Top 5 Ways to Generate Qualified Leads For Your Small Business

Do you ever wonder if you could be doing a better job marketing your small business or professional service firm? Successfully marketing a small business is hard work. There are several key skills required to consistently develop new business that you, as a small business owner, must master in order to succeed.

The first skill you need to have is the ability to regularly generate qualified leads. You must consistently build your list of prospects if you are to grow your business. Your business will not grow if you market to the same, stagnant population over and over again. While there will be a certain percentage of people who choose to buy from you after repeated contact with your marketing material, the amount who buy will always be limited by the size of the list to which you market.

How often do you add to your list of qualified prospects?

Here are five steps you can take to improve your prospect building skills.

Focus On Client Needs

Whether you print a brochure, advertise in industry periodicals or use search engines to generate traffic to your web site the first thing your marketing materials must do is get noticed. One of the best ways to have your future clients notice you is to use words in your marketing materials that focus on their needs. By using such words your clients will immediately associate your ad with their problem or unmet need.

For example, if you are a patent attorney your ads will have a much better chance of being noticed and acted upon by those who need your service if you use the words, “Get paid for your invention” instead of “Patent Attorney”. Getting paid is what an inventor wants. You may be proud of your status as an attorney but your clients are interested in the results you provide that solve their problem.

Be sure you use words in your marketing material that focus on your clients’ needs. They will get noticed more often.

Eliminate Waste

Another step you can take to improve your ability to generate leads is to eliminate unproductive marketing methods. Marketing takes time, money and effort. If your tactics are not generating the results you want stop using them and try something new. Of course, in order to separate the good tactics from the bad you need to measure the effect of individual marketing efforts.

Perhaps you run the same ad in two different newspapers. If you don’t know that the ad in “paper number two” is generating 95% of your prospects you will never know that it would be a smart move to reallocate the money you spend in “paper number one”.

What steps can you take to measure the effect of individual marketing tactics?

Once you know which tactics are lead generators and which are not you can improve your ability to generate new leads simply by reallocating the resources from unproductive tactics to ones you know work.

Use Your Web Site Properly

Another way to maximize your ability to generate leads is to use your web site properly. The purpose of your web site is to generate leads. To maximize the number of leads your web site generates make sure your site has information your prospects want, is easy to navigate and maximizes the opportunity for your prospects to get in touch with you, either by calling you or by providing you with their contact information.

Clearly let your visitors know you’re there for them and they will be much more likely to reach out and get in touch, especially if your site’s content demonstrates that you understand and can solve their problems.

Cross Marketing

Cross marketing is the process of establishing marketing relationships with companies whose product or service complements what you sell. For example, a company that helps web site owners track the traffic to and through their site would do well to develop relationships with web hosting companies. There is a natural symbiosis here – anyone who has a new web site needs to (or should) measure their site’s traffic so they can make well-informed decisions to guide the evolution of their site and any web hosting company wants their clients’ business to succeed so they can keep them as a customer. Companies don’t need web sites if they’re out of business. It therefore makes sense for web hosting companies to promote web statistics companies and vice versa as each can benefit from the other’s service.

What cross marketing tactics do you use to promote your business?

Ask Questions

Regardless of your favorite marketing mechanism the goal is the same: to generate interest in your products or services. Whether you use a web site, a brochure or newspaper ads to generate leads the first thing you must do is get your future prospects thinking about the problem that you solve and they have. A great method for invoking this type of thought is to use questions in your marketing materials.

If you are a dentist, questions like, “Do you have tooth pain?” or “Are your teeth sensitive to heat or cold?” will do a much better job of drawing in your prospects that marketing materials that say, “Do you need a dentist?”

What questions can you ask to get your prospects thinking about the problems that they have that you solve?

Move Your Marketing Forward

Take some time to examine your marketing efforts with respect to the notions outlined in this article. Is there room for you to improve your ability to generate leads? Most likely, there is.

Copyright 2005, Better Marketing Results and Jeremy Cohen. All rights reserved.

Dialing In on Mobile Apps for Small Business For More Fans to Become Customers

Once our mobile apps for small business are designed smartly for our industry it is time to turn our attention to our highest priorities – fans.

These are the people who may be today’s customers. With the right strategy you can soon develop tomorrow’s prospects. You can even expand geographically if it makes sense.

Target Audience – Target Needs

There are few businesses that can meet every type of group’s primary needs. Successful smaller firms often have an innate ability to attract a particular demographic group.

One of the keys to successfully using mobile apps for small business is to know the specific profile of your strongest demographic group.

Consider age, gender, income or even race, ethnic or faith considerations.

Next, are you primarily trying to reach current customers who already know your business and equip them to introduce your offerings to others?

Or, do want to engage a totally new group from the start?

Mobile apps for small business can easily be designed with loyalty and repeat business criteria.

Most mobile apps for small business primarily lead with something fun and engaging. Just be sure to keep the most dominant felt need your target audience is likely experiencing the most frequently.

Not sure what this is yet? This will be much easier to determine from your target demographic profile.

For example, a studio photographer targets early bird specials for high school juniors for the senior portrait market. Their mobile apps for small business targets busy working parents with attractive referral discounts as well.

One felt need that is often overlooked for mobile apps for small business surrounds status. Be sure to include a social forum where your fans can share what they are most proud of accomplishing.

Examples can include recognizing local sports teams and their fans championship season with a picture gallery. How about proud grandparents sharing their favorite pictures of special times with their grand kids? Don’t forget area alumni, chamber or association groups for posting professional awards and designations.

What Zip Codes Do You Want to Reach?

What is exciting about mobile apps for small business is that with a minimal budget you can literally reach anywhere in the world. Just think of the popular social media tools today that are a growing global phenomenon. Facebook is closing in on 1 billion registered users. Smart phones are forecasted to be at 1 billion users by 2016.

At the same time you can much more quickly become a local leader in your market with the right mix of mobile apps for small business.

In fact Silicon Valley recognizes this area as one of the hottest investments in the social, local, mobile market.

Here are some tips to help you grow your footprint as big as you want to.

Local – The local audience is fleeing traditional print sources such as yellow pages in droves. Instead the explosion of smart phone use makes mobile apps for small business the ideal place for your audience to find you. Be sure to really refine your unique brand and niche. The more you make it positive and interesting the more likely your new fans will want to share it with their friends.

Regional – If you have identified an unmet need with your brand and have an exceptional level of product and service why not look regionally? Do some important due diligence on the competition. Reach out to some local affiliate partners that can help you get off to a faster start.

It is often wise to have a clean and simple front door like a welcome or offer page on a regionally branded web site or landing page. Just be sure your regional brand identify is reflected throughout what you offer.

National – With e-commerce growing fast on the web more people are used to buying products from anywhere. Build on this with your mobile apps for small business. Once again 3rd party affiliates will be important to your success. Just be sure they have a strong established national reach and your product or service brings real additional value to what they already provide their current customers.

Other important factors in choosing the right mobile apps for small business include your ability to offer a unique enough product or service at the right price that will trump local offerings.

Any major change in geographic coverage requires thoughtful planning. Always make sure you can deliver what you promise with timely delivery and service. The reward of building confidence with your customers comes with equipping them with the right mobile apps for small business that they will want to share with their friends about what benefit you provided them.

Think Globally and Grow

With select products and services on the web it’s now more common for small firms to have a national and even global presence. Simply leverage that in your unique way with the right suite of mobile apps for small business. Just be sure you do the due diligence on complying with international commerce and taxation regulations.

Finding new fans you can turn into customers is made much easier with the right mobile apps for small business strategy.

11 MONSTROUS Small Business Marketing Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

Increase your profit potential by identifying – and avoiding – these 11 marketing mistakes.

MONSTROUS Marketing Mistake Number 1: Sinking a Fortune Into an Unproven Product

Is your business idea built on market research or a hunch?

Entrepreneurs often fall in love with their products or services before they determine if there’s a real market, and they throw fistfuls of money into the venture. If you, your spouse, your uncle, and your neighbor think you’ve got a winning idea, that’s simply not enough qualified input to run to the bank and drain your savings account!

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Conducting your detective work (research).
  • Testing your business idea with the real marketplace.

MONSTROUS Marketing Mistake Number 2: Believing That “If You Build It, They Will Come”

Do you think you have a product or service that will practically sell itself?

Trust me – you don’t.

There is a misconception among small business owners that, with the right product or service, your customers will simply “find” you when you open your doors for business. Whether you have a physical storefront on a corner lot in the busiest part of downtown, or a graphically pleasing online storefront offering easy access to your hot products and services, your customers will not find you if you do not market to them.

The day you open for business is the day you put on your “marketer’s hat” and never take it off. You must consistently move product, or schedule service time.

To stay in business you must profit.

To profit you must sell.

To sell you must market.

The good news is that, with a marketing strategy, you take the control out of your potential customers’ hands and put it into your own. If you have a product that will “practically sell itself,” then your marketing job will be easy. Just remember that the job must still be done.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Defining your niche market and USP (Unique Selling Proposition) that differentiates you from your competition.
  • Developing a marketing action plan and strategy to reach your niche market with your USP message.

MONSTROUS Marketing Mistake Number 3: Trying to Reinvent the Wheel

Marketing is an age-old practice with some very basic principles. Yet, I’m sure you’ve read many marketing information products that stress the importance of being innovative and creative with your marketing efforts. It’s easy to get caught up in the innovation process and forget that the REAL focus should be on results.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Emulating success instead of trying to create something completely new. Please note that I am not saying, “copy” what others are doing. Look at the basic structure of a tactic, campaign, advertisement, or event and use the same formula as a basis for developing your own tactics.
  • Realizing great marketing ideas are used over and over again with just the right twist to make them fit a specific business. Focus on results, and choose imitation over innovation to create your own twist on a proven, winning technique.

MONSTROUS Marketing Mistake Number 4: Over-Preparing and Doing Nothing

The fear of failure can be powerful. So powerful that we do everything we can think of to prevent it. Yet, there is a point at which we are so busy preparing, organizing, and researching to prevent failure that we never get around to the actual marketing of the business. Here are two things to remember:

  1. Activity is not productivity.
  2. In order to sell a million of something, you have to sell the first ONE.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Doing something! If you believe in your business and have done your detective work, it’s time to dive into the marketing pool. Start small, track results and build from there.
  • Not being afraid to make a mistake. Mistakes are the entry to success. At the very least, a failed promotion means you have SUCCESSFULLY determined what promotion does not work. And, to learn what does NOT work is a valuable tool in getting you closer to discovering what WILL work.

So, go ahead. Fail a little. It will make your eventual successes even sweeter.

MONSTROUS Marketing Mistake Number 5: Boredom

When I was working for an ad agency many years ago, I had one client that was running an extremely successful ad campaign. After about six months, I received a phone call from the client. He wanted to develop an entirely new campaign. When I asked, “why?” he simply said, “I’m bored with the one we have.”

What?

That client may have had the money to spend on a new campaign due to “boredom” but you and I usually don’t. Yet, I’ve often seen my small business clients switch promotions for the same reason. This is detrimental to your business!

“Losing money” is a reason.

“Boredom” is not.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Remembering that, what is old to you, is new to an untapped target market. If you have a promotion that is consistently getting you results, stick with it until results show you its time for change.
  • Testing new promotions without abandoning the current one. Then track results. Never swap a current promotion with a new one that hasn’t been tested.

MONSTROUS Marketing Mistake Number 6: Relying on Networking to Generate Sales Leads

Joining the Chamber of Commerce and schmoozing at association meetings can put you in contact with vendors and possible joint venture partners, and will be invaluable exposure for you as a community supporter – but it will rarely generate substantial sales leads.

Everyone else who attends these “meet and greet” assemblies is there to do the same thing you are. You may be able to make some valuable contacts for future ventures and promotions, but one-on-one networking is time-consuming and results are unpredictable.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Treating networking opportunities the same as any other marketing tactic. Track results by determining your costs and measuring your payback.

MONSTROUS Marketing Mistake Number 7: Doing What Your Competitors Do

It’s important to be aware of what your competitors are offering, but do not let it dictate the strategy you use for your own business.

If your competitor wants to be the low price leader, let him. Don’t try to become the “lower price” leader. Chances are this will lead you to financial problems because it will thrust you into an ugly price war.

If your competitor wants to tout low prices, then you focus on value. Bargain hunters don’t necessarily want the lowest price. They want the best VALUE. Make what you have to offer something of value.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Finding an unmet need or want of your target market, and fill it to differentiate your products and services from your competitors.
  • Giving customers a reason to choose you over your competitors. Define your USP, and identify your niche market.

MONSTROUS Marketing Mistake Number 8: Not Targeting a Specific Market

If you believe your market is “everybody,” you will struggle to attract people who will buy from you. The value of target (niche) marketing is one of the toughest sells I make to my clients. They understand the logic of it, but the “fear of losing a potential customer” gets the best of them.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Viewing the practice of niche marketing as inclusive, not exclusive.

Think of your business as part of a person’s support group. It’s logical to say, “Everybody needs a support group so my business should attract everyone.” But, will it? People – your customers – want to go to a support business that understands their specific concerns, needs, and wants. Make sure you ARE that business by targeting a niche market.

MONSTROUS Marketing Mistake Number 9: Targeting a Market You Can’t Reach or One That Can’t Afford You

Targeting a niche market is the smartest way to market. Yet, targeting a market that is too specific will limit your ability to succeed long term. For example, a market that might be too specific would be: female pilots under the age of 35 who fly ONLY New York to London flights. That’s a pretty narrow market to sustain your business in the long term unless you can capture the ENTIRE market with a product or service that has a high profit point and customers need to use or replace it often.

In that same vein, a market that is begging for the service or product you have but cannot afford it will also be a business impossible to sustain. Never compete for someone’s rent money. Your target market must have the means to buy your products and services.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Creating your customer profile to identify characteristics of your potential buyers,
  • Identifying a niche market,
  • Examining the long term potential for new and repeat sales.

MONSTROUS Marketing Mistake Number 10: Focusing On Acquiring New Customers Instead of Promoting to Current or Previous Customers

When you first start a business you have little choice but to focus on gaining new customers. The cost of finding those new customers can be expensive, which is one reason it is so important to really target a specific niche. However, once you’ve made just one sale, you’re ready to start looking at other marketing options.

Wouldn’t you like to:

… slash your marketing costs by half or more?

… reach proven buyers for your service or products?

That little goldmine of proven buyers available to you “on the cheap” is already yours in the form of current and previous customers.

Any respected marketing guru, past or present, online or offline, will tell you that the biggest asset your company has is your customer base.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Realizing that, when a sale is finalized, it is the beginning of your relationship with that customer, not the end.
  • Offering additional products or services to current customers. If you don’t have your own to offer them, then develop a referral, joint venture or product bundling program so you can reap profits from your already-interested (and buying) customers.

MONSTROUS Marketing Mistake Number 11: Not Systematically Following Up on Leads

The least expensive part of business is making the sale. The most expensive is generating leads – finding the people who are interested in what you have.

Once you find people who express an interest in what you have to offer – whether they buy from you or not – you MUST develop a follow up system that will keep marketing to those interested prospects. A person who has expressed interest in your products and services is far more likely to eventually buy from you than someone who did not respond at all!

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Curbing the tendency to become obsessed with generating more leads until you have exhausted the ones you already have.
  • Developing an easy, systematic follow up for leads, designed to convert a “maybe” into a “yes.”

Intro To Viral Video Marketing For Small Businesses and Solo-Entrepreneurs

Video is currently one of the fastest growing marketing strategies for small businesses. Why? Video marketing is one of the most powerful methods for rapid lead generation. Adding video to market your business can help you:

  • Generate Leads
  • Raise awareness
  • Generate viral social proof
  • Improve search rankings
  • Increase sales
  • Personalize your brand

If you are currently not maximizing video marketing, this article will show you the simple strategies you can use to create powerful online videos to grow your small business and brand.

Step 1: Pique Interest

The first step in building your brand and generating leads through video is to get people’s attention. You must trigger curiosity and to do that you must do something unexpected. We need to give your viewer a jolt, something that they will remember long after they have finished watching your video.

Quick tip: Use Theme Music – Having a signature theme song, tagline or phrase that you kick off every one of your videos with makes you memorable. Memorable equals Money. Music is universal and it creates an emotional response. You want to create that same response every single time someone watches one of your videos.

Step 2: Switch Up The Scene

When you are able to take your viewers on a visual journey you are able to hold their attention much longer. Instead of shooting your videos inside your office or behind your desk, explore different locations. Shoot your videos anywhere there is a great view. Go outside, go to the park, or to a local beach or restaurant. Switch up the scene and your viewers will not only want to watch the rest of your video but you’ll keep them wondering where you are going to be next!

Step 3: Rediscover Unpredictable

When you can keep things moving, infusing your videos with unexpected angles, scene changes or even walking or driving while you keep the viewer engaged. It is easy for viewers to get bored when they see the same static format everyone else is using. When you can change the background, the lightening, the color schemes throughout your videos, you keep your viewers interest.

Step 4: Elevate Credibility

You want to be seen as an expert, so how do you do this? By sharing your knowledge and the valuable information that relates specifically to your niche.

The more your viewers can relate to you the greater your results. Video is a great way to highlight what makes you or your company unique and different. There is nobody in the world just like you, there is no company just like yours and you should not be afraid to share your unique personality, style, character or company culture. This is what helps you make a connection and cultivate relationships with your viewers.

Step 5: Bountiful Benefits

There are many options for potential customers to choose from online and with so much information out there for your viewers to tap in to, you must find a way to separate yourself from the masses. You must find a way to hold their attention so they don’t tune you out or turn you off.

Just like a show premiere, you may only have one chance to capture someone’s attention so that they want to tune in for the rest of the season.

So you have to start off with a bang! The best way to make sure your audience doesn’t take you off of their playlist is to consistently provide them with benefits, pure solutions and high value content and information.

Any time we make a decision to engage in something or take action we do so because it is going to satisfy a need we have or benefit us in some way. Before you shoot any video you want to put yourself in your prospects’ shoes and ask the question how will they benefit from this? So make sure you know exactly what it is that your target market wants and create your videos with the intent to do just that. Provide them the solutions they are looking for, make sure the benefits to the viewer are bountiful and they will keep coming back for more.

Step 6: Teaser Time

At the beginning of each video you must give your viewer a reason to want to continue watching. You have about 7 seconds to make a good impression so you have to make it count. At the beginning of each video it is crucial that you let the viewer know your intent and the purpose of the video. Let them know what they are in store for?

You can say something similar to this: “In today’s video we will show you…” or “The reason I am shooting this video is…” or “Have you ever wanted to know how to”. You are telling them exactly what they are going to learn. Remember to be brief, clear and to the point.

Step 7: Reveal The Problem

When you can expose the problem your target prospect is dealing with or may face if they fail to do the right things, you help them realize that YES, I do need a solution to get over that obstacle.

For example, you may be doing a video promoting a service you provide. Your target prospect may think that your product is only for college kids, that you have to be computer savvy, that it is time consuming, etc.

Your goal is to be able to discuss your potential prospects concerns in a friendly, non-threatening way, where they feel comfortable about receiving help, just as if you where talking with a friend about something over lunch, just hanging out having conversation.

Step 8: Insightful Education

Educating your viewers and providing them with insightful solutions is ultimately what’s going to have them seeking you out time and time again.

So how do you teach in a way that makes it easy for your viewers to apply the information immediately.

The best way to do this is to outline a step-by-step blueprint, technique, a method, a formula. It may be a 3 step formula to article marketing or 15 steps for organizing your new home. It’s all about show and tell. You must be able to show and tell them the steps they need to take and what type of results they can expect in a simple and fun way that is easy to understand.

Step 9: Stepping Into Action

Your call to action is one of the most important steps to high converting videos that attract more traffic, generate more leads and make you more money. You have to tell your viewers exactly what to do next, give them instructions like, click this link at the bottom of this video now, sign up now, get instant access by clicking here now, buy it now…Get it? If you don’t do this you are leaving money on the table.

Do not assume that your prospects know what to do next. Hold their hand and tell them what to do next.

Now you may think it unnatural to ask your viewers to take action, but believe me it is perfectly ok. I know you’ve heard the phrase, “Ask and you shall receive” – well it applies to your business as well and if you want to make money you have to ask for it. Do not leave it to chance or hope they will figure out what to do next.

It can be as simple as “If you got value out of this video please visit my blog at yourwebsite.com for more helpful tips” or “if you enjoyed this video please leave me a comment below and let me know what you thought”. You can even throw in an added incentive to get them to take action. “If you buy today you will receive…”.

Effective video marketing is about showcasing your company’s personality, providing solid solutions to your viewers while inspiring them to take action on whatever it is that you are selling.

When you create and share your videos, you create a subconscious bond with your viewer’s lives. The secret is in your ability to provide helpful solutions to the problems your target audience have. There is no need to sell your product, service or business opportunity when you can provide solutions.

Solutions equal sales.