Catch and release is great for conservation, but when it comes to business, you’re playing for keeps.  Don’t let great prospects slip by.  Keep your small business CRM from going stale by capturing leads in person and online.

1.  Convert Casual Site Visitors into Nurtured Leads

If your website feels more like a static brochure than a lead generation machine, it’s time for an upgrade.  Feed your CRM by placing forms throughout your site to convert the casual website visitor into a nurtured lead.  Try one (or all) of these:

The Contact Form

If you have a web presence, chances are that you have a generic contact form.  That’s a great place to start.  Contact form leads are actually nice and warm.  Someone has actively hunted down a way to reach out to you.  They are aware of your business and your product or service  offering, have done some research already, and are likely in a buying state of mind.  

But don’t stop here.  A contact form only captures a fraction of the people who come to your site.  

What about those visitors who are just browsing, but aren’t ready to commit? They could be great opportunities down the road.  Capture their info now so you can nurture them until they’re ready to buy.

Newsletter Sign-Up

Most businesses send out some form of correspondence on a weekly or monthly basis, whether in digital or physical form.  So why not leverage that content to stay in touch with prospects?  A newsletter sign-up form can capture leads on your site who are interested in your products and services as well as the expertise you share.

To increase retention and conversion of your newsletter sign-ups, segment your leads by the type of content they’d like to receive, like:  

  • Updates on the latest deals and discounts.  “Let me know when your resume-writing services go on sale.”
  • Industry tips and tricks.  “Send me the latest blog posts on sustainable urban living.”
  • Specific product or service updates.  “Share the availability of your seasonal beer.”

Gated Content

Use your expertise to generate helpful, informative, in-depth content.  Then give it away in exchange for contact information.  You’re producing content everyday, so re-package it in an enticing way:

  • Bundle your best blog posts into an ebook or guide
  • Share recorded webinars
  • Create a whitepaper based on your most frequently asked questions

Online Ads

Whether you’re using banner or text ads, don’t simply direct visitors to your homepage.  Instead, create a custom lead generation form with content optimized to convert visitors into leads.  As a rule of thumb:

  • Address how you can relieve the pain-points your customers face
  • Outline the key benefits of your product/service
  • Create trust through testimonials, reviews, accreditation, certification, etc.
  • Provide a strong call-to-action that compels prospects to act now

Product Information

Don’t forget to ask for what you really want – a sale.  Capture hot leads by making it simple to get the product or service information that opportunities need to make a buying decision, such as:

  • Demonstration
  • Product trial or sample
  • Consultation session
  • Quote

Social Networks

Remember that you don’t own the followers on your social media platforms.  Promote your lead gen forms to your social media followers.  Once they opt-in through your form, you can keep them engaged with your brand no matter what new social network craze comes next.

2. Follow Visitors Out the Door

Leads aren’t just captured in the digital sphere.  You’re fielding inquiries and connecting with prospects in real life everyday.  Don’t let them leave without collecting their calling card.  Take advantage of touchpoints at your brick and mortar location(s) to capture:

  • Business cards
  • Newsletter sign-ups
  • New customer emails

3. Keep in Touch with Attendees

Whether you’re sponsoring a networking session, attending a trade show, or hosting a webinar, you can leverage events to convert attendees into leads.  Capture attendee information through:

  • Registration forms (online and onsite)
  • Giveaways and door prizes
  • Networking exchanges

Your CRM should be more than just a storage bin for customer data.  Don’t let the big fish get away.  Turn your website, store front, and events into consistent lead generators that keep the top of your sales pipeline stocked with fresh leads.
Flickr Creative Commons Image by Agustin Rafael Reyes