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If you use advertising or marketing to promote your business, you’re probably aware that response rates tend to be rather low with many types of advertising. Ten percent is a good response rate, but five percent is more realistic. And with the average close rate at around one percent, only a small percentage of leads are converted. That’s why small-business owners should focus not just on advertising and marketing but on following up on leads. After all, your advertising and marketing just gets people’s attention; convincing clients to actually work with you is the hard part.

Do you have a follow-up system?

I’ve talked with many business owners who assume the most important thing about marketing is a large advertising budget. But while advertising is good, more money does not necessarily equal more clients. If you advertise to 100 people and get 20 clients out of it, this is obviously much better than advertising to 1,000 people and only getting 10 clients out of it. So, this raises the big question: What can you do to increase the effectiveness of your advertising?

The key is to have a good follow-up system. One of the things I always emphasize to my clients is that they need to keep reaching out to prospects. On average, a client won’t buy from you until you’ve reached out to them seven to nine times. If you were to do an honest assessment of your current follow-up habits, would you meet this target? Do prospective clients hear from you once or twice and then never again? Or do you have a system in place that makes it easy for you to reach out again and again without overmarketing or being too pushy?

The elements of follow-up systems

Different follow-up systems work for different businesses, but I always encourage my clients to have a few essential elements: First, have an email list. Encourage people who visit your website to sign up for your email newsletter, and make it easy for them to do so. Second, you can keep your business present in people’s minds through social networking. Using both these tools, you can send out newsletters and updates regularly so people remember you’re out there.

Also, don’t be afraid to follow up specifically with clients with whom you may have unfinished conversations. For instance, if you answered a potential client’s question via email but never heard back from them, wait a few days and follow up. Ask if your answer was helpful, find out if there’s anything you can do for them, and make it clear that you’re available to help.

If you can get into the habit of doing all this, your close rate should naturally begin to rise without the need for pushier tactics like cold calling. Think of these techniques as the final stage of marketing. Your advertising draws in pre-qualified prospects, and your expertise, personality, and professionalism, exhibited through your interactions, are what seals the deal. 

Jennifer Davey is a Marketing Strategist and Small Business Coach who has been helping small businesses build income and get more clients for over a decade. To learn more about follow-up systems and how best to use advertising to bring in clients, get in touch with her through her website or download her report, “What You Need to Know to Be Successful at Getting Clients,” at


This Business article was written by Jennifer Davey on 1/27/2012

Small Business Coach and Marketing Strategist, Jennifer Davey, is the author of the “”14-Step Formula for Getting Clients, Building Business and Making More Income””, Grab a FREE copy of her Report “”What you Need to Know to Be Successful at Getting Clients”” visit: