Creating leads on your website is a critical skill that all entrepreneurs must know. The first step is to ensure that your website can convert traffic once they are on your website. The second step is to get people to the site to start with. Let us focus on step one for now.
Your website needs to be structured to incorporate specific target content to the specific people searching for it.
For example, if your business is an electrician, then you might build a specific page for each of the things that homeowners could be searching for.
For example, hot water system replacement, light switch installation, electrical box upgrade, emergency electrician.
When people are searching for different things, they are looking for different information and therefore, the content on your page needs to be relevant to the search term.
The page is where your entire marketing flow can pivot around for example your ads and marketing can be relevant to the page that they promote. For example, an emergency electrician ad on Adwords can point to your emergency electrician page on your website.
By ensuring that the content people are searching for is relevant to the ads that had captured them, you ensure that your conversion rate is increased and therefore, the quantity of leads you are going to get for a certain dollar amount spent will increase also.
Once on the page, it is important to engage the visitor with captivating content that leads them to either transact with you or get more information. It is not advisable to simply rely on the client contacting you through a contact form because often times, consumers are not ready to engage you; rather just looking for information. Those customers looking for information are a very good source of leads and you can tap into this by offering a form for them to download information whereby they enter their contact details. Someone looking for that kind of information is probably a perfect lead for you, however, they may not have been ready to contact you.
Now, let us look at how to get people to the page in the first place. There is a number of ways that you can generate traffic to your pages. These include:
Content marketing and search engine optimisation are a great way of capturing people that are naturally searching for your content on the internet using search engines. Essentially, if you sit down and write 2,000 words on each subject matter, then you will have a good chance of ranking on search engines for that particular topic if it is relatively specific.
Search engine advertising is where you pay per click or per impression (as the case may be) for search engines to send traffic to your website. This means that even if you do not have the appropriate content quantity to justify a search engine referring people to you, you can still get traffic from particular search terms that you wish to target. This is a great way for entry level businesses to get traffic fast while they are working in the background to build their natural SEO ranking.
Another way is through direct marketing. Direct marketing is the action of creating a list of people you wish to target that are in your target demographic and creating marketing material to speak with them directly. An example of this might be direct email correspondence. By creating a data base of your particular target market, you have an email address, phone number, first name and last name of your target market, which makes it easy to develop information to serve to them.
Role based marketing
This technique is particularly useful in the business-to-business space as it is quite easy to develop databases around particular job roles or business types. As an example, an electrician may want to target builders in a particular region.
It is important to ensure that the business does not break anti-spam laws and that if you are going to target businesses directly using information for contacts you have found online or through other means, that you serve information to the particular target market in a one-by-one personal contact approach. You may be able to find software that can handle the individual delivery of emails to the individual people on a one-by-one basis from your personal email address, however, you need to be careful that the wording of your email is such that it identifies you and the purpose for your correspondence in a solicited fashion so as not to appear as mass marketing.
Generally a good way to handle this is to ask specific questions and mention their name and business in the email to ensure that the receiver sees your correspondence as a personal attempt to solicit business from them rather than pay mass marketing campaign.
Another great way to source leads is through traditional advertising. Traditional advertising includes television, print media, outdoor advertising and live events such as exhibitions and trade shows. These methods while expensive can offer access to a new demographic of people that are at a different stage in the buying life cycle than those searching on the internet.
It is important, however, if you are going to focus on these types of advertising platforms that you have a strong strategy for acquiring the lead as many of these kinds of formats require a distinct offer or draw card for the customer to engage, whereas online, the customer is looking to engage themselves.
Another great way of generating leads through direct contact is via a call centre or contact centre. This means that either through inbound or outbound, you can speak to consumers based on their individual appetite for your product.
Inbound lead generation can be used once people make contact on your website allowing you to call them and close a sale or describe more complex products in detail.
Outbound contact centres can use the data that you collect or purchase to make initial contact with potential customers to educate them on your offering. The benefit of an outbound contact centre is that you can contact people that would otherwise not be searching for your product.
Over the last couple of decades, outbound contact centres have become synonymous with industries such as telecommunications, electricity, and other high profile utilities-type companies. In many retail industries, outbound contact centres are now less effective due to the influx of businesses using this system to contact retail customers. The do-not-call list has also been established in many countries to prevent people overcalling residential customers. In the business-to-business space, however, outbound contact centres are still very effective in lead generation as businesses tend to be more open to the idea of hearing about products that could potentially help their companies.
No matter which form of lead generation you choose, it is critical that you have a lead generation company engaged to handle the different methods and how they interact with each other in a global lead generation strategy for your business. When you are designing your lead generation strategy, you need to be cautious of how much it costs to secure a lead and then how much it costs to close a lead and the ratio between these items.
There are many lead generation companies that sell leads on a lead-by-lead basis; however, you need to ensure that you are clear about the quality of lead you are getting. There are several different ways that lead generation companies sell leads.
For example, you might be getting raw leads which means there is no lead qualification and therefore, your internal resources will be required to qualify the leads and contact them. This is usually the preferred method of acquiring leads for a business as it ensures that even those colder leads are still being added to the database and is still being educated on a long-term basis using email marketing and other such forms of customer attention.
Some lead companies prefer to sell warm leads or qualified leads. Warm leads are usually suited to industries such as financial services where products can only be sold to those that qualify and meet a certain standard or income threshold.
Warm leads is a terminology that usually describes the stage in the sales life cycle that a customer or potential customer is at that has been called by an outbound contact centre. In other words, people that are contacted from an outbound contact centre were cold when they were first contacted. Therefore the description of warm lead or qualified lead suggests that the consumer has already been through a process with the outbound caller to educate them on the product and has shown serious interest and which is to proceed further down the sales life cycle. Inbound leads on the other hand are generally considered warm leads even though nobody has yet spoken to them as they are contacting the business to transact with them on an inbound basis; therefore, there is already an expectation of warmth being that they have initiated the contact.
Lead generation is a complex part of business that needs a detailed strategy that should be prepared by a highly experienced lead generation strategist or business adviser. It is important that if you are going to engage a company to handle your lead generation, that you do so with great care and you ensure that the company that is going to handle this for you has the time to sit down and explain the process in depth to you.
It is also important that you have a clear understanding of what leads will cost you and you have a clear budget in mind for how many leads you can actually afford. To work this out, simply calculate the amount of new customers you would like each week, then attribute a cost associated with securing each new client.
For example, if you would like 10 new customers a week and the prediction is that they will cost $100 each to secure, then you need to know if you can afford $1,000 each week to obtain these 10 new customers to your business. Most lead generation companies start off very inexpensively with their clients because clients can often not afford to secure the amount of leads they really want initially, however, as the lead generation companies secures more business for their clients, the budget increases therefore allowing the lead generation company to create more leads on an ongoing basis.
The relationship you have with your lead generation company is critical as it is important to ensure your business’ image in the market place is consistent with that of your brand. Often brands are damaged by inappropriate lead generation strategies that thousand marketing teams push on their clients in an effort to sell more leads. Often, lead generation experts are focused more on how many leads they can acquire and how cheap they can acquire them as they are only interested in their own revenue. It is important that you work with the lead generation company that takes great care in maintaining your brand reputation while also creating leads effectively that are going to convert into sales.
Lead generation companies will often require clients to prepare information that is prevalent to the enquiring customers. The more information you have as a business on your products and services, the warmer your leads will be. Many lead generation companies use constant educational content delivered via email as a method of securing clients long term. This means that while many initial enquiries may flow in from different marketing and advertising efforts, there are often those that prefer to wait and be educated over a long period of time before engaging. For these clients, generally, the process starts with an email being entered on an information site where they, for example, subscribe to an ongoing newsletter. The lead generation company then uses these email addresses to deliver relevant content on an ongoing basis sufficient to allow the potential customer to research and do their own due diligence to allow them to become comfortable to contact the business in a more formal manner offering their email, phone number, and name to be contacted by a salesperson.
Another method of securing leads is to offer your visitor a way of helping them without asking them if they want to physically transact with you. For example, in the finance industry, calculators are often used to help the consumer calculate their repayments and other financial metrics. Some calculators ask for an email address before allowing you to access the result. This form of "information gating" allows information to be provided to potential customers on the basis that they provide information to the company or in simple terms, we ask for a lead in return for information. In these instances, it is important that the information or calculations that the business provides to receive a lead is accurate to ensure that the brand is further represented correctly in the market.
As a final note, it is important that you understand that there are many methods of creating leads and that often, lead generation experts take advantage of your lack of knowledge to put the required systems in place to generate new leads effectively thus profiting off your education gap.
There are numerous methods of lead generation and I would suggest that you start focusing on one at a time and getting each one working effectively for you. Many businesses make the mistake of trialling one system only to have failure and then move on to the next. This can be a dangerous road to go down as your own lack of knowledge will provide you with uncertainty as to whether each lead generation method works when in actual fact, all of them work if done correctly.
You are much better off using an experienced lead generation company to test each of the different methods to ensure that you make decisions around lead generation for the future of your company rather than simply short term based on your own experience.
If you have any questions or would like to be introduced to a lead generation expert in your industry and area please let me know. firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking for a Zapier expert can be difficult being that automation and API software integration is a relatively new area in the online space. APIs or Application Programming Interface is a young technology that allows apps or softwares to communicate with each other allowing customers to integrate the many softwares that they use as part of a single technology solution.
Each app that we use has many different benefits and functions in our work lives.
mailchimp.com offers the ability to send newsletters and emails to clients
formstack.com allows businesses to create forms to put on their websites
There are client relationship management (CRM) systems , content management systems (CMS), shopping carts, online signature apps, transactional apps, payment gateways, and many other kinds of technologies that all need integration with each other to allow them to operate as a whole for business.
Zapier is a relatively new solution that allows the everyday person to connect the apps they use in a functional way and without any knowledge of code. They are essentially a mapping and connection system that allows the different APIs from the different software companies to talk to each other without any manual coding by a coder.
While the coding expert is not required to set up Zapier and the apps you wish to use, it is advisable to get somebody that knows about the different apps that are available and how they interact to help you architect your system before you begin. Because the marketing automation space is relatively young, it is risky to start choosing softwares one by one without mapping out the entire solution as often, different technologies are unavailable within Zapier and the software choices you make might be based on whether or not the zap is available to connect them.
When setting up your Zapier account, it may be important for you to have a pro level account so that zaps happen more quickly. The free Zapier account or the cheaper accounts only provide for a five-minute interval (last time I checked) which may not be sufficient for you if you are passing information between softwares and require an instant effect.
One of the benefits of setting up a Zapier account is that it almost serves as a marketing automation system to some degree. By this, I mean that if you use Zapier to pass information from a website form to an SMS software and then to an email software for example, then you could also set up time delays within Zapier to feed information to clients and stakeholders in a predetermined order that suits your business procedures. Zapier is a good way for business owners to dip their toe in the waters of technology improvement and begin upgrading the way they do business by implementing different apps that can help them improve the different parts of their enterprise that need help the most.
It is important however to start with a meeting with an information architect or a marketing company that has an experienced IT Team who can properly design a technology strategy for improving your business long-term. Doing things piecemeal will give you some experience with the different technologies that are available, however, you risk unplanned change and long-term unease within your organisation. Software problems and lack of traction is one of the major causes of businesses failing in the first five years. Technology or the lack thereof can be the major prohibitor to growth and can cause severe unease within an organisation.
At the end of the day, if you are looking to improve your business using technology, then a Zapier expert is for you. If you need help finding an expert to set up your IT solution for you, then give me a call or send me an email, and I will help point you in the right direction.
Like any industry, there are many shonks in the space and few know exactly what they are doing and have done it before successfully. Because this industry is relatively new, most of the players in the space are still learning as they achieve success. For this reason, it is critical not to waste your time with a firm that cannot show their experience and the results they are getting with other clients.
I have a great network of successful performers that I have worked with in the past and that have serviced my clients in the past that I would be confident in recommending to reach any outcome using the latest app technologies in the market.
As well as being savvy in IT and applications, it is also critical that the adviser you use is savvy in business and understanding the value that each software or application brings to the table, what it cost to run and maintain, and how it will interface with other softwares.
There will be major problems for you long term if you choose the wrong softwares short term.
Good luck and reach out if you need my help.
If you are considering using Marketing Automation Software then most likely, you are about to set course on a change that will revolutionise the way you do business and ultimately bring growth to your company. But before you start, you are going to need to make one very difficult decision, which is to decide what marketing automation software you are going to use. To compare marketing automation software or marketing automation apps as they are better known, you will either need to spend many hours sifting through the different benefits on each of the marketing automation websites or you can approach an expert marketing automation team to assist you with the correct software selection.
It is important to understand that not all marketing automation softwares are created equal. Depending on the industry you are in and the way you like to do business will depend on the automation software you choose.
Next, you will need to decide on your budget as there are both cheap automation softwares and expensive automation softwares and everything in between. You may also find that there are Freemium software options that allow the user to sign up to basic software automation while they learn how it works and then upgrade to a paid plan later once they are sure they have found the right plan. While this offers some security in terms of spending money, it can still cost you a great deal of your time going from one software to another while you find pitfalls and weaknesses in each.
Being that I have been through this process for several of my clients, I would like to point out here that there are a couple of very good options with respect to automation that I would like to help you find to save you conservable hours sifting through the options.
But before I help you pick the correct software for you, it is important that you realise that even once you have selected the appropriate software for your business that you have an expert on board to help you set the software up. While basic functions are relatively easy to achieve within the software itself for even beginner users, the real benefit of using marketing automation software is in its ability to integrate with several other app types.
App examples include:
The reality is that a good marketing automation software should be the cornerstone to which your entire marketing efforts and technology strategy revolves around. Before you commence planning for your automation software, it is critical that you map out the entire customer flow that you would like both potential customers, existing customers, and past customers to travel through. Imagine your business is simply the perfect company designed to take care of just one client, how would you treat this client, what would you do on a daily basis to take care of them, when would you educate them, how often would you educate them, what would you educate them on, what different options would you give them to interact with you, and how would you allow a transaction to take place?
Once you understand exactly how you wish to use your marketing automation software, then you can begin to select which software meets your needs.
One of the most important things that almost every company should have is a CRM. A CRM or Client Relationship Management software is designed to manage the client details and the history of every client in your business. Therefore, it makes sense that your marketing automation software is also your CRM. While this is true, there are many automation softwares that work independently from your CRM and these may be ideal for those that are already using an existing CRM and are happy with its performance.
Most of my clients, however, prefer to engage with a marketing automation software that is a little more holistic and can offer CRM, marketing communication, sales pipeline management, webpage management, customer service management and ticketing all in one central place.
Myself, I prefer a software that is all encompassing because it gives staff and other stakeholders the ability to have transparency across the entire enterprise at a single glance.
If your business is one that is relatively linear (meaning that every customer travels through a very similar process) then a Kanban system might be ideal for you. A Kanban system allows you to build a customer flow of stages that every client will go through.
For example, the first stage in your Kanban system might be "new lead". Every customer that comes in contact with your brand would appear in the new lead section. From here, your staff can drag the client’s details across the Kanban to the next stage as they progress in the client life cycle. For example, the second stage in the Kanban might be "lead contacted". Once the lead has been contacted, it can be moved here. Each stage in the client life cycle has a different name and marketing automation will allow you to set actions based on what stage in the Kanban the client is up to. For example, you might like to send somebody a reminder about payment when they are at the project completed stage for more than seven days without an invoice being paid. Another example might be that 14 days after an invoice remains unpaid, a director of the company could be notified by SMS to speak to accounts about the unpaid invoice.
Marketing automation is not just about speaking with customers but also about designing actions and reactions to the customer life cycle for all stakeholders to ensure that the company has success from its technology architecture.
So, which automation software can give you a Kanban-type management systems combined with a CRM and a full suite of integratable features that will allow you to do pretty much anything in business? The answer is, there are many that claim they will be able to do this but only a handful that actually can. Only a few of these are actually affordable for small businesses only a few are easy to use and high quality.
Contact me if you would like me to introduce you to the perfect marketing automation software for your industry and save yourself a LOT OF TIME, MONEY AND HEARTACHE, however find below a link to the top 4 marketing automation systems that most owners investigate as part of their due diligence into which system they like.
Why Should I Add A Blog To My Website?
If you're considering adding a blog to your website then chances are you're making a good move however you need to make sure you've got a plan. Simply adding a blog page and getting excited for a month, posting your first five articles and then forgetting about is not what you want.
You need a structure and a system that's going to continuously add content to your site that is relevant to what your customer is a looking for. If you do this correctly you will not only build search engine optimisation ranking but you will also build an information database that your clients will reap the rewards of and in turn your business will prosper.
You see each part of your business requires communication or explanation for your clients to understand, is perfectly suited to a blog and your blog can act as the central resource hub or Information Centre for your business. Think of it like your brain. The blog is your central intelligence system and all of your marketing deliverables and business aspects are your limbs (the parts of your body that create the action). But for your limbs to work you need a central intelligence area to hold all of the information, standard operating procedures, vernacular, approach to selling customers that your business needs to be successful.
As a business owner, your blog is a great place to be constantly contributing to. The easiest way to contribute to your blog without spending hours typing is to dictate your thoughts and have a copy writing team write them up for you properly. If you can dictate different aspects of your company on a regular basis, then have it transcribed online then your team will have resources to grab from to allow them to succeed.
One example of how your transcribed education can be used in your company is though Marketing Automation. Marketing automation is a regular email or SMS series that communicates with people that inquire on your website. Let's take an example; if you were a home building company you might like to tell your clients about the council approval process involved with getting their home approved before they buy their land. You would start by writing a detailed blog on the process of getting Council approval for stuff. This will serve as a great search engine optimisation tool because those that are searching for a full understanding on the council approval process will find your website page. It will also provide a great resource for your customers so that in e-mail correspondence with them you can give them a link to the information on council approval as required. It will also have a great use in recruitment and training so that new sales people to the role also have access to the correct process involved with getting a home approved by council.
So you see that although a blog has the benefits of content which will in turn allow you to rank well on Google and other search engines it is also very valuable in terms of educating your staff, your clients, other stakeholders to the business and importantly, it helps you document your design for your business.
So a blog is valuable as a marketing tool but it is also just as valuable as a business planning tool. Business owners that produce blogs are generally more connected with their business on a daily basis and have an increased involvement in the information architecture of the company.
Good business leaders are those that can contribute to the organisation in a top down approach. Disseminating information from their world and allowing it to reach all sectors of the company via the different mediums that are created within the individual departments that sit beneath them.
I hope this gives you a better understanding of how a blog can be integral in growing a successful company and how having an information resource centre or a business ‘brain’ can make the difference between an average company and a highly effective one. Good luck with creating your blog and I hope it brings you many financial returns.
How do you add a blog to your website.
Well for starters it depends what platform your website is built on and whether or not a blog is something that comes standard out of the box or something that you may need to install as a plugin, or a stand alone blog that your website can link to. Making the decision to add a blog to your website generally Starts as a search engine optimisation function to get you traffic however you need to be careful not to fill your blog full of irrelevant information that sounds and reads like search engine content.
Blogs are very powerful if the content is related to the outcome of your business and if it leads clients on a journey to allow them to purchase on their own. Similar to a salesperson, a blog needs to talk to the consumer in a way that they understand without heavy jargons or industry terminology, and explaining things slowly and precisely to allow people to come to a conclusion on their own without human interaction.
Setting up a blog is best done via speaking to your web developer. If you're happy with your existing website and it's getting you amazing results then get your current web developer to quote on installing a blog for you. Setting up a blog should cost no more than a thousand dollars but probably more like five hundred dollars. If you're not completely happy with your current web team then it is recommended that you get a new web developer before installing your blog. A blog can be difficult to migrate to a new system later. Generally people find that it is difficult to move away later should they become content heavy on their website and they find that migrating information at a later time becomes quite costly. For this reason it is recommended that you seek a web developer that uses a modern web development system and CMS that allows you to move your blog at a later day if required and gives you full control over your website including the ability to edit your website yourself very simply from an admin dashboard.
Editing your blog on the fly from remote locations, while you’re traveling, away from the office, or time poor, is critical to the success of your blog. You need to make sure you position yourself in a realistic frame to provide content to the blog. Without somebody adding content on a regular basis the blog success will ultimately be sacrificed.
To assist clients in getting their blog going, we generally recommend that an initial number of articles are pre written for the client by a copy writing professional and that regular blog posts are scheduled over the course of a couple of years to ensure that the blog remains active. We find that generally while intentions remain good, clients forget to update their blog and the day to day business takes priority leaving the blog to spoil. For this reason, it's important to delegate a regular blog post by someone in your office and take that responsibility off yourself as the business owner.
It can often make sense to give a different staff member in the organisation the role of maintaining the blog each week or month so that a fresh insight and perspective is gained monthly. To ensure that grammar and spelling is maintained to the highest possible standards it is sometimes advisable to have multiple staff check the blog before it is posted live. Some entrepreneurs choose to make this blog writing process and information gathering part of the corporate culture giving team members the role of constantly maintaining the blog as part of their targets and performance criteria.
No matter what system you choose for managing a blog as long as it is consistent, you have the right technology that ensures that search engines can find your blog and that your blog links to the appropriate results pages on your website to ensure that anyone that finds the blog can actively engage your company in its products and services, then your blog should be a success and it should have served the purpose it was created to achieve.
So you have been thinking about getting a business coach but you are not sure what they can actually do for you. That is okay; standard. Many people struggle with understanding the benefits of a business coach.
Probably, the most important thing to recognise is that as an entrepreneur, there is only so much you can know about business. Your skill is your core-business or the field of expertise you have chosen to follow. However, a business coach has spent their life dedicated to the field of business as a whole.
The strategies behind business are somewhat the same no matter which industry you apply them to. The theory behind making businesses successful is complex and requires an expert in this field.
Imagine for a second that you are an international athlete; you are an expert at your specific field of sport, but the science behind health, nutrition, muscle, creation, sports therapy and mindset coaching are each individual areas of expertise that you can benefit from. It is the same in business.
Many of the world’s most successful business people are experts in a particular field that they have chosen to focus on but they rely on the general expertise of others to mentor them to see opportunities that they would otherwise be unable to identify.
There are two ways to improve your general business knowledge that will pay dividends for you long term.
The first is to surround yourself with people that have a different skill set to you.
The second is to find yourself an expert in the specific area of business that you are looking to improve. For example, if you are looking to grow your business, then a marketing or business growth specialist will be the adviser for you.
Sometimes, the role of the business coach is simply to help you decide which areas of your business you need to improve.
Different business coaches use different strategies for achieving results. Some of the key metrics that business coaches use to improve businesses are:
- brand awareness
- consumer traffic
- consumer enquiry
- sales conversions
- customer retention
- customer frequency
- service delivery
- profit margin
- risk profile
- recurring revenue.
These are just some of the ways that business coaches improve businesses on a regular basis.
So how do you identify the right business coach for you and your business?
It generally starts with identifying someone that you can relate to and that you respect enough to listen to and take advice on board. Finding this person can be challenging, however, it is important that you invest the time upfront to find this person as going with the wrong coach can actually work negatively in your business.
There are a lot of business coaches out there that simply act as an emotional guide rather than offering real substantial information that can help you on a daily basis to improve your business. Be careful about engaging business coaches that have a reputation for being merely a support system. You ideally want to be engaging individuals with a proven track record in business and legitimate testimonials that they can offer, which shows their abilities have been put into practice and results have been achieved.
How Much Does a Business Coach Cost?
A good business coach can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars an hour to tens of thousands of dollars a year. Be careful to avoid those companies that try to lock you into long-term contracts as often the reason for doing this is because they predict that customers would not see value long term, therefore, they see it as a requirement to lock their clients into long-term agreements.
The best business coaches are those that charged on a performance basis or allow customers to come and go freely because they are confident that the advice they offer will be valuable and relied upon for the long-term.
Finding a successful business coach who has successfully mentored others to success is critical if you are going to grow your business with the assistance of a professional. Taking advice from the wrong person can be very risky and you need to be careful that the business coach you engage is speaking from a place of experience and can offer you some assurances with respect to the outcomes you can expect to see from implementing their ideas.
The Difference between a Motivator and a Business Coach
One of the most dangerous things to confuse is the role of a motivator with a business coach. A business coach should be someone that is highly experienced in the art of business and growing businesses with as little risk and as aggressively as possible. A business motivator on the other hand is simply someone that you meet with regularly who can push you to explore the depths of your own intelligence and ingenuity to perform yourself.
Management consultants are traditionally where public listed or large-scale businesses and governments go for business coaching style advice in a more formal fashion. Management consultants offer management the knowledge that maybe missing within their enterprise as if it were their own, adding to the businesses intellectual property and intelligence bank without the traditional motivational approach. Corporate and highly-governed businesses tend not to want the motivation portion of coaching but rather prefer to focus on an information or best practice approach to business coaching thus it is packaged as management consulting.
So are you looking for a management consultant, a business coach or a mentor? This is the question you will need to answer yourself but finding somewhere to start is step one and the best place to start is somewhere that will put less risk on your business but provide you with ample opportunities that you can take advantage of as they make sense.
Good luck with your coach and let me know if you need an intro to one who can perform in your industry.
If you are wondering why your website is not your best marketing tool, then chances are, your website design needs some work.
Most people have heard other business owners say that a website is the best form of marketing, however few understand how or why this actually works.
Many businesses that currently experience a large volume of inbound enquiries from their website assume that their website is already as effective as it can be because it is performing.
This is not the case and I have seen numerous times, where by upgrading a website, we are able to yield 300% or even 400% more enquiries simply from an improved customer interaction and ease of use perspective.
Probably, the most important part to a website design is reducing the number of clicks that a client must take to understand what your business does and engage with you.
This does not mean that you want your website to be thin or content weak but it does mean that you need to get to the point quickly as website visitors prefer to get to their decided information as quickly as possible.
Treat your homepage as if it was your elevator pitch.
You want to described what it is your business does in as few words as possible to allow people to get an instant idea of what it is you do and how you work without reading pages and pages of content.
Then, you can support the homepage with an in depth set of information on each of the areas you mentioned.
Your homepage should also be designed to attract an interaction from the visitor. This can be done through a number of mechanisms but most successful is with a "free download" or a reason to contact. Simply having a “contact us” button is considered very weak and will only yield a very small amount of enquiries when compared to a legitimate reason that the customer can understand.
For example, a kitchen company might offer a price-list download or a "kitchen design checklist" download. This gives customers a soft way of interacting with you without committing to using your company or making formal contact.
By providing this entry level way for visitors to engage with your brand, you are obtaining some minimal information which usually includes email address, phone number and name, which can be used by your sales team to make contact with the client that you would have otherwise missed out on.
Simply waiting for clients to contact you is an expensive and slow way of securing leads and will generally only yield a very small result from people that are already interested in using you.
Most of the people that visit your website will not already know they want to use you. Therefore, the homepage should be designed to educate them on the benefits of using you with comparison to other providers in your field.
As simple checklist showing where you perform with comparison to competitors will provide a fast visual representation of your benefits that your visitors can quickly understand without too much reading.
Try to word your checklist in the shortest possible way so that people can quickly absorb the information rather than reading long sentences.
Another way of providing visitors with a feeling of security and assurance is by using a series of industry marks or logos that provide a quality appearance. For example, a "best price guarantee" or a "best quality guarantee" or a "money back guarantee" or even industry logos that the client may be familiar with will all add a sense of familiarity to the visitor.
Another feature of your homepage depending on the industry you are in is testimonials or case studies. However, it is best to avoid lengthy text in these areas; rather opt for a five-star system that clearly shows visitors how clients felt about you without necessarily having to read long-winded testimonials.
It is also good to give these testimonials the feeling of being real as many visitors assume that some testimonials could be fabricated. To do this, it is recommended that you use real photos of people or at least first names and suburbs to make the information appear genuine.
Another great way of making people feel comfortable with your business quickly is by providing short bursts of information using headings. Headings are a fantastic method of separating the homepage into core areas that the costumer can get their head around piece by piece rather than grouping large concepts together in traditional "about us" type structures.
It is also important that you follow some basic layout standards with respect to your website. Having a "contact us" button in the top right-hand corner is recommended as that has been the best-practice format for laying out a website for several decades.
Probably the most powerful method of attracting enquiry on your site is to give the customer an understanding of the process they are about to take and ensuring that process sounds simple and easy to understand. A company that can described the process that customers are about to take is perceived by customers as being organised and in control and therefore trustworthy and reliable.
Try using a diagram to show the simple flow your customers will take once they contact you. Use step 1, step 2, step 3 style of approach so the customers can visualise the working relationship they are about to engaged in.
Another great method for attracting an enquiry on your website is to use the marketing concept of comparative reasoning. This can be done by positioning several of your products and their prices so that one or multiple of the products seem like very good value. This could be done by using a special on a homepage or something that will make the client feel as though the deal is "too good not to enquire about".
Here, you can have a "download information sheet" or "download discount card", which will again promote the customer to engage with your business.
Another successful method of obtaining enquiries through your website is to offer a series of buttons laid out in the same order throughout the entire website. These three buttons could be, for example, enquire now, book a free consultation and download info kit. By laying these three buttons out in exactly the same order, multiple times on a page, it tells the client continuously that they have three options of engaging with you and subconsciously, it provides the client with the decision making process which they cannot help but engage with.
Ultimately, they will select the decision that provides them with the least amount of commitment while also feeling as though they are doing their due-diligence on your business as an informed buyer or customer. Therefore, most of the people who visit your website will select the "download brochure" button or a similar button of your choosing.
You want to try to separate your customers into three groups,
- 1: Ready to buy now
- 2: Ready to buy later
- 3: Never going to buy
By separating customers into these groups, you can provide information that suits each of these customers.
Those that were "never going to buy" are still a valuable source of referral and still worth your time to educate on your product for a long-term branding purpose sufficient to allow them to share your message or your business’ purpose with others if they ask.
Those that are "ready to buy now" are looking for the queues to purchase which include price, a phone number, your physical location, a discount or fast assurance that if they make a decision to proceed with you, this could be undone later or a guarantee for them against their losses.
For those that are "looking to purchase in the near future" but are not ready to purchase now, these people are either unsure on the process and therefore believe it to be harder that it is OR being driven by fear and require a thorough explanation of the process to ensure that they do not make a mistake. These people are also perfectly suited to receive ongoing communication from your business and therefore, it is important to have an in depth knowledge centre on your website to point these people back to with questions that they might have and to also lead from your marketing, your newsletters or your automated email correspondence links back to the website about different topics of interest to put these people at rest and ensure that one day, they convert into a sale.
There are number of other things that your website requires to ensure that it gains traffic and continues to convert adequately.
These things include:
- Searching optimisation
- PDF documents that clients can download
- Forms for clients to fill out
- Pricelists, catalogues, and other sales tools
- Webinars that clients can watch in their own time
- Photo galleries that allow clients to peruse your work
- Videos that allow clients to get educated
- Animations that clearly describe the process of engaging with you or your benefits
- A blog which can provide detailed information on specific parts of your business
- Case studies or testimonials that can provide clients with assurance
All of these things and more can be provided on your website to allow those researching your product to access the information they are looking for quickly. It is important though not to provide too much access to this information without securing the potential customers' email address and phone number.
One technique that many websites used is to "gate" or protect the information with a contact form or enquiry form. One strategy is to incorporate all such information as a download or where it is simply a page on the website, position it as if it is a download to allow people to put in their details prior to accessing it.
This will give you a higher conversion rate in terms of traffic-to-lead ratio and will ensure that you create a strong marketing engine to generate massive enquiries rather than simply a large amount of traffic.
While it is probably obvious, it is critical that your website looks and feels consistent and well designed to match your branding. Although the average person is not a branding expert, they are still naturally trained in what is an acceptable format for your business to be presented as. They have seen other businesses in your field before and they could be in the process of comparing you against others. Therefore, it is critical that your business presents in a way that they expect to see it.
Some industries require industry leaders to look cheaper or more affordable than competitors whereas in other industries, businesses perform better if they are represented as being superior or a higher quality.
Take a moment to sit down and decide how your customers want to perceive you.
Are your customers looking for the best in the business or the best deal in business?
Are your customers looking for fast or are they looking for done at the right speed to ensure they get the quality they desire?
Are your customers looking for big, bright and colourful or sleek, black and white?
Think about where your business sits in your industry and think about where your customers would prefer it to sit.
Go looking around the internet at your competitors' businesses and see which websites you feel would communicate best with you target market. Remember, do not design a website that you like; design a website that matches your customers' wants and needs and ensure that you offer enough engagement to allow your customers to quickly understand what is your business does and engage in a way that offers least commitment to the customer while allowing them to feel as though they are doing the correct amount of due-diligence on your product to ensure that they proceed as a paying customer.
Good luck with your website. Let me know if you want an intro to a Web Design Company that does all of this and more.
Okay. So, you got a great idea and you want to create your own App.
Hell, why not? Everybody else that has done it has made millions, right? Wrong!
Only a very small percentage of the Apps that get designed end up ever getting BUILT and even a lower percentage end up becoming even remotely successful.
So, unless you have got endurance, a really clever idea and a strong business model of how you are going to monetise and attract the downloads then either get yourself a good advisor or do not waste your time entering the AppSphere.
Having said that, if you have got these things and you have got enough endurance to make sure you can take it to market then you could be venturing on something quite profitable and exciting indeed.
The common misconception of people wanting to start their own app is the process that is taken to develop it.
Generally, people start by contacting App development companies in the hope that after pitching them the idea they will simply be able to build the app and make it successful at an affordable fee. This could not be further from the truth. The best process of developing an App to be successful is to work with a designer who is experienced in designing Apps to get the functionality and concept right before speaking to a development team.
The design of the App in a screen by screen workflow will allow you to think about how the App will work in detail without actually building it. Essentially, you are building a dumb or unintelligent version of the Application that you can manually poke around with and get it to flow nicely before you ever speak to a development team.
Often entrepreneurs will develop their App with a graphic designer in their local country to get the Apps functionality right, and then as a separate stage will outsource the App development to low-cost countries like India, China, South America or Eastern Europe.
Working with an App designer from a visual perspective can be quite affordable. Apps can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 for the visual design stage. This is a great process to go through because it provides the entrepreneur with the clear visual explanation of the Application to use for funding and other stakeholders to clearly communicate the vision of the concept.
Entrepreneurs often draw people to work on Apps based purely on the future potential of the business. If you are lucky enough to have the gift of the gab then attracting an App development team to work with you on a project might be something you look to do. However, it will be difficult to attract the right team to work on a purely performance basis unless you can clearly display the concept and the vision.
This vision needs to also include the market ability and marketing strategy of the App encompassing both how you are planning to fund the initial customer acquisition and the process that you will take for ensuring that the roll out strategy will be effective.
The thing that separates most Apps that go to market is their ability to earn revenue. Unless you have deep pockets and plan to spend years on branding alone then you will want a relatively simple business model that is going to create income early in the piece.
Many entrepreneurs who are inexperienced in custom acquisition fail with the release of their App because they are lacking this vital piece to the puzzle. Any entrepreneur looking into the App industry is urged to seek the assistance of a professional marketing team that can guarantee or at least guide the entrepreneur on the costs associated with downloads.
The technologies you use (that sit behind the visual App interface) are also critical in your App success. There are hundreds of different technologies that drive the Apps we use each day; from SMS and email marketing systems and API programming languages to banking, and transactional technologies that allow the customer to interact between your App and their native phone Apps with ease.
It is advisable that once you have designed the visual interface of your App and planned the marketing strategy of your App you should engage the skills of a technology architect to plan how the technology behind your App will work.
It is often smart to employ the services of this individual prior to seeking an App development company as you are setting the best practice that you prefer for your technology rather than relying on the differing opinions of App developers who may remain biased to the technologies they are most comfortable dealing with.
Whether or not you choose to get an outside party to architect the technology or whether you choose to rely on the developer that you engaged it is critical that the entire software architecture and API preferences are decided upon well before development actually begins. By doing this, it also gives you a clear indication of future costs for things like hosting and technology licensing.
Many entrepreneurs who managed to develop their App quite inexpensively become unstuck with the ongoing costs of maintaining the App on the App Store and continuing their services as hosting and licensing can be expensive.
The technology you choose to run your App should be considered based on the cost of maintaining it in the App Store. Often entrepreneurs only look at the potential gain that the App will make rather than looking at the worst case scenario of maintaining their App live while the required customer base is growing.
It can often take one, two or even three attempts at launching the App to get the required traction. As you go from marketing company to marketing company you will slowly understand the App space in a more detailed way and your ability to design effective campaigns will improve. However, you need the endurance to ensure you can achieve this as many App developers find themselves closing the doors well before they achieve their desired success.
Good luck with your APP and let me know if you would like an intro to a good local Visual APP Designer.
If you have ever wondered how companies grow at speed with little-to-no human infrastructure then, the answer could very well be marketing automation.
Marketing automation is essentially replicating what your human marketing team do on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis, based on a number of variables of how customers interact with your business. Everything from an initial inquiry response email through to an email checking a client’s satisfaction after they have dealt with your business is included in marketing automation.
Essentially, marketing automation is about designing the perfect customer flow for every client to take in your business to ensure that all clients are treated in the best possible way. Marketing automation improves customer retention, customer conversion rates, customer referral, and increases the spend that customers are willing to spend with your business.
Imagine that you, the business owner, was able to spend a significant amount of time with every single client that comes into your business. Now imagine that you only need to do this once to create the perfect road map or system that every client in the future was going to go through. This is marketing automation. It is about creating the perfect path in an ideal world for every stakeholder of your business to go through and can be used not just for customers but for all kinds of stakeholders, including shareholders, potential investors, and all other people in the business including staff and suppliers.
Marketing automation starts with the trigger.
Triggers can range from many different kinds of things that happened in your business to start a marketing automation pathway. For example; one trigger could be that when a website visitor fills out an inquiry form a welcome email could be sent. This welcome email then forms another trigger that for example could wait for a number of days and check for a response. If the response has not been received this could trigger a following email. Each time creating a trigger and response that reacts in different ways depending on how you would like your client to be treated.
Using delays is a common way for marketing automation experts to give the impression of real human interaction. For example, a text message from a particular sales person could be activated upon an email being received from the client in response to an automatic email. This would give the impression that a sales person has now been connected to their account even though no human interaction has actually happened. The SMS could be programmed so that if any response to the SMS occurs that response is forwarded directly to the sales person for manual interaction.
It possible to prewrite SMS, emails, manual posts, Facebook messages and other forms of communication through the automation software. Automation software can even treat clients differently depending on the stage in the pipeline that the client is at. When setting up automation software to begin with, good automation agencies work with clients to analyse their client flow and to create numerous milestones in the customers on boarding process.
- Stage 1 might be called "new lead"
- Stage 2 might be called "brochure sent"
- Stage 3 might be called "face to face meeting booked"
- Stage 4 might be called "face to face meeting completed"
As you can see here, the pipeline of the client is based on their interaction with the company and different automations can be programmed to occur at different stages.
For example, a client that has been sitting in the brochure stage and has not yet been booked in for a meeting might be prompted with SMS seven days after sitting stagnant to request that they book a meeting. If a further response is not received a sales person or possibly management could be notified to call the client manually.
This form of automation allows companies to have transparency across the enterprise as to where each client is at in the pipeline but also to ensure that every client receives the same attention as the next. It is true that 80% of revenue is derived from 20% of clients. This is a ratio that is prevalent across multiple industries and because of this sales people generally treat the clients unequally due to the constraints and pressure from upper management to ensure that they perform at their best.
Marketing automation allows enterprises to mitigate the risks associated with not treating clients equally and allows management, sales staff and other people within the enterprise to treat clients equally using a set of standard automation principles which can be developed from the onset and integrated to maintain a high level of customer interaction ongoing.
Marketing automation can also be used to create referrals by contacting customers who have already purchased from of business at several stages in time. For example, 24 hours after a client purchases they can be asked to comment on the purchasing experience. This can give the marketing and transactional team insight into the quality of the current systems and allow for further development and improvement of the systems.
Other organisations use time based automations to communicate with customers well beyond to the point of purchase. For example, one month following a purchase the customer could be contacted to inquire as to the quality of the product or services they received.
This constant form of communication puts the company in good light and customers automatically perceive the company as one that cares about their concerns and needs.
This kind of good-will that is developed through marketing automation is unfathomable with respect to the valuation of a company and the goodwill generation that this imposes within an organisation.
LMNT provides on-the-money resources to those people most passionate about success in every aspect of their life.