By Tamara Sullivan

Have you ever wondered, “who is my potential customer?” Lead capturing, using all the digital tools at your disposal, can help you discover more about your future customers and create a targeted, prescreened list of sales opportunities.

Today’s digital media—including websites, social media channels, and online advertising—offer many different methods for capturing customer information. Customers can fill out forms on your website, send you a private message via Facebook, or start an online chat. And online is likely where your potential customers go before they ever reach out to you via any other method. In fact, according to tracking and analytics company Invoca, when someone is searching for a product, 81% will research online before they buy and 77% use a mobile device to conduct their search.

What’s the best way to start finding leads using the digital methods that are out there? Here are five great ways to get started:

1. Contact Forms on Your Website
Adding “Contact Us” forms to your website is the easiest and fastest way to generate leads at a minimal cost. Maybe a potential customer is researching you at 2 a.m., when they can’t sleep. Or they have time on the weekend to research and have a question for you. Contact Us forms allow your customers to email you directly and quickly. Keep the form simple: name, contact number/email, issue or question. Also make sure the form is both mobile and website friendly. Then, once you receive a contact form from a prospect, reach back out as quickly as you can. If it’s during business hours, try to respond within two hours. If it’s when you’re closed, contact the customer as soon as possible the next business day.

2. Paid Advertising and Specialized Content
Paid advertising is paying for consumers to see your ads using tools such as Google Ads, YouTube, Facebook, or other online channels. Paid advertising can help you drive traffic to your website for those who are seriously looking, or it can help to retarget those who have already been to your website to keep you top of mind and/or drive them back. A great tool to convert these visits to leads is to create an enticing, yet no- or low-cost, offer through your ad. For example, you can offer a white paper or ebook with valuable information on water quality. You can offer a discount coupon or other added service, like an in-home consultation. For customers to receive the special offer, they must provide their contact information. This assures your ads turn into leads and can help you track which ads and media are the most effective.

3. Direct Mail or Print Media with QR Codes
If you use digital media for lead capturing, can you eliminate the traditional methods you might currently use? Not necessarily. Invoca also notes that 73% of consumers use multiple channels to shop, making both classic print media and modern-day digital media important to your business. Direct mail and print advertising can encourage the digital connection. Direct mail is sent to a consumer’s home and is typically a postcard or letter format. By adding a QR code to the mailer, consumers can use their phone to be digitally connected to you. A QR code is a square comprised of little black and white squares that store a specific URL for any web page or online form you wish. There are many online resources available to help you generate customizable QR codes. Be sure to link these to a unique contact form so you can also track the effectiveness of your direct mail campaign compared to your other advertising efforts.

Also, remember that direct mail pieces can be mailed to specific geographic areas using the United States Postal Service Every Door Direct Mailings (EDDM). This helps you stagger delivery to different areas so you can easily follow up on leads as they come in.

4. Social Media Engagement
If you don’t currently utilize social media channels, it’s okay. Some companies find the management of these platforms overwhelming and time consuming. The secret is to keep it simple AND keep it to business only. Share stories on water quality that might interest your potential consumers or customers. Even if you don’t have many followers, your presence and sharing of information can help you show up when prospective customers do an online search for water quality information. They might be directed to your social media feed. From there, make it easy for them to ask questions and reach out using the platform’s messaging feature. Also, be sure to have your current contact information on your page, including a brief description about your services and the areas your cover. Don’t forget to add your website link.

5. Reviews and Referrals
The best form of marketing and leads is always word of mouth. Many consumers look online not only for product information but to also read reviews of others who have used your service. Encourage your current customers to leave a review on Google, your Facebook page, Yelp, or other review sites. You can also tie these reviews with small tokens of your appreciation: a $5 gift card for coffee, for example, if they leave a 50+ word review. The more positive reviews you have, the more likely a prospect will reach out when researching your service.

Referrals are one of the most qualified leads you can receive. When a current customer refers your company, friends or family members are more likely to go with your business. Since these leads are highly qualified, having an incentive for the referral is a great thank you to your current customer.

Best Approach to Capture Leads
Capturing leads using digital methods is not only cost effective and productive, it is also one of the most efficient ways to turn “shoppers” into “buyers.” Start small—with a contact form on your website—and add tools as your business grows. Managing and following up on contacts is as important as gathering them in the first place, so always have a plan in place to reach out quickly and reconnect periodically. This can prove to potential customers that you’re responsive and customer-focused—two big selling points for any business.

About the author
Tamara Sullivan is the Manager, DTC Digital Sales & Development for Frank­lin Water Treatment, a business unit of Franklin Electric. She excels at creating digital marketing programs that drives revenue for Aqua System branded dealers and retail sales. Sullivan believes that every business needs to meet consumers where they are in their journey to services or equipment.

About the company
Franklin Water Treatment (FWT) is a business unit of Franklin Electric. FWT is made up of brands such as Aqua Systems, Hellenbrand, Puronics, Waterite, B&R, and Sterling. FWT serves both residential and commercial markets producing products in water treatment that include, but are not limited to, water softening, reverse osmosis, filtration, disinfection, and solving other issues related to problem water. Its primary products are water softeners, iron, sulfur systems, drinking water solutions, and even bottled water in select markets.




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