So many times I have given ideas and advice to clients about steps they can take to to increase the number of leads or improve their conversion rates from prospect to customer, yet rarely do I see those ideas put into action.

Doing nothing never has a positive effect on a business.  Absolutely anything you do can have an impact, so chose an action and just do it!
Often times our marketing and relationship building efforts are cumulative so each step you take builds on your previous steps, bringing greater results.

Here are my top five suggestions I give customers for bringing in more prospects- pick one and try it TODAY.

1. Contact your current customers.  Are they happy with your product or service?  Do they need anything else (is it time to renew, refresh, recoat, re-analyze? (whatever is appropriate to your service) Do they know anyone else who could use it?  See if they have any suggestions on how you could improve your service or product or would they be willing to give you a testimonial?

2. Send a press release and post it under "News" on your website. If there is anything new that has happened with your business from hiring a new expert, to receiving a community award, to offering a new and improved product or service – write about it in press release format, sending it to local or industry media contacts or using an online distribution service.  You may not be covered directly as a result, but it will gain you increasing visibility (remember those cumulative effects).  If you distribute it online, it may be picked up by news wires, bloggers, or others.  Having other people post or refer to it can lead to more traffic to your web site or more certainly more links into your site which leads to improved search engine rankings.

3. Get out and introduce yourself.  Find a networking group or event in your area to attend today.  Most large communities and certainly all major cities have one or more Chamber of Commerces or other networking groups. If you can’t find a networking-specific event, look for a charity event, workshop, or local venue where your target customers might be.  Some of you may have heard my rule of thumb (I learned this from another friend when I was first starting my business) — Don’t leave the event until you have given out at least five business cards.  Even if your common-interest with someone isn’t business related, giving out your business card as your contact information will spread the word on what you DO for a living.  Social contacts often make just as good or Better referral sources as business contacts can be.

4. Follow-up with a past business contact.  So, you’ve been to a networking event already.  Now what??  Have you followed up with all the people you met, especially those with whom you exchanged business cards?  Getting someone’s contact information is USELESS  unless you USE IT.  Re-enforce the contact you made and help them remember you in a positive light.  Send a simple note or give them a call letting them know you enjoyed meeting them or follow-up with a tidbit of knowledge or a resource related to a concern or interest they shared with you.

5. Write an article in your area of expertise. Don’t get overwhelmed by trying to write a novel– think short, between 300 and 700 words.  Give advice, write a top ten list of tips, or suggest useful resources.  Now post the article on your website.  This will give your site more content to be indexed by search engines and increase your chance for more traffic.  Next, submit the article to one or more article directories which give other website or ezine owners permission to reprint (with your byline of course).  Better yet find an industry-related website that is looking for guest authors.  Article directories will bring in more traffic and get you more links into your site as other people use your content, but industry-related websites will bring in more targetted traffic and higher ranked links to your site.

Choose one of these action items to do today. Then tomorrow, pick one again, and so on and so forth.  Watch for the immediate effects and keep in mind the cumulative results.