How Do I Get More Leads in the Top of the Funnel 2

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Rohit Bhargava

Rohit is a founding member of the Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence team, the world’s largest global network of social media strategists. His personal marketing blog called Influential Marketing has been recognized as one of the top 25 marketing blogs in the world and was featured in the Wall Street Journal. He also teaches global marketing at Georgetown University.

How Do I Get More Leads in the Top of the Funnel 2

There was a moment in the movie Forrest Gump where he was caught with his friend Lieutenant Dan in a huge storm on board their shrimp boat. As a storm rolls in and destroys all the boats docked at the port, Gump’s boat survives thanks to being out at sea. He comes back, ends up with a relatively monopoly over shrimp boating and gets rich.

So the obvious lesson here for getting more leads is to watch for storms and hope to be the last boat standing. Of course, that will probably be hard advice to follow if you happen to not be in the business of shrimp boating, or not really excited about the idea of having a business strategy focused on hoping for a big storm.

The irony is, that is exactly what many small businesses are doing with their marketing by placing ads in locations that are unlikely to be acted on, following ill-advised trends or advice to create social media graveyards (which never see the light of any attention or conversation), and assuming that just offering a good product or service will spread.

Hope is not a marketing strategy.

Instead, consider that leads come from many different methods. Here are a few that could be worth focusing on:

1. Show up in real life. There are dozens of events taking place in just about every region. Are you making an effort to show up and meet the right people in person?

2. Share expertise for free. Often you will be in a position where you are selling some type of expertise – but how much of it are you offering for free? Free advice, particularly online, has a way of paying off in terms of building your reputation as an expert. And reputation leads to, well, leads.

3. Make powerful friends. As the new social media adage goes – it’s not who you know, but who knows you. The more influencers who you can build relationships with, the more likely those will come back to your business directly with new leads and referrals based on what you do.

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here

How Do I Get More Leads in the Top of the Funnel 3

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Sonia Simone

Sonia Simone is the senior editor of Copyblogger and a co-founder of Copyblogger Media, a company with a suite of valued marketing and training products and more than 55,000 customers. Copyblogger Media empowers online writers and content producers to command attention, create engagement, and influence people as powerful players in the new media revolution.

How Do I Get More Leads in the Top of the Funnel 3

It’s funny how many of our moms’ and grandmas’ most-treasured recipes came from the backs of cans, jars, and boxes.

Recipes are irresistible — and not just the cream-of-mushroom casserole kind.

The fact is, all of us have recipes in our business — sequences of steps that can help our customers get what they want.

It might be “8 ways to take out stains,” “7 ways to save money and headaches on your kitchen remodel,” or “12 simple secrets to reducing neck and back pain.”

One of my very favorite spots for this kind of recipe is the email newsletter. More specifically, it’s the email autoresponder — a sequence of messages that gets sent to each and every new subscriber to your email list.

When you create an email sequence that forms a killer recipe, the reader develops the habit of opening each message.

Sure, he can still unsubscribe when he’s finally captured the final step. But by that time, if your recipe is good enough, you’ve created trust. Your reader has started to know and like you.

You’ve just emailed him 9 times in a row and you haven’t sent him any junk. Just valuable, good information that gets him a result he wants.

Think he’s likely to open that 10th email?

Think he’s likely to refer your autoresponder to a friend?

Think he’s likely to talk you up on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter?

You bet he is … I’ve seen in it my own business.

The recipe for a great email autoresponder

Make sure your “recipe” delivers a solution that your prospect really wants.

1. Break your recipe into a 7-10 part sequence. Whenever you can, make each one a quick standalone tip that brings immediate results.

2. Deliver your recipe using the autoresponder function of your email marketing program. If your email service doesn’t let you put together an autoresponder with as many messages as you need, consider using a new service.

3. Write the best content you can. The time you put in now can continue to work hard for your business for years to come. If writing isn’t your strong suit, this is a great time to bring in a professional copywriter — you’ll get great ROI on a relatively modest investment.

4. Rather than selling your products or services, start to “sell” your great free recipe. It will build trust and rapport, so that down the line you can fully explain all the benefits of what you do.

You’ll find it’s much easier to promote this kind of high-quality free content, particularly with social media, than it is to try to jump right to the sale of your product or service.

Deliver a great recipe for your topic, and just like that killer marinara sauce on the back of the tomato can, it will get passed along.

You’re not just bringing in leads, you’re nurturing them and building your reputation … and that’s the kind of lead generation that will keep paying off for months and years to come.

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here