Online Lead Generation Basics for Small Business Owners

The web offers excellent opportunities for marketing and promotion, but the competition is fierce. How can you generate leads in such a competitive environment with little or no previous experience? Let’s start with the basics first. Discover the 3 steps which you need to take and how to do this properly.

1. Content Is Key

The big question is how to attract visitors to your website and make them willing to seek further interaction with your business. You have most probably guessed to answer: high-quality content which is optimized for the search engines.

What kind of content? The content for lead generation should be designed to target prospective customers who are at the first two phases of the buying cycle and possibly in the third one. This means that your content should be focused on creating a necessity for your product (phase 1), on educating consumers about it (phase 2) and on helping them compare different options (phase 3).

What type of content is best? Articles and blog posts are still fundamental for online lead generation. However, you will also benefit from using high-quality video. Tests have shown that it can lead to an increase of over 30% in signups. Photos are important, especially if you are presenting a physical product.

Don’t forget to use the social media for promoting your content. Cover the major ones, Facebook and Twitter, and ones which are popular with your target audience.

2. An Irresistible Offer

The goal is simple – to make them an offer they cannot refuse. There are various options, depending on the type of product or service which you offer. These include free gifts, access to valuable content, free trials and discounts.

Study your target market well to get a precise idea of what makes them click. You can also check what your competitors are doing and try to beat their offer. It pays off to use psychological triggers such as a limited time offer which helps you create a sense of urgency.

Devote a sufficient amount of time to creating your call to action. Use attractive keywords and make them big. Make sure that the CTA stands out among the rest of the content on your website.

3. Signup with No Hassle

Ask for less and you will get more. This is the rule of thumb to follow when creating signup forms for online lead generation. In most cases, a name and an email should be perfectly sufficient for the purposes of a small business. If you want more information, you can get it once you establish a more personal contact with the prospect. If the signup form is used for creating an account on your website, it is best to make the sign-in with an email and password. By eliminating the step necessary for creating a username, you will reduce the rate of abandonment even further.

Another essential thing is to avoid giving users multiple options when they are about to sign up. This can lead to confusion and will increase the risk of them leaving. Make things straightforward.

Generating leads online requires hard work and dedication. Get started now.

Internet Marketing For Small Business Tips – Choosing A Domain Name For Your Lead Generation Website

If you want to create an internet marketing for small business strategy for your local business you will need to have a website set up. This website needs to be a lead generation website in order to be effective as a marketing tool.

So what do we mean by lead generation website? To be an effective marketing tool for your local business the website that you have set up should be search engine optimized, and have the ability to capture the names and email addresses of those who visit it.

The first step towards an effective lead generation website is to choose a domain name for it. This is the name of your website and it also determines the address where it may be found on the internet. When you choose a domain name remember to include the main keywords that your target market will type into the search engines to find you.

Let’s look at an example to illustrate more clearly what I mean. We will assume you have a local business, called Anderson Plumbing Services in the town of Membury. You certainly would not want your domain name to be the name of your business because not many people would find your site this way. You want to use the keywords which a prospective customer might type into Google to find your services, and incorporate them into a domain name. So a better example for your domain name might be memburyplumbing.com.

So now that you understand that it is important to include keywords in your domain name, where can you find out what keywords people are using when they are looking for information on local business services? Fortunately there are many tools that can help you find these words. One of these is the Google Keyword Tool. If you type the phrase “Google keyword tool” into your search bar you will find it is the first result to come up.

Type into the search box some words that you think people might be searching for such as “Membury plumbing” and the tool will bring up a list of many others related to this one. You will also see some columns which tell you how many times a phrase is searched and what the competition is like for that phrase. Ideally you will want a keyword phrase that gets enough searches but for which there is not too much competition. Once you have a few domain name ideas written down you need to select a domain name registrar to see if the name you have chosen is available and register it. The domain name registrar that I use is Godaddy. Do not take any notice of all the upsells that this registrar will try and sell you. Just register the name you have chosen. It is a good idea to register your domain name for as long as you can; five years is best. The search engines are able to pick up these details and tend to take more notice of a domain name that has been registered for longer.

Now that you have a domain name that has keywords in it you will be stand a better chance at achieving an effective lead generation website as people will be able to find it more easily.

10 Most Important Factors for Small Business SEO

The online space is changing constantly and every day there is a new product, platform or idea being created to attract and distract business owners. Whilst writing this article there could be a new product being launched that renders this article out of date and so rather than look at the shiny new things available online this article will focus on the fundamentals of online success for a small business owner.

  1. Clear Project Aims – What do you want to achieve online? Are you looking for brand awareness, direct sales, lead generation or is your web site simply a supporting act for your more traditional offline activity? Setting out clearly defined goals will lead to the second key area for online activity which is keyword selection.
  2. Keyword Selection – Once you have identified your project aims you can set about the task of creating a keyword map. The aim here is to identify keywords or phrases that people who are searching, browsing or even fumbling their way online would use to find you. An example of this might be “Cheap Car Insurance” might be a phrase suitable for generating direct sales whereas “Insurance Companies” might be more brand awareness. Google’s own keyword tool is a really useful free offering for identifying good phrases with regular search volumes.
  3. Traffic – Once you have created a keyword map you need to identify the best place to generate traffic. Search engines like Google are usually the best place to start but are you looking for a Pay per Click campaign through the likes of Google Adwords? This is quick and easy to achieve but very often far too expensive for most small to medium sized businesses. Are you looking for organic traffic from the natural listings? This typically needs a good Small business SEO specialist to help but tends to deliver more quality and sustainable traffic. Could social media be more suited to your product i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in or the host of social bookmarking sites like Delicious or Digg? What about the power of video which is becoming ever more important online and traffic can be gained from the video streaming platforms like You Tube, Daily Motion or Metacafe and also direct from the first page of Google.
  4. Traffic Quality – One key factor when deciding where to get your traffic is the quality and quantity you need. There is a fine line between quality and volume – too much attention to the quality and you may not generate enough visitors to convert, too much attention to volume and you may waste lots of money generating leads that do not convert or you cannot cope with. Concentrate on your highest profit margin phrases first and build from there.
  5. Traffic Behaviour – Once you get visitors to your web site they need to stay in the first instance, get to where they need to be quickly and efficiently and once there convert into a lead or sale. If you have a high bounce rate it could be that people are searching for one thing and arriving at a page that says something different. If someone is searching for “red shoes” make sure they arrive at the page within your site that sells red shoes not a page that sells “green track suits” or your home page that talks about your business in general. If someone is searching for ‘sports wear” by all means send them to your home page or a category page that says Sports Wear. Can the user navigate the site easily without needing a crash course in code writing!! Is your site clunky or slow to load if so change it customers will get board, it is a fact that searchers are spending less time on each page they visit and bounce rates as a whole are increasing indicating that today’s searcher is less prepared to dig for what they want and are looking for it to be served to them quickly.
  6. Traffic Conversion – Once visitors are on your site and have been able to navigate or have landed on the correct page you need mechanisms to help them convert. If you have a shopping cart this is straight forward you want them to buy something however if they don’t what next? How can you grab their details so that you can market to them again? It is essential to have multiple reasons for a searcher to leave their details and often less is more here. Rather than giving away every piece of information at your disposal reduce it slightly and get the searcher to ask for it. Give them a snippet of a newsletter or white paper and get them to ask fro the rest (this way you generate a lead), show them a video and ask them do they want more? (another way to generate a lead). Early stage researchers may only want to leave an email address in order to receive a newsletter perhaps whereas a searcher who is ready to buy might leave lots of information to receive full product specifications or a price list?
  7. Traffic Retention – Most small business owners have one chance to convert traffic into leads or sales and that is usually the first time a potential customer visits the site. Many blue chips and larger web site real estate work really hard to create a web site that is appealing enough for visitors to return therefore giving them multiple opportunities to convert traffic to sales. Small business owners however usually do not have the time, resource or subject matter to create a site that engages visitors over and over again with the possible exception of e-commerce sites. This doesn’t mean that small business owners shouldn’t try by introducing videos, industry news updates, company news updates, blog posts, twitter posts, weekly offers or even competitions in order to give visitors a reason to return.
  8. Traffic Profiling – Most businesses will now have some kind of traffic analysis software (often Google Analytics) however few small businesses are conversant with all there functions. With Google analytics for example it is possible to set up targets and goals to track the performance of traffic throughout the site. Traffic profiling takes this a stage further by separating traffic and leads into predetermined categories from early stage researchers to general enquirers and the holy grail of hot leads who are ready to buy now.
  9. Lead Management – Once a lead has been captured it is essential that business owners can store and manage these leads effectively. This ranges from creating categories for leads, compiling a history, prospect system to manage calls and recalls and some kind of filtering system to facilitate target marketing and re-marketing. Even if your site is an e-commerce site it is proven that less than 5% of people who visit your site for the first time will buy something and so it is essential to have a lead management programme to facilitate the other 95%
  10. Re-Marketing – It has long been proven in the world of offline marketing that it takes between 5-7 contacts on average to turn a prospect into a top quality lead or sale and this is no different online. On average small to medium sized business owners tend to contact their prospects only 2-3 times and many only make one contact. This is one major area where a small business owner can truly maximise their ROI when it comes to online marketing by having the capacity to simply and regularly contact their prospect base.

Why DRLG Is The Most Powerful Form Of Small Business Advertising

There’s certainly no shortage of small business advertising opportunities available to entrepreneurs.

Sadly, most are woefully ineffective when it comes to truly bringing the small business a positive return on investment.

The reason:

Most small businesses use a common form of advertising commonly referred to as institutional or brand advertising.

You know what this is…

It’s when a business attempts to “brand” their name in the minds of prospective customers similar to the way big Fortune 500 companies do.

Unfortunately, this approach to advertising requires lots of advertising capital – something most small businesses don’t have – and lots of time to actually, if ever, achieve top of the mind awareness.

As well, brand style advertising isn’t trackable and doesn’t generate immediate results – something almost every small business requires when investing capital in advertising and marketing.

This is why two-step advertising, commonly referred to as direct response lead generation (DRLG) advertising, is the best choice for smaller businesses when it comes to generating new customers, clients or patients.

For clarification purposes, DRLG is focused on generating an immediate response from recipients in the form of generating a lead.

Meaning: the primary goal of DRLG is to generate a qualified lead.

Once the lead is generated, it gives the small business the opportunity to plug that lead into a follow-up contact system (like an email autoresponder). This is an incredibly valuable aspect of DRLG because as most entrepreneurs intrinsically know… the fortune in advertising and marketing is in the follow-up.

For example:

When a chiropractor uses DRLG as their primary chiropractic advertising approach, they will convert more prospects into patients from the follow-up contacts than they will from the first marketing contact (or initial contact point).

But, the ability to follow-up with leads is really just the beginning of what makes DRLG so powerful and effective for small businesses.

The next huge benefit is that because DRLG asks for an immediate response – generating the lead – it is easily trackable. This provides small business entrepreneurs with the ability to hold every dollar they invest in advertising accountable for a positive return on their investment.

Next, when DRLG is done properly, it also gives the entrepreneur the opportunity to segment leads into specific follow-up sequences. This increases conversions because it allows the entrepreneur to deliver highly-compelling, targeted follow-up messages to leads.

Again, let’s take the chiropractor.

A DRLG chiropractic advertising campaign could include several different follow-up sequences for different types of leads (i.e. back pain, accident recovery, general health, etc.). And, anytime you a small business narrows their focus when marketing, they’re better able to craft a more compelling message that resonates with prospects.

Lastly, because DRLG advertising always include a lead generation offer – offer being the key word – it generates an immediate response. Meaning: when it’s done properly, it brings in money right away.

Overall, compared with brand or institutional advertising, DRLG brings so many exciting (and profitable) benefits to the mom-and-pop entrepreneur, without the huge outlay of capital or the time requirement. It really should be a no-brainer for the small business entrepreneur. Try it for yourself and see.