How To Get Leads and Convert Them Into Sales

e-mail-marketing-list

I wish I could have a list of all the people who visited my website last year and their contact information…wouldn’t you? Do you think it could generate more business for you?

I think it would. (If you don’t think so, we need to talk.) A plan like that isn’t unbelievable. It’s called “lead generation” and it’s a strategy small businesses rely on to generate business.

Small Businesses Most Important Asset

If you ask most small businesses what’s their most important asset, I guarantee they’ll say it’s their database. Lead generation involves building and managing a list of prospects who are interested in what you offer.

The best part of having a list (big or small) is the ability to communicate anytime with them, because it give you a better chance of turning prospects into customers than just a cold-calling approach. If you know something about sales–it’s easier to sell when the people already trust you, like you and are interested in what you’re selling.

Benefits of a Bigger Email List

Growing your list also increases the size of your funnel, and if you strategically market to your database this can result in more conversions. Since this [list of subscribers] is one of the biggest assets in your business you want to be careful with your marketing and you have to manage it well.

When people sign up to your updates or FREE gift, whatever you might be doing to get their email, you need to realize they trust you. You don’t want to hurt that relationship you’ve build with them, by sending them stuff you wouldn’t want to receive.

This is why it’s important you provide relevant, VALUABLE content, consistently. The moment you abuse your email list or meet their subscribers expectations, the trust is gone and the campaign loses its effectiveness.

Your main goal should be to know your list and share content that helps solve their problems, doing so, you’ll have permission to promote to them and remain as the go to person in your industry as long as they like you and trust you.

How much does it cost?

The reason why building a list is so great in my opinion is, you don’t have to pay for it…at least in dollars, pesos or euros to have a viable marketing channel. You can go an buy a list from a company that sells access to a database in a certain market. But, what I hate about these is that they’re not always highly qualified like the ones you collect on your own website.

The fact is that these lists don’t convert as well as your own lists.

This post is going to be part of the Skills 2 Money: The Guide Every Freelancer Needs series, I haven’t really made a page for this series but it will be available soon. In the following post of this guide, you’ll learn more on building the list, converting the leads to clients and some examples too.

photo: Anirudh Koul

 

Blog or Newsletter: What’s a Better Communication Vehicle for Small Businesses with Customers?

I have a blog and a newsletter, which one should I keep? That’s the question I received last week.

Many companies now provide a blog and a newsletter for free.

Blogs are good because they can keep an audience updated on your company and it can improve your online footprint by putting good quality content on the web. If your business can offer information that’s valuable to prospects can increase future sales.

An email newsletter which is distributed on a weekly or monthly basis, which most companies usually choose, can be created to send out different topics instead of a focused blog post. I believe that a newsletter is more to keep subscribers engaged with your company.

If you look at this report here, you’ll find that email is the #1 activity among all ages in 2010. So some people are still prefer to get their information through a email.

Any information that might serve as a benefit to the industry that you provide content to, should be shared both through the newsletter and the blog. A little mix doesn’t hurt anyone. (e.g company news, new tools, industry information, tips)

To conclude this question, I believe that any good marketing strategy should have more than one option and channel of distribution to satisfy the consumers needs. When you combine newsletter and blog it just makes it easier on your targeted audience to connect with you or your company.

Besides a blog and a newsletter, businesses should be looking into other channels like: mobile marketing, social media, and advertising.

What do you think she should do?

 

How Will Google+ Affect SEO?

A lot of small businesses are beginning to use social media for SEO, but more importantly word of mouth. Now there’s a new platform small businesses can start using to connect with their customers. It’s Google’s plus one.

And I have good news, it could affect your SEO in a positive way.

If you don’t believe you can see the proof here. I found this post randomly looking for more information about Google+ and it made me realize that if you’re selling anything online, you should incorporate the button.

Even though some people still think it’s to early to determine if Google+ is going to thrive or be a flop, you should test it on your site and see if it help your webpages higher in the search engines. What is there to lose?

In this experiment seomoz did, to test the influence G+ and Twitter had on the search engine it showed how it did affect the SEO for these pages.

Okay I get it, How do I add the G+ button?

It’s not as hard as you think. If you go to this page that Google has made specifically if you want to install the Google+ button, you’ll know the basics to get it installed. If you’re using WordPress it’s even easier. I understand some people might be using some frameworks like DIYthesis, or Genesis.

You can find a tutorial on how to add it to Thesis here and Genesis here.

I think that if you’ve a website or a business that provides value to the web and you have a tribe that backs you up, each +1 you get can increase your rankings which is great but also serve as great word-of-mouth or social proof.

Any business that is not utilizing this tool might be giving their competitors an advantage if they actually have recommendation and you don’t.

On Google’s official Webmaster Blog they said:

“But the +1 button isn’t just for search results. We’re working on a +1 button that you can put on your pages too, making it easy for people to recommend your content on Google search without leaving your site.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll add +1 buttons to search results and ads on Google.com. We’ll also start to look at +1’s as one of the many signals we use to determine a page’s relevance and ranking, including social signals from other services.”

Have you added your G+ button yet?

Go do it now. Just click on the link above [install the Google+ button]. And watch some of the Google plus tips from SEOmoz.

Why Conversion Should Be Your Obsession

converson-rate-optimization

photo credit

The concept is simple. If you have the best looking site on the web, but if the visitors aren’t converting into paying customer what’s the point.

What is conversion rate and why should you care?

In internet marketing, conversion rate is the ratio of visitors who convert casual content views or website visits into desired actions based on subtle or direct requests from marketers, advertisers, and content creators.

If the prospect has visited a marketer’s web site, examples of conversion actions might include making an online purchase or submitting a form to request additional information.

When you tweak or improve your conversion rate, you get more paying customers without having to advertise or spend money.

Big names like Amazon focus on their websites conversion rate, if you visit their website on a daily basis, you can tell the changes they make to improve conversion and grow sales.

Why Be Obsessed by Conversion Rates?

One–Do you want more customers?

It’s a no-brainier, most websites are made to help someone solve a problem, but also make money. If you can convert more people without spending money on advertising and helping the customer solve his problems, you’re both WINNING!!

Two–Beating the competition

Someone out there has a site just like yours, do you want to be a nice person and share your customers with them or do you want to be the best of both?

Well, to really more profitable than those competitors you don’t have to be necessary GREATER than them, just slightly. By having higher profits for every visitor than the competition, you’re winning. When you do reach that slightly better level, don’t get complacent and forget about being the best to your visitors.

Three–The numbers are like science, they don’t lie

If the increase in conversion rate is only 10%, that means a 100% increase in your pocket.

That’s because you don’t have to pay anyone after the conversion has been made, but you only.

Four–It makes your business stronger

All you need to do is test, test, and test some more to find better conversion rates, thus increasing your revenue too.

With this extra revenue, you can put it to work in other marketing strategies. For example:

  • Other marketing vehicles like TV, radio or any other paid advertising
  • Hiring virtual assistants to focus on SEO for keyword rankings

A single or double digit increases in visitors and revenue can bring in opportunities you wouldn’t otherwise had if you didn’t test ways to increase your conversion.

Finally another reason to stay obsessed with conversion rate

More and more business people catching up with the VALUE of social media and online business more businesses are investing in it. If your competition isn’t doing it yet, they will soon. Stay ahead of them.

Do you want to learn more about how to improve your conversion rate?

Hot Links Friday: Extremely Useful for Online Businesses

useful-business-linksIt’s difficult to stay on top of all the information flying around on the web, that is why I’m sharing with you today these HOT LINKS. I’ve saved all of what I think is the best content for you. I can’t write about all these topics myself and if I decided to do that, by the time I’d be done it might not be as useful to you.

Anyways, I recommend you bookmark these articles yourself for later if you can read them all, they might come in handy later. I know you have a business to run.

Here are some of the HOT LINKS I found this week:

Monday:

A Startup Produces Infomercial For The Internet

When I first read this post it made me think of what we could begin to see as the future of selling on the web. Joyus a new startup to be the next QVC online?

Tuesday:

Customer Experience Is More Important Than Advertising

It’s berserk to see how much money businesses are expected to spend on advertising in 2011. When the facts prove that a small percent of consumers trust advertising as a source for product or service information. Find out who they actually trust…

Wednesday:

Google Adwords Express Target Small Businesses

Seems like Google sees potential in the online local businesses market and it’s launched a more simple advertising platform that small business owners can start using with a shorter learning curve. If you’re a small business owner this should be a very valuable tool for you, becuase it saves you money, you would otherwise be paying people like me to create your online marketing campaigns.

Thursday:

Are Social Media “Experts” Worthless?

I bet that as a business owner you’ve asked yourself the same question. Sonia Simone make a good argument of whether it’s a wise decision to “hire or not a social media expert” in this post, and it also clarifies the rumor of whether 95% of social media experts are clowns or not.

There you go, four HOT sausages, I mean links you can fill your brain with. Did you find any of these useful?

If those links were not enough…

photo credit