The art of running a small business depends on a number of factors, one of which is knowing where and how to find long-term B2B customers.

Some small business owners are adept at locating their own leads, while others opt for lead providers offering B2B leads. Either way, securing those leads is only part of the challenge.

Once your small business has those leads to go after, the job then becomes converting leads into sales.

While it may sound like an arduous task at hand, convincing potential B2B customers to become current and long-term clients is doable if you put several marketing practices in play.

They include:

  • Content – Your content (both website and what you send out to potential clients) says a lot about your small business. Review your content regularly to see if it accurately describes your brand and what you bring to the business table. Things to include in your content offerings are blog posts, videos, infographics, whitepapers, links to webinars and podcasts, and of course testimonials from satisfied clients. The latter can go a long way in influencing potential customers to do business with you, especially when they hear positive feedback from other business owners;
  • Socializing – Too many business owners continue failing to see the benefits that come from strategically using social media. When you go social, you have another avenue with which to share your content and interact with others in the small business community. Take turns sharing blog posts and other content pieces you and other small businesses are posting. Also make sure you are actively engaged in conversations on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. These sites are great for starting and carrying on business conversations, including discussions about potential leads. LinkedIn should definitely be on your radar for possible leads due to the fact the site is visited regularly by countless business owners and their employees. Go by the old adage of scratching someone’s back leads them to scratch yours. Yes, you will have to invest some time on LinkedIn and other such social sites, but the ROI is oftentimes well worth it;
  • Alertness – Running a small business means you have your hands in a number of hats on a daily basis. One thing you may not have time for is surfing the Internet to see when others are discussing your brand. As a result, you can miss out on potential leads. In order to be more in-tune with what others are saying about your business, get on Google Alerts or another such monitoring device. This way you can see when and where your brand is being discussed, allowing you to jump into the conversation sooner rather than later. By doing so, you open up the door for converting potential leads into paying customers. Remember, engagement is the key here, so don’t miss out on a chance to tout your brand and hear what others have to say;
  • Showcasing – How often do you attend industry-related events during the year? If the answer is not too often, change that moving forward. Conferences and other related networking events provide you with a great opportunity to pull-in new B2B leads and ultimately sales. While being present at an event is the first order of business, it is what you do with your time there that truly matters. If you have a small staff, bring one or more of them to the networking event to help you promote your products and/or services. Along with printed material, showcase your brand through videos and even podcasts during the event. Also make sure your business is set up to capture mobile B2B leads. Mobile usage has certainly grown in recent years, so you would be foolish not to address it. When canvassing the market for mobile leads, make sure your brand is mobile-friendly. That means clear text, along with images and videos that download quickly and without spacing and linkage issues. If your content doesn’t optimize well, you’re unlikely to get a high return on your investment. Finally, any networking events must have a call to action. Whether it is pertinent contact info on your mobile presentation or the more traditional means of handing out business cards and brochures make it easy for others to reach you.

Getting the best B2B leads is no small matter.

You benefit when you incorporate strong content, active social networking, knowing what others are saying about your brand, and showcasing what you are all about into one big package.

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers small business and marketing topics on the web.