Why build an email list? An email list allows businesses to have regular conversations with their customers. Any business who is spending money on online advertising should have an email capture form on their page. Most businesses offer to provide discounts or updates via email as an incentive for visitors to share their email addresses. This works. And works well.

A business owner who sits down once a month to put together some helpful information as well as mention any sales/deals/coupons for their customer base will be rewarded. Some large chains are very aggressive with their email marketing and send as much as 3-5 emails a day. This is not necessary. It is possible (and recommended) to write emails on a regular schedule (a monthly schedule works for most business owners) and still be effective. The aim of the emails is not to push your business but rather to help your customers see the value in your product or service by being informative. No one knows better than the business owner what their customers want. An email is an opportunity to connect with your customer base and show the value of your product or service.

Here are some helpful tips when writing emails:

  1. Write short and to the point. An email can be informative within 300-500 words. If you need to say more, link to your website which will have more details.
  2. Try to incorporate different mediums. If you usually write text emails, maybe try shooting a video and say what you would write. Or conduct an interview with an expert in your field. By changing the medium, you will keep your customers interested and wanting more.
  3. Don’t make the majority of the email content a sales pitch. People want to be informed so that they can choose whether to purchase from you or not. Someone who is pushed towards a sale will likely become disinterested and unsubscribe to your list.
  4. Encourage social conversations. Email is a great way to start the conversation which can be moved to social media sites. Social media has become an essential marketing component for businesses who care about their reputation and want to showcase their superior customer support.
  5. Ask your customers what they want. People are willing to tell you a lot if you ask them. Conduct polls and contests to better understand your customer’s needs.

These are some points to keep in mind but the important takeaway is that you don’t need an elaborate email marketing strategy to get started. Start collecting emails and start the conversation with your customers today! You may be surprised at what you learn.

Categories : Small Business
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Every business wants and needs leads aka fresh customers who want what the business is offering.

But how do you make sure that the information you are collecting online (the lead) will result in paying customers? There are a few points to consider if you are looking to generate the highest quality leads:

  1. Traffic Source: The traffic source you choose to generate leads will play a major role in determining the quality of the lead. A lead from PPC/SEO traffic is different from a lead generated from social media traffic or banner ads. Generally, it is recommended that businesses that are just starting with lead generation online start with PPC/SEO since you are able to target “intent based” keywords such as “buy roses in Toronto” if you own a flower shop. Leads generated with banner ads or social media are largely based on interruption marketing and tend to produce lower quality leads.
  2. Fields Captured: The number of fields in your form as well as the information you are asking for will determine the quality of lead. But there is a balance. If you were a real estate agent and you asked for 10 fields which must be completed for each lead, you may have very few people taking the time to fill it out (low conversion rate). These long form leads are usually better quality since they are more filtered but will cost a lot more due to the lower conversion rate. On the other hand if the real estate agent asked for just contact details (name, email, phone) they are likely to generate a larger number of leads but then they will have to ask the qualifying questions when they contact the customer. The only real way to know what works for your business is to split test the long form and short form variations of the lead form and see what the difference in lead costs as well as lead quality is in both cases. This will vary for each type of business.
  3. Messaging: The messaging firstly on your ads then your website will determine the quality of lead. If for example, you offered a free gift on your website in return for the customers information, they may just enter their information for the free gift but may not necessarily convert to a paying customer. This is known as incentivizing and it has its place if done correctly. Generally, you want the visitor of the website to know exactly why they are being asked to enter their information and what will happen after they do so. This transparency will create trust and lessen the amount of fake leads entered into your forms.
  4. Time to Contact: It is in the best interest of the business to get in touch with every lead within the first 24 hours since the form was filled out. Letting the lead sit for days or weeks will turn the leads “cold” and less likely to convert into a paying customer.

These are some of the points to consider when starting lead generation online for any business. Although the best decisions can only be made by running ad campaigns and analyzing the data, you can use the points above to minimize unnecessary loss while generating quality leads online.

Categories : Small Business
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What is the biggest frustration of small businesses who want to advertise online?

Is it their website? Their SEO? Maybe they need a professional to take a look at it. But who is trustworthy? With so many companies offering SEO, PPC, website design, social media marketing, etc. what do businesses really need?

The truth is that there are only a few pieces of the online marketing puzzle that all small business owners need to know. Namely, the messaging on the website and a basic advertising strategy. When business owners bog themselves down with every SEO algorithm update or the latest retargeting strategy, it all seems so complicated that they take little or no action at all. The truth is that most of the updates and latest marketing channels are only useful to marketers who know when and how to use them.

For example, if a small business owner has $1000/month budget, is that money better spent on PPC advertising, SEO or buying banner ads? The answer lies in what the goal of the business is. If the goal is to generate quality leads as quickly as possible to recover the spend, the answer is PPC. If the goal is to build an organic presence and perhaps over the course of 3-5 months, start generating leads organically, the answer is SEO. Lastly, if the goal is a branding, banner ads are usually preferred. This is a very simplistic look at the options that are available today but it gives some idea of what a small business owner needs to know about where their ad dollar is being spent.

Through this blog over the next few months, I will be sharing tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your ad dollar.  If you have any particular areas of interest or difficulty with regards to advertising online, please send me a message through my contact page and I will create a post to address it.

Categories : Small Business
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