Small business owners know their product or service--it's their lifeline to survival in a competitive and unstable economic world. Whether it's specialty coffee or diamond grinding wheels, salon services or pet grooming, your industry is your expertise. So when it comes to generating leads online, (and that isn't your particular business offering), the savviest of business owners might be left scratching their heads.
But opting out of the Internet is not an option. E-commerce sites are reported to be growing by 19 percent each year and sales are estimated at $1.4 trillion this year. If you don't sell your product or service online directly, your presence there is still important. Eighty percent of shoppers research products online before making buying decisions according to Synchrony Financials third annual Major Purchase Consumer Study.
How to Generate Online Leads
1. Start with your website basics.
- Does your website tell visitors exactly what your business does or sells upon immediate view?
- Does it convert visitors to shoppers through layout and call-to-action content?
Be sure your phone number is large, in your website's header, if you are seeking phone leads. Use headers with your business keywords, so visitors are immediately aware of what you offer. Make a link to buy visible and accessible from every page.
- Is your content fresh and related to your business?
Search Engine Optimization used to be more keyword specific, but these days search engines rank search results based on additional information, like how long a viewer remains on a page and conversions made from the site. Regularly updated and relevant content captures web visitors longer and boosts your search engine rankings.
- Is your information capture page simple?
Most people are not interested to fill out long forms or divulge too much information about themselves. Keep your requested information limited to three items--name, email address, and phone number. If, however, you're offering free product or service, it's ok to ask for more information in exchange and even ask visitors to join your site through a password-protected trial membership or account.
- Is your website mobile friendly?
Beginning April 1, 2015, Google decided to rank mobile-friendly sites above all others. And if your site is difficult to navigate on a smartphone or tablet, you'll lose potential customers faster than you can say "goodbye."
2. Consider a Pay-Per-Click campaign.
Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is basic. Rather than earning top spots in search engines organically, you can pay the search engine a fee for every click on your ad. The ads are sold in an auction where you bid the amount you'll pay for a click on the ad. If you do run a pay-per-click campaign, remember to:
- make sure your ad is relevant to the content and keywords on your landing page
- include a clear call to action on your ad
- change your ad frequently to mirror your business
??Companies like WordStream offer software to manage your PPC campaigns, analysis of your current campaigns or even management services to take the work out of your hands all together. What's so nice about a PPC campaign are the measurable results.
3. Follow up leads.
You've collected names, email addresses and phone numbers, now do something with them! Develop an email marketing campaign to connect with and track the preferences of your customers. Using metrics, you can see which customers open or forward your emails, if they're deleted without opening them, and whether or not they clicked on your links. Measuring the results of your lead generation efforts is key to your success.
Your small business has to compete on so many levels--perhaps brick and mortar and online. Learning to generate leads through your website and convert those leads to relationships and sales makes the competition that much easier.
Do you rely on leads through your website?