Small Business Lead Generation – Why Spamming and Cold Calling Does Not Work

Every small business is the proverbial Needle in the Haystack, so small business lead generation is critical to an entrepreneur’s survival and the growth of his/her small business. The thing that most entrepreneurs forget, though, is that it is a lot easier to turn a prospect or lead into a customer if the lead calls you versus when you call them. It cracks me up when I hear titles of articles, seminars, or books about how to “Make Effective Cold Calls” or how to “Warm Up Cold Calls”. In the past decade (through two recessions, mind you,) I’ve built a total of four multi-million dollar businesses from scratch, and none of that revenue was ever generated from any “cold call”. In fact, I’ve had over 405 of the Fortune 500 companies become clients, and they have all called or emailed my companies. They searched my companies out when they had a problem instead of us trying to find people within these companies that were facing the specific problems that we could solve. These are a few of the secrets that we have uncovered to help small businesses generate more leads (and more quality leads).

Cold Calls do not Work at All in a Digital Age

Cold calls, email spam, blast faxes, pop-up windows, forced “opt-in” subscribers and the like just don’t work in this digital age (I’m not sure any of them ever worked very well for very long). The ones that crack me up the most are the companies that send out blast email spam guaranteeing us that they can get our website to the top of Google in 48 hours. Seriously? Do you think that if they could actually do this that they would be wasting their time spamming millions of people trying to beg someone to buy their service? Last month, there were 165,000 people who went to Google and searched for the term “Google search optimization”. If they could get to the top of Google with just that one term, they would have about two million people potential leads coming to them every year. So why would they need to spam people? If you are so good at what you do, why are you spamming me? Why are you cold calling me? Why are you trying to force me to subscribe to your newsletter? The truth is that cold calling and spamming people shows desperation, not success.

Get Potential Leads to Call You to Turn more Leads into Customers

The internet is the great equalizer for small businesses. Big businesses have websites, but their bureaucracy forces them to move very slowly in implementing new technology and captivating on new opportunities. However, nimble small businesses can capitalize on these opportunities immediately. It is actually very easy to get to the top of a Google search result. It is very difficult, however, to stay there. In fact, it is a fulltime job. But it is a very lucrative fulltime job. Logically, this is why this is your most important goal for your small business. When someone has a question, where do they go for an answer now? In decades past, if you had a challenge or a question, you might ask a friend or coworker or if it was a really big problem, you might go to the library and search for an answer. Today, though, people go immediately to Google. The listings at the top of the first page have a lot more credibility than the ones on the second, third, or four-hundredth.

If your small business is listed at the top of the results when they enter their question, and then they click through to your website and get the answer to that question, your small business is now at the top of their short-list for solution providers. If they call you or email you, you automatically have about a 25% chance or so of turning that lead into a client. In contrast, if your small business is listed at the top of page two on Google, in order to have someone contact you, they will have already looked at listings from at least 10 other competitors. Most potential customers will not be that thorough, so you will generate fewer leads, and now, since you are competing with at least ten other competitors, your percentage of closing drops to below 10%.

Get Leads to Call You by Giving Away Something that They Need or Want

What is common knowledge to you is uncommon to most people. Remember that your expertise and knowledge is extremely valuable to people who are searching on Google for answers as in the previous example. So if you can help them answer the question – and really help them in the process – they are more likely to share with you their contact information. Once they do, you now know two things about them. First, you know that they have (or had) a specific problem that you can help them solve. Second, you know that they already know who you are and trust has started to develop from them that you are an expert in your industry.

What you give away doesn’t have to be costly, but it must be valuable. Costly means that it doesn’t have to cost you anything to give it away. For instance, if you have a lot of informational content on your blog, then you might ask people to register in order to conduct a search of your blog for specific topics. Or, you might give away a special report or access to a video or audio file with information that a prospect might need. For example, if you are a dentist, you might offer a video about how to teach a three-year-old to brush properly. Anyone who requests the free information will likely have a young child and be concerned about the child’s oral health. Whatever the gift, just make sure that your costs are low and the value of the item is high from the customer’s perspective.

So forget the cold calls and spam, use your website to get more leads to call you, and then use a high-valued free gift to encourage prospects to contact you, and you will generate great success through small business lead generation.

Small Business Leads – How to Increase Your Small Business Profits

If you are a small business owner, I hope you have a website. Even if that small business of yours deals with local clients and customers, an online website can go a long way. In fact, many internet users even like to research local businesses online first. So lets say that you get yourself a website and you do some marketing. Great; you are on the right track. But there is one more thing I’d like you to do. I’d like you to go out and find some small business sales leads. These leads are what will connect you with your targeted market. Whether you contact them via email or phone, you can point them in the direction of that online website of yours.

Now, it is a good idea to find some small business sales leads. What you do is search for leads or people who are interested in what you have for sale. You find them and make contact. Whether this contact is over-the-phone or via email, your goal is to entice them to become a customer. You can provide a link to your online store, discuss some of the products or services you sell, and even offer a promotional discount “just for them.”

Making contact with a potential customer you found for your small business is the easiest part. It is finding that potential customer online that can be the hard part. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be very hard. Here are some helpful tips for you:

Examine Online Classified Websites: Since you are a business that has a product or a service to sell, you want to find individuals who advertise online that they want it. You might wonder if someone is looking for a new dining room table (which you sell) why don’t they just search the internet looking for one? I’ll tell you; because it is much easier to just make a post and hope that someone (just like you) comes along to say “I got one for sale.” Buyers don’t want to spend hours on a computer searching when they don’t have to.

Search with Good Phrases: The tricky part about searching online classifieds and other similar sites for small business leads is that you are going to get mixed results. This is just something you have to make do with. So lets say back to that dinning room table, if you do a search with the phrase “kitchen table,” you are going to find a mixture if people looking to buy and people trying to sell theirs. You are looking for the buyers, so find these.

In short, you don’t need to pay a professional to generate small business leads for you. It is easy for you to do it yourself. Best of all, you know that you are getting the best results because you are 100% in control of the searching, the finding, the deciding, and the making contact.

3 Free Ways To Market Your Small Business Online

Most small business owners know they need to be involved in online marketing but many are at a loss on simple free steps they can take to get started or grow their internet presence. It’s unfair too because many small businesses are stuck buying expensive print ads in newspapers and the yellow pages.

So, in this short article, we’re going to learn 3 free ways to market your small business on the internet. With no further ado, let’s do it!

Free Marketing Method 1: Create a Facebook Fan Page

Facebook Fan Pages are not just a novelty anymore. If you look, most “big brands” aren’t even advertising their own websites these days, they’re advertising their Facebook page. You’ve probably seen ads for companies like Ford and at the end it says “visit us on Facebook” or something along those lines.

Why is Facebook so important for small business marketing? To answer that question, let me tell you a story. Imagine you go to a party and when you arrive first. While you’re waiting for everyone else to show up you look around the room. Sure, there are beautiful pictures everywhere and you can read all about your host and even learn a little about why the party is happening.

After hours and hours of waiting alone, you finally figure it out. No one else is coming to this party. So, why am I talking about parties? Because that “party” is your website (if you have one). Websites are good to quickly give information, but there’s no space for interaction. And even if there is, it’s not in real time.

Facebook practically allows you to communicate in real time with your customers, and it allows them to interact with each other. Your best customers will help spread the word about your business and help the “newbies” who have questions. To go back to our party example, it’s like being at a party with all the cool kids – and they all want to talk to you!

So, if you don’t have a Facebook fanpage yet… now is the time.

Free Marketing Method 2: Blogging For Your Business

Besides a Facebook fan page, you need to be blogging. A Blog is simply a type of website that allows you to post articles or posts in order. They aren’t too hard to setup and you can get free blogs from sites like Blogger.com or WordPress.com. Although, I think it’s best to install your own custom blog software.

Blogs are really important because they allow you to create fresh content which in turn get your site ranked for better terms. This is especially important for local businesses because it’s a lot easier to rank for keywords when you have a local phrase. For example, if I wanted to rank for Tarpon Springs Internet Marketer it wouldn’t be that hard because:

1) There’s not a lot of competition
2) I have a blog and can write a blog post all about that topic

Google loves stuff like this because the page that my blog creates is completely optimized for the phrase Tarpon Springs Internet Marketer. And blogs also help solve the “party scene with no guests” scenario because you can actually include Facebook comments in your blog. This is a bit complex, but most web designers can do this for you if you ask.

Free Marketing Method 3: Find Free Small Business Leads Using Twitter

This is a great little tactic for small businesses, especially if you don’t mind reaching out and looking for customers. So many local business owners just wait for someone to walk in the door… so by getting out and looking you’ll be 10 times better off than other business owners.

Here’s how this strategy works. Many people are on twitter. It’s a micro-blogging site that allows people to post short updates about what they’re doing. You can sign up for Twitter by going to Twitter.com. It’s always best to use your name so you appear to be more real. And don’t worry, it’s free to sign up.

Anyway, when you register you can now communicate with other people on Twitter. So, who are you going to talk to on there? Easy. You’re going to go here:

http://search.twitter.com/advanced

Search for words or phrases people might say who need your product or service. The good thing about Twitter is that people love to complain on there over mundane things. For example, someone might write, “dang it! My brakes are going out. This sucks!”

So, imagine if you’re an auto-mechanic you could contact that person and offer them a free check-up or whatever. And the best part is, before you do your search, you can actually type in a zip code area to search in. That way, if you’re in Dunedin, Florida you are going to be seeing updates from people in a different state.

Small Business Internet Marketing: Start Now

You’ve just been given 3 great ways to get stated marketing your small business online. But the real key is to get started now. Don’t wait another second. Your competitors are either already online taking your customers or getting ready to be. One of the real keys to the internet is that the early bird gets the worm.

So, take what you’ve just read and put it to work now.

Website Design Tips – A Small Business Road-Map to More Online Leads

Designing a website when you’re a small business is different than what a Fortune 500 company would do. While large companies may have the nationwide brand recognition and many people linking to their site, you probably do not. This poses a challenge in ensuring that visitors to your site are well informed, they are directed to what they need to see on your site, they can easily subscribe to your site, and they leave with the impression of a very professional company As a small business owner myself and a website designer, I’ve compiled the following critical tips on designing your website.

Overall Design

– Clean
– Uncluttered
– Light-weight

The overall design of your site should be clean, uncluttered, and light-weight. By clean I mean that it should be a more simple design as opposed to lots of shapes, contrasting colors, and unreadable fonts. You can still have a very unique design but your customers will thank you for keeping it clean. This also leads into keeping it uncluttered. Have only the essential links, pictures, and widgets on your web page. The days of providing a real service by having the local weather or a dancing baby on your home page are over. Keeping your page uncluttered will let visitors focus on what is really important. If you have too much for one page, split it into two pages and use a call to action in the original page to direct the visitor. You also must keep your design light-weight as in smaller pictures, no crazy flash/animation, and use of background colors as opposed to images. This will ensure your web page loads quickly on a visitors browser and will make it much more accessible.

Content – Content Formatting

– Quality, Original Content
– Direct and to the point
– Small paragraphs for easy reading
– Easy reading font
– Font to background color contrast

Content is critical for a small business. Your web design must account for showcasing your content and providing good content for search engines like Google. This will definitely help with your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Ensure that your content is original quality content that doesn’t have too much fluff and gets to the point. I have been to websites before where after a couple of minutes of reading, I still don’t know what they do. Be direct and your visitors will thank you!

For formatting your content, you need to ensure that you have at least a 12 point font, which isn’t a crazy unreadable font. Stick with the basic fonts for your main content. Color is important so make sure that the contrast between your text and the background doesn’t make it unreadable. You don’t want too similar of colors so it’s hard to read and you don’t want a contrast that hurts your eyes to read (i.e. neon green on a black background).

Call to Action

– Include on every page
– Ask for what you want
– Explain the benefits

If someone is coming to your website, make sure they do what you want them to do. Many small business websites forget about asking the customer to buy a product, sign up for their list or whatever else you want them to do on your site. Be specific and include a call to action on all of your pages. If I want you to sign up for my newsletter so I can provide you with information and market my products to you, I need to sell you the benefits of being on my list. My call to action might be “Sign-up Today!” after explaining the benefits. If you don’t ask them or get them to take action, many times they won’t.

Capture Leads

– Capture an email address
– Entice with free products
– Low barrier to entry

If someone is visiting your website, you need to capture their information. They are obviously on your website for a reason and you need to give them the opportunity to learn more by capturing their information. Good website design for your small business should account for how you will capture their lead information. I like to make it a low barrier for entry for my visitors. You sign-up for my newsletter by providing me with just your email address in the side bar or the hover page that I display after you’ve been on my site for 7 seconds. I sell the benefits of getting free information and I make it easy. I will also offer a free product like a free report but I make the barrier to entry a little higher. If you want my free report, in addition to your email address you will also have to provide me with your name and phone number. Guess what makes great leads to call on?

There are many aspects to great website design for small businesses and I’ve really only scratched the surface. I suggest doing a lot of research on the subject so you can end up with an online presence that sets you apart from other businesses in your industry. There are many professionals that do a great job with the design and professionals that do a great job with the optimization and lead capture. Not many do both so make sure you do your homework.