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3 Simple Steps for “Makin’ It Rain” On Your Website

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is from Aaron Houghton – Enjoy!

rainmakerThe term rainmaker is often used to describe highly productive members of sales teams. These individuals have a special talent for communicating the value a business’ products provide.

What impact would adding a new rainmaker have on your team? What about one that only costs you a few bucks each month? Even better!

For many small business owners, that rainmaker is their website.

Today I’m going to talk about how to easily capture more sales leads from your website. But if you sell directly from your website, you can use the same process to drive more online purchases too.

Don’t Make This Mistake

Think for a second about the last 100 visitors to your website. Will you ever be able to interact with them again? In most cases, that chance is gone.

That is, unless you captured their contact information while they were on your site. To follow up with someone all you really need is their email address, phone number, or maybe their social media handle.

There are many ways to capture contact information from your website visitors. These include social media login, email newsletter signups, real-time chat, header bars, and embedded web forms. Among these options I prefer web forms.

Collecting sales leads through web forms works great because most people are comfortable typing their information into them. They also require less commitment than account sign-ups and shopping-carts that ask for credit card details.

Savvy business owners use web forms to convert more website visitors into new customers.

How to Use Web Forms to Generate More Sales Leads From Your Website

Convertingmistake more sales leads from your website using web forms is easy when you follow these three steps.

1. Give Visitors a Real Reason to Submit a Form

“Submit our form and we’ll contact you.” Seen that before? This is probably what your competitors’ web forms actually say. Your visitors are used to seeing this.

Let’s make it worth their time to submit your form by giving them a real incentive. You’re asking them to share their personal contact information with you. What are they going to get in return? Make it good.

A few common incentives include discounts like a 10% off coupon, a one-on-one demo, or access to something like an e-book.

Make sure to mention what they’ll get in the text right at the top of the form. But save the reward for after it’s submitted. Include the reward in the confirmation message or in your follow-up response.

A great incentive sentence looks like this:

Request a quote and we’ll send you a 10% off coupon for any products you purchase this month. Complete the form below to get the coupon.

2. Pick a Form Tool That’s Easy to Use

computer tech servicesTo collect your users’ contact information, you need a good form builder.

A good form tool makes creating forms easy. Editing forms should be easy too. And finally it should send submitted data somewhere convenient for you like an email in your inbox, your email marketing system of choice, or a Google Docs Spreadsheet.

Other nice-to-have features include the ability to send confirmation emails to visitors and to redirect visitors to a specific thank you page after they submit the form.

I have personally used Gravity Forms for WordPress before but I also hear great things about WuFoo and FormStack too.

All you really need is a nice short web form. Super long forms scare people away so only ask for information that you’re going to do something with. For instance, you probably don’t need to collect a fax number!

Important fields usually include name, email or phone, and maybe an open-ended field where the user can type a question or explain what they need.

3. Track Conversions and Optimize

Having a strong incentive and having a short web form are a great start. But it’s actually impossible to guess upfront which incentive or form will perform best with your actual website visitors.

Because of this it’s crucial to measure your conversion rate – the percentage of form submissions to unique website visitors – to determine how effective each incentive and form is at getting visitors to submit their contact information.

BoostSuite and Informly are two free tools that can be used to measure your sales lead form conversion rate. Sales lead forms on small business website usually have a conversion rate of about 5%.

If your conversion rate is less than 5% you should test various incentives and forms. Use one incentive for a month and then measure your conversion rate. Next month try swapping in a smaller form.

Solar panel installation company Southern Energy Management tested various incentives on their website and found one that produced 419% more sales leads than their original incentive.

The higher performing incentive drove in 160 new sales leads for Southern Energy in just one month. Compare that to just 38 sales leads from the original incentive – with similar website traffic – in the previous month.

A Little Bit of Work, Lots More Sales Leads

You work hard to get visitors to your website. Don’t make the mistake of letting them pass you by forever.

Build and test some incentives and forms on your website and you’ll find a winning combination that turns more window-shoppers into new customers for your business.

Aaron HoughtonAaron Houghton is a serial entrepreneur who builds web marketing products for small business owners. Aaron is currently co-founder and CEO of BoostSuite.com. BoostSuite is a product that helps small business owners get more marketing results on their own. Formerly Aaron was co-founder of email newsletter leader iContact.com that was sold to Vocus in 2012 for $180M. Aaron was an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year winner in 2008, was listed to Inc Magazine’s 30 under 30 list 2010, and was named as a Top 10 Most Influential CEO in 2010 (behind Zuckerberg, Andrew Mason, and Matt Mullenweg). In his free time Aaron is an avid wakeboarder and outdoor adventurer.

 

 

5 Simple Steps for Do-It-Yourself Search Engine Optimization

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is from Aaron Houghton  – Enjoy!

Image Credit: Qole Pejorian Flickr CC

Throughout my career I’ve run my own small businesses, consulted with small business owners, and built software for small business users. I’m one of the biggest small business advocates you’ll ever meet. The passionate entrepreneurs who decide to launch and run their own businesses are the force that drives this world forward.

One of my favorite things about small business owners is that they’re natural do-it-yourselfers. As a small business owner yourself, you’ve probably learned that in order to get something done right, you oftentimes have to do it yourself.

In this article I’ll show you how to take your web marketing results into your own hands.

Although it’s common to assume that web marketing should be handled by the techies, don’t make this huge mistake. Your knowledge about your business make you the person most capable of generating big web marketing results – more sales leads and new customers for your business.

Small business owners who use this process acquire new customers at drastically lower costs than buying visitors through cost-per-click ads. Our research shows that following this process over one year produces high quality free website traffic equal to that from a $100,000 paid search engine advertising campaign.

Let’s get started.

Build a Website that You Control

You probably already have a website for your business, but if you don’t, it’s critical that you set one up immediately. A business website is the digital representation of your personal expertise. It’s where you build your authority as an expert on the topics you know best.

To establish your expertise you’ll write blog posts and articles using keywords that are important to your prospective customers. In order to do this, you need to have access to quickly and easily add new blog posts and pages on your website.

Websites built on simple editing platforms like WordPress or SquareSpace allow you to edit existing pages and add new ones at any time.

If you can’t easily edit your current business website, just create a new website right now. Imagine that you’re starting a little online magazine. Register a domain name that explains your primary topics of expertise, for instance home-garden-talk.com or makeup-for-weddings.com and set up a hosting account with GoDaddy that gives you the ability to edit and add pages to the site on your own.

Choose the Right Keywords For Your Business

In web marketing, keywords are the building blocks of success. Having the right web marketing strategy really just boils down to having the right list of keywords. It’s that simple.

Your best keywords are the words that your customers are already using.

Ask a few of your customers how they describe your business when talking with friends. Pay special attention to the words they use and write them down.

Think about the problems that your prospective customers are experiencing that your business can help them with. Add descriptions of those problems to your keyword list too. For instance, if you are a locksmith, you would write locked out of my car or need to change the locks on my house.

If your business serves a local region make sure to include all of its names too. For instance Chapel Hill, North Carolina is also referred to as part of the Triangle Area of North Carolina, and Central North Carolina. Create multiple versions of each of your existing keywords by adding the region names at the end, like locked out of my car chapel hill north carolina and locked out of my car triangle area north carolina.

You should have 25-50 words or short phrases in your list now (each on its own line). Copy your list and paste it into the Google Keyword Tool to see which keywords have the highest volume of searches and lowest level of competition.

Find the ten keywords that have the highest search volume and the lowest level of competition. You now have the perfect web marketing strategy for your business. Let’s get started implementing it.

Create a Content Schedule

You need to begin writing blog posts and articles about each of your top ten keywords. Don’t expect to do this today. It’s actually best to add these new pages to your website steadily over time.

Take a look at your schedule and add a recurring weekly event to remind you to write at least one new article each week. You don’t have to do it all yourself. Ask employees, friends, business partners, or customers to contribute. Give them a topic from your keyword list and tell them to take any angle they would like.

A good blog post or article page is three to four paragraphs in length, is focused tightly on a single keyword from your list, and is written in a friendly, conversational tone.

Write your article, or edit an article submitted to you, and then add it as a blog post or new page on your website. Include links in the article, where relevant, to product or service pages on your website.

Optimize Your Pages

Give your new blog posts and articles the best chance possible to pull in new visitors by making sure they’re optimized for the search engines.

The search engines pay special attention to certain page fields so you can gain a better search engine rankings just by putting the right words in the right places. Check for basic optimization by making sure that each page’s keyword (or keyphrase) can be found in the page title and meta description and is also used several times within the article’s text.

Use free tools like BoostSuite or SEOMoz to automatically scan your website and see where changes need to be made. Most optimization fixes are just simple text changes so you can optimize each new article in only a few minutes right when you post it online.

Commit to the Process and Get Started

Our research shows that adding one new optimized article to your website every week for one year generates an amount of free search engine traffic that would have cost around $100,000 if purchased through paid search engine advertising.

Now that’s a competitive advantage! But you actually have to follow this process to generate these results.

Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Are you willing to do the work required to grow your business and have new customers knocking down your door?

Start back at the top of the article and work your way through the process. Find your best keywords, write your first article, optimize it then add it as a new page on your website now. Your website will start receiving new visitors in just a few days.

Keep it up week after week and you’ll build a powerful web marketing system that produces thousands of website visitors and a steady flow of new customers for your business throughout the year.

Aaron Houghton is a serial entrepreneur who builds web marketing products for small business owners. Aaron is currently co-founder and CEO of BoostSuite.com. BoostSuite is a product that helps small business owners get more marketing results on their own. Formerly Aaron was co-founder of email newsletter leader iContact.com that was sold to Vocus in 2012 for $180M. Aaron was an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year winner in 2008, was listed to Inc Magazine’s 30 under 30 list 2010, and was named as a Top 10 Most Influential CEO in 2010 (behind Zuckerberg, Andrew Mason, and Matt Mullenweg). In his free time Aaron is an avid wakeboarder and outdoor adventurer.