June, 2012

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Six Tips to Building Relationships with Prospects Online

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The old adage is that it takes seven touches to prospects before they began to recognize your business. Before you can turn a prospect into a customer, you must first build a relationship with your prospects. The goal is to use those seven touch points to build a relationship with prospects and turn them into to customers and then into loyal referring customers. Well things have changed and it takes about 20 touch points to build a relationship with prospective clients.

How do you go about creating touch points to reach potential customers?

The lists of ways to reach customers are endless and only limited by your imagination. In this post, I will cover six ways to reach potential customers repeatedly.

  1. Public Relations: The goal here is to get your business noticed and people. You can begin by creating a buzz piece that you can send a press release out and offer free to the press and your readers. Create an online media room with all of your press releases, downloadable pictures, frequently asked questions sheet, list of quotes, topics that you are an expert on and a list past interviews. Offer as much information as possible that will make it easier for a writer or interviewer to get in touch with you. Public Relations is great for building awareness for your business among prospects and journalist.

 

  1. Blogs: Create a blog covering your subject of expertise. Make it easy for readers to subscribe via RSS, email, twitter and facebook. Offer information that is useful to the reader. Give them a reason to subscribe and provide a way for them to refer your blog to their friends or social networks. Use your blog to showcase your expertise and as a way for prospective clients to get to know you and your personality.

Don’t be afraid to let your readers know things about you, like your  hobbies, favorite  foods, etc. The goal is to get readers to feel as if they know you even though they have never met you in person. People do business with people they know and continue to business with people they like.

  1. eNewsletter: Newsletters are a great way to keep in touch with prospects and clients because they have already shown that they are interested in what you have to say by signing up for your newsletter. You can choose the frequency in which you contact readers by giving them an option on how frequently they choose to receive your newsletter whether daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly or quarterly.

You can use eNewsletter to find out what your readers interests are by sending them surveys, asking them for comments and read polls.

 

  1. Facebook: Create a facebook fan page and update the page often. Let fans know of events you are hosting, places where you will be speaking, and news that they can use. Ask your fans to refer your fan page to their friends. Use your fan page as a place to develop discussions and interact with your fans.

Facebook is a great way to develop a personal relationship with your fans. Post pictures, ask questions, ask for fan involvement. Ask them to post pictures, vote of favorite pictures and share your content.

 

  1. Twitter: Help your followers find information that will be of interest to them. Send out tweets of information about your business but also helping information that others are making available. If you read an article that you feel will be useful to your reader, make sure to retweet the article.

Twitter is a great way to drive followers back to your blog and facebook page. You can also hold conversations with twitter followers, ask them to retweet your messages and hold tweet fests with followers.

 

  1. LinkedIn: Join LinkedIn groups that your prospects are members of, post helpful articles, and join the discussions. Answer questions posted on your topic of expertise. Get recommendations and give recommendations to others. Ask members of your network for referrals and use the business search function to find businesses of interest to prospect.

LinkedIn is a great place to connect with potential prospects and lead them to your blog. Facebook page and turn them into followers on Twitter. You Linkedin To connect with past customers, co-workers, to get recommendations and ask for introductions to people you want to meet. You can also showcase your expertise by answering questions and getting involved in the groups available on LinkedIn.

 

Your Turn:

How are you developing relationships online?

What platforms are you using successfully?

What I want you to do next:

Leave a comment on my Blog, like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, join my LinkedIn group Marketing and PR for Professional Service  Firms  and sign up for my NEWSLETTER

 

 

65 Ways to Generate More Leads

65 Ways to Generate More Leads

Whether your business is new or not, generating leads is the lifeline to getting work and staying in business. Many small business owners hate marketing, but it is marketing that will bring buyers and buyers is what is it all about. No buyers, means no business.

Let’s get down to it.

Here are 57 ideas to generate more leads:

  1. Tell everyone you meet about your business. Even if they do not seem like a likely candidate for your business, you never know whom they know
  2. Enlist your family and friends to spread the word about your  business
  3. Send out an email to everyone in your address book, announcing what you do, what you can offer and any special promotions to gain new business
  4. Ask your satisfied clients for referrals
  5. Offer free consultations to new referrals
  6. Create a Free Tele-Seminar
  7. Create a Free Webinar
  8. Consider a referral or finder’s fee
  9. Create a referral partnership with business that serve similar clients
  10. Join online social networking groups and promote your business by answering questions and offering assistance to those in need
  11. Get in touch with past and current clients when you have a new service to offer them
  12. Get in touch with past and current clients when you have completed a big name project
  13. Start a newsletter
  14. Create a blog and promote your blog posts
  15. Create a buzz piece that attracts prospects
  16. Take advantage of every outgoing email by using your email signature as a marketing tool
  17. Send promotions for services with your invoices
  18. Go to industry events – conferences, association meetings, seminars
  19. Go to events in your client’s industry
  20. Sponsor a client event
  21. Host a networking event
  22. Join your local Chamber of Commerce and get involved
  23. Socialize and always have your card ready, create a special report and offer to send it to them if they will give you their email address
  24. Do some pro-bono work for a charitable organization with industry links
  25. Get involved in social groups you’re connected to (church, school, university)
  26. Join an industry organization and get listed
  27. Contact people you used to work with let them know that you have started a business and looking for contacts
  28. Offer to give a seminar to a local business group, community organization or local churches
  29. Practice an elevator speech about what you do and have it ready to go wherever you are
  30. Participate on online forums (using the forum signature line)
  31. Comment on blogs to draw people back to your site
  32. Offer to write guest posts on blogs
  33. Advertise in a niche magazine and/or trade publication
  34. Pitch articles to niche magazines and/or trade publications
  35. Participate in a trade show
  36. Promote a free first consultation service
  37. Give something away for free
  38. Offer branded pens and paper at industry events
  39. Enter your work into competitions and awards… and win
  40. Issue a press release about a story related to your services and try to get it into a local newspaper or magazine
  41. Create a publicity friendly stunt
  42. Run a contest which ties into your services
  43. Create a group on LinkedIn
  44. Mail promo postcards to potential clients
  45. Mail fun promotional items to potential clients (calendars, toys, posters etc)
  46. Search-optimize your website and get Google traffic
  47. Have a follow-up conversation with all potential leads
  48. Establish contacts in larger agencies that can offer your work when they are overloaded
  49. Cross promote with other businesses
  50. Create an e-book and offer it for free on your blog and/or website
  51. Offer your e-book to other bloggers and their readers
  52. Create an online radio show and offer free podcasts for listeners to download
  53. Create Videos for viewers to watch and share
  54. Create a Facebook Fan page and offer specials and contest, engage your fans
  55. Create a Twitter account and offer specials and contests
  56. Participate in a virtual trade show
  57. Create press releases to promote your businesses
  58. Create outstanding client awards for clients doing great things in the community

 

Your Turn:

The last 7 ideas are up to you. What additional ideas do you have to share to generate more leads?

 

I will add the best 7 suggestions to the list in an updated post, giving the people who give the suggestions credit.

 

 

What I want you to do next:

Leave a comment on my Blog, like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, join my LinkedIn group Marketing and PR for the Financial Services Industry  and sign up for my NEWSLETTER

 

Jenn

How to Use Lead Nurturing to Create Relationships, Build Trust and Increase Sales

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Lead nurturing is the relationship that you build with prospects over time by interacting with them in a variety of ways, building trust and leading the prospect to become a client. This time is spent learning about the prospects problems and how your company can provide the solution to their problem.

You’ve done it. You designed the perfect marketing campaign, implemented it and the leads are coming in.

Your prospects are interested, yippee, so now what? How do you nurture that prospect to become a client? This is where lead nurturing comes into play.

The lead nurturing process developed over stages. Let’s use Dating as an example:

  1. Introduction
  2. First Date
  3. Dating
  4. Proposal
  5. Wedding

I will use me as an example.

Before I begin looking for Mr. Right, I must decide what qualities he must possess.

Mr. Rights Ideal qualities:

Tall, handsome, between 35-50 years old, educated, professionally employed, likes children, traveling, well read, honest, and fun.

Now I know what type of man I am looking for. What type of women are these men looking for? How do I find out?

I can visit online dating groups and read the profiles of the type of men that interest me. Do I offer the qualities that they are looking for? So let’s say that I notice that they mention similar things among the many profiles that I have read.

What Mr. Right is looking for?

He is looking for women who is educated, well read, likes to travel, takes pride in her appearance, likes sports, cooks and enjoys music.

So now what do I do with this information?

Now it’s time to brand myself to show him that I meet his qualifications. How do I go about doing this?

What are my strong suits, where I already qualify? I am educated, well read, like to travel, enjoy music. I come up short with maintaining my appearance (working from home I have gotten used to dressing down and sometimes do not keep my hair maintained on a daily basis). Cooking, I can cook but I am a basic cook, yet I am willing to improve my cooking skills. Sports, yeah well, I am knowledgeable about many sports, but not a sports fan, but I am willing to watch sometimes.

How do I improve my brand?

I can buy some clothes that are business casual, so that I always look good and professional but not stuffy. I can also buy clothes that are attractive, yet comfortable for social occasions. I can get my hair cut in a simple but easy to maintain hairstyle. I can buy a couple of cookbooks and practice cooking a variety of meals across different cultures.

Before looking for my perfect man, I spend some time building a brand that will draw his attention and keep his interest.

Now it is time for find men who may meet these qualities. How do I go about doing this?

Hum…well I can tell my friends what I am looking for and ask them to introduce me to any friends they may have. I can join online and/or offline dating sites and organizations of interest where I can meet people. I can just get out more and start meeting people and enjoying myself (need to do this anyway).

How does this apply to business?

You look at the problems that your ideal clients are experiencing. Do you offer the solutions that they need to solve their problems? If not, can you provide the solutions that they are looking for?

Great, I’ve improved my brand and I’m looking more like the ideal woman for my ideal man, what’s next?

Introductions:

Now it is time to introduce myself to possible prospects. This means going on blind dates set-up by my friends. Introduce myself to the men whose online profiles intrigue me. Having the matchmaker match me to men and going on dates, and attending functions of the groups I have joined and introducing myself.

The idea is to get out and being seen by as many potential prospects as possible.

How does this apply to business?

You find a variety of ways to introduce yourself to prospects.

  • Join the groups where they are members
  • Answer their questions
  • Offer free white papers
  • Create a blog
  • Create eBooks
  • Join forums
  • Become socially involved
  • Create events for prospects to attend
  • Ask current clients to introduce you to prospects
  • Get them to sign up for your newsletter

First Dates:

Well yippee; I have many prospects for Mr. Right. Now it’s time to get to know him and find out if he qualifies to be the one for me, this is done over the first couple of dates. This is where I want to make a great first impression. I don’t want to be too aggressive. I want to listen to him and learn about his likes and needs. I want to offer some information about me that will make interested and desiring a second date. I don’t want to tell all on the first date, but I want to be honest. Not misleading. This is where I let my personality shine. I show him that I am witty, outgoing, adventurous, and smart.

How does this apply to business?

  • Create videos and podcasts
  • Create case studies
  • Provide guides
  • Show testimonials
  • Use informational forms
  • Offer special reports
  • Keep in contact with your newsletter (send survey’s, subscribers only information, ect.)

 

Whew, I’ve been on many dates and kicked a lot of tires. However, it looks like I have possibly found Mr. Right. However, how do I nurture/lead him to the proposal stage?

 

Dating:

This is where I begin to pull out the stops. I offer to cook for him at my home. I play great music and show him my diverse taste in music. I offer intelligent, open-minded, diverse conversations. I impress him with my knowledge of cultures and my past travels. I talk to him about current events from around the world. I enjoy his family and friends and become one of the members of his group. The ultimate goal is for us to become an exclusive item.

How does this apply to business?

  • Offer free consultation
  • Offer discounts or exclusive material
  • Offer webinars
  • Offer teleseminars
  • Offer seminars
  • Produce slideshows
  • Share relevant information
  • Create workbooks and manuals

 

Proposal:

This is where I show him how a partnership with me would be ideal over any other woman. I have what he is looking for and now he needs to get over the jitters and ask my hand in marriage. How do I move him along?

First, I need to make sure that he is ready and that it’s not just want I want. I find out for sure what his needs really are. He doesn’t want to live alone. Will marriage solve that problem? Yes. He wants to have a family. Will marriage solve that problem? Yes. He doesn’t want to grow old alone. Will marriage solve that problem? Yes.

However, it doesn’t mean he necessarily wants to be married to me. Therefore, I use questions to gauge his interest. Where does he see our relationship a year or five years from now?

By asking questions, I am making sure that he is differently a qualified prospect. I am also getting him to think about a partnership with me and he will benefit and increase his happiness. Over time, I have gained and increased his interest in me by offering intelligent conversations, being presentable to meet his friends and family, cooking a variety of delicious meals and being a great person to spend time.

How does this apply to business?

  • Send emails
  • Make phone calls
  • Send survey’s
  • Offer references
  • Offer case studies (how well partnering with others how worked for them)
  • Show the return on their investment
  • Offer a consultation

I’ve done it. He popped the question and I said yes. Now it’s time to seal the deal.

Wedding:

The deal isn’t done. How do I make sure he doesn’t back out.

Well I keep doing the things that have kept him interested. I do not change things and cause him to get nervous. I don’t act as if the deal is already closed. I keep nurturing our relationship just as I have in the past. I keep cooking new and exciting meals. I treat his family and friends with love and respect. I maintain my appearance. I continue to learn and expand my horizons. I keep doing all the things that gained his interest.

How does this apply to business?

  • Send segmented emails, remain engaged
  • Offer free webinars and videos
  • Use custom landing pages
  • Ask for the sale

After the Wedding:

I continue to nurture the relationship after we are married. I show him that I a value to him today, tomorrow and for years to come. I respect our relationship and understand that at any time he can go looking for a new partner.

Your Turn:

Are you nurturing your leads to turn them into clients?

If so how?

If not, why not?

What I want you to do next:

Leave a comment on my Blog, like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, join my LinkedIn group Marketing and PR for the Financial Services Industry  and sign up for my NEWSLETTER

 

Jenn