There are three metrics that are critical to success in the overwhelming majority of small businesses. The first is how frequently (and consistently) new leads can be brought into the business. The second is how effectively those leads can be converted into actual sales. Whilst the third is whether each customer can be transformed into a repeat customer.
One of the things I love about social media is how important it can become as a source of new business leads, almost regardless of the market the business serves or the size of the company. It's such a weight off the shoulders of a business owner to provide them with a scaleable source of new business leads - and refreshing that this isn't constrained by the availability of key salespeople or indeed the Founder themselves.
Note: if you've been trying to figure out how to do this in your own business, do join me for a presentation on this very topic.
What I'd like to share with you here though is the importance of tracking the source of your own business leads, so you can decide where to invest your time and money in a more informed manner going forwards. Here's an example of what I mean, looking at the relative cost of generating a quality lead via a variety of lead generation channels:
Clearly you need to determine what constitutes a quality lead for your business. What demographics do you need to reach to have a qualified buyer for your products or services? And what step do they need to have taken to become a genuine lead for your business? Maybe you need people with a certain job title to register for a demo of your software. Maybe you need people in a particular income bracket to request a promotional code for your services. The important thing is to define this - and to make sure that the step you're requiring them to complete does mean they're self-selecting themselves as a genuine prospect for your business.
Having done this, you'll then want to test a variety of channels for bringing in leads. Ideally testing each channel until you've optimised that channel to get the best performance from it. Then once you have each channel delivering at peak performance, putting an equal budget into each - over the same timescale - and then seeing how each performs in otherwise identical market conditions.
If you do this well, you should end up with a chart not dissimilar to the one above, but showing you the comparative costs of generating leads via each of the channels you've tested. For small businesses with limited budgets, you're clearly going to want to exhaust the most cost effective channels first before investing too heavily in the channels that produce smaller profit margins. So this one exercise can give tremendous focus to your business activities - and in all likelihood demonstrate the overwhelming case for investing more heavily in your social media presence.
If you need help getting this right in your business, you're welcome to reach out for a social media consultation - or better still, join me for a presentation where we'll explore these tactics in greater depth.
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