All small business owners are told these days that they must get online with a snazzy website. And they must understand how to use social media to promote their business. But is that all there is to it? Hardly.
In Part 1 of this series, I explained that there are actually 7 pillars to a successful online marketing presence. Pillars 1 and 2 are Website and SEO respectively. Let’s now move to pillars 3 and 4.
PILLAR THREE: LEAD CAPTURE
All right, you have a decent looking website and you’ve even optimized it properly so it’s not invisible to the search engines. What do you do next? You need to seek permission from those who come to your website looking to solve a problem.
Studies have shown that it can take 7 touches to convert a prospect in to a customer. Think of your own experience when it comes to buying things.
Unless you’re dead set on a purchase you rarely buy a product or service the very first time you encounter it, do you?
When people first hit your website they’re most likely just poking around looking for information. Once they’ve surveyed your site they’re going to move on. In most cases never to return.
This is why it’s so important for you to have a decent method of capturing their information.
This isn’t an RSS feed by the way. RSS does provide an effective way for people to stay in touch with changes to your site, but it doesn’t get you their contact information. Thus, it’s going to be hard to market to RSS subscribers in a direct fashion.
What you need is email marketing.
DOING LEAD CAPTURE RIGHT
With email marketing you’ll set up a simple form on your site to get basic information from your visitors.
The less you ask for the more likely you are to get it. I just ask for first name and email address. Now you are going to want to make this very visible. I have looked at plenty of websites where the email sign-up form is buried.
Sometimes it’s not even on the home page! Big mistake.
I recommend you put it on the home page above the fold, which means clearly visible on the screen without scrolling. To make this effort even more effective, offer some type of bonus to visitors.
If you join my list via my website, you’ll be sent 5 emails one week apart with my top tips for success with social media, sales, strategic planning, marketing and public speaking.
I get this done by using an auto-responder series through Constant Contact, the email marketing service I use.
I present this bonus offer to people by way of a 30-second animated video. That makes it a little more attractive in my opinion. What I plan to do next to further increase sign-ups is to use a pop-up service called Pippity.
Yes, pop-ups do annoy some people, but they work when done tastefully. For example, after a person’s been on your site for at least 30 seconds, which believe it or not is a long time.
Once you have permission to market to someone you can then start sending them periodic emails to reach that magic number of contacts when they decide to do business with you.
PILLAR FOUR: EMAIL MARKETING
It’s natural that now that we have a list built of people who want information from us that we’d actually use it. Seems obvious but there are many who don’t. Want to know a secret?
Go to the website of any social media guru you can think of and I’ll bet they ask you for your name and email address?
Why do you think this is? I’ll tell you. It’s because email marketing still works to make sales. Social media is a great tool but it doesn’t sell as well as email. When you’re reading an email you’re engrossed in that content for that moment in time. This makes you an ideal prospect.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR EMAIL MARKETING MORE EFFECTIVE
They key to making email effective is to honor the deal you made with the person who joined your list. If you told them you’d email coupons, then by golly do that. If you promised helpful articles, then they’d better solve problems by reading your newsletter.
Lastly, if you told them you’d email them once a week, then don’t fail to do so.
Email marketing works when you give the value recipients expect when they expect it. Stray from this formula and you’ll see unsatisfying results.
Consider blending in multimedia in to your newsletters, too. I like to embed videos in my newsletters. If I created podcasts, I’d embed them as well. Adding documents can also make your newsletters more interesting. I add PDF worksheets from time to time to give people a helpful resource.
By the way, the time to start gathering information from your site visitors is now. Not tomorrow, not next month, but now. Now you’re up to speed on pillars 1 –4.
Next time we’ll wrap it up. For now please ask whatever questions you have about the pillars we’ve covered.
Photo by Watson Media