The best internet marketers and businesses know that the single most important activity they can engage in is building leads.
This is the difference between success and failure and it’s truer in today’s world of online business than it perhaps ever has been.
So just what exactly is a lead? Why does it matter so much? And how do you go about building one?
Put simply, a lead is someone who might become a customer. A lead is someone who has had contact with your business and some sort of interest in your brand. They are interested, they are tempted, and it only takes a little effort on your part to then push them over the edge so that they will become buyers.
But wait a moment: if a lead is just someone who might one day become a buyer, then how can a lead possibly be more important than a buyer? And what does this have to do with the state of business today? Surely a lead today is the same as it always has been? Essentially, what makes a lead so important is that a lead is someone who might go on to make many more purchases in future. A lead is someone who has unlimited potential for you as far as your business is concerned. Now, a buyer is a type of lead in some cases, but not every buyer is always going to become a lead in future. If you have a lead before you have a buyer though, this suggests they are engaged with your brand and thus potentially likely to come back and buy from you more in future.
Instead of thinking ‘how I can make a quick sale?’ the question should be ‘how I can increase my customer lifetime value?’. There’s another reason that leads are so important when compared with customers, which is that a lead is much easier to make than a customer. If you emphasize trying to make as many customers as you possibly can and if you try and force the issue, then your site is essentially just going to become a horrible exercise in sales talk. This might generate some revenue for you but it’s also going to turn a lot of people away from your site and away from your brand, never to return!
Creating a lead on the other hand simply means encouraging someone to place down their contact details and crucially to give you permission to contact them again in future. That is much easier to convince someone to do, meaning that you don’t need to use heavy handed sales techniques and meaning that you’re not going to drive anyone away from your site.
This creates a subtle shift in your approach to business too. Suddenly, you’re no longer trying to do everything that you possibly can do to convince people to buy from you. Instead, you’re just trying to build a relationship with them and establish trust so that they’ll hand over their details.
And then, once you have those details, you can be much smarter about the way you try and sell to them. You can time your attempt better so that you are selling to them at a point when they’re likely to want to buy and you can build up their interest more and more in whatever products you have.
So simply switching your focus from sales to lead acquisition is going to transform the way you approach business and give you a much more value-centric approach. In turn, this will ensure that you build an army of loyal customers that you can sell to again and again.
What’s more is that this will also change the way you approach marketing your site. This means a shift from overt SEO and sales talk and a switch to better social media marketing and content marketing. It means providing value at every possible opportunity and ultimately, this will all lead to happier customers and more revenue.