At ReachLocal – an online marketing services company catering to small business – the mantra is “Don’t leak leads.” And that’s good advice for business owners investing more and more money in online marketing only to have large chunks of leads slip away.
If you don’t have an engaging website that turns visits into leads, haven’t created a mobile site, aren’t responding quickly when leads do appear or simply don’t know which marketing efforts are working, you may be wasting your money marketing online. According to Kris Barton, Chief Product Officer at ReachLocal, small businesses never capture some 75% of potential Internet leads simply because they lack the basic tools and capabilities to convert them.
And the worst part is that most business owners never even know about the plumbing leaks that are costing them new customers. To fix the problem, start by identifying where leaks may be occurring in your sales funnel. It can happen at any of the three main stages in the so-called “customer purchase journey”:
1) The top of the funnel where customers first discover you by looking online for the type of products or services you offer.
2) Mid-funnel, which is the stage where they visit your website, contact you and become leads.
3) And finally at the bottom of the funnel where they actually make up their minds on whether to become a customer or not.
Here are some ways to avoid leaking leads, according to online marketing specialists at ReachLocal:
Go beyond Google. Sure, Google is the 900 pound gorilla. But some 25-35% of online searches come from Bing and Yahoo! So if you aren’t advertising there as well, you could be losing customers to competitors who are.
Bid on your own business name. Many small businesses that buy keyword ads don’t include their own business name. But like it or not, your competitors might be doing just that – running search ads to capture customers searching for your business.
Claim your business listing on Google+ Local. If you haven’t done this you’re missing a great opportunity to appear on page one of local search results. Not only does claiming your Google+ Local listing help you rank higher in search, it also helps you show up better in Google Maps. So claim your page and optimize it with your contact info, URL and other content.
Use “site retargeting” to recapture prospects. Only some 2% of customers convert on their first visit to a business website. “Retargeting” is a way to try and bring back the other 98% by using an online ad service that tracks who visits your site, and then will display your “retargeted” ads to those people when they visit other websites.
Actively manage your social media pages. More consumers are now connecting with local businesses on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube. If you aren’t actively monitoring your pages and posting new content, you may be losing out on leads.
Beautify your website to keep visitors from bouncing: These days, customers expect a great online experience even from the smallest businesses. If your site is outdated and unprofessional, visitors won’t give you a second thought.
Use landing pages to boost lead conversions from your online ads: If your online ads send visitors to a page not directly related to the ad (your home page for example), forcing them to search for what they want, you will lose them quickly. Create specific “landing pages” for a product or special offer related to your ad, with a clear call to action.
Make sure your website is mobile friendly. If it isn’t, visitors viewing it from a mobile device will have trouble finding what they’re looking for. For example, sites with lots of dropdown menus are hard to navigate on mobile, and flash animation might not show up.
If trying to control lead leakage on your own is too daunting, consider using an outside service such as ReachLocal’s new ReachEdge suite of products that help local businesses go digital and market more efficiently and effectively. Visit www.ReachLocal.com for details.
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About the Author: Daniel Kehrer, Founder and Chief Content Officer of BizBest Media, is a senior-level leader in digital media, content development and online marketing with special expertise in startups, SMB, social media and generating traffic, engagement and leads. He holds an MBA from UCLA/Anderson and is a passionate entrepreneur (started 4 businesses), syndicated columnist, blogger, thought leader and author of 7 business and financial books.