How to retain & grow your prospect list for repeat businessNovember 15th, 2017 | Posted In Business Advice, Latest News, Marketing, Online Marketing
Blog Series: Essential Website Growth Tactics. Article 2 of 4.
View the full series at bottom of the article
The best kind of business is repeat business. When a customer buys from you again and again, you don’t have to actively seek them out or try to sell them. This saves time, money and resources as well as increasing your bottom line.
When it comes to the internet and your business website, maintaining and growing a list of prospects and repeat customers is generally done via an email list. Instead of a potential lead or customer visiting your website once and leaving forever; If they join your mailing list, you can communicate with them virtually at will.
The challenge is how to grow and improve our list, as merely having an opt in to sign up to our newsletter on our website won’t get the results required. It takes better offers and smarter strategies, which we will now discuss.
Building a social media presence also increases brand credibility and makes your company more visible and memorable. Social media – when implemented the right way – can really help build your list of prospects. One effective way of achieving this is by running a contest. You see these regularly on Facebook, where brands garner more likes and subscribers by running contests and free giveaways for those who interact with their Facebook page.
When it comes to using Facebook for list building, you can do this by adding an opt-in form to your Facebook business page. Depending on which email service provider you use for list building, each will have an app that can be installed on Facebook. In your email service account, search for the Facebook opt-in app. Click on add app to page, then select the Facebook page you want to add it to. The app will now be installed on your Facebook business page, where leads from your Facebook contests and promotions can easily opt into your list without having to leave Facebook. If you use our email marketing system, you can view how to do this here >>
The popularity of Instagram has soared in recent times, with brands recognising the social power of this simple, yet effective app. Promoting your products or services via cool and catchy Instagram posts is a sure way to get more prospects. In your Instagram profile you can include a link to your website, or even a link to a squeeze page designed purely for building your email list.
One of the key features of Instagram is #hashtags. In summary hashtags categories your posts and makes them more searchable. If you’re a big brand with a campaign you may have a catchy hashtag but often smaller business confuse this and put irrelevant hashtags that will result in no extra traffic. Think of your hashtag as a folder, so that when someone searches for that folder they will stumble across your post. Some good categories for an accounting firm might be #accountingtips #taxtips rather than something like #lovenumbers (unless this was a trending or popular search term). To learn more about hashtags you can read an in-depth article from the team at Later, a good Instagram management system.
A popular way for brands to get the word out about their businesses on Instagram these days is to enlist the help of what’s known as “Instagram Influencers”. These are Instagram profiles that have large followings relevant to your business. You can either pay these influencers to promote your products or services in their posts or simply offer them free products for doing so. A more natural way to do this ‘aka’ less spammy, is first to connect with these influencers and start to interact with them and then over time look for ways to help them and over time, just like in the real world, these influencers might just return the favour. This is currently one of the most effective forms of advertising on Instagram.
Networking for prospects and leads has been a tried and true method that existed long before the days of the internet. These days networking can be done both online and offline. Visiting local businesses within your target market, attending industry-related events, joining industry groups online, or groups where your target market hang out, are all good ways to network and build a prospect list.
Effective networking is about give-and-take and offering value to the people you meet. You don’t want your sole focus to be all about what you can “get” from contacts and prospects, but rather about what value you can offer them first. For example, if you have contacts that would be helpful to someone else’s business, they are then far more likely to offer you the same in return.
Opt-In Form and Lead Magnet
As the common saying goes – “The money is in the list”.
Every business website should have an opt-in form to collect email addresses of customers and leads. Ideally, the opt-in form will appear on every page (or even multiple times on a page) of the site and present a juicy lead magnet to entice people to join your mailing list. Lead magnets are often free giveaways (such as an eBook), a newsletter, or the promise of special discounts reserved only for subscribers.
Opt-in forms can also appear beneath your blog posts, be attached to your Facebook business page, or even be in the form of a specialised squeeze page that you drive paid advertising to; with the whole purpose of building your subscriber base.
Not everyone is going to buy your products or service the very first time they come into contact with your business. The greatest advantage of having an email list is that you can capture people who are merely in the research phase and potentially sell to them as they progress through your sales funnel. Creating an autoresponder series of emails helps with this. When new subscribers join your list they will be sent preset emails periodically that educate them on your brand and also promote your products and services.
Having an email list is a very powerful tool. Some marketers claim it is the most powerful tool a modern business can have. It means you can get in touch with, or market to, your client base anytime you choose. And the results can be instant.
Build a Database of Every Contact
Utilising CRM software, build a database of every client, contact and lead that has ever crossed paths with your business. Much of this can be accomplished via your email list, but it’s a good idea to keep a comprehensive list of contacts, whether they are email subscribers or not. Those who are not can be contacted and enticed onto your subscriber list, adding even greater value to your email marketing campaigns.
There’s really no excuse for businesses not to have a CRM today, with very affordable and even free options available now. To help get you started, here are some we recommend checking out.
- Hubspot CRM (Free and fully featured. Works great with G-suite)
- Solve360 (Works well with Google and has an integrated project management system)
- Insightly (great if you are a G-suite / Gmail user)
- WorkFlow Max (awesome for project management and integrates with XERO accounting software)
- Zoho (Free edition available)
One effective method to attract more free traffic to your business website is to write guest posts for other popular websites that are relevant to your business. With guest posting you get to include a link back to your site. This can be a specific page on your website that your article targets, or just the homepage. Guest posting is a powerful way of spreading your reach and increasing both website visitors and prospects for your list.
Google also loves quality backlinks and uses these as part of their ranking factor. The more quality backlinks you can build to your site (or specific pages), the better your search rankings will be.
Blogging On Your Own Website
Whether you write the blogs yourself, get a staff member to write them, or hire the services of a copywriter, regular blog posting on your business website is one of the most effective methods of increasing organic search engine traffic. This leads to more relevant visitors, prospects and converting customers. For some great tips on blog writing that gets traffic, read this post by famous online marketer, Neil Patel.
Key tips to get more value out of your blogs:
- Always include content upgrades or offers relevant to the blog post. Rather than just having helpful information, if you are talking about particular service, then include an offer that relates directly to that service. This can then lead the visitor to a sign-up form, helping to build your prospect list.
- Include social media sharing buttons so people can easily share your great content.
- Ensure you have comments turned on. This helps drive more interaction with your brand. A great option for this would be Disqus
- Only write content that is relevant to your business so you only attract the right kind of leads.
Build An Attractive, Optimised Website
To increase prospects you need an optimised website that finds favour with the search engines and attracts visitors. Once visitors are on your site, you want to keep them there. The more attractive your website is, the easier it is to navigate and the more appealing the content, the more likely you are to keep a visitor interested and converting them into a lead or sale. Your website needs to engage the visitor first, following up with powerful calls to action.
- Include your phone number in the header on all pages
- Have a clear statement of what you do, the benefit of your service and a call to action.
- Build brand credibility by including partner logos, testimonials and case studies/results achieved.
- Ensure the “About” section of your website is highly professional. Don’t underestimate the importance of a great About page.
Prospect and Subscriber Retention
Offering immense value is the best way to keep customers both satisfied and coming back to your business time and time again. By giving your prospects and customers more than what they expect, your bottom line can only go in one direction – and that’s up.
Apart from offering value, one of the most effective ways of retaining prospects and customers is by building trust: Trust in your products, your service delivery, your brand and your reputation. Two companies could offer the exact same product or service, but if they trust you more than your competitor, it’s your business they will choose to purchase from, even if your prices are higher.
Growing a prospect list and getting repeat business isn’t rocket science, and there’s no need to reinvent the wheel here. It’s simply a matter of following the path of those doing it successfully and incorporating the above tactics into your business marketing, planning and promotion.