Archive for December, 2009

 

Whether they had a bad year or a great year, most of your customers will start January 1st back at zero. It’s a fresh start, which depending on who you’re selling to, can mean your customers are also anxious about the ambitious “next year” goals & objectives they’re responsible for.

Those customers will be looking for anything that can help them get a head-start on those objectives, anything that will make it easier to make significant progress fast.

This is a great time of year to particularly align your product or service to those brand-new objectives. Demonstrate clearly how you can help, and you’re in.

(source: Matt Heinz, HeinzMarketing.com)

Of course, you can’t spend all of your capital and marketing and not have enough left over to be able to create the products you intend to sell. On the other hand, you can’t put all of your money into the products without developing some kind of marketing strategy to bring them to the attention of potential customers. Where and how you market will depend on the type of customers you hope to attract. When you have a niche area and you know there is a demand for your product or service, you do need to do your research to find competitive ways of bringing it to the attention of the buying public.

A friend of mine, marketing maven Stacy Karacostas, of SuccessStream Sales & Marketing Solutions, (www.success-stream.com) wrote in one of her Bright Ideas newsletters:

“Marketing is a mandatory investment in the success of your business…I regularly run into entrepreneurs with a terrific small business or product, and no money (or time) for marketing. But if you don’t get the word out about your business, no one knows you exist, and no one buys what you’re selling. Then you don’t have a business…You have a really expensive and time consuming hobby.”

10 Steps to Generate More Leads (part 2 – the second five!); by Barry Harrison, Resolve Digital

One of the best ways to ensure websites are producing the most possible leads is to evaluate your site from a visitor’s perspective. Follow these steps for numerous, qualified leads.

6. Include images of your people
It is especially important for service businesses to include photos of key staff members on the “About Us” page to literally give your company a human face. Steer clear of high school yearbook or deer-in-the-headlights photos and avoid stock photography that comes across as generic. You might even consider a short video with a message from the CEO welcoming visitors to explore your business.

7. Make it easy for prospects to contact you
Phone numbers should be prominent on every page, along with a link to your contact page. Visitors should not have to scroll to see them. And repeat your contact information in the footer of each page. Consider including short forms on key pages of your site, not just your contact page.

8. Make action steps obvious
When visitors arrive at a page they should be greeted with a clear page title. The copy should be brief and easy to scan. Whether its “contact us for a free consultation” or “tell a friend,” there should be an obvious call-to-action. Use the color, style, and position of your call-to-action so visitors have no doubt where they’re supposed to click.

Also, minimize elements that detract from the action steps. Is every element on your page essential? Each word, image, button, and graphic on a page adds to the level of visual noise and competes for attention. A clear hierarchy helps visitors focus on the most important things.

9. Link actions with benefits
A “submit” button is never a good idea. It isn’t enough to say: “Contact us for more information.” Every call-to-action should be joined with a benefit. What will the visitor gain by taking the action? The Futurenowinc.com site offers a great example: “Let Us Help You Achieve Better Results” is paired with a “Please Contact Me” button.

10. Keep forms brief
Require only the contact information you need to respond and don’t ask for much more. If you must have additional information to qualify leads, consider a two-part form. Ask if they prefer a phone or email reply. Periodically test your forms, make sure they work, and send an auto-reply message acknowledging receipt of every inquiry.

Even if you’re really good at what you do, it can be a struggle to generate enough leads in tough economic times. Make sure your website is working for you. Take the time to evaluate how it builds credibility, delivers useful content, and motivates visitors to take action and you will ignite your lead generation process.