Thanksgiving is upon us in the United States, which means Small Business Saturday (SBS) is, too (In the UK, SBS is on December 2). You’ve read our five tips on how to prepare your business for the big day, found the strategy that’s right for you, and are working to bring everything to life come SBS. But what happens once the day arrives and you start getting traffic to your shop or website? How can you keep track of everyone drawn in by your promotions? If you’re an online business, how can you keep them active on your website, and how can you ensure you’ll be able to keep in touch with them throughout the holidays and beyond?
In this second of our three-part Small Business Saturday blog series, we’ll help you figure out how to best arm yourself to capture your leads and find the best tactics to encourage them to become return customers.
Create an enticing lead magnet
Remember when we recommended you create some kind of promotion or sale to entice customers to your business for SBS? In the marketing world, this is called a lead magnet. A lead magnet is an incentive for your prospects to give you their contact information and can be used by both digital and brick-and-mortar businesses. Your lead magnet should promise something your prospects find valuable in return for their contact information (like a coupon or an educational resource, such as an ebook or video tutorial).
Content marketing is about getting leads into your funnel, and a lead magnet can help them get there.
For businesses with an online presence, lead magnets should be on your website along with a form visitors must fill out in order to access whatever resource it is you’re promoting (see our next section on landing pages). You should also promote it on your social channels and through blog posts to give it as much buzz as you can. Once your prospects download the lead magnet, they’ll be entered into your contact database for follow-up. Normally, this means thank you emails and sharing the resource with them, as well as education and promotional emails down the road. Remember, every email should establish a clear call-to-action (CTA) that explains what you want them to do next (i.e. use another coupon code, attend a particular event, or refer your company to a friend).
If you’re a brick-and-mortar business with a storefront, consider placing a guest book or log near the register with a note about perks for signing up for your email list (consider this your physical landing page). Lead magnets in this situation can include exclusive offers (like sales and coupons only available through email), a company newsletter, or a VIP membership that gives contacts access to a special event or shopping day not open to the general public. This process might be a little more manual, but it’s a more personal way to get leads and make them feel like they’re a part of your community.
Gate your lead magnet with a landing page
Once you’ve decided on the asset you want to use for your lead magnet, drive your traffic to that content via a landing page that includes a lead capture form. This is what you can link to in your social media promos, blog calls-to-actions, and separate email promotions or newsletters. While your lead magnet asset should be free of charge, a landing page acts as the gate to your asset, requiring your leads to provide you with some of their contact information, including a valid email address. Be sure to ask only for the information you need—ask for too much, and you could scare your potential customer away.
Remember, landing pages aren’t much good without follow up. Software like Infusionsoft allows you to follow up automatically, but with the added ability to include personalization so you don’t sound like a robot, saving you tons of time and effort. Infusionsoft has the added benefit of a built-in easy-to-use landing page feature so you can design your landing page and the follow-up sequences all in one place.
Once you’ve collected contact information from your leads, you should deliver the asset as promised. Timeliness is crucial for this. You want to instill trust in your leads that you haven’t asked for their contact information to spam them with irrelevant content or sell their information to external parties, so the quicker you can deliver, the better. This is where marketing automation can become your best friend. Automation tools allow you create customized, pre-populated messages that can be triggered to your leads the moment they click “submit” on a contact form.
It’s important to note that only a small number of your leads are likely to buy from you immediately. In order to convert them into customers, continue following up in a timely, entertaining, and personalized way. Marketing automation can also help you continue your follow-up cadence on a schedule and to the groups of contacts you determine, so you can spend your time worrying about other aspects of your business.
Score your leads
“Score my leads?” you might ask. “I thought I was running a small business, not recruiting for a basketball team.” Although the concept is somewhat similar to a sport, lead scoring is actually about discovering the needs and interests of your leads based on criteria you set, like engagement with your content, type of business, demographic, etc., That way you can prioritize your follow-up to the ones most ready to buy.
To create a formula to score your leads, think of the scale you want to use (we recommend a five- or 10-point scale) to assess each interaction. Then, consider how much weight you want to give each element of your lead-scoring criteria.
For example, a lead who has already placed items in a shopping cart or has requested a consultation should carry a higher weight than one who’s requested a tutorial video or a white paper. You’ll also need to factor your lead’s timeline into the scoring process. You aren’t going to care as much about a customer who requested a white paper six months ago as you are the one who requested it two hours ago.
Capitalize on your customers’ desire to support independent business
If you thought Small Business Saturday was about getting a quick win in time for the holidays, you’ve been missing out on a big opportunity. On Small Business Saturday, your customers have a heightened awareness that you are, in fact, a small business, and what’s more, they are feeling the holiday spirit. They are actually looking for ways to support you! Capitalize on that, and take the opportunity to build a long-term relationship. Just like any relationship, you have to get their name early on so you can keep in touch.
The best holiday treat of all is that these tactics are evergreen (see what I did there? Holiday. Evergreen. Que laugh track).
But in all seriousness, these tactics will work in your favor year-round, not just the holiday season. For more ideas and suggestions on how to make your holiday marketing campaigns the gift that keeps on giving, check out our other resources.