You can lead a customer to water, but you should do more than make them drink

A lot of things are essential in business. A decent product is an obvious must-have, as is an established long-term plan. You’ll also want things like startup funding, a decent team, and a physical space. But, when you put all that stuff aside, you could say creating leads is the most important thing.

We aren’t talking about the take your dog out for a walk-type of leads. Instead, we’re referring to creating leads of interest which will hopefully turn into customers. The importance of this is why so many companies focus on digital marketing methods, and create hype around their company. Every time you send your brand name out to the world, there’s a chance you’ll bring leads back with you.

But, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that creating leads doesn’t lead to profit. You could gain all the interest you like and still not have a penny to your name. Even if you did convince a customer to buy, you’d struggle to get by on a one-time method. Instead, then, you need to both consider how to use your leads, and ensure you keep earning from them in the long-run.

To some of you, this won’t be news. The whole issue of leads and profit is discussed on near enough every business blog. But, most fail to show you how to get every possible penny from the leads you create. And, given that even small amounts of profit matter, that’s a problem. Which is why we’re going to consider the chain of events you should follow if you want to gain maximum profit from your efforts here.

Turn leads into sales

As mentioned above, leads don’t even guarantee you profit until you turn them into sales. Failure to tackle this could see you out of pocket without earning a thing. The first stop on this chain of events, then, is to turn leads into sales. Consider that someone follows your business account on social media. That’s good news. It’s a solid lead you can work with. But, it’s not a sale.

To make use of that lead, then, you need to get the follower in question onto your website and clicking ‘buy’. Sometimes, doing this is as simple as posting your website link, or Tweeting about offers. Even posting about new products could see that follower finally following through. Incentives are also a fantastic way to see leads turning into purchases. Something as simple as a small amount off the first order could be all it takes to see customers committing to you.

Turn sales into loyal customers

So; your leads have come through. Good for you. This is what business is all about. Finally, you’re seeing your first profits trickling into the bank. But, as mentioned above, a one-off sale isn’t often enough to cover the costs of creating those leads in the first place. Hence why anyone in business forever hears about the importance of creating loyal customers. The fact is that you don’t want your sales to disappear into the ether. Instead, you want to work at ensuring every customer comes back to you time and again. There are a few ways to do this, but your best option would be an email newsletter. By asking past customers to sign up for this, you can keep your products in their inbox, and thus increase their chances of return.

Incentives are always a good idea here, too. Loyalty schemes or second-order discounts could be all it takes to keep people coming. And, that, in turn, will help you to build the all-important loyalty we’re talking about. It’s also worth referring back to social media here. Often, loyalty is about nothing more than personal connection. Keeping a consistent voice and regular uploading schedule could be all it takes to build a sense of responsibility in customers. And, responsibility means they want to help you in any way they can, including buying your products.

Turn loyal customers into useful assets

Despite what many people would have you think, the chain doesn’t end there. Now, it’s time to make sure you turn those loyal customers into useful assets. Loyalty in itself is good news for your business bank account. But, it still doesn’t see you getting the most from your efforts. It does, however, have the power to boost your earnings further. By accepting affiliate programmes and partnerships, you can increase your monthly profits in significant ways.

All you’d need to do is refer your trusting and loyal customers to these outside sources. Of course, what works for you here all depends on what you offer. If you refer customers to a company which seems irrelevant, they’ll soon stop trusting you. Plus, it’s unlikely your references will lead to sales. But, if a marketing company referred people to something like the FATJOE affiliate program, they would come off in the best light possible. Not only would they gain profits from any sales FATJOE then received, but they’d also help their customers out. Equally, a clothes shop which worked in conjunction with a jewellery supplier could come off well. It’s all about considering relevancy, and what your customers want. Both of which should be issues you’re used to by now.

Turn useful assets into growth

Of course, nothing works better for profit than growth. As such, this should be your ultimate stop on this journey. Lucky for you, assets could be precisely what you need to expand your business. A lengthy email list and following, for instance, could be enough to see you securing a larger loan. That, in turn, would work towards expanding and thus earning more each month. Equally, a decent level of customer trust could see you securing spots in country-wide stores. It could even just get your name listed in desirable resources. Either way, when you grow thanks to your efforts here, you can finally pat yourself on the back for both leading the horse to water, and making it drink all the way down.