How Do I Get More Leads in the Top of the Funnel 1

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.

David Meerman Scott

David is the author of 7 books, Real-Time Marketing & PR , is his newest addition to the collection. His blog – Web Ink Now – is ranked by AdAge Power 150 as a top worldwide marketing blog. David has presented at hundreds of industry conferences and events and the marketing programs he has developed are responsible for selling over one billion in products and services worldwide.

How Do I Get More Leads in the Top of the Funnel 1

Say NO to squeezing your buyers. You have a choice.

When you want to get more “leads” into the top of your sales funnel, you have the option of not requiring people to register to get the valuable content that your company creates (an ebook or white paper perhaps).

Here are the three options for offering valuable information:

1. Requiring an email address (and other personal information) prior to your buyers being permitted to download content. With a gate, each person downloading becomes a valuable sales lead. This is a very typical yet flawed approach.

2. Making the content totally free with no registration required. Value comes from many more people consuming and spreading your content.

3. Implementing a hybrid scheme. This takes a leap of faith but typically pays off for those who try this controversial approach.

The vast majority of marketers choose option 1 and require a form up front to get leads. You must resist this because:

– Registration is a holdover from direct mail days (when a business reply card was the way to fulfill a white paper request). Is a direct mail technique right for today’s hyper-connected web?

– Requiring registration greatly reduces the number of people who download something. One of my ebooks has been downloaded close to one million times. With a registration requirement, I’m convinced it would be only a few thousand.

– Because bloggers do not like to send their readers to something that could cause them to get onto unwanted lists, when there is a registration requirement, very few (if any) bloggers will talk it up and you get little or no inbound links.

– When lots of people link to your stuff, you rise in the search results. For example, The MailerMailer Email Marketing Metrics Report is number one for their important phrase email marketing metrics as a result of free content. With a squeeze page, you’re lucky to get into the first 20 pages on Google for a phrase like “email marketing metrics”.

But you want leads, right? So for you option 2 (just making the content free) may not work.

That’s why when asked about this religious discussion in my live presentations, I also offer a third option, which is a hybrid.

I suggest the first offer be totally free (such as an ebook). Then within the ebook, have a secondary offer that requires registration that you can use to capture leads. A secondary offer might be a Webinar or free trial or something else of value.

This hybrid approach will both spread your ideas and generate leads!

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here

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