Warning: This is a kinda lengthy post. If you need time to get your coffee or go to the bathroom to pee, please do it now (you have been warned!) 🙂
The overall purpose of using the internet to market your business is to generate leads and turn them into sales. However, as many different ways on how to generate sales leads online, some businesses miss out on some major opportunities that can help them capture more online attention – as well as convert their leads into sales.
In this post, we will discuss some simple ways to generate leads for your business and eventually turn them into loyal customers. In this article you will learn how to get more clients and how to get more business out of your leads. You will learn the following:
- Build a List of TARGETED Leads with Free Reports
- Fully Complete & Claim Your Local Directory Listings
- Understanding Websites vs. Blogs
- Tips for Converting More Website Visitors into Customers
- Enhance Your Website’s Performance with Videos
- Tips to Boost Your Social Media Engagement
- Soften the Blow of a Negative Customer Reviews
- Remain at Your Customers’ Fingertips with Mobile Marketing
- Understanding Retargeting
- Tips for Finding the RIGHT Online Marketing Consultant
Let’s get started.
1. Build a List of TARGETED Leads with Free Reports
“Free” is always good; especially when it comes to creating leads to follow-up with in your business.
For instance, offering free stuff goes a long way towards getting people to sign up for email lists, which in turn, opens doors for more sales and profits along the way.
Among these free perks is the use of “Free Reports” that entice possible leads to sign up, receive deals, and accept more information about your business.
It may seem simple enough, but there are some things you should do to build a list of reliable leads successfully.
Based on the products and services your business offers, the components of your free report must properly target the right clients base.
The goal is to reach people who are likely to do business with you. A report should be something of a high value for your leads for them to opt-in.
Of course there are many different types of free offers you could make to get more email opt-ins, but high numbers on an email list does not always equate to more revenue.
So a good report would offer tips, advice, and other valuable information related to your industry.
If you are into business to business lead generation, case studies are the best “freebies” that you can give in exchange for an email opt-in.
Make sure that it is something that will provide the answer for your prospects or your leads questions or solutions to their problems.
Make it short and straight to the point.
For instance, chiropractor may want to give away a report on “5 Ways to Ease Neck Pain Naturally.” This would be valuable because it’s geared towards people who are in need of neck pain relief.
You could offer another report titled “5 Things You Should Know Before Choosing a Chiropractor.”
If readers like the information in the report, they are likely to investigate the company further for their services.
As important as it is for you to target the right customer base using the right information, you should also give them high-quality – even if it is a “free” report.
You want to entice your leads to do business with you and you cannot do that with unprofessional work.
If you succeed in presenting a high-quality free report to potential customers, the next step is to keep in touch with them.
After getting them on your email list with the report, you can then follow-up with them on an on-going basis with additional tips and information about your business.
Building a relationship with your subscribers is one of the fastest and most effective ways to turn them into customers.
If you properly build a list by offering free information that can truly help your target clients, you will ultimately have your very own list-building machine running for you on auto-pilot.
2. Fully Complete & Claim Your Local Directory Listings
When you own a business that caters to your community, the number one priority should be making yourself visible to them.
While some business owners put a lot effort and money into promoting their companies using expensive and ineffective methods, they fail to enter them into local online directories.
Most of your potential customers are starting their search for a local business online.
Those local directory listings that are claimed, complete, and optimized are reaping the rewards. They are generating sales by doing this simple yet effective task.
Getting listed in online directories is as easy as ever, and the best part is that it’s free.
Yes, it does take a little bit of time to go through the listing process, but it’s worth every minute.
They all make it fairly easy to list your business and maintain those listings going forward.
But with so many search engines and directories, you may be wondering how to go about it the right way.
First, be sure to complete your listing profiles with as much information as possible – include your hours of operation, phone number, address, images, videos, and keyword terms naturally weaved into your company description.
Full and complete listings are more likely to achieve higher rankings in the results than those that aren’t.
In addition, they are more likely to move visitors to choose your business over your competitors.
When it comes to optimizing your local directory listings, one of the most important things you can do is include your company name, address, and phone number throughout your website.
Not only your website, but also your social media profiles and any other places your company has a presence online.
These additional mentions of your business are also called citations.
It is important to use your physical address and local phone number -and that they are consistent across all of your online properties.
This helps the search engines validate your company and serve it up on relevant searches by your potential customers in your local area.
If your business has several different locations, create a listing for each location. While this may seem like a lot of work, it’s critical and many local listing services, such as Google My Business, make this process pretty easy.
Do not forget that besides the online citations you can make on the above sites, you can also get listed in other well-known local directories, such as the Better Business Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce.
Finally, make sure you are prompting your satisfied customers to leave reviews for your business on various local listing sites.
This helps your listings rank higher in the results, but even more importantly, consumers today are all about social proof. They almost always check reviews before choosing a new company to do business with.
The fact is that no matter how good your products and services are, consumers want to hear first-hand what your customers think. Not only will this drive more immediate sales to your business, but it will also help you build a solid overall online reputation for the long-term.
3. Understanding Websites vs. Blogs
It probably could go without saying that a website and/or blog are absolutely necessary for any business these days for the purpose of bringing out your brand and generating leads and sales.
Simply put, they’re pertinent for attracting more online that will ultimately turn into buying customers.
As a small business owner, you need to make the most of your marketing time and budget in order to reach your potential customers, as well as retain the ones you already have.
Websites and blogs are inexpensive, effective investments to help you maintain customers and generate lead and this should be the primary focal point of your online marketing strategy.
This is where your customers can find out more about your company. This is where you can present and promote your products and services. This is the starting point for converting your leads into customers.
However, you may wonder whether you need a website or a blog. Each platform has its pros and cons, so we will take a look at some of them here.
Blogs play a very important role in the realm of social media marketing; it involves consistently posting good content with your target market by posting articles.
This is a great way to stay in touch with your audience by interacting with them on a more personal level in a sense.
By posting content on topics they WANT to read about, you can keep them coming back for more on a consistent basis.
So, generally, your blog posts should contain information that can be viewed as “solutions” to their problems, questions, and needs as they relate to your industry.
These posts are made on a web page and show up in chronological order – from the most recent to the oldest. So the latest information always shows first.
They’re also great for sharing company news, as well as updates about your products and services. But for the most part, keep them geared towards helping your audience instead of selling to them.
Optimizing your content with relevant keyword terms will give it the SEO component it needs to keep your blog posts visible in the eyes of the search engines.
As a result, you can attract more leads for your business as consumers come across your content.
One of the main advantages of blogging is that they are highly controllable by the owner. You may or may not see this as a positive feature, depending on the amount of time you want to spend maintaining and updating it yourself.
When a potential customer wants to find local products or services, the first place most of them turn to is their favorite search engine.
With a well-designed and well-optimized website, your company is likely to come up within the top few results of that search.
This is your virtual online home and it is the foundation for driving new sales to your business from the internet.
If you have a website that is easy to view, easy to use, and has all the pertinent information needed to help visitors take some type of action, it could be the most important online marketing weapon in your possession.
As opposed to a blog, a website can pack much more information into a smaller space; making it easier for your customers to find what they need in a nice, organized manner.
Not only can they learn about your product and service offerings but they can also learn more about your company as a whole.
Which One Should Your Business Have?
So which is better for your business, a website or a blog? The simple answer is both!
Both platforms offer different advantages and more avenues to reach your customers and attract and generate new leads.
They work hand in hand. Where your website may be the first piece of online advertising a person sees about your company, you can direct this traffic to your blog – and vice versa.
4. Tips for Converting More Website Visitors into Customers
Although driving more traffic to your website is important, converting those leads into buyers is even more important.
However, there are some key factors you should consider when turning your website into the conversion machine it was meant to be.
Make a Positive First Impression
Impress your website visitors. When someone goes to your website or blog, they need to see a professional site that is eye-catching and engaging.
Your content must be regularly updated to inspire confidence that your company means business.
More importantly, make sure your content focuses on your customers – and not your business.
Focus on their needs and save most of the text related to “who you are as a company” for your About Us page.
Make sure your visitors can easily find their way around your site; once they become confused, they’re gone within seconds.
Lay out your product or service information in a clear, easy to understand manner.
There should be a call-to-action on every page of your website – at the very least, on your home page, which many businesses still are not doing.
Calls-to-action are proven conversion boosters because they simply tell your visitors what you want them to do, such as “contact us today,” “visit us today,” or “fill out the form for a free quote.”
Otherwise, many will leave your site without taking any action at all.
Add Testimonials and Reviews
People who are reading up on a small business want to hear from previous customers.
By adding reviews and testimonials to your page, you are making it much easier for visitors to get to know what you have to offer.
Place these reviews in easy-to-spot areas on your site or blog so that customers run no risk of missing them when they visit.
If you are able to get VIDEO testimonials from previous customers, this is even better since people trust videos more than written statements.
Testimonials will give you the boost your business needs and will help inspire visitors to become customers.
Not every website visitor will reach out to do business with you immediately. Since there is so much competition online these days, you do not want that lead to forget about your company.
The best way to prevent this is to offer a newsletter sign-up form that will send regular email updates on industry news, as well as your products and services.
This technique allows you to stay in touch with your potential clients and keep reminding them of what your business provides.
Converting visitors into customers can be much easier by following these simple tips. With just a few tweaks to your site, you can start seeing an increase in the overall effectiveness of your website.
5. Enhance Your Website’s Performance with Videos
Videos have quickly taken the web by storm.
Most web users today prefer watching online videos to reading text; so having engaging videos on your site – as well as on external sites such as YouTube – can be extremely beneficial for capturing more online leads.
If you are not convinced that videos can make a difference, here are a few facts that could change your mind.
Longer Site Visits
Having videos on your site will keep visitors around longer.
The longer a potential customer remains on your site, the more interested they become in your products and services. This ultimately translates into sales.
Videos can also help to improve your website rankings; when visitors leave your website after only spending a few seconds on it, this increases your bounce rate.
This is not something you want, because it could actually lower your rankings.
You want to keep your visitors engaged as much as possible, and you can do this by giving them a few interesting videos on your site.
People are also much more likely to sign up for newsletters and take other actions that are accompanied by videos.
Back-Links for Increased Rankings
If you prefer not to have videos on your site for some reason, you should at least post them to video-sharing sites such as YouTube; this has the potential to grow your business in various ways.
It will create back-links that will increase your prominence and website rankings in the search results.
By adding great keywords, you can also utilize SEO techniques to attract more potential customers to your site.
Videos provide a personal touch that makes viewers feel more comfortable; giving viewers first-hand access to what you have to offer without over-selling.
In the process, they feel more connected to your company and are more likely to buy than if they hadn’t watched your videos.
There are so many different types of videos you can create, but they all have one common goal; to bring in more sales.
For instance, some people also hearing from previous customers before trying out a new business; especially when these testimonials are recorded on video.
This gives them more confidence in your product or service vs. a standard written testimonial.
Online videos can make all the difference when you are trying to convert more website visitors into customers.
Not only that, but they are extremely powerful in getting more visitors to your site.
If you are looking for ways to increase your overall website performance, seriously consider adding videos into the mix.
6. Tips to Boost Your Social Media Engagement
Social media gives you the means to reach the customers who need you without committing a large sum to advertising.
For small and medium-sized brick and mortar businesses, getting your name out to local consumers is vital to sustained growth and company success.
Social media is one of the most effective ways to make sure you reach the right market, so it is important to learn how to use it correctly to your advantage.
Use Paid Social Media Ads
Rather than spending your valuable time and money researching precisely where you want to advertise, let the social media giants do it for you with their massive databases of ready-to-use consumer information.
Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter to name a few offer inexpensive ad spots which they blend in seamlessly with media the audience is already viewing.
Your notices will automatically be shown to people who have an interest in your product and are in your local area as the ads are shown by the criteria and demographics you define.
These ads should increase your overall website traffic because many of the people who view your social media pages will also take it a step further and check out your website.
Post Professionally and Post Often
If you do have a social presence, but you’re not really doing anything consistent with it, it’s time to change that.
If your social media accounts have been used as semi-personal sounding grounds, dump them or clean them up.
Your social media audience wants a professional experience that reflects your company’s goals and standards.
Content is important, not only the volume but the value of that content. Your audience wants to see content that benefits them in some way.
Use your opening lines to draw attention and then highlight your benefits and offerings.
No matter which social media sites you use, be sure to update your content regularly so your customers know you are still in business.
This will also help you remain active in their social media feeds so they keep seeing your name until they are gently driven to take the action you want.
Keep in mind that people are highly visual and it is easier to become immersed in a photo or a video than it is a large chunk of plain text.
Adding photos to your posts makes your business stand out and helps customers find a level of comfort in seeking out more information about your business.
Adding videos of your shop, your employees, and your products makes customers feel welcomed, as if they have already been there, and are therefore, more likely to view your website to learn more about your company.
In fact, the most-shared content on social media is visuals, such as photos, images, and videos. So get creative and take social engagement to a whole new level.
7. Soften the Blow of a Negative Customer Reviews
Let’s face it; no business likes to receive negative customer reviews.
But the fact is that they are bound to happen at one point or another.
As mentioned earlier, most consumers go online first to research companies before doing business with them.
Not only that, but most are going online to tell others about their experiences. So there is a chance that you could get a few negative reviews; but it’s all about how you handle them that will determine their impact on your ability to generate new leads.
There are a few ways to manage a negative customer review so that it does not create loss of revenue or drive away potential clients.
Handle the Problem
To avoid losing customers, you have to know what it is that they did not approve of regarding your services or products.
The only way to do so is to read the review carefully to gain as much information as you can for the future.
By taking into account complaints and comments, you will be offering customers better services or products the next time around.
Reach Out to the Reviewer
Even if the customer is unhappy with the products or services you provided, it is a good idea to make an effort to reach out and try to fix the issue.
A customer wants to feel like his concerns are taken seriously.
Sometimes you can even resolve the issue in a friendly and satisfying manner.
If you cannot, you will still have made the effort. The important part of this step is that you must be conciliatory, not aggressive, and you should not demand to know why the customer wrote a negative review.
A Public Response
After contacting the reviewer, it is always a good idea to post a public response below the review.
The tone should be respectful and the content should address the issues raised.
If it was a misunderstanding of the service or product on the customer’s part, it is especially important to point them to any information you can provide that proves your stance and then to apologize for the misunderstanding.
Providing an apology does not mean you are admitting to having made an error, but it is a good way to show them and other customers that their satisfaction is a top priority.
Although there is little chance that the customer will remove the negative review, handling a negative review correctly can soften the blow it could potentially have on your sales.
If you are honest, respectful, and do your best to resolve the issue with the customer, there may not be a negative impact at all.
Work to Get More Positive Reviews
A lot of glowing positive reviews, balanced with a couple of sprinkled negative reviews here and there, is the perfect recipe for online lead generation.
No one expects your company to be perfect, but they don’t want to feel like they’re taking a risk if they choose to do business with you. Instead, they need to be totally convinced that you are the best choice.
8. Remain at Your Customers’ Fingertips with Mobile Marketing
The advent of smartphones and tablets has revolutionized the way consumers shop for goods and services.
Mobile marketing is too big to ignore, and if your business is not in on the buzz, it is missing out on a major source of income.
Convenience is the key, so you need to place your company’s brand conveniently into the hands of your local target audience; and mobile media, however, is in every hand and pocket nearly every minute of the day.
Smartphones and tablets are highly personal devices people use continuously, whether at home, at work, on their commute, or while out shopping.
Every time a person picks up their device, this presents an opportunity for you to capture their business.
Local consumers are using their mobile devices to find local information more than ever. Therefore, having a website that is not mobile-ready is like letting money slip through your fingertips.
According to recent data, more than 80% of smart phone owners use their phones to browse the Internet throughout the day; and 95% of those people are looking for local information.
Of those 95% seeking local information for things like area stores, services, or current sales, 88% of those people take action on their search results within 24 hours.
These are your potential customers!
A mobile-ready website will provide a clean user experience and put your prospects several steps closer to giving you their business.
More importantly, Google is now giving mobile-optimized websites higher rankings than others in the mobile search results.
In other words, any website that is not mobile-optimized, it is not likely to come up high in the results if there are competitors who are mobile-ready.
Due to the massive number of local searches being performed on mobile devices these days, mobile responsiveness should be a top priority for your business if it wasn’t already.
Other Mobile Tools and Strategies
Once your website is mobile-optimized, take it a step further by looking into other mobile lead generation avenues.
This includes SMS Text Message Marketing, Mobile Banner Ads, QR Codes, Location-based Marketing, or your own Mobile App.
Mobile Apps and Text Message Marketing help you build and retain customer relationships because they are gently reminded of your company each time they see your ad or open your app.
Combined with the “instant gratification” aspect of mobile shopping speed, your customers are more likely to use their phones to find and use you than any other medium.
While print advertising, radio and TV spots are still in use, they are quickly on their way out. Fewer people subscribe to print media now than ever, to the point where some print magazines, including Newsweek, have converted to an all-digital format
9. Understanding “Re-targeting”
“Retargeting” (also called remarketing, or behavioral marketing), is a type of online targeted advertising where online advertising targets consumers based on their previous searches and online actions —actions that did not result in a conversion or sale.
In other words, it allows you to place your brand in front of potential customers, even after they have left your website.
For most websites, only 2% of web traffic will convert upon the first visit.
Therefore, retargeting is a tool by which companies can reach those 98% of users who do not convert right off the bat.
This code is undetected by your site’s guests and does not affect the performance of your website.
Each time a new guest comes to your page, the code drops a browser cookie incognito.
Later, when that visitor surfs the web, the cookie can let your re-targeting provider know when to dish out ads to ensure your ads are only served to people who have visited your page.
The reason that re-targeting is so effective is because it allows your advertising expenditure to zero in on people who are already familiar with your brand and have recently shown interest.
That is why most marketers who use it experience higher ROI than from other digital channels.
Re-targeting is a powerful branding mechanism that facilitates conversion optimization. However, it works best when it is part of a bigger digital strategy.
To maximize re-targeting, it is best to utilize it in conjunction with inbound and outbound marketing, as well as demand generation and business to business lead generation.
Be Creative and Specific in Your Efforts
Re-targeting works best if you catalog your visitors (i.e. people who searched for shoes vs. shirts) and customize the re-targeting ads to each group, while refraining from re-targeting other groups at all (i.e. those who converted).
The way to maximize the performance of a retargeting ad is by having a clear call-to-action that promotes an offer.
Therefore, different products require different retargeting time frames; getting “strategic” means getting “creative.”
In short, retargeting involves focusing a portion of your marketing efforts on the customer base that has already demonstrated an interest in your business by searching for them.
Do not let this potential gold mine pass you by as companies all over the globe are implementing this powerful marketing strategy.
10. Tips for Finding the RIGHT Online Marketing Consultant
In this age of digital media, online marketing is the way to go for maintainable success and increasing profits.
It is cost-effective, simple, and possesses a large scope for different strategies and marketing campaigns.
However, while the internet does offer some incredible opportunities and platforms for marketing, many businesses tend to make a lot of mistakes along the way.
Not only that, but most of them are too busy to get the ball rolling and are instead just pushing it to the backburner.
This is where an expert online marketing consultant comes in. If you consider all the aspects of the internet, it can be quite overwhelming.
Therefore, it is in your best interest to have a knowledgeable online marketing consultant help guide you through the confusion and ensure that you go down the right path without wasting a lot of time and money.
Here are some tips to assist you in finding a great online marketing professional who can help you get the results you deserve.
Your Goals and Needs
Before you even consider hiring an internet marketing consultant, you need to figure out what your goals are in terms of marketing.
It might sound like a basic requirement, but if you do not take the time to truly define these goals, you may end up spinning your wheels even with the help of a consultant.
Be sure to discuss your needs in detail with any potential marketing consultant so they have a clear picture right from the beginning about how they may be able to help you. This way, you can get started down the right path.
Use White Hat Techniques
Another factor to contemplate is the selection of an online marketing consultant who uses white hat techniques.
White hat techniques are those that are considered legitimate by the search engines.
Ask details about how your consultant plans to implement your strategies – and ask outright whether or not these techniques are white hat.
If you feel the need, take it a step further by speaking with some of their current or past clients to learn about their experiences working with the consultant.
Simply ask for referrals and if there’s nothing to hide, they won’t mind giving them to you.
Social Media Knowledgeable
In recent times, the marketing focus has shifted from “the internet at large” to social media networks.
These networks are used by billions of people worldwide, with most using one or more social networks at a time.
Not only that, but social media has become a lead generation and conversion catalyst for businesses in just about every single industry.
Therefore, it is imperative that the consultant you hire is knowledgeable about this hot online technique.
Choosing an internet marketing professional can be confusing and intimidating.
However, in today’s busy world, businesses in every competitive field could benefit from their services.
Hopefully, the information in this article about how to generate sales leads online has provided you with some great tips when it comes to using the power of the internet to capture more leads and eventually turn them into paying customers.
With the right amount of time, dedication, and consistency, you can dominate your local competitors online in a very short amount of time.