Don’t Miss Out on this Year’s Most Opportune Times to Attract New Leads, and Rekindle Stale Ones
September marks a month of change. Draining the backyard pool, seeing kids off to school (yay!), and what is often a very obvious shift for most businesses. Consumer behaviour changes can mean either more or less traffic and spending, depending on who your business caters to. Retailers are already tweaking their holiday season strategies to be ready to take advantage of their biggest money-making quarter. But even if you’re not in retail, the holiday season marks one of the most—if not the most—opportune times to attract new leads and rekindle cold ones.
Make sure your Q4 marketing strategy includes some or all of these key lead generation and retention tactics that will boost ROI well into the new year:
#1 Objectives | Now Tell Me What You Want. What You Really, Really Want!
If you haven’t already, now is the time to define your Q4 sales goals. It helps looking at what you’ve achieved last year, and if you tracked your marketing results years prior, isolating what worked and identifying what can be improved upon.
Ask yourself: In the past, where were opportunities missed? And what are the most common questions, requests, concerns, complaints and compliments we receive from our customers? The answers to these questions will give you valuable insight into what you can do to attract and impress more customers this year.
Launching into a bunch of marketing tactics without a plan is a needlessly expensive gamble that almost never pays off. Be responsive instead of reactive. And make sure your strategy is based on what your customers want—getting their attention by addressing their wants and needs versus boasting about why you think you’re great. Your customer will determine that for you, so focus your energy on ensuring your customer service model is customer-centric.
#2 Website | Make Sure Your Website Isn’t Oh So 2008!
Websites, like any other technology, warrant occasional updating, maintenance and eventual replacement. Even if your website isn’t used for directly selling your products and services, it should at least showcase your products and services in the best light, convey your expertise, be helpful to your target market and inspire trust from your prospective customers. And, it should most definitely be mobile friendly by now.
If you’ve been putting off making your website responsive, or getting lackadaisical with your SEO, you’ve got less than 8 weeks to make your most important marketing tool ready for action. Sometimes this requires an overhaul—a whole new website—and sometimes it just requires making a few changes. Either way, to ensure your website is optimized to convert more customers, it must offer an as-intuitive-as-possible shopping and browsing experience. Start the process by understanding your online buyer’s journey.
#3 Service | Pull Margaret from Front Desk if She’s More Interested in Cats than People
How many times has a promotion brought you into a store or onto a website only to result in disappointment and dissatisfaction because you ended up on the receiving end of a crappy-as-hell customer service experience? It feels like a pie in the face, and it makes you want to vent to anyone who will listen.
Failing to deliver a positive customer service experience results in more pissed off would-be-customers than ROI. You may have been left wondering how a business could be so haphazard as to draw attention to themselves when their proverbial pants are down around their ankles. Sadly, it can happen to even the best brands and despite the very best intentions.
It comes down to lack of preparation: lack of strategy and lack of communication and consistency amongst staff and customer touch points. Everyone has to be on board and clear on the experience you wish to create for your customers.
Focus on the feeling you want to impart on your customers when they interact with your business, from visiting your website and receiving your emails, to when they call or interact with your team in person, and how they feel following their purchases with you. An effective lead generation strategy takes into account every client interaction and is deliberate and consistent right through to follow-up after each transaction.
#4 Support | Be Helpful and Willing to Hold Their Hand (Even if They’re Cranky)
This brings us to support. The Q4 season marks an exceptionally hectic time for business owners and customers alike. Customers emotions are often cycling between excitement, exhaustion, impatience, fearing debt and dreading the annual 2 weeks visit from their in-laws. Even otherwise awesome-to-deal-with customers may prove more needy than usual. The good news is, this is your time to shine and really impress them with how great you are to do business with. Being intuitive to their needs is the goal and can include tactics such as offering:
- Super convenient shipping and delivery options
- More ways to pay
- Longer operating hours during the holiday season
- Live onsite support via applications such as ZenDesk an Olark
- Extended return policies
- Free gift wrapping
- Sufficient on-location staff to handle customers in-person and via the phone without long wait times
Your customer support system shouldn’t be complicated (no long wait times, or multiple-question telephone commands before speaking with a human). Reduce customer angst by making sure assistance is easily accessible.
#5 Social | Be Approachable
As can be expected, big brands will dominate social media advertising over the holiday season, making it harder and more expensive for smaller brands to reach their followers, let alone a new audience. But small and mid-sized business can use this time to demonstrate why they are more human and fun to do business with. As a smaller brand, use your ability to be more nimble, personalized and responsive to your advantage.
Social media really shines as a brand awareness and customer support activity. Use your social media accounts to post content that your customers will likely consider interesting, amusing or informative. Keep promotional posts to around 25% of the overall content you post and take the initiative to connect with other businesses and complementary providers in your community. Share their content if it’s relevant to your target audience. Show some love and support. You’ve got to give to get. And make sure the conversational tone you use in your social media is consistent with your website and overall brand.
Use Twitter as customer service support tool showcase your bestselling products on Instagram. Run a fun contest on Facebook and use your page to announce events, share pictures of your staff’s ugly sweater party and their favourite cookie recipes. Have some fun and use this as an opportunity to demonstrate your company’s team culture, approachability and human-side.
#6 Follow-up | “Thanks for the Date. You’ll Call Me Again, Right?”
Part of a successful lead generation strategy is actively giving customers a reason to do more business with you (and mitigating buyers’ remorse) post purchase. But you’ve got to give them a reason to want to see you again. Make sure your Q4 client retention email marketing strategy is ready to execute.
People get busy, and your customers are still constantly exposed to your competitors and other alternatives, each competing for their attention and purchases. Now that you’ve made it to third base (post transaction) with a customer, make sure they hear from you soon afterwards. Customer relationship nurturing and retention activities (like dating) are far more cost effective and rewarding than only focusing on attracting new customers. Here’s some examples of how different businesses can rock their follow-up:
Follow-up with product tips and suggestions based on trends and customer preferences: “Since you bought this, we thought you might like this too.”
Food and beverage:
Follow up with a promo such as “It was great to see you. We’d love to have you back. Bring a friend this time and enjoy a free share plate or dessert on us.” This is also a great opportunity to share one of your most loved drink, appy or dessert recipes. And don’t worry your customers won’t stop coming to you for the real thing!
Dental, medical, medical-spas and salons:
Follow-up with a call or email 24-hours post-procedure to ensure each new customer is happy with the service they received. Send follow-up reminders with relevant self-care tips. Email customers with offers within the 3 months following their last treatment with you.
During the holidays is the perfect time to reach out to your entire customer database with a promo such as a free gift with purchase, credit towards their next treatment, or a VIP customer event invite. Get creative and make sure what you offer is something they will likely be interested in.
Reach out to leads who haven’t converted by notifying them of recent updates and new features, and offering them another extended free trial. Reach out to prospective Enterprise customers with a holiday season promo such as “complimentary orientation session” with purchase, or a subscription to your SaaS bundled with complementary software extensions that are relevant to their user case.
Follow-up with past purchasers with any new data or case studies related to the items they purchased from you or are still considering, industry news and events. The holidays are a great excuse for reaching out to stale leads and past customers with a warm “season’s greetings” or holiday event invite to get new conversations started.
The point is to get creative, bundle your offerings and wet your customers’ appetites. People are in the buying mood this time of year. Indulge their senses and make them an offer they won’t want to refuse.
Maintaining these customer attraction, conversion and retention strategies will result in positive ROI well into the New Year.
If you need help transforming your website into a lead conversion machine, or want to know what we can do to help you improve your lead generation and retention strategy, reach out to us at McAllister Marketing today. We’re experts at strategic marketing and web development, and we’re also super approachable, fun and easy to work with. You’ll love us when you see what we can do for your business.