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A client said something the other day that puzzled me. We were talking about marketing priorities for the coming year and they said that ‘developing social media needed to be a key focus’.  Hmmmmm, I thought. I’m not sure I agree with that. What?!!

Let me explain. Social media is just another tool in the marketing tool-box. In the same way that we use brochures, websites, phone calls and networking meetings, so we can add social media to the list.

What should be the focus for the year? Lead generation. Or, more precisely, lead generation and converting those leads to customers.

If we know that we want to achieve £10,000 more revenue then we can work back to work out how to tackle lead generation. This presents us with two options: increase the % of leads converted to customers and/or increase the number of leads.

Focusing just on improving social media is a bit like stabbing in the dark. Unfortunately it’s too easy to pick marketing ideas out of a hat, rather than looking at the route issue and tackling things from the ground up. Whatever we do needs to be grounded in logical, measurable activities that have been set out because they contribute towards achieving our financial and business goals.

Let’s start with improving the number of leads

The methods we choose come from the following formula:

# leads needed/month – current # leads/month = improvement needed

To improve the number of leads we get, we need to study:

  1. How we’re attracting those we do get. What methods are working well and what methods aren’t work? Don’t rely on hearsay, use figures and analysis to provide an accurate study.
  2. Who are we trying to talk to?
  3. What are their needs?
  4. How do they communicate?

From this we can set some goals and actions, tying in the various elements of the marketing mix. These may or may not include social media.

Second, now we’re generating the leads, how do we convert them to customers?

Again, we can start with some simple mathematics. I’d always start by working out what we would need to increase the conversion % by to reach our £10k goal (based on the average income per customer). Once done we can ask ourselves how viable it is to base our activity around increasing conversion, or whether this needs to be combined with increasing the number of leads as well.  Perhaps the best solution might be to improve both by a smaller %?

Whatever goals you set, the next steps are likely to be the same:

  1. What do each of these customers have in common? What can we learn from them in terms of similarities?
  2. What communication brought them in as a lead? Are there any trends?
  3. How else do they communicate?

So, where do you start?

One of the easiest places to start with this sort of approach is actually your website. Tools like Google Analytics make it really easy for people to track activities and to set up ways of measuring leads and pathways through the lead generation process.

As a first step, why not follow these initial stages. Once you’ve got your feet you could spin it out to look at other marketing methods, offline, as well.

  1. Set up Google Analytics and start tracking (weekly) traffic to your website, sources and page views (both the number and also which pages people are interested in).
  2. Track what keywords people are typing in to find your website – what are their needs, therefore.
  3. Set up a weekly report to be automatically emailed to you.
  4. Start to track sources of new customers. Where have they found you? Set those that say “web” against your new Google Analytics reports.
  5. Review your goals on Google (ask for help if you need it) and set up some things that you’d like to measure – these might be filling in an enquiry form, downloading a document or looking at a certain page.
  6. Once you’ve measured these things then start to think about what you want to achieve and make changes to do this. Review every step on Google Analytics.
  7. If you’re sending email newsletters already, consider using Google Analytics within these to track leads from them to your website.
  8. For each step, think about what you’d like the next five to be. So, if someone receives your email, you want them to: click on a link to your website; view a certain page; complete an enquiry form or download a document; receive a follow up email suggesting three more great things they can get from you; receive a phone call to follow up the enquiry
  9. Take this data and do something with it. Don’t just file it… work out improvements and changes, with accompanying measures at every step.
  10. If all this sounds baffling then invest in this book, or take a look online here

TOP TIP: Start small and invest some time in getting this process right. It will save you time and money in the long run.

Do you have any great tips for this? Let us know…