Paul, a small business owner, wants to generate more leads online. So he starts blogging, his page views increase, and quite a few web visitors are even downloading information from his website.  Yet Paul’s phone isn’t ringing off the hook. It has been a few months since he started his digital marketing campaign, and it doesn’t appear that he has generated any new business from his online efforts. What happened?

What happened is that Paul’s intentions were great, but his expectations were all wrong.

Think about the mindset of your average client: When you first meet, do they tend take their time to make a careful and educated decision before hiring you? Or do they take one look at the brochure on your desk and write you a check?

question-mark-nothingOften, it depends on your industry, but if your business requires you to build a strong relationship with client, such as a CPA, financial advisor, insurance agent, or real estate broker, most clients aren’t going to make a commitment to you after just reading your brochure.  So why would internet leads be any different? Yes, you might create a terrific website and write informative, helpful blogs, but most internet leads will still require time and diligence before coming to a buying decision.

Here is why internet leads can be tough:  They may not want to talk to you right away.  You can’t assume that someone will want to talk to you, set up an appointment, or hire you just because they opted-in on your website to receive a free download.  In fact, it’s often just the opposite!  They want to be left alone and gather information on their own time and then they’ll call you when they are ready.

So then why do it?   Great question!

Every day, people go online to learn and gather information on the product or service you provide.  It doesn’t mean that they are ready to buy, it just means they are entering into the information stage of the buying process.  More often than not, the company that eventually earns the business is the one that does the best job of providing that information.

The problem then, is in expectations. Digital marketing is a fantastic tool for getting the ball rolling, but it usually won’t create instant slam dunks!

So what should you expect from digital marketing, if not instant lead-to-client turnover?

Digital marketing is a powerful tool for:

  • creating brand recognition
  • developing credibility with your audience – gradually
  • nurturing prospects who already know you, and converting “fence sitters” into eventual clients
  • deepening relationships with current clients, improving client retention, and sparking more referrals from them
  • getting your name out there in front of hundreds or thousands of new prospects
  • providing information that people are actively looking for

Now, that isn’t to say that digital marketing doesn’t result in leads that eventually convert into clients. But often, you won’t see that type of results right away. We recently signed a client who had been following our blogs on digital marketing for months. When he called for more information, he was already pretty much sold on our services. Within thirty minutes, we had picked up a new client! But it wasn’t a matter of writing one or two blogs, and then receiving phone calls right away. We distributed our blogs, got them in front of thousands of people, and slowly gained followers. That particular client wasn’t an instant lead, but over time he did develop faith in our services and decided to take action.

When it comes to internet leads, expectations are everything. Remember that the goal of digital marketing is to increase your exposure, gradually nurture trusting relationships, and allow those relationships to blossom over time.