According to Entrepreneur, 85 percent of small business owners claim that word-of-mouth referrals were the best way to acquire local customers. However, many of these same local businesses are uniquely poised to get new clients through online lead generation.
Is your industry right for online customer acquisition? Here’s how you can make that determination, and what you can do to make online lead generation work for you.
If online lead generation is the right move for your industry, there are several characteristics that will indicate your business has the potential to attract new clients online:
- Your potential customer base is large and possesses the means to pay for your service.
- The average customer spends enough to justify investing in lead generation.
- Your industry generates a high volume of online search traffic — for instance, enough people are searching “plumbers in Dallas.”
Does that sound like your industry? Some of the most lucrative local industries for online lead generation include:
- Home services, such as plumbers, carpenters, electricians, contractors, and home inspectors
- Dating services and matchmakers
- Senior care
- Real estate
This list is by no means comprehensive. If your industry fits the three criteria listed above, it likely qualifies as well.
If you want to try your hand at attracting new customers online, the first thing you need is a website.
If you’re ready to start out, you can create a professional website using WordPress.com. Even if this will be your first website, WordPress.com has a variety of tools — such as contact forms and email newsletter integration — to optimize your site to get new clients. Plus, there are several plans (including a free option) that fit any budget.
Focus on search engine optimization
Once you have a website up and running, you’ll want to turn your focus to search engine optimization (SEO). Because your industry has a high volume of online search traffic, you’re in a great position to be discovered by potential customers — as long as you show up in search engine results.
HubSpot provides an incredibly helpful guide to local SEO. A few of its key recommendations are to:
- Create a Google My Business account
- Use high-volume keywords in titles, headers, meta descriptions, and throughout your content
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
- Create blog content discussing local industry news to establish yourself as a credible authority
Gather testimonials and reviews
Similar to how people generally trust recommendations from their friends and family, customers trust online ratings and reviews. BrightLocal found that 73 percent of customers place more trust in businesses with positive online reviews, while the most trusted review platforms include Yelp, Facebook, and Google.
That same survey also found that 68 percent of surveyed customers wrote a review about a local business if asked. So, if you want your online lead generation efforts to take off, ask existing customers to leave reviews on your website or on one of the aforementioned platforms. Feature positive testimonials prominently on your website to build trust in your services.
Include calls to action
Don’t make the same mistake as many other small businesses and forget to include a call to action (CTA) on your website.
To effectively generate leads, you should make it clear what you want people to do when they visit your website. This could be as plain as a button or banner stating, “Contact us for a free quote” or “Sign up for our mailing list.” Infusionsoft explains that CTAs don’t necessarily have to drive sales — they can be used to educate and build relationships.
Once you take these steps to build and establish your online presence, you’ll be able to reach new clients and grow your business.
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