Once you’ve connected with potential customers, nurture those connections. Don’t limit yourself to one social site — expand on to relevant ones whenever possible. Social selling expert Jill Rowley counsels people to read what your prospective clients read and then tweet or post about it. Regularly posting valuable content increases your ability to be a trusted source for customers as they research their purchase.

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Focus your teams efforts on nurturing better quality leads that will have a greater impact on your sales since these leads are already interested in your content and services, closer to converting to a customer than other leads with a lower score. Analyze the rise and fall of your lead’s score to better understand what stage in the process most leads begin to fall off and how can this be corrected, as well as when most leads are ready to be passed off to sales.

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Many successful small business owners are continuously looking to expand their customer base and grow their businesses. Business growth can be a difficult and long-term process, though. One of the foundational elements of growing a business is having access to a steady stream of sales leads. A lead is a person, or business if you have a company that sells to other businesses (B2B), that has an interest in the products or services you are selling.

Some of your content should be short form, like blog posts, tweets, photos and short video clips, that requires no barrier to read, view or consume, while some of your content should be longer form that requires a sign up form to access like an eBook, free course, whitepaper, infographic or an instructional video. Once a lead has made it to the point of interest in viewing a long form piece of content, they fill out a sign up form becoming a part of your contact management system, email list or both. This visitor is now a newly acquired lead.

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Become active on listservs and message boards. Listservs are applications that manage email discussion groups,[3] and message boards are online discussion areas where people discuss specific subjects and troubleshoot. Find some lists and boards that are relevant to your business. Keep track of who is active there and learn more about them and their businesses. Ask questions, and if you know the answers to someone else’s question, answer it.

By producing authoritative content, you build credibility within the marketplace. In time, customers view you and your company as knowledgeable and helpful. You create and offer content for a distinct audience, your targeted one that is driven by choice and perhaps interactivity. Consumers embark on a journey when attempting to find solutions to their problems. They generally seek information for each part of that journey. In the beginning, they are familiar with their problem and solutions that have potential. Mid way they begin comparing some possible solutions. In the end of this journey, they give their due diligence to make a final decision. It isn’t uncommon for consumers to conduct twelve searches before being on your specific brand’s site. Generally, eighty-one percent will research online before making that purchase or that appointment. In multiple forms, your quality content makes all the difference.

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