While business owners like us struggle to find the advice we need in a timely manner, service providers often struggle to find quality leads and customers. In fact, one of the top concerns for over 60% of service providers and their online marketers is generating quality leads and converting those leads into customers. If you have been running a business long enough, you would have experienced the occasional spikes in stress levels, even panic attacks, when your leads dry up suddenly. Believe me, it feels just as bad as when your first date with your dream girl goes horribly wrong after months of finding the courage to ask her out. You start doubting yourself. Then again, such a reaction is perfectly normal, especially when you consider how your business relies heavily on a constant flow of leads in order to survive or flourish. The question remains “how can you attract more leads for your business online?”
In this digital age, promoting your business online is critical to at least compete, if not outperform your competitors. What many do not realise however is the complexity and demanding it can be to generate leads online. You really need to know your way around to avoid wasting precious time and resource. For instance, social media can be a powerful medium for promoting and engaging with potential customers online, but if you are not careful, it is often resource hungry thereby adding strain to your business. Remember how frustrating it is to try and convert Facebook 'Likes' into actual leads? Well, remember B2B relationship is all about building trust and it takes time to do so – which many small business owners simply cannot afford. The B2B sales cycle is often longer than B2C, and it is often an arduous process to keep up with limited budget and resources. This is one reason why according to a widely quoted statistic from a 2008 survey by the Aberdeen Group, 70% or more of B2B leads are never followed up by sales.
One of the major challenges for small business owners relates to having to juggle multiple social media platforms. Unfortunately, whilst there is much hype built around using social media to generate leads, the reality is that most existing social networks are designed and built for global networks. Take Linkedin for instance. Linkedin is designed for connecting corporate professionals globally, with significant of its revenue generated from human resource or recruitment features. Don't get me wrong, you can still generate B2B leads on Linkedin if you persist. Despite of an uptake of around 4 million Australians so far, only a small percentage of these are small business owners. One reason for this is that the design of the Linkedin groups is neither conducive to small business owners asking questions nor have a trail for others to find the same answers or information easily. Discussion groups or forums without efficient information management and retrieval make it difficult for members to find what they need quickly. With all the clutter and noise that plagues existing social networks such as Linkedin, it is difficult for day to day small business issues to be heard.
A recent survey found that over two thirds of small businesses sales are from other small businesses which is a positive sign. It is a great opportunity to leverage on online channels to help facilitate the end-to-end process of B2B relationships for small business. The lead generation process starts by finding out where your target market lives on the web. It is just as important to understand your audience. Although majority of Australian small business owners have Internet connectivity, a large percentage still do not have an online presence, which presents a problem for marketers; that is offline marketing and lead generation tends to be relatively more expensive and prohibitive to many small businesses. Amongst those business owners who ‘lives on the web’, many are somewhat dispersed across the web. Therefore, it takes significant amount of time for marketers to find them online, qualify and eventually convert them into sales. This is why at SavvySME; we pride ourselves as the social network exclusive to small business in Australia.
Our goal is to cut out the noise i.e. anything that is irrelevant to small business or Australian. We provide a way for you to consume relevant and helpful content in a productive and efficient manner. We provide a way for you to ask questions, or easily search for articles and Q&A trails on relevant issues in our fast growing knowledge base. More importantly, we focus on connecting you with those who can help you in starting and growing your business. Our vision is to enrich the lives of small business owners - by combining smartest social media technology with the rich local context that is proudly Australian. We have had tremendous success with thousands of unique visitors every week at an incredible growth pace. We help small business owners to get the advice and help they need, whilst providing a highly engaged audience of decision makers for service providers servicing this market.
We are continually working on a series of features to further improve interactions as well as sophisticated and powerful lead generation tools. These tools allow you to take advantage and increase your branding in a highly traffic site, search ranking and exposure to a highly targeted audience of small business owners. We recently released a business promotion plan, known as the ‘Savvy Premium Membership’ for those who are serious about promoting to SMEs. The subscription plan includes a business webpage to showcase your business. It is packed with the smartest social features to maximise exposure for your business.
In addition, we have just released a powerful way for members of the community to create promotional articles such as this article, to promote special offers, events or any other offers that would benefit the community. It is a low-cost but effective way to promote your business and build your brand for the longer term. Try it! What have you got to lose? Promoting your business in a social network exclusive to your target market may just be that secret weapon you've been looking for.