What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an SMB business owner? It could be finding skilled and passionate professionals for your company or ensuring regular cash flow with limited funds.
But the single greatest challenge that can stifle your SMB or startup is getting clients. Unlike established global corporations, you may not be able to afford fancy, high-budget marketing strategies and campaigns to reach target markets and potential customers or create brand awareness.
It isn’t surprising that only 50 percent of small and midsize businesses in the US make it past the five-year mark. How do you ensure your company doesn’t join the other 50 percent of SMBs that fail? The key is to get creative about finding new clients with limited marketing resources. Here are a few techniques to help you attract and close clients like a pro.
Create thought leadership content
Did you know that 64 percent of B2B buyers trust thought leadership content more than other marketing materials when it comes to evaluating a brand? Additionally, 65 percent of worldwide B2B decision-makers believe it positively impacts their opinion of a company.
That makes thought leadership content an excellent tool for establishing your authority, credibility, and reputation in your industry. It helps you build trust among potential and current customers, which, in turn, facilitates lead generation and helps you find clients for your business.
You can choose from a wide array of content formats, including webinars, podcasts, interviews, industry reports, original research, and e-books for your thought leadership content.
Select evergreen topics that will resonate well with your ideal customers and address their pain points. Also, collaborate with influencers and key opinion leaders in your industry to maximize credibility and reach.
Revamp your business website
What’s the first thing you do when you want to buy a new product? If you’re like most consumers, you’ll likely run a quick Google search and check out the top-ranking websites.
That makes it crucial to design an impressive, user-friendly, and mobile-responsive website. Even if you don’t sell products or services online, use your website to showcase important information about your company. That includes your story and vision, profiles of core team members, and testimonials from happy clients. Make sure you populate your website with compelling content your target audience will find valuable.
While you’re at it, use search engine optimization (SEO) best practices to ensure your website ranks high in relevant search engine results. From keyword research and guest posting to technical SEO, there are several tactics you can employ to boost search rankings—one of the best ways to get business clients.
Build your brand
As an SMB, you need to think beyond establishing a mere social media presence for your company or new business. With more than 33 million small and midsize businesses in the US, you’ll face stiff competition on any platform.
How do you break through the clutter and hit the right ears? Humanize your business by building a relatable brand. This can be an excellent way to establish thought leadership.
Consider publishing guest blogs, case studies, and op-eds in authoritative publications. It’s also a good idea to start a podcast series where you can showcase your expertise. For instance, if you run a financial advisory firm, you could host a podcast focused on alternative investment strategies and send invitations and updates to your email list.
Establish local presence
Irrespective of the type of business you run, it’s crucial to spread the word locally to thrive.
Consider attending workshops, seminars, conferences, and other networking events hosted by your local chamber of commerce. Bonus points if you can bag a seat as a speaker at these events. Also, keep an eye out for meetup events in your area that are relevant to your niche.
It’s even a good idea to participate in fundraisers and donation drives or contribute to a local nonprofit to position your business as one that cares about the community’s well-being. Additionally, optimize your website for local keywords and “near me” search queries. Create and maintain your Google My Business profile, and list your business in other local online directories.
Deliver a smooth purchase experience
Implementing an SEO strategy, publishing insightful and authoritative content, and speaking at industry events can be excellent vehicles for lead generation. But how you handle these leads after they enter your sales pipeline dictates conversion rates and revenue.
In other words, you need to have a solid lead nurturing strategy in place to close a sale. Start by outlining a sales process that addresses a potential client’s needs at every stage of their purchase journey.
It’s a good idea to use a CRM like Act! to collect and store client details in a centralized location. With Act!, small business owners, entrepreneurs, and sales reps alike can access detailed buyer personas and use that information to address queries quickly.
Additionally, you can set up workflows to track your sales cycles and automate follow-ups with leads at the right time. You can even personalize your communication based on how a lead engages with your emails, social media platforms, and SMS campaigns. Such laser-focused messaging can move the prospects further down the funnel and prime them to purchase from you.
It’s also crucial to provide potential clients with insightful and enriching content that can help them make an informed decision. Avoid overly pushy tactics, as they can drive leads away. Instead, deliver a hassle-free customer experience by handholding them at every step of the buyer’s journey.
Harness the FOMO fever
Whether you’re targeting regular consumers or B2B decision-makers, keep in mind that your potential clients are susceptible to the fear of missing out. You can use that to your advantage by announcing limited-period discounts and promotional offers.
For instance, if you run a fitness coaching service, you can offer a free one-on-one consultation with one of your experts. Similarly, if you sell online courses, you can introduce a two-for-one offer, where two people can attend two courses for the price of one.
Such time-sensitive offers create a sense of urgency and speed up conversions. Make sure you use email marketing to send timely alerts, coupons, and regular updates to your customer base so that they’re aware of any upcoming promotions.
Ask for referrals and reviews
Word-of-mouth recommendations can do wonders for your small business’s growth. All you have to do is ask happy clients for referrals.
If you’re already using a CRM platform, you can create a workflow that automatically sends an email to a new customer asking for their feedback. If their experience is positive, send another email a few days later asking them to recommend your product or service in their networks.
You must offer incentives, such as reward points, freebies gifts, or discounts on future purchases, in exchange for referrals to motivate your customers to recommend your brand. This is also a good time to request new clients to review your business on various online platforms, such as your Facebook page, Google Business Profile, and other online directories.
Collaborate with businesses
Partnerships with local businesses that cater to your target demographic but aren’t direct competitors can help boost your reach. This is an excellent way to find new clients without spending a lot on marketing, and it’s particularly effective when you want to enter a new market.
Let’s say you run a financial advisory business. You can collaborate with a real estate investment firm to offer free consultations to their clients. Or you can partner with an insurance agency and offer expert advice to their customer base.
Skyrocket lead generation & conversions
If you run a small business, it’s natural to wonder how to find clients and turn them into brand advocates. From publishing thought leadership content to asking for referrals from your current customers, there are numerous ways to find new clients and nurture and convert leads.
Act! offers a robust CRM solution with integrated marketing automation features. Sign up for a free trial to see how Act! can help you with lead generation and increasing your conversions.