Consistently creating new content to educate your customers, and establish yourself as a resource is something every small business owner should do. It brings tons of targeted traffic to your site at a low cost, and differentiates you from your competitors. Pair that with some simple optimization of your website to capture leads and you’ve got a recipe for lots of inbound inquiries. Many of your inbound inquiries will be awesome and present a realistic opportunity to earn a customer, but as I’ve explained here, it also picks up a wide swath of inbound inquiries from people looking for ‘how to’ information, to people not inside of your service area. Something about the content which many will pick up as a ‘willingness to give free advice’, paired with a well optimized website which makes contact seem easy, and friendly, picks up a ton of these inbound inquiries.
These inquiries are not leads, and while occasionally difficult to deal with and certainly a frustration when you must respond to 20+ per day, they are fairly easy to filter out. The inquiries you have left over after sending out emails, notifying people that their address 4 states away is out of your service area, or that an engineering consultation will cost is X, are your leads – inquiries who might pay for the value of your services.
Not All Leads Can Lead To Sale
Practically speaking, not all leads are created equal. Some leads are seeking out as many companies as possible looking for the bottom line number from an unlicensed / uninsured operation, others are a referral from a past customer ready to go, some just want an idea for a property they *might* buy, and others have diligently scoured each page of your website. As a small business owner with a well-established content marketing, and lead generating website, its not feasible to give each the same amount of attention. According to Hubspot, 20-40% of sales efforts are wasted on pursuing bad leads that are unlikely to convert. That’s where we get into lead scoring!
Lead scoring is the process of assigning a value to each lead based on their demographics, or engagement with your company. From there sales people can focus their attention on the highest scoring leads. There are many lead scoring formulas out there, which take into account all kinds of information on the customer, and their interactions with our website, content, emails, etc to generate the perfect score. Setting this up would require a ton of research and getting systems to integrate flawlessly and then keeping them integrated, not a simple task by any means, unless you’ve got an CRM with this functionality built in such as Sales Force or Hubspot.
With over 400 visitors a day finding my field service / trade contracting companies website content, we get no shortage of inbound inquiries to sort through and leads to score. We need to quickly, and easily be able to identify who is the most likely to buy and get the most of our attention. Our CRM doesn’t have any built in functionality for lead scoring, nor do I have the time to take on a switch from our current CRM or set up a complex lead scoring system. Quite frankly, in my opinion all of the complex, formula based, lead scoring systems probably aren’t that much more effective (if at all), than a simpler solution. I’m a fan of simple.
A Simple, One Question Solution
Have you read our reviews?
After brainstorming and reviewing on our current base of customers, there is one trend that seemed to stick out. Most of our past customers, had spent time reading our website and all the content AND were familiar with our reputation for quality before they called us, namely because they had read our reviews. The customers that took the time to research us out beforehand were much more likely to be comfortable with us, and make a decision based on who would be the best service provider, not who had the lowest bid. Considering there are many people who spend time on our website for information, and don’t really consider the company behind it, we decided that simply asking the question “have you read our reviews?” would reveal the customers who have done their research on us, and are actively seeking a reputable company. This simple question could not only be put on our website lead capture forms, but it is subtle enough that our phone associates could easily slip it into their phone conversation without sounding like an obvious sales qualification tactic.