For all businesses, collecting insights into customers is an integral part of marketing. This includes developing a solid understanding of a business’s existing customers as well as prospects.
A prospect is a potential customer that has an opportunity to be converted into a paying customer. To be classified as a “potential” customer, they must show some form of interest in your business’s products or services, be it visiting your business’s website or interacting with your brand on social media.
Studies have shown that at least 23% of companies do not follow up on these leads and potential customers at all.
These potential customers are an untapped goldmine, and it’s essential to act on their interests fast. This is no exception for local or small businesses, where growth is highly dependent on building strong customer relationships.
How can your business optimize its sales funnel to grow qualified leads and convert them into loyal customers?
Keep reading to find out!
5 Different Strategies to Convert Potential Customers
Did you know that a business is 21 times more likely to convert a potential customer if they respond to a lead within the first five minutes? Responding within a 24-hour time frame is no longer good enough.
Businesses have to act quickly and employ smart marketing strategies to capture their leads right away and turn them into paying customers. Here are five strategies to strengthen these efforts.
1. Track website visitors
One of the most effective strategies to tap into that goldmine of potential customers is tracking your website’s visitors.
These are potential clients and customers that actively searched for your business online or found their way to its site. What does this mean for your business?
These are customers that are ready to engage with your business and are looking for a reason to. It’s your business’s responsibility to convince them.
By tracking its website visitors, your business can learn valuable information such as how often a prospect visits your site and which pages they’re attracted to the most. For local businesses, a stellar landing page with a visitor-tracking plugin or integration can help identify who and where visitors are coming from.
For smaller businesses, a call-tracking software can pinpoint all inbound communications and inquiries. With an effective landing page or call-tracking software (why not both?), business owners can see where prospective customers have come into the sales funnel and thus plan their conversion strategy accordingly.
Other online tools or software also make it possible to measure how long a prospect spends on a site/page and whether they’ve added services or products to their cart. It can provide insight into which of its services are the most sought after. For example, you might discover that your business’s roofing pages are visited the most while your tiling pages aren’t getting much attention.
This is vital information that can help your business optimize its sales funnel and identify areas of improvement. These analytics can support your business in disbursing or redirecting its marketing or operational efforts. Your business can begin improving its website to create a better, more robust offering for potential clients.
2. Install chat and text options to communicate with prospects and customers
Installing a chat or text option are just a couple of ways of opening up a more direct line of communication with your business’s prospective customers.
Consider an automated chatbot on your business’s website to handle more general inquiries. For more specific needs and inquiries, implement a text program in which your customer service representatives manages all inbound communications.
Don’t forget to utilize your business’s Facebook Messenger as well. Keep notifications on and the line of communication open. Immediately respond to all Facebook Messenger inquiries to convert prospects into paying customers!
Businesses that implement these solutions can provide a better customer experience and be more responsive. Wins all around!
Pro-tip: Don’t limit or block comments from your social media platforms, closing that direct line of communication. Customers and prospects alike don’t appreciate the feeling of being silenced. Most of the time, customers often comment on a business’s social media posts to share with friends or ask a question. They want to engage with your business!
3. Tap into social media
Social media is a great platform and digital marketing strategy that allows businesses to engage with potential customers. For home service businesses and professionals, Facebook Business Pages, Instagram, and Nextdoor are all robust social media platforms to leverage. Your business also stands to benefit from using all three platforms together, creating an entire marketing ecosystem of your services and products.
Business owners can directly talk to potential customers, run promotions through competitions and giveaways, and strengthen their brand.
Social media is also a great way to build positive word-of-mouth through customer reviews. These reviews can later be shared as testimonials on your business’s website (another great way to optimize your website strategy!).
4. Strengthen your customer service
Did you know that 51% of customers refuse to engage with a business again after just one negative experience?
This is why fortifying your business’s customer service offering is a must. Your business must ensure it’s encouraging new customers to buy by being:
- Responsive: Focus on answering their queries promptly. Remember, a business is 21 times more likely to convert a potential customer into a paying customer by responding within five minutes.
- Attentive: Communicate with them through various channels and have your sales team stay tuned to their needs. Again, leverage your business’s Facebook Messenger, chat, or even text. Be personable and remember their specific interests, needs, and preferences.
- Thorough: Ensure your business’s customer service team addresses all of a prospect’s pain points. Be supportive from the beginning to end of their customer journey.
5. Implement a referral program
Building a relationship with customers is a long and sometimes painstaking process, but an innovative way to speed it up is by implementing a referral program.
Attract more leads to your sales funnel by rewarding your business’s existing, loyal customers for referrals. This is a fantastic lead generation strategy that requires little effort but has the potential for major sales.
All your business has to do is give a phone call or drop an email to its loyal customers, asking them to spread the word about your business and offering them an incentive, such as a discount on a service or a gift card.
How to Convert Potential Customers into Paying Customers
Establishing a workflow is a great way to keep track of your business’s lead conversion process.
Here are the steps your business can structure the strategies around to attract the ideal target audience:
1. Evaluate and assess your leads
To make a sale, your business has to know the person it’s selling to. This applies to prospective customers, too!
Before making a sales pitch, gather all the information you can about the prospect. What are their goals? What are their pain points? What is the solution they’re looking for?
Knowing this will help your business build an offer they can’t refuse.
Customers may also be in different stages of their journey. It’s crucial to assess and create an action plan in line with this.
For example, a customer may simply be looking for more general information about installing a furnace. They might not be ready to buy yet, so your business should make sure its sales team doesn’t come on too strong. Or, perhaps another customer is ready to request a quote for your business’s HVAC services, in which case, your team might schedule a call or begin an email communication.
Assessing your qualified leads is essential before acting on them. Determine where the prospect is in the sales funnel by asking:
- Are they at the top of the funnel? Just browsing and becoming aware of your business and its offerings?
- Are they somewhere in the middle of the funnel? Doing specific research for their individual needs?
- Are they at the bottom of the funnel? Requesting quotes and sending inquiries to your team?
2. Determine the correct conversion strategy
Depending on the nature of your business and its services, your conversion strategy and engagement methods may vary.
A plumber’s marketing strategy may differ from a roofer’s. For example, a plumber might focus on strengthening their customer service as they are often inside the home and directly interacting with the customer(s). A roofer, however, might prefer to focus on building a powerful social media presence on Facebook, as their work is often both outside the home and their customers’ direct earshot. Your conversion strategy should be tailored, not only to your business’s customers but to the nature of your product or service.
Think again of where the prospect lands in the sales funnel. All of these points will help your business develop the most appropriate strategy to take to convert that potential customer into a paying one.
3. Immediately engage the lead with the most appropriate strategy and tools
Some prospects may be more responsive to email marketing. Others might prefer social media. An older demographic might be more easily converted through direct contact, like a phone call.
In addition to determining the correct strategy based on the nature of your business and service, you must also identify the right conversion strategy depending on the insights you’ve gathered from your prospects.
A customer looking for basic and educational content on general contracting may be more interested in your business’s blog instead of looking at customer testimonials and case studies. Make sure the strategies and tools your business uses are targeted to the specific prospects and their unique needs.
Once you’ve done so, engage them immediately. Jump back to your business’s Facebook Messenger, chat, or text systems to achieve direct and immediate communications with prospects. Your business has a greater chance of converting prospects by acting quickly!
4. Follow through with your business offer or proposal
When your business has identified the right time and opportunity, pitch the potential customer with an attractive offer that also brings your business the best value.
Let’s say your plumbing business has followed up with a lead who needs to fix a leak in their bathroom as soon as possible. Speed is the main thing they’re looking for.
Your business provides a quote right away, conducts a free inspection the same day, and offers to seal the leak quicker than your competitors.
While your competitors may rely on offering discounted services, your business knows it can follow through with its promise to fix the leak quickly. Because speed is the customer’s main priority, and because you’ve made an offer that directly addresses this unique need, your business gets the sale.
Imagine, too, if they read an online review that your business is known for how quickly repairs are made. That customer knows you have done a thorough inspection, understands that your business will directly relieve their issue, and believes the experience will be worth it because of positive reviews they’ve read. This potential customer can then become a paying customer.
Just remember, if your business hangs on too long and doesn’t act at the right time, the leads will go cold. Engage with your prospects and set up the right opportunity to convert them. If you wait a second longer than the ideal time, your competitors could possibly make a better offer and snatch your potential customers from under your nose.
Make sure to frame the offer around a problem-solution angle and show your customers exactly what pain points you’re relieving.
Then, follow through with the offer your business made. Keep the promises made and go as far as to exceed those expectations.
5. Follow up for effective customer retention
Customer conversion directly ties into customer retention. Once your business captures a lead, you want to keep them in your sales funnel for as long as possible.
A great first step is simply following up with the customer once the sale has been made or the service has been completed. It’s also an excellent opportunity to showcase your business’s customer service.
Follow up with customers through a quick email or phone call. Ask them if they have any questions following your proposal. They’ll know that your business cares about their satisfaction and may be more inclined to engage with your business again and again in the future.
Don’t forget to follow up for feedback as well. Once your business has delivered its offer or proposal, kindly request a review from your new customer! When a customer leaves a positive online review about your business, it solidifies their satisfaction with their experience—just another form of retention!
Some Final Tips on Turning Prospects into Profit
Before your business goes and develops its conversion strategies, here are a couple of pointers to keep in mind and incorporate into the sales process:
- Be transparent: Customers appreciate honesty and will reward your business for it. Avoid sounding overly promotional and answer any questions they may have, at any stage, honestly.
- Keep up with the competition: If your business is not engaging with its prospects, your competition will be. Stay ahead of the trends and stay tuned to your industry’s news. Make sure your business is one step ahead of the competition through effective marketing efforts.
- Think long-term: Customer acquisition and healthy conversion rates aren’t just about making a quick buck. Make sure your business focuses on developing a long-term relationship and building loyalty with customers. After all, retention is less costly than acquisition.
- Be flexible: Evolve in line with your customers’ needs. Make sure to keep your business’s sales process flexible to incorporate any new angles your customers might require.
- Don’t be afraid to add humor and be personable: Bring out the human face of your business’s brand! Customers want to interact with business owners and a real team, not robots. Don’t be afraid to be personal and showcase your brand voice as appropriate.
- Use a sales dashboard: Staying on top of your business’s metrics will go a long way in building its customer outreach and conversion strategies. Leverage a sales dashboard to stay on top of your marketing strategies.
How Signpost Can Help Your Business
Signpost can help your business manage interactions with prospective customers by engaging your website leads and, after converting them, ensuring the sale goes smoothly at the point of purchase.
Leverage our tools and services to help build the sales funnel of your dreams and get those potential customers converted faster!