The Internet has changed business and it’s specifically changed the sales process.
As a small business owner you know this. You’ve probably figured out a little bit about how the Internet works and how it can benefit your business.
But there is always room for improvement and that’s why people read blogs about online marketing and Interent sales lead strategies.
At the end of the day the Internet is simply a different channel for generating leads and sales. We can focus on all the metrics we want, but unless there is profit at the ene of the day we’re wasting time.
Internet Sales Lead Strategies
Before we get into the essential Internet sales lead strategies it’s important to know that while many people are using the Internet there are still a large portion of the population that aren’t using the Internet.
I’ve talked to my 81 year old grandpa a few times about the Internet. He loves information just like every other human. He loves watching the National Geographic Channel and he loves reading magazines and newspapers.
But at his age he’s comfortable with those sources of information. Even though he would probably like the information on the Internet he prefers the channels that he’s come to know and trust.
So if your customer is older you’re facing an uphill battle. Even in some cases you’ll find that people over the age of 35 don’t really use the Internet for more than Facebook and email.
But if your target client is younger than 35 or a professional that is on the Internet all the time then Internet sales lead generation is for you.
1. Public Relations
I’ve been working on PR more and more for Ghost Blog Writers. If you read the GBW Blog you know we’re big believers in inbound marketing.
We’ll touch on a few paid methods of marketing, which are push forms of marketing here too, but inbound methods are our favorites. And those are the only methods we work on for GBW because we believe in practicing what we preach.
PR is a form of inbound marketing. You work hard to get your story told in vary publications. I’ve had this happen a few times. I try to form relationships with publishers for quotes, full articles and other types of mentions.
Every time you are mentioned by a publisher with an audience it has the potential to grow your audience and that is the most basic way to generate leads for your small business.
2. Paid Advertising
PPC is or pay-per-click advertising is really associated with Google. AdWords is a huge advertising model. I admit I don’t know that much about it because I focus more on inbound marketing, but there are some ways to generate great leads with things like searching advertising and social advertising.
It can get expensive and once you stop doing it the leads stop. It can be an addiction if you get too reliant on paid leads because once the money stops the leads stop. That’s where inbound marketing gains an edge. Once you stop creating content you still have all the content (or assets) you’ve created still bringing in new leads.
3. Paid Sponsorship
In the past I’ve always thought of sponsorships as athletes and actors promoting products. It’s been going on for a century and it’s always intrigued me.
Why do we purchase Nike shoes just because Michael Jordan tells us to?
We do it because those people have developed a trust with us. We trust those people because they are the best at what they do. They’ve achieved success and when they tell us what to do in an area that we don’t know much about we trust them.
Human brains are programmed to look for shortcuts. We don’t have time to examine all kinds of shoes. We look for an easy out and when someone like Michael Jordan tells us to buy Nike we trust him.
On the Internet there are lots of opportunities for sponsorship even for small businesses.
Look for people that have an audience, a trusting audience, and sponsor them with your product or service. It could be a podcast or a blog. Look for an audience you need to target and latch on to the trusting person.
4. Affiliate Program
Affiliate program is an old sales method and it’s converted well on the Internet.
Basically you pay someone to give you a sale or a lead.
Amazon has been doing this for years and they get a lot of sales from affiliates. You can generate sales by giving people with an audience money to send you sales and leads.
5. Display Advertising
Display advertising, retargeting and re-marketing have really become popular lately. The software programs have become really advanced. You can chase people all over the Internet with your ads.
I was involved with this program at an Internet Retailer 500 company and I saw that it could work really well. When people see your brand on every website they visit they remember you and they can become curious about you, visit your website and turn into a lead.
6. Email Marketing
Email marketing is really a way to nurture leads more than generate leads on the Internet.
But the way I really like using email for lead generation is partnering with people that have an email audience and figuring out a win-win situation to get exposure in their newsletter.
It can be sponsorship of the email or it could be providing content or getting a mention. Email audiences are gold. They trust the person sending them the email and if you can get into the message you can get great exposure.
If you’ve been online the last few years you’ve probably noticed an increase in webinars. And not only has there been an increase in webinars there has been an increase in partner webinars.
Basically you’re creating a learning experience for your target customer. Partner with someone else that has a big audience and you can really expose your business to new leads.
We read about guest posting and there is some controversy around it because of spamming.
As long as you’re doing something that is beneficial for people you’ll be fine from an SEO standpoint.
I like co-posting. It could be an interview or it could be a post where you and someone else both provide content to make it something like a super blog post.
Again, you’re tapping into the audience of others and you’re generating content that will lead to SEO and social media traffic.
That traffic is ripe with potential small business Internet leads.
Guides are again pieces of content that people love. They search for them on search engines and they share them on social media.
A really great guide can be a way for people to discover your brand for years. People love them when they’re useful and because people love them the search engines love them as well.
Once again we end with blogging even though we feel it’s the biggest way you can generate small business leads.
A blog is something people love. Many people know they can get great information and great stories on blogs. Others read blogs all the time and don’t even realize it.
People love finding blog posts when searching for keywords and they love following links on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Content fuels all that stuff. Search engines and social media sites would struggle for content without blogs.
People (and businesses) are smart. They know that with a blog they can own the content where if they focus only on social media they don’t own the content or the channel.
A blog with great content can be a source of new leads and a way to nurture those leads for years.
Unlike paid ads, a blog is always working for you even if you stop blogging.
These lead generation strategies can work very well for small businesses that have target clients using the Internet. They’re all long-term strategies that take time to build, but once you have them built they will deliver for a long time.
Something like a blog will always be turned on for your business. They’ll bring in traffic and leads for many years where something like an online ad only works while you keep feeding money. Those ads can work, but it’s a give and take with how you want to generate those leads.