Another year has just whizzed by. The recession has (more or less) abated. People and businesses are more positive and we’ve got more money in our pocket. There are still risks and not everyone is quite so positive but, in general terms, organisations have started to invest again in all kinds of products and services. How has your business taken advantage of the growth? Was last year a good one? And what are you doing to prepare for 2016? In this blog, we take a look at some of the things you might want to consider for 2016 in terms of your growth plans.
1. Make a plan
It might be that you already have a plan. That’s great. But if you don’t, now is the time to start. If you have clarity of objectives, you’re more likely to achieve them and more likely to take the right decisions that move you towards those objectives. So, make sure you have a plan for your business in 2016. That’s in terms of financial numbers (revenue, margin, profit etc), number of customers, average value of sale, mix of business, products and services upon which to focus and so on.
2. Embrace video
This may seem an odd one to feature so highly in this list. However, video is crucial if you want your online presence to work in your favour. We recently featured an interesting blog on the importance of visuals. Our brains process visual info so much faster than text. How to videos are all over the web and YouTube is a massive search engine. Video features highly on Google. Social video is massive. So, if you haven’t already, embrace video. Our video shoot is next week by the way!
3. Drive inbound enquiries
The cost of acquisition for enquiries that come to you is so much lower than where you’re forced to use your marketing budget and people. They’re also more likely to be in the market for your services and will probably convert quicker. So, how much time do you spend on cultivating inbound? That includes asking for referrals, making your website look fantastic, having calls to action on your site and ensuring that your content pushes Google ranking higher (see below). If the phone doesn’t ring now and you don’t get web enquiries, make this one of your key goals for the New Year.
4. Generate interesting content
We mentioned content above. Google favours fresh and original content. That’s not to say that appropriate content curation isn’t worthwhile (see our expert posts page). However, not only does content showcase your expertise and enhance credibility when potential buyers arch your site, it also encourages better Google ranking. It won’t happen overnight but make content part of your marketing and part of your daily or weekly tasks. This includes video (of course), blogs, tips, white papers, infographics, podcast (see our two latest podcasts here), how to guides, product updates and so on.
5. Build your network
We didn’t always recognise the value of this. That was until someone from the past, with whom we’d lost contact, referred us to a great piece of business. It’s both a game of numbers but certainly a matter of quality. How are you building your network of influencers? Influencers carry relevant messages to your target market. On LinkedIn, how many good connections do you have? If you regularly blog, you can add those articles to both your company page and personal profile. Connections will see those blogs when they’re on LinkedIn. That adds to your credibility. How strong is your Twitter network? How about offline? What networking do you do? Strong networks provide credibility and knowledge. How many people now consult their Facebook friends if they want to know something? Make your network an asset in the coming year and you’ll see the benefits.
6. Build your social profile
Allied to the point above, you need to dedicate time to building your social profile. We’re not necessarily saying that you need to use some social profile tool to check your score. But how often do you check out someone’s LinkedIn profile before a meeting? Do you take a peek at the company LinkedIn page alongside the website? How about Twitter? If they’ve got 3 followers and last tweeted 6 months ago, how does that make you feel about their business? And don’t forget, millennials have grown up with social media. They expect you to be social and to be active. They are the buyers of today and tomorrow. So, work on your profile across the main platforms relevant for your business. Get a decent profile picture. Think carefully about how you describe yourself and your business. And make sure that when prospective customers check you out your profile doesn’t do you a disservice.
7. Don’t forget testimonials
We’ve been guilty in the past of not asking for testimonials. In the lead generation business, sometimes it’s tough to deliver the results that clients want. And expectations are always sky high even though we work hard to agree what success looks like. We like to think we do a good job or our clients and thankfully they agree. So, we routinely ask for testimonials to put on our website. They feature on our home page and on a separate page for each aspect of our business. Once again, when prospects check us out they need to feel reassured that clients feel we deliver. So, work on your testimonials.
8. Have some long and short term strategies for lead generation.
Not every method of lead generation or marketing will work for your business and some will take more time than others. There is little in the way of guarantees. Therefore, test where you can but take care not to spread too thinly. Have a balance between inbound and outbound not least since inbound leads take time to build. Recognise that good potential clients probably already have a supplier (possibly contracted) that offers what you offer. Hence, renewal dates and review dates are important and you need to schedule follow ups when that trigger comes up.
9. Get to know your customers
Of course that’s important in every respect. It is certainly the case that the better they know and value you, the more they will recommend you. Equally, to sell more, you need to understand how you add value. That means how you help clients to either alleviate problems or enhance opportunities. Once you k ow what these typically are for your prospects and customers, that should be the basis for your approach whether for telemarketing lead generation, content marketing, video production, events and so on. Focus more on the customer and less on what you do and you’ll generate more business.
10. Build Alliances
Who gets to your customer before you do? Who offers services that are complimentary to yours? For our business, that might mean working with business consultants of providers of email marketing or direct mail specialists. We’ve had business in the past from PR agencies. Work out where alliances could be formed. They could just be referral based. They could involve commission. Or they could just add value to the customer so they get a better service.
Some of the above involve allocation of funds to make them work effectively. Others involve just time. All require an acceptance that these are the right things to do to build your business. If you don’t agree with all of them, that’s perfectly fine. Just identity the replacement actions that will deliver on the objectives of lead generation, credibility and brand building and customer satisfaction.
If you’d like to know how GSA Business Development can help generate growth for your business through telemarketing or social media lead generation or you’d like to book one of our new business development and marketing strategy workshops, contact us now on 0845 658 8192 or use the form on this site.