing. This is where you have a chance to build authentic relationships with your customers and show off your personality. Social strategy isn’t just about gaining followers and linking to your website – it’s more about engaging your followers so they like you.

Yes, converting leads into sales is the end goal, but a little subtlety in that regard is usually better than a hard sales pitch. Use your social presence to get to know your customers and prospects – and let them get to know you. Sometimes just being active on social – especially during major events like the Super Bowl or the Grammys (depending on your business) – is the best way to generate WOM.

There’s no single way to get the job done, so combine whatever tactics bring results. And don’t be afraid to use any applicable psychological triggers – like the desire to gain pleasure – in your approach. Just don’t be obvious about it.

If you do a killer job getting the word out, conversions will happen. Work on your artistry and people will stop to appreciate it.