How To Sell A $97 Strategy Session – This One Is For Larry!

How to sell a $97 dollar strategy sessionThis post is about how to sell a $97 dollar consulting or strategy session.

You are going to see the length and wonder what the heck is so hard about doing this, but this is actually a piece for one of my all time favorite clients who is EXPLODING in his business recently and ready to take the next steps to make more money (and strangely enough, it will not be $97 at a time!)

Not A Money Maker

If you are doing a $97 consultation, even if it is for just an hour, you cannot do or source enough of them to make big bucks. Think about it…40 hours a week, $97 a hour times 52 weeks in the year IS just over $200,000…but…you are probably not a machine that can spit out great information on demand or keep too many stories in your head all at once. You will also have to do marketing and lead generation, administration and business development.

So why do a $97 session? It is basically to weed out the people who are tire-kicking or just fishing and find the diamonds in the rough.

Why So Much Resistance

In our coaching business, we find that many of our “peeps” are super resistant to doing this, and maybe not for the reason you think. Here are some common reasons they give for not being comfortable:

Realtors/Real Estate Investors – Larry works with real estate investors from the US and around the globe. He has an amazing real estate investing website and has recently started writing for a very highly regarded real estate investing magazine. On his site and in his popular newsletter he says constantly that people can call him with any questions, that he is available anytime. Very few people call, and the ones that do are mostly at the very end of sales cycle and are ready to talk money, but it seems to be taking them a long time to get there. One huge factor holding Larry back is that in the real estate industry, Realtors work for free until a deal is closed and he isn’t sure that someone will be willing to pay him for his time and expertise before being ready to close a transaction.

Direct Sales – We have another client who works in the direct sales industry (MLM). She has been a top recruiter for many years on a national level and her expertise is a highly coveted skill. That said, she feels really funny about charging people for her time. Mostly she works just with the people who are in her downline and puts charity time in working with people who belong to her company but are not in her downline. She has seen other people work with MLMers and charge for it, but it is hard to get her head around why someone would pay her money and how that would help grow her direct sales business.

Who Am I To Talk?

So you are on my site reading this so you probably know that I am pretty good at marketing, but what you may not know is that for years all my lead generating was done on a semi-paid model. I would give free talks around town or where ever I happened to be and offer the people in the room a $97 consult. I never did “coffees” or one-on-ones because I can’t help myself, I tell whoever I am with all about what they should do marketing-wise and if I met with 20 people informally I would get paid $0 and have wasted my time.

I say that I wasted my time because I am in business and the goal of being in business is to make money, not to help random strangers. Helping out people with no thought of payment is a non-profit model and I am a for profit business. Additionally, they got the ideas and concepts for free, so they assigned that exact value to them, $0, and didn’t really do anything with them.

Over the years I have talked to close to 1,000 small business owners and learned the back end workings of their businesses. Their motivations, goals and dreams which means that I can now help even more people do even better work in their business. While I no longer do $97 consults, I am super happy that I got all those chances to talk to people, building up my experience and their businesses.

The Real End Result

Enough about me, back to charging money for your time. So let’s look at Larry and his real estate investors. There are probably a few reasons they are not just calling him:

  • They really feel like they are going to be bothering him so they don’t call
  • They feel like if he is willing to talk to them for free, how good can the info be
  • They are so early in the process they would be “wasting his time” reaching out right now

It is funny that 2/3 of those involve people being considerate of Larry and his time. The people who are his best prospects really are happy that he is giving them great information on his site and in his newsletter, they respect his opinion and are just waiting until they are ready to pull the trigger before reaching out to him.

The problem is that some of them will never have enough information to make an investment, they will spend years and years, gathering information and never buy a property. Some other ones will read Larry’s stuff religiously, but not wanting to bother him, will pay someone else so they can have their questions answered and that guy will get the sale because he will have established rapport and been helpful on a personal level.

Strategy Sessions Instead of Consults

Consulting is experiencing a lack of respect and interest right now. People are sick of consultants who swoop in, talk-talk-talk and run out. We like to position our talks as strategy sessions because they are. We are not just throwing out info but making sure to put it together in a cohesive whole.

Another nice thing is that a strategy session feels like it should lead to another. You might want to offer them another session at a later date or even get them into a coaching program.

How To Set Up A $97 Strategy Session

Because I wrote this post for Larry, I know he was polite enough to read all the way through (aren’t you?!?!?) but what he really wanted was the meat, the step by step guide to how to make a $97 strategy session available!

1. Make A Page On Your Website – Write out what you are offering

I always gave them about 7 examples of things that we could talk about, but basically you don’t to have so much there that they rule themselves out because you don’t have their exact problem listed or so little that they don’t see a reason to give you $97.

2. You don’t need to put too much about you!

Probably you are selling your $97 strategy session at a speaking event, on your website or in your newsletter. All places where they already know how cool you are so keep the “about me” to a couple of key highlights.

3. You need a payment processing thingy (that is the technical term)

To start, we recommend using Paypal.com. Here is a BRILLIANT tutorial about how to put a PayPal button on your site. You just needs parts one and two! This functionally allows people to pay you, you will get notifications and they will get a receipt.

4. Thank you page

You want to have a Thank You page that explains what happens next (PayPal will let you designate this when you set up your button). This page should tell them EXACTLY what is going to happen next so they don’t worry that they just wasted their money.

I tend to tell them:

1. How long it will be before someone contacts them to set up their time (within one business day)
2. Who will call them (my gal Shell)
3. My phone number in case they have

here is my actual thank you page

5. A few graphics

If you are going to do this, do it right. Get with Fiverr.com person and have them make two or three graphics that will be on your page. You want a little bit of a variety so that you can share different things on social media and in your newsletter and people won’t get banner blindness (seeing the same thing over and over).

You should also have a call to action button on the sidebar of your website saying that they can “set up a time to call” or some other fun verbiage.

6. A sales sheet

It is important to have an on-site signup form anytime that you are giving a talk. You want to let them know that they can hire you. This one is a very gentle offer, all we are asking for is their name and email address. Oftentimes we would have a credit card signup sheet.

$97 Marketing consult

Wrapup

That is it! It looks like it has a lot of moving parts but is actually pretty straight forward and easy to do. If you would like help to figure out your business or marketing efforts, check out our Marketing Strategy Sessions!

BONUS THOUGHTS

The last thing I want to leave you with is the actual reason that you are doing these strategy sessions. You should have some real things that you are going to sell AFTER the fact. Now, that does not mean that your hour should be dedicated to selling something else. You should spend the whole time talking to your customer and finding out what they need.

After that you might find out that they need a product that you are an affiliate for, you might find out that they are ready for some ongoing training or they may be ready to start investing in real estate, they just needed some one-on-one time to figure that out.

IF they have additional needs and the money to spend on those, it is your responsibility to help them figure that out. You are not “selling, selling, selling”, you are really “helping, helping, helping”.

 

10 Advanced Lead Generation Strategies to Turn Your Business Into A Goldmine

10 Advanced Lead Generation Strategies to Turn Your Business Into A GoldmineSo excited to have this guest post from my Monster buddy, Rebekah Welch! We have the Marketing and Media Monsters and she rarely gives out these advanced lead generation secrets!

Lead generation is vital to the success of every business. If you need customers, you need to generate leads to find those customers. No matter how amazing your product or service your business will not draw new customers automatically.

Before you implement the 10 Advanced Lead Generation Strategies to Turn Your Business into a Goldmine discussed below, it is vital to make sure you have a few tools in place.

  • A way to capture the leads you get so you can put them into your database. Use a simple lead capture form on your blog or website. If your leads are coming from another source other than your site (such as networking or email), make sure you have the ability to input those leads into your database. Hire an admin or VA if needed to make sure this piece gets accomplished.
  • robust database and customer relationship management (CRM) system with automation capabilities.
  • A highly functional and dependable email client with great deliverability.
  • A fantastic, high touch, high impact automated follow-up system. I recommend a powerful auto-responder that you can customize for your brand and load with power-packed value added messages and compelling calls to action.

*I recommend using an all inclusive tool such as Infusionsoft that can handle all of the above in one location.

Now that you have your tools in place, employ these advanced techniques to dramatically increase your incoming leads.

1. Optimize Your Website or Blog for Search (SEO)

Statistics show there are approximately 5.2 billion web searches performed daily. Getting your business in front of your target market when they are looking for solutions to the problems that your business solves is the name of the game. Choose your keywords wisely – based on what your customers are ACTUALLY searching for – and position them appropriately in your web address, your titles, your images and videos, and the body of your content. Give the exact info necessary to earn their click, which will buy you the opportunity to educate your prospect on your ability to solve their problem and lead them into your database.

2. Content Marketing

In 2012 businesses spent more than $16 billion on online content marketing alone. Craft high quality content based on your customers needs and challenges then offer it for free on your blog. Position your business as the go-to resource in the market place for your industry. When your potential customer is looking for a solution that your business offers, your company will be top-of-mind.

Always focus on education and avoid anything that feels like a hard-sell or a power pitch. Instead provide real value that includes calls to action within the content you create. If you are truly knowledgeable and capable, your former and existing customers will provide the social proof of your excellence.

3. Create AMAZING “How To” Guides

Your customer doesn’t care about you UNTIL you solve their problems, ease their pain, or provide valuable information. Learn your prospects most sensitive pain points and identify how exactly you can help. Create high quality “how to” guides based on solving that specific issue, and offer it to them via your blog or social networks. Use a simple form to capture their name and email as an exchange for your guide.

4. Create Interesting Reports for Your Industry and Give Them Away

Research interesting and useful information for your market and compile your findings into a report that you offer on your site for free. Sharing information is a great way to develop thought leadership, and position yourself as an expert. Helping your potential customers make better informed decisions will generate conversations, encourage referrals and generate a continuous flow of leads. Use a simple form to capture their name and email in exchange for your report.

5. Identify And Engage Joint Venture Partners

A joint venture is an agreement between your company and one that offers a complimentary product or service. Each partner recommends the other’s products or service to their own audience, creating a broader reach for both parties. Joint Ventures can be used strategically to generate leads, build trust around both partner’s products or services, and mutually boost awareness of each party’s offerings.

6. Boost Leads with Amazing “Explainer” Videos

According to Jakob Nielsen you only have 10 seconds to capture a potential lead’s attention. If you can engage your prospects and convince them stay on your page for thirty seconds, you can often keep their attention for 2 minutes or more.

The most effective way to achieve this is through Video. Entertaining “explainer” videos can quickly demonstrate your ability to solve the problems your potential customers are facing. Build in a call to action (request a quote, get more info, etc.) that captures their name and email.

7. Host Value-Packed Webinars

Webinars are a great way to target your prospects pain points and challenges and present your solution in a highly personal way. The trick is getting interested parties to show up. Make use of your branded email and auto-responder to send a confirmation when they register, a follow up email a few days out, and another the day of your webinar. After the event offer a replay for those who registered and could not attend or would like to see the information again.

8. Target Potential Customers with Social Media Ads

Most Social Media ad platforms enable you to reach tons of potential prospects with rich display ads and highly-targeted text ads. Most offer some method of filtering which allows you to target viewers by location, gender, age, and interests. The purpose of these ads is to funnel prospects into your database where you can offer them your guides, reports, webinars and build the relationship that leads to the sale.

9. Use Inboxq to Answer and Track Questions on Twitter

Twitter is an excellent place to add value, build community and bring in leads. Inboxq is a chrome extension that allows you to track Twitter questions in real time. As questions pop up that you have solutions for you can chime in and position yourself as a resource. Set up tracking in inboxq by identifying keywords relevant to your business. You’ll get a real time alert every time a question is asked based on the keywords you specified. Make sure you answer specifically and use the inquirers name in your response so they know that you are human. Provide links to your relevant resources that help them solve their issues.

10. Send A Value-Packed Newsletter on a Consistent Schedule

Engage and nurture your prospects on a consistent ongoing basis with a fabulous newsletter packed with info. Begin with a compelling headline to make sure your newsletter gets opened. Make your newsletter interesting and loaded with value. Link the content to your resources – your site, your products, your guides, your reports, and your webinars – as well as any Joint Venture opportunities you may be cross promoting.

My Top Lead Generation Tactics That Really Work

My top lead generation tactics that workWhat are lead generation tactics anyways? Let’ step back one pace and talk about “what are leads”.

Too many of my peeps think that leads are sure things. They are people ready, willing and able to buy today. Sigh. Leads are people who have raised their hand and said they are somewhat interested in what you are selling BUT have not said that they are willing to spend their hard earned dollars – YET.

When you are lucky enough to attract a lead, you need to make sure that you have an effective sales funnel to move them from lead status to customer status.

Okay, enough about stupid leads already…onto my personal top lead generation tactics that really work!

1. Speaking

My first love and greatest lead magnet is to be a speaker. When you are the trusted authority at the front of the room, lead generation turns from begging and groveling one-on-one to one-on-many conversations where people WANT to be on your list, get your stuff and buy your products. Now, they are not all ready to buy today so you need to use some kind of followup system (we use and recommend Infusionsoft!)

One last thing I see with speakers is that they have a buy or “wha-wha-wha” mentality. By this I mean that unless someone purchases something, they are not included in the lead capture for the on-site event. If you are doing this you are leaving A LOT future revenue on the table. Stop focusing on the people running to the back of the room to buy and start cultivating EVERYONE in the room as a lifetime customer.

2. Blogging

I cannot even tell you how many opportunities I have gotten because I am willing to talk about marketing and put myself out there. I truly believe that everyone needs to have a blog as a HUB to drive everything back to! If you have a fancy formal site, it is really hard to go on a rant and talk about something that matters to you passionately. It is hard to write a quick post and plop a video into it. So, if you are still living in 1999 with your website, get on the blog bus and start writing.

3. Having partners

Some people call these referrals, referral partners and the like, but for me this is just people out in the marketplace who are willing to recommend me when they hear someone has a need I can help with. NOW, I don’t think they are great at selling their own businesses so I am not counting on them to generate sales copy, printed materials and the like that they can share. Instead I give the materials that represent my company the way that I like to be seen (this is one of the things that we give to share – Social Media Magazine) They get a few printed copies that they can give to prospects they think might be a good fit!

4. Being proactive

This is a biggie! Just last week we were talking with a client who was confused about why no one was taking her up on her free offer. She was offering a FREE Half Hour consult and no one was biting. We asked what she was doing….come to find out she would meet someone, engage in delightful conversation and then give them her business card that had her offer on the back. She would then go back to her office and wait for them to call her.

In my world, this goes a little differently. I speak (or meet someone), tell them what I do, and IF they are interested in taking it a step further I immediately ask them for their card and let them know that my Gal will give them a call. I don’t try to negotiate pricing, schedule a time or any other bits. My Executive Admin Shell then calls them, figures out what is the best fit for them, does all the preliminary legwork (like getting me paid) and THEN I am notified on my calendar that I have an appointment.

The reason this works so well is that I am not constantly being rejected, having to follow up a gagillion times (which takes away from my work time), or hearing the same “stuff” over and over. If I was doing all this part, I would be less inclined to get leads because I would know that they would just mean pain for me to do the legwork. If you do not have somebody following up on your leads, get someone TODAY!

5. Last but certainly not least, I play the WIFT channel in my head at all times!

This is the “What’s In It For Me” channel that everyone has going in their head all the time. You know the feeling when you are listening to a speaker and they start giving you an extended sales pitch, part way through you think, “surely they will tell me something that will help me without having to buy”, and the overwhelming feeling that you will NEVER buy from them because they just wasted an hour of your life. Gary Vaynerchuk calls this the 19 year old dude syndrom. Trying to “score” too soon can mean you lose the game entirely.

Instead you HAVE to provide value to your target demographic and keep giving them value. Now-a-days we think that everyone on the internet is trying to sell us some snake oil and so you have to make sure you build the know, like and trust factor BEFORE you jump on them asking them to “buy my stuff”. You can do this automatically buy giving something away for free like our Best Darn Email Marketing Course EVER. When someone signs up they get tremendous value PLUS I get the chance to “talk” with them as the consume 6 emails with videos of me talking.

I couldn’t PAY them to listen to me talk about my business for an hour and a half, but because I am helping them, they are happy to listen and start to know me a bit! We also have offers and calls to actions sprinkled throughout which lead to more sales!

Infusionsoft versus Office Autopilot – Email Newsletters and CRM Databases

Infusionsoft Versus Office AutopilotI get a lot of clients who ask about the difference of Infusionsoft versus Office Autopilot and passions run high on both sides!

Just this last week I had a client come to me and say that her business partner was insisting on using Office Auto Pilot for the email newsletters and internet marketing. While I DO think that Office Autopilot is a great system, I DO NOT think that it is a good fit for her! She is a smart woman with a pretty good grasp of technology (much like I am) BUT….

The one major difference between Infusionsoft and Office Auto Pilot for me is ease of use. I signed up for OAP about 3 years ago and they were talking about putting a new user interface on it so that setting up campaigns, autoresponders and lead capture would be easier. I logged in today and there was no interface yet (at least 3 years later) so I am not thinking making the system easier to use is a priority for them!

With Infusionsoft there is a Campaign Builder that is made especially for small business owners to make the steps easy to set up and see what you are doing! Check out the difference here…

With this in mind, we have suggested Infusionsoft to all of our clients without reservation! Some of the reasons we love them include:

  • Setting up autoresponders and web forms is easy peasy (see the example from the video here – The Best Darn Free Email Marketing Course EVER)
  • Doing events is super easy too – we just made one event with all the followup emails and can copy it for each new event we have!
  • The ability to target people and know what they are interested in using tags is invaluable
  • Our open rates shot up when we switched over to Infusionsoft (I don’t know about deliverability rates for each but I do know more people are opening our emails now)
  • OH THE TRAINING – when we started with AOP they had unlimited training but that changed over to a paid version shortly before we switched. Infusionsoft has a setup fee BUT…gasp…they helped us set up everything and got us up to speed fast PLUS my assistant talks to them all the time and their help desk is super helpful

Okay, you get the idea that we love the Infusionsoft….want to find out more and see more behind the scenes? Check out our Why Infusionsoft page!

100 Great Free Report Titles, Best Headlines and Free Optin Offers | Lead Generation

100 Great Free Report Titles, Best Headlines & Free Optin OffersI have scoured the web for the best great headlines, free report titles and free optin offer offers! Having looked at HUNDREDS of sites to write this post, I have a couple of observations…

First as I was looking for great headlines in areas NOT of interest to me, I can tell you unilaterally, no matter how great your offer is, if they don’t NEED what you are offering, they won’t ever sign up, buy or take the next step.

Second be really niche-y! Don’t try to succeed at “weight loss” or “make money”. There isn’t something that you could present that will make everyone want what you have. Niche it down to something that would appeal to your perfect client or customer.

Lastly, there is A LOT of opportunity out there! I did this in order to be able to write better free offer headlines and I thought, “there is A LOT of competition”. In actuality, the majority of top websites and blogs don’t have any opt-in or data capture going on. Some have pop-ups that appear immediately (I ignored them until I learned more about the site), some have only social media opt-ins (good but definitely not the end game), and a few had a great free offer (a very few!)

Some Universal needs you can target:

  • Make money
  • Save money
  • Lose weight
  • Get respect
  • Don’t get ripped off
  • Save time
  • Protect your family
  • Love
  • Stay young, anti aging
  • Personal development
  • Kids
  • Pets
  • Health

How To Headlines

This is a way to present that starts with the readers’ need and ends with a benefit to them. In this model you start with How To [X] That Gets You [X].

  • How win friends and influence people (dale carnegie)
  • How to winterize your house and cut your monthly payments in half
  • How to give your children extra iron — these 3 delicious ways (copyblogger.com)
  • How do you monetize your content and expertise online today? I’ll show you how. (brendonburchard.com)
  • Discover how to slow down the aging process with expert skin care tips (clarinsusa.com)
  • How often do you say to yourself, “I should have started that last week”. How to stay on track in an always on world.

Tips and Tricks (the “Secret”)

No one really knows why people are so obsessed with learning a “secret”. Knowing the unknown is a universal human need and one we can use effectively to get people onto your list.

  • The secret of how to get 6 pack abs with no situps
  • Little known ways to reduce your electric bills
  • Secrets of the “free” home security system (thealarmcompany.com)
  • Learn secrets most men will never know about women and dating (doubleyourdating.com)
  • Forget The Free Crap, Discover The Truth About Google Plus Powerful Secrets Nobody Knows | Shocking Mistakes Everybody Makes This Is How It’s Really Done… (googlingsocial.com)
  • The top 5 digital marketing tools for local businesses (hint: the 3 best are free) (leadpages.net)
  • Discover how to describe what you do in a confident way that excites you and attracts clients -> finally (mainstreammediasavvy.com)

The List

  • Get the shocking FREE report “top 10 mistakes men make with women” (lovesystems.com)
  • Free book gives you 10 unheard of ways to lose belly fat
  • 10 steps to building a bulging bank account (tommi wolfe)
  • Free recording offers 10 ways to beat the high cost of remodeling
  • 5 unbelievable ideas for making money
  • 100 great call to action examples (marketingartfully.com)
  • 25 can’t fail life saving ideas
  • 56 ways to market your business on pinterest (copyblogger)
  • Discover the 39 essential tools needed to map out your goals, maximize your effectiveness, and win control of your time and your life (mindtools.com)
  • The 15 poker secrets every professional knows (pokerlistings.com)
  • The only 3 pieces of exercise equipment you need in your home (hint: they all weigh less than 5 pounds) (leadpages.net)
  • 10 leads a day formula – discover the 10 leads a day formula using the power of Youtube (Reel Marketing Insider)

Clever Headlines

You have to be willing to rock the nerdy to like these, but after reading all the rest, these are my favorites!

  • Small step for man, giant gaffe for NASA (AP)
  • Going once, going twice, going to be confiscated (dan kelley)
  • Is this the rail price, is this just fantasy, caught up in land buys, no escape from burecracy! (ulster gazette)
  • Nature’s 4 letter words: Wind, hail, rain (collier times)
  • Sneezy? Grumpy? If you visit Disney, use new sanitizers (jason garcia)
  • Tiger Woods plays with own balls, Nike says (AP)
  • Federal agents raid gun shops, find weapons (brian barber)
  • Statistics show that teen pregnancy drops significantly after age 25 (mary ann tebedo)
  • Man accused of killing lawyer receives a new attorney (sun staff writer)
  • Gordon Ramsey sex dwarf eaten by badger (outrageous isn’t always good!)

Doing What Others Can Do

I think this is a real sleeper one, sort of like the secret but showing that it it is possible because someone else has done it before you!)

  • Now you can swim like Michael Phelps!
  • Find out how we made over 6 figures doing affiliate marketing last year
  • I lost 25 pounds in 5 weeks by eating this one super food!
  • Give me 10 days and I will show you how to swing like tiger woods
  • Advice to wives whose husbands don’t save money – by a wife (victor scwab)
  • Real results for real people. You’ve seen my results on TV. Look at the success my members are having right now: (jillianmichaels.com)
  • Resource Guide: The top sites we use to get traffic and dominate the search engines (number 4 may surprise you)
  • Are you ever shy on a date? 3 tricks I use that make me the life of the party
  • Who else wants to be happily married?
  • Why some people seem to be able to lose weight and the three things they share in common
  • When top marketers want to make fast money, this is what they do
  • Who ever heard of getting skinny without exercise? Find out how one woman lost 40 pounds sitting on her couch

The One Thing You Need To Do

  • The one thing you must do to make more money
  • The one thing that will make a huge difference in your weight loss efforts
  • Imagine—achieving ALL your goals quickly and easily! download this free e-book and discover the exact formula for goal setting success! (briantracy.com)
  • Make women want you…this one weird technique turns them on so fast it should be banned (online-dating-tips.org)

Amazing Offers

  • The ultimate guide to…
  • Now you can eat whatever you want and still lose weight!
  • Claim an incredible 100% bonus up to $747 on your first two deposits!! (manhattenslots.com)
  • Which of these $2.50 to $5 best sellers do you want for only $1 each? (victor schwab)
  • Free presentation reveals a somewhat unusual tip to get a flatter belly while still eating the foods you love (fatlossfactor.com)
  • Would you like me to personally double, triple, or even quadruple your business…for free? (frankkern.com)
  • Click here to watch amazing transformational videos (charlesdangelo.com)
  • Use this weird technique to make any girl kiss you… (mensbestdatingtips.com)
  • 100% guaranteed way to make twice as much money in half the time
  • It seems incredible that you can get all these tips for just $7.99, but it is true!

Cataclysmic Properties or Opportunities

  • Unstoppable forces will either propel you to victory or bury you on page 2-3-4 of Google’s search results (perrymarshall.com)
  • Do you make these 7 fatal mistakes when buying facebook ads?
  • Is the life of a child worth $1 to you? (victor schwab)
  • Important news for those who recently quit smoking…here’s the fastest and easiest way to clean your lungs of the poisonous tar and dangerous toxin build-up that could eventually lead to premature lung disease, cancer, or even death! (howtoquitstopsmoking.com)
  • Be prepared to be shocked – take the real age test today. The results may just surprise you. (sharecare.com)
  • The sex food so potent priests were forbidden to eat it (infomarketingblog.com)

You Deserve It

  • Get the body you know you deserve…introducing Richard’s new 90 day progressive workout system (richardsimmons.com)
  • Get exclusive access to the best bars, restaurants, shops, parties and more in Las Vegas…sign up for deals, memberships, invites and special offers (askmen.com)
  • You deserve the luxury of a cadillac

Avoiding Something

  • LinkedIn marketing mistakes, how to avoid missing great marketing opportunities on LinkedIn (linkedintelligence.com)
  • How much lifetime & money will YOU save by quitting smoking? Beat the Nicodemon at his own game with our FREE quit-smoking program! (quitnet.com)
  • Stop losing money…10 vital NL holdem’ tips
  • If your website crashed today, would you be up and running in minutes or weeks?
  • 50 fool proof ways to make your kids happy on a rainy day
  • Stop wasting money on training that doesn’t work, this one course changed my whole marketing plan and made me a social media rockstar
  • The one little mistake that can cost you $2,000 a year
  • Stop getting ripped off: why consumers get screwed, and how you can always get a fair deal (bob sullivan – book title)
  • There is finally an easy way to stop getting ripped off at the hospital (finance.yahoo.com)
  • Do you make these mistakes in english (victor schwab)
  • Do you have these symptoms of entrepreneur failure?

The Exact Amount

Putting exact numbers into your headline gives it credibility and makes you want to find out more!

  • [FREE Webinar] learn the marketing system these guys used to increase their business by 832% (mandmmonsters.com)
  • Learn how these guys grew from $0 to $2,000,000! – Free Webinar TOMORROW (mandmmonsters.com)
  • My #1 tip for writing great email newsletters, blog posts, recording videos and more! (marketingartfully.com)
  • Reduce wrinkles & rejuvenate skin. See results in as little as 10 days. (auroskin.us)
  • Facelift through exercise. Erase 10 years in 15 minutes a day. Eliminate wrinkles, jowls and more! (carolynsfacialfitness.com)
  • 4 AMAZING events to help you grow your business FAST in May 2013 (thecoloradoconnector.com)
  • Starting off with $56,000 in debts… a young divorced mother tells how she became a millionaire in only 34 months. Here she explains how you can start earning enough money easily to retire a millionaire in 5-8 years…(numatek.com)
  • You can master AdWords in 4 weeks with the most thorough A To Z training we’ve ever offered. I guarantee minimum 30% improvement in your performance or your money back (perry marshall)
  • Using your systems, my sales have increased by 215%
  • Skin that looks younger in 48 hours or your money back

Free Resources

  • Download pregnancy miracle ebook Now! (liked the testimonials section too here…Hey, Don’t Believe Me! Believe What Others Said! These Are Several of Awesome Testimonials From Our Satisfied Customers! (howtogetpregnantfastt.blogspot.com)
  • Small Business Marketing Guide: 100 Free Marketing Ideas
  • Resource Guide: the top 5 techniques to getting a man fast
  • Buyers Guide: How to avoid getting ripped off by the copier companies
  • How To Look Younger: 11 natural ways to look younger without surgery (nowloss.com)
  • Free report reveals…the 5 (dirt cheap) tools I use to create all my videos (including my $80 HD video camera) (leadpages.net)
  • Free report: Why go mobile. (worth $27) Discover how smart business owners are making tons of money by adopting the right mobile marketing strategies.
  • 7 important things you must consider before choosing a health retreat. (Natural Attitudes)

There you have it! My 100 Great Free Report Titles, Best Headlines and Free Optin Offers. If you have any I missed or others that you have seen work effectively for lead generation, please feel free to leave a comment!

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5 Steps To Amazing Lead Generation That Really Works

Lead generation is a topic that comes up A LOT in my world. Marketing is not exactly lead generation and so many small business owners to come to me frustrated and glum that they aren’t making any sales when in fact all they are doing is promoting and not ACTUAL lead generating.

So what is the difference between marketing and lead generation?

Marketing is all about increasing exposure to your business via a multitude of channels including your website, social media, networking and about a million other available outlets.

Lead generation is the active collecting of people’s contact information for the purpose of moving them through a sales funnel and ultimately to a purchase.

5 Steps To Amazing Lead Generation That Really Works

  • Step one – Know EXACTLY who you are trying to reach! A lot of times we hear that people want to reach women between 35-55 with a college education and a high income. That is not nearly good enough to develop an offer that will make them take notice. Are these women mothers, businesswomen, do they play soccer or do needlepoint? Are they homebodies or party gals? Do they have pets? Knowing the details of their lives lets you craft an offer that will get them to sign up to receive it. Which leads me to…
  • Step two - Know what you are trying to sell them. You CANNOT try to sell them everything you’ve got available. The more choices that you give human beings, the less chance that they will pick anything. For one of our offers, we are trying to attract small biz owners who are just starting out…we have a free offer and then followup with a chance to talk with us for an hour for a very low price. This is very congruent with what they can afford. If we gave a free offer about free marketing and then tried to seque them into a five thousand dollar package, we would probably not sell too many.
  • Step three - you have to have an AMAZING offer. I love that Seth Godin talks about the opposite of amazing is not terrible, it is just good enough. If you are trying to get someone to notice your business or sign up for your list you have to have something GREAT! Today’s cluttered world means that anything less will just get lost in the shuffle. One of our amazing offers is 100 Free Marketing Ideas, another is The Best Darn Email Marketing Course EVER! Both are amazing and get people to opt in to our list on a daily basis.
  • Step four – This is where most lead generation fails…in step 4 you have to have a followup program to get them through a sales funnel. You need to take that lead and nurture it like a little seed, watering it with information about your product or service that can help them make a buying decision. We all know that it takes at least 5 “touches” before most people trust enough to buy. If you are following up once, twice or even three times, you are falling short of getting the sale most of the time!
  • Step five – Know the lifetime value of that customer. Instead of just getting a quick sale and out, why not look at your current list of customers and prospects and see if there is something else you could sell them. Develop and source items that you know they will like and offer those to this group of “already know, like and trust you” customers!

Dave Sherman Lead Generation WebinarWe are rabid collectors of big lists. My biz partner and I have over half a million people who are connected to us socially and databases of over 40,000 contacts (growing every day!) We LOVE Infusionsoft for our sales funnels and lead generation and are super happy that we got a chance to pin Dave Sherman down on a webinar to help give us even more pointers….:) Check out this FREE Webinar – Fixing Follow Up Failure – How to Convert your Lead Graveyard into a Gold Mine (replay will be available if you can’t make it on that day!)

Small Business Marketing – Are you a farmer or a hunter?

Small business marketing can either be active or passive…so what’s the difference? Basically it is whether you are working like a farmer or a hunter!

Small business marketing - hunter farmerI felt like I have to write this post because of meetings I have had with clients lately (coaching and social media marketing). All were with favorite clients and they were very telling in how much resistance I got for my suggestions! So this is what happened at my meetings…

  • Yesterday I met with two of my favorite clients and was talking with them about their marketing efforts. During the talk I suggested that they do “popbys” which is hand delivering a small gift to your customers and prospects. They said that doing that would be very time intensive and that they would rather do things that are more time-effective. Fair enough.
  • Day before that, I was talking with a Realtor client and asked if she was doing open houses. She said she was too busy working on transactions to take the time to do open houses and that she wasn’t sure that doing them would be time effective. Fair enough.
  • Last week I talked to a coaching client who is ROCKING it, but she needed some ideas about how to get more targeted business. I suggested she do in-person networking and sell a $97 consultation. She seemed to think that, having tried that in the past and not had too much success (before she had a GREAT product), she felt that it would not be time effective. Fair enough.

Huh. I was starting to sense a theme here…:) So what were “time-effective” strategies? Some of them were doing cold calling, a couple were doing email newsletters and one was relying on the internet for leads. NONE felt that getting belly to belly with humans would be a good idea. Sigh.

What Do Small Business Marketing Farmers Do?

DO NOT get me wrong! I love planting sales seeds and watching them grow. I DO think you should build up lists that will eventually turn into business. I DO think that consistent marketing done over time will result in consistent sales.

What I don’t think is that farming is ALL you should do (especially if you are doing it because it saves time and effort – you will get the best results from doing things that are hard which other people refuse to do!)

Farmers…

  • Do one-on-one meetings with people who are not looking to buy their products right now but who could be a good referral source in the future
  • Work for years on their website, getting ranked for keywords that will get them traffic and sales – my favorite!
  • Hold informational seminars where they collect names of people who are in an industry for later use
  • Grow large social media networks of people interested in their industry
  • Start an email newsletter list and send out emails once a month
  • Attend networking groups, mixers and leads groups

Now, many of you may be thinking, gee Tara, isn’t farming what you sell? SURE! I have built a highly sustainable, income producing, sellable business over the last 10 years PARTLY by farming. We have gotten clients AMAZING sales and opportunities through these methods and if you follow me at all, you know I am a HUGE proponent of growing big lists and communicating with them regularly.

BUT, if you want to sell something SOON, you need to get in front of humans that can buy your stuff NOW!

What Do Small Business Marketing Hunters Do?

  • Call targeted prospects who have expressed an interest in buying their product or service – we ALL have leads that have fallen through the cracks and feel crumby about it, CALL THEM!
  • Stop by targeted prospects offices with TWO popbys (small tokens of your undying affection), one for the gatekeeper and one for the prospect
  • Speak at an event where you are the featured guest and sell something to the people there (I use a sort of passive approach by having a signup form for an hour long consultation, you could be more aggressive about it – selling from the stage)
  • Taking a prospect to lunch
  • Holding an open house or brokers opens if you are in real estate – people DO NOT stop by an open house unless they are thinking of buying or selling
  • Asking EVERYONE who wants some of your time, “Are you planning on buying my product or service in the next 30 days” before agreeing to meet with them (tire kickers are not a good use of time!)

So, should you do ONLY hunting, flitting from one prospect to the next, kicking them to the curb if they do not buy in your timeframe? A resounding NO! But I will say that as far as I can tell, most small business owners are MUCH more comfortable farming than they are hunting.

I don’t know if time is REALLY an issue either. YES, it does take time to meet someone in person or get to an event, BUT people who have looked you in the eye and shaken your hand are much more likely to remember you than people who joined your email list or only talk with you on social media. Think about it, the person on the other end is busy too, they get your call and think, “yeah should call her back” and something comes up.

When I ask someone if they are busy, they say YES like it is a individual thing happening only to them. I have to say that whenever I ask it, EVERYONE is busy. You are not ESPECIALLY busy, your tasks are not ESPECIALLY hard, everyone had lots to do, is on overwhelm and doesn’t have time to waste. The difference between people who are busy and happy and those that are busy and frantic is time management, calendaring and saying no.

Hope this helps your small business marketing efforts, that you do a little more hunting, still keep on farming and get out there and SELL SOMETHING!

Small Business Lead Generating Sales Funnel

Small business lead generating is a big deal over here in our marketing world! We are really good at helping you fill your sales funnel, but if these leads never follow through to a conversion and a sale then it is a wasted effort.

Small Business Lead Generating Sales FunnelWhile working with our small biz clients, we often hear that they have gotten “no leads”. Huh, that is weird since I see leads coming across the email, in blog comments and as requests for info on Social Media. I think what they are saying is that they have gotten no “sales” or new clients. This can happen because of a breakdown between leads and sales.

Today we are going to look at all the pieces that go in making a successful lead to sales transaction.

What is a sales funnel?

A sales funnel (also known as the sales pipeline) is the term for the process by which we add A LOT of leads into the top of the funnel and sales come out of the bottom, losing some along the way. The parts of the sales funnel can be called a lot of different things including prospects, suspects, and customers; leads, visitors and pre-qualifications.

We are going to look at some of the normal sales-funnelly things, but then we are going to talk specifically about where your process may be failing your conversions. It can be VERY easy to get caught up in the labeling and not look a the practical aspects of going from propects to sales.

Small Business Marketing Lead Generating Sales Funnel

The Practical Sales Funnel

Leads – Opportunity

Leads can look like many things. They can be a message sent through Facebook asking about your services, an email info request, a response back to your email newsletter, basically any time someone talks to you about the goods or services that you sell. THE FIRST THING you should do after getting one of these messages is to add this person to your database, CRM (customer relationship management software), or spreadsheet of prospects. Make sure to note what kind of service or product they were interested in.

This is the first step of your sales funnel and just consists of collecting their contact information so that you can communicate with them on an ongoing basis.

Sales Call – Connection

The first time that you contact this prospect (whether it be by email or phone), your goal should be to set an appointment. An appointment for a formal phone call or in-person meeting where you can talk over your offerings at a time that is convenient and when the prospect will be receptive to listening to you.

I think that this should be over the phone as you have not pre-qualified this person enough to know if they are a good fit. Can they afford your product or service? Are they ready to buy within the next 30 days? Have they researched any of your competitors?

These are all vital things to know and you are just wasting time meeting with someone who is not ready, willing and able to buy your product or service.

Follow Up – Timing

I am going to tell you something that you may find shocking. Most prospects do not buy right away, gasp. Honestly, I have asked some of our clients how many times they followed up on a sales lead and they say that they never followed up because the person did not buy after the first contact. This is what we in the business call BURNING LEADS. The prospect raised their hand and said they were interested, but probably did not have enough information to take out their credit card and buy.

You should follow up a phone call with an immediate personal note or email, thanking them for their time. You should then reach out with offers of additional info at least two or three times more over the next couple of weeks (put it in your calendar). After that, make sure they are on your newsletter list so they receive ongoing communications from you, which could remind them why they called you in the first place!

If you are a typical small business owner, you are probably a TERRIBLE salesperson. If this is the case (as it is with me) you are going to need to hire someone to follow up for you. You can pay this person a fixed rate or “spiff” them an amount for each appointment they set for you. DO NOT skimp on this, a good salesman can make you more money than you ever imagined possible!

Conversion – Obstacles

Okay, you have a lead and they want to buy BUT they have not pulled the trigger (ie paid you yet). This is the most frustrating part of the sales process and one you need to look at very closely because it is probably your fault that the sale is not moving forward!

First off, make sure it is VERY easy for your prospect to pay. Just this week we had a lady call and say she had been waiting for us to send her a link for payment. Now I KNOW that we sent that link over a week or so ago, BUT what matters is that we re-send it to her right away while she is paying attention to us.

Another great example about how a process can fall apart is one of my bookkeeping clients. She takes her prospects, sends them to her salesperson to follow up, gets them excited about her services, they say they want to buy and then…NOTHING. In my opinion, the sale is falling apart because she expects them to gather their receipts, bank statements and other financial documents together themselves. To me it feels like, if they could do all that themselves, what would they need her for?!?!?! We suggested that she make a part of her services a two hour, holding-your-hand and getting your documents together startup meeting. This way, she will get the client on board AND she will be losing less of them due to the fact that they are terrible at accounting tasks.

Sale – Persistence

Overall, sales takes persistence and can be absolutely, soul-killingly hard if you are not geared to enjoying being a salesperson. BUT, if you make it a game to see how many people you can move down your small business lead generating sales funnel, removing speed bumps along the way, you WILL make more sales. This in turn will make it much more likely that you will want to do it again and and again!

Small Business Marketing – The DISC and Your Sales Funnel

Small business marketing is full of fun things to trip you up! How your disc personality index and your sales funnel can keep you from making sales from all those leads.

Small Business Marketing DISC and Sales FunnelYour sales funnel is the process by which you get people to buy from you. They move through the funnel from Sales Leads to Followup to Conversion to Sales. Very rarely will someone call you from a piece of your marketing and be ready to buy on the spot. This is where your DISC personality type can get you into trouble!

My DISC personality type is a D – driver. When I buy something I do not research 1,000 different options, ask for referrals or angst about the buying process. My sales process usually goes like this, I hear about something interesting, I buy it. This makes it VERY hard for me to sell to other people of different personality types. They generally do not make decisions that way and so I have to have systems in place that will allow them to learn more about my products or services (followup), give them buying options and a little time to decide (conversion) and then, bang they buy. This process can take MUCH longer than I think it should and requires that I have an active part in making the sale.

One of things that I do, knowing that I am that “D” type personality, is to slow down when I am talking to a prospect who is NOT like me. I talk lower and slower so that I do not scare them off. I answer ALL of their questions, even if I think that it is crazy to ask so many. I also have other people involved in the sales cycle who are better than I am at calling to followup and also to send information that is going to be vital to making the sale.

D types are good rainmakers and can help drive new leads into your sales funnel.

I Personality Type and Sales – “I” or intuitive type people are GREAT salesmen or women. They like the social interaction that comes from talking and getting to know new people. They truly care about the prospect and want to make sure they understand what they need. The one thing that can hurt an I is wanting to “make the sale”. A lot of times I’s will not want to lose the sale because the company is not able to perform a certain task. If you are an I, watch out for trying to make your prospect happy at the detriment of your business going forward!

Another thing that I’s have to look out for is the high-highs and the low-lows. Every lead feels like a win and they are ready to run with it, BUT every no feels like a loss or even a personal rejection. This can cause disappointment or frustration and if enough come at the same time, I’s can get thrown off of their games for weeks at a time. My suggestion to I’s if this happens is to call one of your favorite current or past clients to get a warm fuzzy about what you are good at and get right back on that horse again!

I types are good rainmakers and can also drive leads into your sales funnel.

C Personality Types and Sales – “C” Type people are analytical and facts driven. They want all the details of the process to be outlined and would like the sales funnel to be linear. I have a client who is a Denver Bookkeeper, TOTALLY a “C” type. To her the sales process should run like a well oiled machine. A sales lead comes in, a phone call is made, a meeting is set, facts are given and then the prospect buys. Easy-peasy! Well, we have been tracking how that is working in function and initially there was a gap in her followup. If the person did not buy on the first call, she wrote them off as not a “real” lead, not thinking that the sales cycle for most people is longer than one call. She has implemented a great followup call system using a true salesperson who stays in contact with her prospect, but still has a hard time closing the sale.

We talked yesterday and the gap is now at the prospect preparing their documents in order to be able to hire her. They want bookkeeping help, they need bookkeeping help, but they are not functionally doing the tasks required to make this possible like collecting bank statements, filling out spreadsheets or getting their receipts in order. This gap actually makes sense! If the person is not generally good at keeping these things together then they will be overwhelmed at the thought of having assemble them in order to hire a bookkeeper. My suggestion was to make part of her services a “hand holding” hour or two where she gets together with the prospect or client to get those items together. To her it feels silly, “why can’t they just get those things to me”, but to the people who need help, this could be a HUGE value add!

C type people are technically good at details and followup.

S Personality Types and Sales – If you are a D or an I type personality and need help with your sales, go TODAY and find a “S” to help you! S type people are stable, steady and caring. They will take all of the crazy ideas that you have and help you to implement them. They will followup on prospects and help them make good buying decisions that are win-win for you both.

I have a S! She is great for me as she doesn’t get distracted by my wild flights of fancy, she is dedicated to helping our company grow and she is the one all the customers say “I LOVE Michelle”. OF COURSE they love Michelle, by personality type she is set up to be caring and nurturing.

C type people make great customer service and inside sales people, getting prospects through the whole funnel to the sale.

I will bet you a dollar that your DISC personality type is effecting your sales process in some way, making your small business marketing efforts less effective. Take a look and really see what you might be doing to cause gaps in the process, find the holes and fix them! If you are looking for ways to improve the process, take a DISC personality yourself AND give one to any new people your are considering hiring – while it is fun to have someone who shares your DISC personality type, more often than not you need someone who is NOT like you to help grow your sales.

Is Customer Service Letting Your Lead Gen Down – Lowes VS Home Depot

We spend a lot of time talking about lead generating here. Marketing is all about getting opportunities to sell your product to someone who has a need. BUT what if your customer service is letting your lead generating down?

Is Your Customer Service Letting Your Lead Generating DownLast week Lowes sent me a really great email newsletter with ideas about how to make my laundry room a fun and functional place. It painted the picture so well that I trotted out this weekend in search of some paint, shelving and baskets to use on the project. Now, since the idea came from the Lowes email, I decided to visit that retailer rather than Home Depot where I normally shop for these kind of items.

Differentiating Your Business From The Crowd

As most of us know, Lowes, Home Depot, Ace Hardware and other stores have the same kinds of products, much the same way that all Mary Kay reps, bookkeepers or Florists offer the same makeup, accounting or flowers respectively. So what can a small business owner do to differentiate themselves from the competition?

Offer ridiculously good customer service – With all the outsourcing overseas, it is rare that I call a company that has its call center in America. GoDaddy has GREAT customer service who are ridiculously patient with non-techy people. Most small business owners are the ones to answer the phone and make decisions about how problems are to be handled. What if you decided that each request or problem from your customers was a chance to make that relationship better?

Note – I started going to Home Depot because of marketing. Tony Stewart (a Nascar driver) is my favorite and he represented Home Depot for years so marketing got my feet in the door. What kept me coming back was the fact that all those orange people constantly ask if they can help me and then walk me over to exactly what I was looking for, that is customer service HELPING your lead generating efforts.

Keep Your Marketing Word – If you are going to promote the “best something ever”, it better be! Many times buyers remorse comes because the marketing promise is not delivered in the actual product. My pal Seth Godin always talks about how the marketing department should be on the development team. This makes total sense for small business owners. When you are developing a product or service to offer, make sure that your company is good at doing that function and that you have systems in place to assure that the same great experience happens each time for each customer.

Set Realistic Expectations – I see more small biz owners tearing their hair out because of their unrealistic clients. Funny that, most times it is because the business owner did not frame the product in such a way as to assure that the client gets a value and the business owner makes a fair wage. Too many times small biz owners want to make the lead generating sale and worry about the implementation later. The BEST way to have happy clients is to make sure they know what they are buying and you know what you are selling!

NO One Offs – Last one! Stop changing your business to fit the needs of your clients, it won’t serve you well and it will just wind up annoying them. For example, we make small biz blogs on GoDaddy. Now is that the best host, maybe not BUT we have a 6 page document that details a step-by-step process for setting up a blog perfectly on GoDaddy. A couple of years ago someone came to us and wanted to use a different web host and said that they would not hire us unless we used their choice. It was tempting to say, “well maybe we will get more people who like that host too”. We did not take the project and in the ensuing YEARS, no one has ever asked for that host again. There was a good chance we would have done a poor job because we did not have a system in place AND I can guarantee that it would have taken twice or three times as long as usual since we would have to learn a new system.

So what does all this say about lead generating and customer service? You better make sure all of the pieces of you small biz marketing puzzle are on the same page or your efforts will just be churning and burning more unhappy customers.

PS – Because I am so happy with Home Depot, I thought Lowes would be comparable. Their products might have been, but their customer service was lacking. 3 people were at the paint station but only one (somewhat incompetent and grouchy) lady was actually help mixing paint so it took almost 20 minutes to order a gallon of paint. Then the shelving lady was barely mobile and took a 10 minute phone call in the middle of selling us some shelving. I thought I was going to have peel my mother-in-law off the ceiling, she was so mad at being ignored. Needless to say, we are back at the depot now and will just take all the great lowes ideas there!

Lead Generating – What Is A Lead And Are You Following Up?

Lead generating is an art not a science. You need to try all different kinds of things before you will find a couple that will work for your business.

lead generating and followupLeads come from a variety of places including referrals, websites, social media, in person networking, public relations, open houses, putting your business card on a bulletin board, teaching classes and many other places. If you are a good lead generator, your leads should be showing up from all different sources. Our current clients come from speaking, Facebook, my sphere, a referral, networking, a referral, past client and more!

Having you client base come from a variety of sources means that you can never lose all of your leads at one time. If all of your leads come from the internet and your site goes down, you are out of business. If all your leads come from your networking group and it shuts down, bam, you are back to square one.

Additionally, make sure that the contact number you use in your marketing goes to a salesperson, not the switchboard or an answering service. The warm fuzzy that sales people give them is PRICELESS!

What is a lead?

I was talking with a client today and she said she had not gotten any leads from her website. WEIRD – she had told me of at least 3 or 4 people who had called or emailed her requesting more information about her services. Well to her, a lead was someone ready, willing and able to sign up for her services with one phone call – that doesn’t happen too often to many of us!

So let us break down what a lead is – In your sales process, a lead comes in and then you take them down a progression of steps that could look this:

  • A call comes in requesting information
  • You send them an email with your info
  • You send them a nice postcard thanking them for asking about your services
  • They do not call back
  • You put them on your email list and drip on them
  • You call them again and leave a nice message
  • They do not call back
  • You call again and hit them at the right time for them to buy – cha ching!

All those steps are vital to getting the sale. If you send one email or make one phone call and do not follow up, you lead could fall prey to someone else who is more aggressive about staying in touch!

How Should You Follow Up On Your Leads

There are many ways to follow up on a lead, here are some that I have used or heard about!

  • Phone them once a week until they die or buy! My friends who are aggressive prospectors say this. The best line I get from them is that they are pleasantly persistent.
  • Send a card or postcard in the mail. I use a database that allows me to send out postcards for about a buck. This is a good way to make them know YOU are interested in THEM!
  • Email them a personal note talking about your services.
  • “Friend” them on Facebook and keep in touch that way.
  • Invite them to an event you having.
  • Send them your email newsletter with great information.

Basically do anything you can to stay top of mind with this person. They have expressed an interest in your services or product, do not drop the ball now!

PS – In talking further with my client, we found out that she is as bad at followup as I am. If you think this all sounds like too much to bear, hire a sales person. Many will work for commission or a stipend with bonus paid for signups. The really good ones are worth paying outright AND adding a bonus!

Crazy Goal Setting and Lead Generating Ideas

If you are a bit of a procrastinator, like me, fooling yourself with crazy goal setting and lead generating ideas can get you motivated and keep the drive to grow your business going!

Lead generating and goal settingEveryone thinks that I am a go-getter with unlimited enthusiasm for my work. They say things like “I see you all over the internet” and “I could never do as much as you do”. Well, I am here to tell you, NO ONE likes doing most of the things that I have to do to grow my business, INCLUDING ME! I read the best quote the other day, “It’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what’s required.” Sir Winston Churchill. Most of what you have to do to grow your business is NOT what you love, it is doing what is required to succeed.

I have friends who are great at lead generating and who spend two hours every morning, EVERY day, calling prospects. If they miss their time slot, they do their calling later in the day. I know people who attend 15-20 networking events A WEEK. However you decide to focus on lead generating, you must do it A LOT and with uncompromising focus!

Here are some crazy Goal Setting and Lead Generating Ideas to get you started

  • Make a grand pronouncement – This December I stated that I will write a blog post EVERY day for the entire month. This accomplishes two things, I will rank better for my target keywords which will bring me more blog traffic, BUT more importantly, it will set the habit of writing more frequently in stone. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit and I will definitely have gotten in the swing by the end of the year! Notice I did not say I will “try” to do 31 blog posts in a month. REALLY, there is NO reason that I have to try and do it, I am just GOING to do it. No excuses, just action. Like Yoda says, “Do or do not, there is no try”.
  • Make goals not wishes – I have already decreed that I will get 20 new clients in 90 days. That is an attainable goal with a set number of clients I have to add. Basically if I focus on my activities I will get more leads and if I follow up on leads religiously I will get more clients. Saying that I want more clients would be a cop out. Two more could be more clients. I tend to be on the side of setting attainable goals rather than huge ones I cannot achieve but some people like to have huge goals and are still happy if they miss them, your choice, just do SOMETHING.
  • Have a contest with your friends – When I was trying to grow my facebook fan page I got in a stupid contest with a friend. She got more fans and I cheated by buying Facebook ads to try and get more fans BUT the whole way through we had fun and picked at each other unmercifully. If you are competitive, this one works great!
  • Get an accountability partner – I do not need someone to hold me accountable every day, BUT you might! An accountability partner is someone you call every day at a set time and report that you have accomplished your tasks for the day. The best suggestion for this that I ever heard was to give your accountability partner a check made out to an enemy for $500. If you fail to do what you are supposed to or fail to call, the accountability partner sends your check to your enemy. Now that would motivate me!
  • Set up a mastermind – I am not talking about a sit around and chat mastermind. I am talking about a mastermind where you have goals, accountability and FEAR. Fear that if you do not do what you promised to do the other people in the group will lose respect for you. Once or twice a month is good for this kind of thing. ALSO, make sure you ask your mastermind group for suggestions about what they think you should do and take the ones that make you the most uncomfortable – suggestions you like will not move your business forward.
  • Enlist your friends – I set up a facebook group called 31 Days of Business because I was going to be working the entire month of December and wanted company. If you can sucker your friends into doing what you are doing, the momentum of the entire group can get you going, even when you are not excited about working.
  • Death March It – When I have something that I hate to do, I Death March it. I sit on a chair, curled into a little ball and do nothing but that until it is done. If it takes 16 hours, I sit for 16 hours (potty breaks and beverages are fine). No email, no chatting, no fun until it is done. This is ABSOLUTELY the best way to get something off your plate but it will make you grouchy and your family nuts so use it sparingly!

I KNOW, all of these lead generating ideas sound hard, well sorry to tell you, that is why they call it work BUT I am here to tell you that the results will be GREAT and you WILL get more business. If you are doing one or two of these things consistently, your business will increase!

Some things that motivate me:

Brian Tracy’s Blog
Gary Vaynerchuk’s Keynote Speeches

Online Marketing – Internet Leads ARE Real Leads

I am just going to say this once, online leads are REAL leads! Not all of them, but enough to make your online marketing efforts worthwhile. Today I thought I would share some success stories with you.

Internet marketing online leadsI spend most of my day working on and looking at the internet. I talk with small business owners, marketers and Realtors about how their online efforts are working. Oftentimes I hear that internet leads are somehow worse than other leads. Off the top of my head…

  • One of my business pals Stacy Hansen, specializing in Clearwater internet marketing, throws off the term “oh they messaged me on Facebook” like it happens everyday. And for her, sometimes it does!
  • One of my Realtor buddies had her agents look at where their “A” buyers were coming from and at least 60% were “internet leads”.
  • A customer got a message this morning that EXACTLY matches what he does as an inquiry. NOW, will that turn into business? It might.
  • Colorado garage door guy, Rick Smith, gets requests for quotes about once a week.

The list could go on and on BUT what I want you to consider is the effort and money that goes into these leads. A blog was set up, they do a regular post about once a week, and they answer those leads promptly. Where else can you get generally free leads?

Do you have to wade through people who sent in a form but really didn’t want to be contacted? Sometimes. Do you get spam from people who promise to get you to the top of the search engines? Probably. But really, what do you have to lose except a little time and some optimism that it will work!

Small Business Marketing There is no set it and forget it!

This post about small business marketing is a follow up to “There is no one marketing thing that works“. In that post I gave small business marketers the bad news that there is one marketing thing that works like the old yellow page ads used to. Well get ready for more bad news! If you would rather that the world go back to the way it used to be, then this may not be the post for you.

Loudspeaker SalesmanI LOVE the infomercial pitchmen! They are brilliant at separating you from your money with catchy taglines and REALLY strong call to actions. The best tagline I ever heard was “set it and forget it”. This was for a product that cooked an entire meal for you using one appliance and the salesman had the audience chant that over and over during the commercial.

Neato kitchen appliance notwithstanding, there is no set it and forget it for your small business marketing. Buying a website and blog, then ignoring it for a year will not get you top google rankings. Just setting up a business Fan Page will not grow your sales by thousands. BUT worse than that even, learning to use Facebook or Twitter will not carry you over then next 10 years of marketing.

If you had asked about the biggest social networking site a couple of years ago you would have been talking about MySpace, which has now fallen off the face of the earth marketing-wise in favor of Facebook and Twitter. If you built a state-of-the-art website 3 years ago, you may be surprised to find that an affordable blog may be the best way to drive traffic to your sales page.

Nothing stays still and if you are thinking that you can just “set and forget” your small business marketing, you may find yourself losing ground fast!

Learn how to use Social Networking from Top 10 Internet Tools

Social Networking for Small Business
Social Networking for Small Business

This is not a “how to use social networking” post. It is more a why social networking can help your small business and how you can set up systems that will allow you to use it the right way – not as a stand alone marketing magic pill but as a stable part of your small business marketing plan.

What Kind of Effort Will You Have To Make For Your Social Networking Marketing Success

If you are looking for a get rich quick scheme to do 5 minutes of social networking a week and getting major benefits, you are going to be disappointed. That having been said, it doesn’t take much time to get your social networking set up and then minimal time a day to keep it going.

It should take you about 4 hours to set up Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter plus your other programs that make using them easy. There are some tricks that make a real difference but mostly you need to make sure you:

  • Pick a hub to drive everything to! I drive people back here to Marketing Artfully from Facebook but send people from LinkedIn and Twitter to my Facebook page sometimes instead of right to my site
  • Include a link to your website, blog or whatever you are using as your Hub to send all of your people to
  • Fill out anything they ask you to – many times they use the information in past jobs and volunteer activities to find connections for you
  • Remember to use a call to action that benefits your readers like “check out our information to help you..” or “find out more about making the most of your..”
  • DO NOT try to overtly sell on Social Networking sites, do that by driving people to your home page and then sell there

I offer a social networking how to video series that will help you get up and running fast if you like to do it yourself. NOTE: We offer lifetime updates and will be raising the price to $47 starting January 1st so if you think you are intested in it, please buy now before the price increase – you will get all the new videos too!

What Kinds of Leads Can You Expect To Get

Social networking leads are strong leads! They are from people who have some kind of relationship with you, not just people who stumbled upon your website and filled out a contact us form. Some leads that I got recently are:

  • Digital Pickle – a digital conversion for photos and vhs tapes company to set up their social networking
  • A social networking class attendee who found me through Facebook
  • Blog prospects and LOTS of website hits from twitter!

If you have any great recent social networking success stories, please make sure to leave them in the comments!

What Tools Should You Use To Make Social Networking Easy

The two primary tools that I use to make my social networking easier are Twitterfeed and Hootsuite. These two tools allow me to spend about 15 minutes a day and get great results.

  • Twitterfeed.com – sends all of my blog posts to twitter.com automatically
  • Hootsuite.com – allows me to update all of my social networks at the same time AND also allows me to schedule tweets for later

Overall, it should not take more than a couple of hours a week to keep your social networking updated regularly!

If you would like to have your social networking empire set up for you, we do a $250 social networking setup that makes getting started effortless!

How To Use Email For Marketing | Learn How To Make Hyperlinks

How To Use Email For Marketing from Top 10 Internet Tools

How to do email marketing
How to do email marketing

How to use email for marketing is simple. It is not easy but the benefits you get FAR outweigh the time it takes to become proficient! In Learn Use the Top 10 Internet Tools for Small Business, I talked about 10 things that I thought were super vital for your internet success. Here you will find out about how to make the most of email marketing.

For each of these items I am going to start with advanced ideas and work back to beginner basics. The reason for this is that there is A LOT of information out there about basic email marketing and I have found that if I tell my readers hard concepts they get them (after a while..:)

EMAIL MARKETING – THE MONEY IS IN THE LIST

When you have a list of people who have agreed to receive emails from you, you hold great responsibility. They have said that you can take their time in exchange for providing them with good information.

What software should you use for keeping track of your lists?

Email Marketing Software Programs – If you have over about 250 people in your database I highly recommend that you start having your people in a “real” email program.

  • Aweber – This is the one that I recommend to all my non-realtor clients considering starting with a “real” email marketing program. Aweber has great email and autoresponder capabilities, meaning that if you are targeting different types of prospects you can do it from one place. The one drawback is that you cannot manually add people individually after your initial upload so be careful if you are wanting to use this as a general contact database (you can have them signup via a web form). Sign up for their FREE trial and see if it will work for you.
  • Constant Contact – This is a friendly email program that is great for beginners but it really makes me mad that they do not have multiple autoresponders so you can not target multiple types of clients (although you can set up multiple types of lists). That being said, it is SUPER easy to use and has really pretty email newsletter templates if you have only one type of client.
  • Brokers Helper – BEST Email marketing program for Realtors with lots of templates and ease of use. They have a FREE trial also!
  • My Red Tools – Brokers Helper program for KW Realtors (you get a little discount) They have a FREE trial also!

Almost every small business owner I speak with wants to know what database they can use for everything. Their shopping cart and email marketing and direct mail and the list goes on and on. I wish that there was one UBER program that could handle all of these things well that was affordable for everyone but I have yet to find it. Once you know that you will be managing multiple lists you can get to the business of marketing and stop complaining about how hard it is!

Here are some things you can do to monetize your emails:

  1. Send out information about your product or service. This can be done in a non-spammy way by providing great information and then adding a link to find out more about your offering. This is number one because generally your highest ROI is from selling your own products or service. For example – a garage door guy could send out an email about how to winterize your garage door and then put a link to his page or post that offers that service on a paid basis.
  2. Send out emails with affiliate offers in them. This requires that you sign up to be an affiliate with a company or to have a referral agreement with a partner. Almost any business has affiliate programs that are relevant to them and it is easier than ever to get information about available offers. I like to use www.offervault.com to find great offers easily.
  3. Email information about your industry. This is the most passive kind of email as there is no call to action to buy anything. That having been said, Lori Crawford of Trinity Eastlake Real Estate gets a lead almost every time she sends out a newsletter about local real estate information to her list. You would be surprised at how just contacting your list on a regular basis will get you more business!

ADVANCED EMAIL MARKETING

So now you have a regular email marketing program set up..what’s next? Autoresponders! Autoresponders work by sending out a series of emails once someone has signed up for your email list online. All of the email marketing software programs that I recommended you use have some sort of autoresponder built in.

Top Autoresponder Mistakes – Here is my take on the top autoresponder mistakes people make once they get people on their list

  • Sending out too many messages – I KNOW, everyone says you should send out messages to your list daily or at the very least weekly. I think that people can get overwhelmed when you send out too many messages and that the impact can get diluted. I like to send out two messages a month and have had great feedback on that amount.
  • Numbering their messages – I have one list I am signed up to that tells me I am on message number 235, etc. I think that they did it for ease of use in setting up their autoresponder series BUT it just reminds me that they have sent me LOTS of messages.
  • Not adding their blog posts to their autoresponder series. I know that I am a prime offender for this one. DO NOT assume that everyone who signs up for your lists reads your blog posts regularly. This is a great place to get extra content for your autoresponders.

This post is a part of my ongoing posts Top 10 Internet Tools! If you would like to learn more please visit…

Top 10 Internet Tools Writing Great Headlines | How To Use Social Networking

How To Write a GREAT Sales Letter!

You know I never re-post stuff from other people but Gabor Olah of PLRwholesaler sent out one of the more informative emails that I have gotten recently. His email about how to write a great small business marketing sales letter was very informative and easy to understand. PLR is Private Label Rights and this guy offers a bunch of great content (make sure you get on his mailing list)!

Many people have asked what’s the secret to writing a compelling sales letter that sells. Every communication you send to customers or prospects should have a clear purpose – and your sales letter is no different.

Now there’s simply not enough space to go into detail about every aspect of your sales letter, but below is a
brief summary of some of the major points you need to address.

Before sitting down to write a sales letter make sure you are clear about the product or service you are offering, the price, any bonus offers, whether there is a time limit, etc.

Think from the point of view of the customer. What will make them interested in your product or service?

Do not make the letter about you or your company. You will not make sales by telling customers about the latest events in your office or the history of your company’s expansion. The letter should be about the customer, their problems, and how you can solve them.

Headlines are the most important part of a sales letter. So it’s important that you try to come up with at least twenty different headlines and then select the best.

Generally headlines should be longer than 3 or 4 words, but less than 17 words. Take a look at newspaper headlines and other sales headlines for inspiration. Be specific. If you have a figure of 37% then use it, do not say ‘over 30%’. Do not exaggerate in your headline to get attention. If it cannot be believed readers will not bother to look further.

When you first begin writing the main body of the letter do not edit it as you write. Just write what you think is the main, important message and do not stop to correct spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. If necessary stare determinedly at the keyboard as you write, or better still turn the monitor off on your PC.

The reason for this is that if you continually stop to make corrections the words will not flow and the message may become confused. Don’t get me wrong, it’s vitally important to make sure that your final copy contains no spelling mistakes. But this should be done once your first draft is completed.

Avoid long sentences and paragraphs in your sales letter. You want to make the letter as easy to read as possible and the most effective way to do this to “trick the eye” by creating whitespace.

You can do this by breaking the letter up into subheadings that refer to the contents of the next section. Your subheadings should give enough information for someone skimming down the page to understand your offer.

Once you feel your letter is complete put it aside for a while before reading through it again. You may spot
mistakes or areas of confusion that you didn’t initially notice.

If you cannot leave it for a period of time give it to someone else to read. Ask them to skim through it to see if they get the main points of the message. If they do they can then read each sentence and give you their impression of the letter.

Now as I mentioned at the start, this is only a very brief summary on the steps you need to follow to create a sales letter. While it’s by no means a full-blown explanation, it gives you a place to start.

Sincerely,
-Gabor

Find out more about PLRwholesaler!

Realtor Marketing – Direct Mail Postcards

Realtor Direct Mail Postcards
Realtor Direct Mail Postcards

The BEST marketing money I ever spent when I was an active Realtor was on direct mail postcards! I sent them out to my farm, to past clients and to prospects. To this day, two years later, I still get people who mention that they are sorry that I am not still sending them as it helped them keep up with the real estate market in the area that I farmed!

So why should YOU mail out realtor postcards? Here are my top five reasons!

  • They hang around A LONG time – people will keep them on their desk, bulletin board or refrigerator for longer than you ever though possible!
  • It reminds people that you are still in business – I know, you are a professional and should not have to say so BUT with the market the way that it is you never can be too sure.
  • You can market your listings – I know this one is not popular but it is true! Part of the reason you are paid commissions is that you market a property. I always made sure to put my client on the mailing list and boy did it make an impact that I was doing my job when they got it in the mail.
  • They help grow your farm – When you do consistent mailings into an area you become the defacto neighborhood expert even if you have never had a buyer or listing there!
  • Lastly, the cost has come WAY down from when I was doing it!!! – The price per piece, including addressing, First Class Postage, and Delivery is now $.40 per piece. Dang.

 

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That last one is a life saver!!! The one thing that I did not like about doing real estate postcards was the cost! First I had to order the printing, then I had to have a bulk mail stamp to save on postage, then lick and stick the stamps and finally schlep on down to the post office and make sure I had my postcards sorted the right way. Wow am I having a bad flashback!

The cool thing now is that you can order one or a thousand with no change in price – the weensy ones are forty cents no matter the quantity you order when you use www.BrokersHelper.com (KW Agents make sure you use My Red Tools for a little discount).

So as you are planning your marketing for the upcoming year, make sure that you consider adding direct mail postcards to the mix. Here are some of the top ones that I sent out with great results!

  • Expireds
  • Just Listeds
  • Just Solds
  • Neighborhood Info
  • Spring Ahead/Fall Back
  • Happy Thanksgiving
  • Funny Realtor Postcards (if you are not the queen of corn like I am don’t do these)
  • Future sellers drips
  • Farms
  • Under contract in X days

Ones I didn’t send

  • Recipes – I am a realtor not a cook!

Hope those help with your realtor direct mail marketing ideas – please feel free to comment if you notice one I may have forgotten!!!

Small Business Marketing – Success Is HARD!

When you think about small business marketing success, there is no magic bullet! I am sorry to be the one to tell you that, but I sick of hearing about “get rich quick” schemes.

I work in the trenches everyday with small business owners and they are busting their humps to succeed. They are learning new skills, networking online and in person, attending tradeshows and training events. They try and fail AND try and succeed!

Some people who make me proud:

  1. Deborah Ward – My real estate buddy who does stuff that I tell her do and never asks why. We are in the process of taking over the St. Petersburg Real Estate and Florida Foreclosures market.
  2. Cyndee Haydon - Cyndee is a Clearwater Realtor who has been working like a demon for 4+ years and now is reaping the rewards.
  3. Mary Dado - Mary and I work together to make blogs for small business owners but her company writes all kinds of business writing. She is working her tail off networking and following up. I am awed by her strength!
  4. Tara Becker – Tara has a great Denver Area Networking group. She is great at talking to people face to face and has grown an 8 meeting a month group. She is NOT a whiz at online marketing but she is learning and slogging through it.
  5. Kirsten McKay Smith – Kirsten of Passion Parties is running hard and has set goals that she is working towards. She is one of the few people I know who have as many things on her plate at one time as I do and I am so glad she is in my High D mastermind!!!
  6. Lori CrawfordTrinity Realtor, Lori Crawford is a great marketer. She is the only person I know who gets a lead EVERY time she sends her newsletter. Into every life some sanity must fall and Lori shows me what professionalism looks like.

I am sure that there are MANY MANY people who I missed but those are the ones that came to mind today. WHATEVER you marketing style is, take a page from one of these gals and JUST DO IT! Start a big audacious goal today, knowing that it will be hard but DO IT ANYWAYS!

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The Power of Your Lists – List Building for Businesses

There is power in having lists of people who are interested in what you have to say! It used to be that you had to spend thousands of dollars to have access (one time) to a list that someone like infousa.com had, and the people on the list didn’t even know you. That is SERIOUS cold calling and is SO not for me!

Today’s small business owner can build their own list super easily and for VERY little money!

BUT you are going to have to give up the feeling that you can can control your list(s). It used to be that I had one list – my newsletter subscribers. I DO have control of that list. I send out bi-monthly newsletters with marketing information and have a VERY low unsubscribe ratio because I deliver EXACTLY what I promised when they signed up! That list comes from having a blog and a newsletter signup (if you are brand new to blogging and want some help setting one up we have small business blogs for sale!) The newsletter signup is done through my database and is a little more convoluted, although Constant Contact does make it much easier to grow a email newsletter list.

Super Easy Ways to Grow Other Contact Lists

Nowadays, it is easy to grow lists all over the internet. I consider these to be my micro-lists and point them all back this blog with almost everything I do. Now that micro-list moniker doesn’t mean that they have fewer people than my “real” email marketing list – in fact my Twitter list has over 1,300 people on it today. What I do mean is that my influence on that list is smaller. They do not anticipate contact from me the way my email list does. They come and go more easily than my email list does. That doesn’t make them less important to me, just different.

Here are some of my list places:

  • Twitter – ABSOLUTELY the easiest place to grow a list. There is LOTS of following over there and now that I am driving people from Twitter to Facebook, I feel like I am accomplishing something! Find out more about How To Use Twitter For Small Businesses
  • Facebook – It is easy to grow your list on Facebook too! They are called “friends” and to start get your real friends, then their friends, then people who share your interests. Want another friend? Add me on Facebook!
  • LinkedIn – I think the hardest place to grow a list BUT worth it! You can join groups that allow “open networking” where you can add people.
  • Meetup – These are people who like to meetup with me in person (I like that!), you can email these people ONLY about the meetup that you are involved with, nothing else!
  • Individual Groups and Communities – I belong to Iwomanlife.com and freeenterprisewarriors.com and activerain.com where I have communication opportunities with other people. I will say that I have not had the success with these media that I have had with the big three (Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook)
  • Smaller Sites – I have people that follow my youtube.com updates and who are on mybloglog.com. Some people follow my digg.com updates. All these things are bonuses that come from things I do anyways and are never going to set the world on fire but it all adds up!!!
  • Feedburner - Last but not least, Feedburner sends many of you updates when I post to this blog. Some of you get them on a reader and some get them via email. However you get them, thank you for reading!

Absolutely Free Ebook – How To Pack An Event

Here is the link to a totally free ebook on how to get people to attend your event. Whether you are holding a seminar, workshop, party, open house or anything else, you will find some gems here to help get people in the door! I cover using meetup.com, facebook, linkedin, email marketing and some other really great ways to get your message out.

http://marketingartfully.com/How_to_pack_an_event.pdf

How come it is free?

Well, I moved to the Denver area 2 months ago and I was having my first big event (my internet mastermind in Denver) and wanted people to come. I also wanted people to sign up to say they would come to the event, even if they never showed – WHY!?!??! Because people like to go to things that other people are doing – genius I know…:) So anyways, I was in the process of writing a Ebook on how to get people to come to your events and I thought to myself, “how can I get people to sign up even if they aren’t coming?” Then cam a flash of brilliance – bribe them!!!

So, long story short, (too late I know), I am giving this book away, no questions asked, no email required, share it with anyone you want (Seth Godin would be SO proud!). If you like, please comment. If you hate it, don’t bother to complain, it is free…:)

Happy speaking…Tara

PS – I had 10 people who were very interested in internet marketing show up (thanks guys!!), two people who called to say that would have come but heard about it too late, one person on facebook who said the same thing and all the people at the mastermind said they would share the goodness with their friends and colleagues. Can’t ask for any more than that!!!

Building A Community – How it helps your social networking, email list and life!

How can you build a community, online and offline? According to Miriam Webster a community is “the people with common interests living in a particular area”. In the past your community was limited by proximity and by who you could meet face-to-face. If you wanted to meet someone new you had to ask a friend for an invitation or hope for a chance meeting.

The internet has changed the definition of community! With social networking, blogs and email we are able to have a MUCH bigger community that is not limited by proximity. That having been said, meeting humans face to face is still a great way to build community and your online influence!

Ways to build an in-person community

  1. Your family and friends - when you are thinking of community you sometimes forget your closest connections. During the days when I was a (successful) realtor, my husband generated many of my leads through his work friends. I asked him to find out who would let me send them info about the real estate market in Clearwater and then contacted them through email, direct mail and popbys (fun treats I sent into work).
  2. Networking with humans - I recently moved to the Denver and Boulder area and had zero friends or contacts. I checked on meetup.com for local networking events that were related to business and have been able to add close to one hundred new contacts to my database and found a few really great contacts that may turn into friends. In the past this process would have taken YEARS instead of about 8 weeks. One note – don’t jump on new networking friends with your message…meet them, show them you will continue to come back and then ease into your message. No one likes to be SOLD HARD when they are networking!
  3. Teach classes - I teach social networking classes to anyone who will listen. I am setting up an internet mastermind group that will teach all kinds of online money making skills. I teach realtors how to service their listings. Basically if I can get 5 people to hold still I will start up a class…:) So how does that help? I add them to my database, I am an authority in whatever I am teaching, AND I stay in contact with them through my bi-monthly newsletters.

Ways to build an online community

  1. Join social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter! These allow you to add people from your real-life networking AND will let you connect with new people that are not geographically desirable but who are interesting and a potential client or referral source for your business.
  2. Start a blog – A blog pushes information about your business to potential clients. NO ONE will read repetitive sales ads but LOTS of people may be interested in learning more about your specialty. You are reading this post (I assume) because you are a small business owner who is interested in growing their business. If you are looking for cooking tips sign up to read updates from a cooking site, if you are selling mortgages, health care products or lawn furniture start an informative blog and find people who are interested in that!
  3. Start an email list. These are people who expect regular communication from you. Again, I cannot stress this enough, they expect information that is helpful to them or interesting NOT sales ads! It doesn’t matter how often you communicate with them, some do once a day, some do twice a month like I do. Make sure you send them relevant info AND include a call to action – sell something, grow your facebook page fans, ask for an appointment, whatever as long as you have a REASON for communicating with them in addition to the info!

Well that is it! Do that and you WILL succeed. People will be in your corner and will want to help you grow your business AND you can help grow theirs!!!

Social Networking, Blogging and Sanity

How do you keep up with all your social networking and blogging? I use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, digg, Plaxo, Thrive Contact System, Marketing Artfully and Active Rain often. It drives TONS of traffic to my websites, adding more people to my email database which means more people to talk to about my services and speaking gigs!

Here are some of the easy things I do to make all of that a little easier – commonly known as a system!

SOCIAL NETWORKING
It is VERY fun to watch what your friends and business associates are doing and finding new information on social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo and Twitter and I check most of these once or twice a day. BUT if you are using these to lead generate for your business it is also important to be “on purpose” when you are using these sites. Here are some do’s and do not’s that I follow:

  • DO – Make sure to post links to your blog posts (see below)
  • DO – Update your status with new products and services that you are offering
  • DO – Make comments on your friends’ and business partners’ status
  • DON’T – Spam them with self-serving updates multiple times a day (putting links to great information is NOT spamming, posting every one of your products or listings over and over is)
  • DON’T – Put ANYTHING on there that you would not want your best customer to see – the internet never forgets!

BLOGGING
My goal is to blog on one of each of these everyday. I am not always successful BUT the goal is there and I generally get an email everyday that some kind of lead – either for a marketing consult, a referral to one of my business partners or just someone who wants more information about a service I offer. A lead a day is 365 over the course of the year and helps to feed my pipeline!

  • Marketing Artfully – My main site and the one that I spend the most time on. It has all my product offerings, my shopping cart and is where I send the most people. WHAT I DO: When I write a post here I then add it as a link on Facebook, I often write a mini-post over on Active Rain to drive people back here to read the full post, sometimes I digg it and it automatically goes to Twitter and from there to Plaxo.
  • Thrive Contact System – This is one of our products and I post info on Database Marketing, Systems and (surprisingly enough) client contacts. I am not as vigilant about this one as I should be BUT it still gets some good organic search traffic and is on the list. WHAT I DO: When I write a post there I then add it as a link on Facebook, sometimes I digg it and it automatically goes to Twitter and from there to Plaxo.
  • Taradactyl on Active Rain – This one sends LOTS of people my way. It is full of Realtors, Mortgage Pros and Title people (one of my target markets) and I should be WAY more aggressive about posting there! WHAT I DO: Because it is a feeder for my Marketing Artfully blog I don’t tend to do more than write a post BUT it does automatically feed to Twitter and from there to Plaxo.

Hopefully this will help you get your arms around all this work and you can see that it does not have to be overwhelming AND can help generate more business for your business!

Autoresponders (8X8s) for Realtors – Buyers and Sellers

Using Auto-responders to Grow Your Real Estate Business

Auto-responders are one of the most innovative tools a Realtor can use to grow their real estate business. However, most Realtors fail to utilize them to their full business potential. 

The ease of use of auto-responders is astounding once you have them set up! If you have signed up for our email newsletter, you have gotten our auto-responders. They are a series of emails that go out on a periodic basis determined by you. If you are using them in an 8X8 program, that means that you are sending out eight in eight weeks, which I think is a really good frequency!

If you are using a database program, it is very easy to set up an auto-responder (or action plan).  If you are not able to use your database program for this or if you use outlook or another email program, I HIGHLY recommend that you use an email newsletter service like AWeber or Constant Contact which give you all of that functionality, a great look and both of which cost about $20/month!

We have been getting a bumch of requests for Autoresponders for Realtors – we have answered! Thus far we have developed two versions – one for sellers and one for buyers. In the coming weeks we will be adding Autoresponders for FSBOs, Expireds and Short Sales. We are offering $10 off until Tax Day (April, 15th 2009) so that everyone who want to get going right away can afford to!!!

  generic_thrive-buttons   Autoresponders (8X8s) For Realtors – Sellers Edition
Auto-responders are email or 8X8 campaigns that you can set up to auto-generate emails for your prospects and leads. Basically they are a “set it and forget it” kind of system that will allow you to contact your prospects and suspects on a consistent basis when you first enter them into your database.
Price $19.97 - Use coupon code AUTOS-TAXDAY for $10.00 off until April 15, 2009!      


Find out more about Autoresponders (8X8s) For Realtors – Sellers Edition

 
 

 
  generic_thrive-buttons   Autoresponders (8X8s) For Realtors – Buyers Edition
Auto-responders are email or 8X8 campaigns that you can set up to auto-generate emails for your prospects and leads. Basically they are a “set it and forget it” kind of system that will allow you to contact your prospects and suspects on a consistent basis when you first enter them into your database.
Price $19.97 - Use coupon code AUTOS-TAXDAY for $10.00 off until April 15, 2009!      


Find out more about Autoresponders (8X8s) For Realtors – Buyers Edition

 
 

What is database marketing? Solving small business marketing problems!

According to Wikipedia, database marketing is “a form of direct marketing using databases of customers or potential customers to generate personalized communications in order to promote a product or service for marketing purposes”.

Wow is that not helpful! My definition of database marketing is to have all your clients, potential clients, prospects, vendors, friends and family all in one place that you can use to send out direct mail, email marketing and generate call lists. Currently on my “marketing TV tray” I have a post-it note with a name of someone who I need to add to my database, two business cards and a sign in sheet from a class that I taught. If I do not add them to my database today I will

  • lose their name entirely
  • find them in three months and forget why I had their card
  • find them in six months and be too embarrassed to send anything because they won’t remember me (I KNOW I won’t remember them!)

So how do you use your database for marketing?

Send out emails to your database – This is FREE! You can start a bi-monthly newsletter and send your marketing message out WITH a nice piece of information that will be of value to your readers. For home service people that might be tips on how to winterize their home, ways to clean their grout or even a list of associated vendors they recommend. For real estate professionals it might be market stats, information about first time homebuyers or how to prepare their home for staging. Whatever you send, make sure that you think – “would I be interested in reading this”. If not – write something better! (if you are stuck on what to send, check out our Small Business Marketing Solution –  Thrive Client Contact System)

Make phone calls – Each month pick a couple of letters (A-C, S and T) and print out your database people whose last name starts with that letter. Carry your list around and when you have a couple of extra minutes call your people!

Send direct mail marketing pieces to your database – You can mail your clients a monthly piece of newsletter marketing, marketing postcards or even your personal brochure. Please note – if you are going to judge the effectiveness of your direct mail campaign by 1 sent message don’t bother. You need to send out your direct mail message for at least 3 months in order to be able to find out if will work! If you can’t afford to send out to your entire database, cut it in half and send half of your people a letter, newsletter or postcard each month, rotating the names so EVERYONE gets something at least every other month!

Some other things you can do with your database:

  • Collect Birthdays and send a nice card out a couple of days before (I am BAD at this – you WILL NOT get a card!)
  • Make notes about what you talked about – your people will think you are brilliant when they realize you remember all their personal info! Just pop in and take a peek at their notes BEFORE you call them!
  • Upload relevant documentation and attach it to their record. You can attach their invoice, sales receipts, contracts etc. by scanning them into a PDF and then uploading them to your database.

If you will commit to using your database, adding EVERYONE you meet the day you meet them, you WILL get more business and make more money!!!

Airports, Snow Boots and Your Small Business Marketing Message

I love small business marketing and I love my husband who has moved to Denver for a job transfer. So I have been flying back and forth to the Denver Airport to visit him and try and find a house to buy in the Denver area (we have an offer in – again – so fingers crossed people). What I noticed about the weather here compared to Clearwater Florida, where I am moving from, is that it is C-O-L-D. The people are generally nicer and they have snow boots.

I also noticed that real estate in Colorado is also different from real estate in Florida. They get a different commission than I am used to, they have fewer listings than agents carry in Florida and they have snow boots on when they show houses.

So what does this have to do with marketing you ask? We KNOW real estate is local but so is marketing! If you are in Cleveland, which is a very depressed area right now, you may have to market WAY harder in order to get the same results you got in the past. You may have to do more face-to-face sales pitches to close a client. If you are in Denver, where they say the economy is more solid, you can focus on gaining market share. Do LOTS of marketing to take over the market before the national economy rebounds!!!

While it is not fair that you have to work harder in Cleveland than Denver, make sure you match your efforts to your expected results, not just what worked in the past!

and don’t forget to wear your snow boots!

Realtor Marketing – Market Like A Maniac Class Available December 22

Small business speaker and trainer Tara Jacobsen is teaching Market like a Maniac for Realtors in the Largo market center of Keller Williams Realty, December 22 2008 from 11-2. This class is designed to help realtors with an overview of things they can do to increase their business through marketing techniques and tips! Keller Williams is located at 2401 West Bay Dr #603 Largo, FL 33770. Call Tara to confirm at 727-415-9165.

Topics we will cover include, direct mail marketing, email marketing, low cost and free realtor marketing ideas, and more!

Everyone is welcome! A Helen Maday of Charles Rutenberg Realty, arecent attendee of one of Tara’s classes said,

Your training sessions today were so terrific – like I said that is the 1st time I’ve been at a seminar or training session that I didn’t put on my sunglasses even once (to take a quick snooze)!!!!! Also, I’d like to thank you for the personal help you gave me afterwards – that meant so much to me because it would have taken me forever to figure out what you did so quickly & effortlessly!!!!! You’re quite a gal & I feel very fortunate to have met you!! Keep up the GOOD WORK!!!!! Helen L. Maday REALTOR

Personalizing The Disney Theme Park – A Viral Masterpiece!

Video starts running automatically BUT you can pause it if you like! The content is an amazing act of customization, worth the 30 or so seconds!!! See fascinating article below

So I was reading my email today and my friend Lori Crawford, Realtor extraordinaire in Trinity Fl, sent me the absolute best email! Lot’s of people tease me and call me a Princess (my so-called friends and family) and so this viral marketing campaign from Disney is BRILLIANT. I was enthralled that my name was plastered all over Disney World and that Goofy even said my name once!

So what IS personalization?
Personalization can be done in a number of different ways:

  • The most basic is to have a person’s name in the greeting of your email. BUT every email program does not have the capability of adding a recipients’ name. You might want to consider using a newsletter template company like AWeber. While I know that many of you have Database programs that SAY they perform this function, few have really acceptable HTML formats. It will save you LOTS of time to use a third party solution!
  • Another way is to have the person’s name on a direct mail piece. You can use MS Publisher or Word to accomplish this OR use a reputable printer to do it professionally. I got a custom postcard from a local jewelry company that was addressed to John and Shelly. My husband’s name IS John but who the heck is Shelly?!?!?! They obviously had moved the Spouse’s name one place down – this is NOT a great situation for the mailer so make sure you spend a little bit more to have it done RIGHT!
  • These two aside there are a MILLION ways to personalize your message to your clients, use a hand written note, make a card that has pictures from magazines that you think your client would like, create a website that registers a persons name and calls them that throughout (obviously a high tech, high cost option).

So what is a viral campaign?

A viral campaign is something that spreads like the flu – person to person. This Disney campaign is BRILLIANT and VERY expensive to program originally, but may reap HUGE rewards for Disney! I sent it right out to my Mother In Law, a friend and a child I know. So Lori’s original message resulted in 4 direct new emails BUT then I blogged about it. You may be going – “How cool I should send it to X”. If just two of my readers resend it to 5 people we are now up to 15 people from Lori’s original email – zoinks!

So why does it work and how can you do this? Well viral campaigns are hard to start and even harder to sustain. For my small business clients (and myself), we do not have the capital to take a roll on spending $10,000-$50,000 that can support a technical viral campaign that may bomb.

Instead, write great content and then recommend that your client’s spread it! If you have a referral system, recommend that your clients use it. It may seem like they should KNOW that they could refer your stuff out, BUT THEY DON’T!

FYI – if you know any small business owners that would like this post, please do not hesitate forward it to them OR send a link to www.MarketingArtfully.com so they can sign up for automatic updates!

Twitter and Google Great Lead Generating Tools

People ask me ALL the time how they can do the things that I recommend! Whether I am saying that they should comment on other people’s blog posts, read lots of different blogs or sign up for Twitter, frequently they say that they have NO TIME for all that “work” on the internet!

Well I can honestly say that Twitter is one of the easiest ways to add to your lead generating tool box! Just go to www.twitter.com and sign up.

Some suggestions:

  • Pick a good name that people will either recognize (I am TARAdactyl of course) or is descriptive of your business like the MeekTeam or is descriptive of your industry like REMarketer.
  • Have a good picture or avatar, I can’t tell you how many faces I see that are not recognizable but I sure knew when the bloodhound blog guys come by as they have a droopy old bloodhound as their picture.
  • Fill out your profile – if someone does come by to check you out you need to make sure you sound interesting. For the meantime, just put something, you can come back and finesse this later if you don’t have time now!

To keep track of all the blogs I like I have a secret! I use Google’s free tool to have my homepage show me things that I might find interesting. If I am super busy I just hop on the regular Google search and do whatever is needed BUT if I am looking for great posts to comment on or ideas to jump off of for a blog post – nothing is better!

I have done a video to show you how to use Twitter to lead generate and how to add a site into the Google homepage reader – enjoy!

For more great Lead Generating Tips visit Thrive Client Contact System!

How to tell what to do – obsessing over stats!

So I am on a mission this morning to analyze our stats, see what we are doing right and what we could be doing better. I am going to check Marketing Artfully and see how that traffic is, check our Thrive Client Contact System website, and see how I can generate more hard leads for our websites. I am NOT going to do this in any organized fashion as I am a free spirit who can’t be constrained by logic or orderly-ness (even though that would make life SO much easier!)

The Thrive Contact System is a partnership between Mary Dado of Business Writing, Ink. and myself. We send out monthly marketing information for small businesses to send out to their clients, generating new business, increasing their name recognition and encouraging repeat sales and referrals. This great material includes newsletters, call scripts and emails. We have been managing the Thrive Client Contact Program for Realtors for about 6 months but expanded our offerings and branded the program Thrive just last month. The Thrive site has been live since November 16, 2008 (less than 30 days). 

Screenshot of Thrive Client Contact System

 Let’s start with some overall statistics. On November 20th we had our best day ever with 26 visitors. There are some days that we have had none due to the utter lack of initiative on the part of the chief marketing officer (sigh). I will review what was so special about November 20th later. We have had 116 total visitors (I screen my IP address out) and they have had 436 pageviews with 3.76 pages per visit.

What does that mean?

The content we have is great! They are looking around once I get them there. This activity has translated into about 3 leads and 2 sales to date. Because we have an affordable entry level price and reoccurring billing, that translates to estimate of about $600 of income over the course of the next year. I am okay with that for now! Let’s see what the good, the bad and the ugly things are!

The good

On November 20th we sent out an email to 195 people from our database, had 99 people open it and 19 people came to the site as a result of that. WOW – over 50% open response and about a 20% click through rate, I am pleased with that! How did that happen? I sent a really good message, with interesting content to targeted group of our clients, sphere and prospects. If I had used a bought list those numbers would have been very different. We also provide great content EVERY time we send an email to our database so they are more apt to open something we send. I think this a problem many marketers have, they want to get SOMETHING out so they are willing to just send anything instead of making sure each communication is valuable in itself.

The bad

So why so few actual leads? Using analytic tools, we will try and infer what the problem might be and how we may be able to fix it!

If we look our pageviews, you can see that we have had 29 people go to the sign up now page. 29 people and only 3 leads – arggg. So what to do – I added a line to the top of the page that they could sign up OR request more information. It could be that they are worried that by filling out the form that they are going to be obligated to pay. While I would like them to be ready to pull the trigger, I am also happy with someone to add to my database as a prospect and then set them up on a drip campaign that we have to tell more about the Thrive program. Hopefully this will increase the number of leads that we receive!

I DO have to say that we have a flaw in our system – neither Mary or I like to call people so we tend to answer by email. I sometimes wonder if we called those people whether our conversion rate would be better (you think?) We have two fabulous women who we are going to have coming on as sales people so that should help with the whole non-communicating thing!!!

Finally, back to the good things – we are number one on google for Client Contact Program AND got click through from it already!!! We are on page 2 for “small business lead generating” due to a post that I wrote about (ironically enough) “Small Business Lead Generating – Why you can’t do it!“.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s exciting episode – “Generate more website traffic – how the heck do I do THAT?”

Where should you spend your time?

Time is money. I know, it is trite but true! I had a client ask me today if I thought she should spend some of her time on adding her real estate listings to a website. (See my response on Active Rain)

It made me think about what I spend my precious time on. Sometimes I spend time with my friends and favorite clients (good), sometimes I spend it lead generating (good), sometimes I spend it writing blog posts (good) and sometimes I spend it doing something that ultimately does not benefit my business (bad).

When I was an active Realtor I got lots of emails from companies that would “let” me post my listings on their site. They would then sell that feed to other sites who wanted real estate listings. While it did give my listings more exposure, I could have done that all day, everyday, rather than spending my time doing actual things that could sell my listings like contacting other realtors, marketing the home, attending pitch sessions, holding open houses and a million other things besides posting my listings on sites that had no traffic.

Are you doing something that you “could” do rather than stuff you “should” do? DO NOT get me wrong, I am an early adopter who likes to try new marketing efforts BUT if what I am doing does not benefit me dollar for time then I should focus on dollar productive activities and save my energy for things that have a chance of working for me!

Whew – How do you work ON your business when you are IN your business?!?!

Hi, my name is Tara and I am a chronic worker! I work on weekends, evenings and even sometimes during business hours. I fret when I am not working for my clients. I fret when I am not working for me too!

 I hear all the time that you should spend time working ON your business (lead generating, developing marketing materials, doing your accounting, doing your business plan, networking, researching new products, etc.) It is REALLY easy to say and not so easy to do!

Who out there spends as much time on their “stuff” as they should – not me for sure. The worst part is that I KNOW that lead generating and marketing work – it is what I do for other people!

SO…today I am making a stand. I am telling me what to do! I am going to time block for my business! (I know, I can hear the groans from here people, who has time to work on their business?!?!?!) But if I never try I will surely fail!

I need to do my case studies page – it WILL be done (mostly) by Thursday. THIS Thursday, not some stray and random Thursday in the future.

What do you need to do for your business. What is the one thing that would make the most difference to your lead production, your productivity or even just your quality of life? Can it be done by Thursday?!?!?! Make it so!

Do What You Do and They Can Do What They Do!

Do What You Do and They Can Do What They Do! I know this seems very deep and cryptic BUT it is true!

I was with some of my favorite investor realtors today (Fred Collis & Larry Arth) today and we got to talking about what we can do to generate more leads (their idea of a great lead is Bird Dog who can help them get the word out about real estate investment opportunities). Fred was talking about how his coach keeps giving him tasks which he doesn’t always complete. I think the operative part of that is his coach GIVES him tasks.

I have taught a BUNCH of agents lead generating. In each class I ask the agents and small business owners what they are currently doing. They ALWAYS say that doesn’t matter, that they want to know WHAT to do. I ALWAYS say that they will really only do what they do right now, but more!

If they make calls, they will make calls to more or different people, but they will NOT start blogging on a daily basis if they don’t like to write. If they blog every day and send tons of emails but NEVER pick up the phone, they will not suddenly start making 20 phone calls a day! (I KNOW – there are always exceptions to the rule BUT generally people will do what they do!)

What brought this home for me today was the developer we met with! He is a GREAT charismatic speaker who has been able in the past to sell LOTS because he was able to talk with each client personally in either seminars or on the phone. We are working to market these programs to LOTS of Bird Dogs who have LOTS of clients – there is NO WAY he can talk to 50 clients of 50 Bird Dogs (or over 2,500 people!).

We developed a way to get standardized info out and also to allow him to “talk” to people via a webinar on the internet! We will also record him so he can get his message out via MP3s. Even though these are great ideas, we also need to develop marketing materials for Larry and Fred to get out to the Bird Dogs. The developer never had to do this before because he talked to everyone directly and he isn’t very excited about doing it now BUT to grow the number of people they can reach he will have to adapt or go extinct!

The great thing about this situation is that the Developer has hired us to help him market to new people while maintaining the practices that made him successful in the past! If you are NEVER going to do something then hire someone else to do it so you can concentrate on doing the “fun” tasks you like to do!

Weird Stuff….Small Business Owners Who Don’t Want More Business

I have never understood business owners who don’t want more business. Now I am not talking about doubling their staff or making them increase their inventories by 50% – just easy tips for more business!!!

I had pizza on Thursday at my friend John’s pizza parlor (Nick’s Pizza on 19 in Palm Harbor) and I suggested he put up a sign saying add garlic knots for $3.00. Everybody likes garlic knots, right? Well come to find out John doesn’t like garlic knots. You have to cut the dough, twist it up, add the parmesan and herbs and then not forget to take them out of the oven.

The royal pain of garlic knots not withstanding, he didn’t want to add salads or garlic bread or anything else to your order for a couple of bucks more profit. He likes to sell just pizza. Not fancy California pizza, just cheese or pepperoni. (I am a fan favorite because I get two PLAIN slices with a soda!)

This amazes me. He has done all the work to get customers in the door which is the hard part and doesn’t want to make a couple of extra bucks on each person. Weird!

What do you have in your business that you can throw in to get more money from people who are already doing business with you? If you are selling products, figure out something to value add and then suggest that to each customer. If you are a service provider, provide extra services. If you are a realtor, take a page out of Brian Buffini’s book and ask EVERYONE you talk to if they know anyone else who is looking to buy or sell a home right now.

Keep your eyes open for opportunities to help your customers more with something that will add to their experience of working with you and everyone wins!!!!