For the most part, the purpose of your online marketing is to generate leads for your business. Brand building campaigns can be an exception to this, but in general, your objective is probably to generate sales by converting the leads that your online marketing brings you.

The most important thing to remember here is that getting the lead is only the first step in the process.  Once your online marketing has generated that lead for you, and a potential customer has made contact with your business, the success of the next step is down to your capacity, and your internal process for handling that lead.

Identifying The Right Leads

The first step is to assess the lead.  By its very nature, online marketing is an open ended process, with no control over the people who make contact via your site.

Some of these will inevitably be people who are looking for a product or service you do not supply.  Some will be people who are simply looking for information, or comparing price points.

Others will be people in the late stage of the buying cycle, who are ready to buy from you right now, or at least, once you’ve engaged with them.

Treating Your Leads Right

Once you’ve assessed your leads, the next step is to provide them with the information they require.  Depending on how your lead contacted you, this process can be accomplished in different ways.

If they’ve phoned with an enquiry, you need to ensure that their call is routed to the person best equipped to answer their query.  If they’ve sent you an email enquiry, you need to send them the specific information they’ve asked for, and cover why they should be using you to fulfil that need.  Then your sales team needs to follow up with them.

Don’t make the mistake of ignoring the wrong leads either.  If somebody contacted you for a service or product you don’t supply, then don’t just ignore their email or call.  Apologise for not being able to help them.  Tell them what you could help them with.  And if possible, recommend somebody who can address their requirements.  That builds a positive impression and reputation for your business too.

Follow-Up & Follow-Up

We’ve mentioned elsewhere that the majority of sales happen between the 5th and 12th contact.  But most salespeople only follow up a maximum of 3 times.  Following up with your leads, communicating your value to them, and checking if they need more help, or if they’ve already found what they’re looking for is critical in converting your lead.

Who would you buy from?  The guy who sends you a pricelist when you’ve enquired about a product?  Or the one who sends you a mail answering your specific query, and then calls you the next day to make sure you got it, and to find out if you have any other questions?

Converting Your Leads

Getting a lead from your online marketing (or any type of marketing for that matter), is only the first part of the sales process.  Once that lead arrives, your internal processes need to take over in order to nurture and convert it.

If you don’t have an effective sales strategy in place, or you don’t have the capacity to handle those leads, it doesn’t matter how much you spend on marketing.  You won’t see an appreciable return on your investment.