There’s a big misconception about what it means to have an online business. Most people think you can just create a quick website and people will automatically flock to the site to purchase a product or service. Some people even call this the easy way to start a business.
This is the “Field of Dreams” mentality in which people believe in the famous line, “if you build it, they will come.” That line was perfect for dramatic effect in the movie but in real life business, not so much.
Qualified Leads vs. Mass Traffic
Even if you’re new to the online world, you’ve certainly heard about the local business marketing strategy about driving traffic to your site. No doubt you’ve read articles about how to optimize your site for the search engines and how you should be posting quality content to your site or blog regularly to build up a community of loyal readers and followers.
This is all true, but let’s examine exactly who you want coming to your site. Do you want to appeal to those looking for free information or to those who will actually purchase your product and/or services? If you’re in business to make money, you’ll want those people who are ready and willing to buy.
Break down that group a little bit more based on demographics and location and you have just identified your target market, aka your qualified leads.
Finding Those Qualified Leads
Locating your target market (qualified leads) is simply a matter of doing some research about where these people are visiting online. Become an active member of some specialty forums or do some searching on Twitter and/or Facebook.
Again, people won’t flock to your site automatically. You’ll need to do some searching and following on your own and sharing some tips or stories to showcase your expertise before people start to recognize you as an expert. If you’ve been to any real life networking events, you know how important conversation is and the same is true with online networking. It’s all about building a relationship before you start selling your products.
Capturing Those Leads
If you do business online, you should absolutely have a website. Once the website is built, you want a way to capture the names and emails of those qualified leads by using an autoresponder program. There are many companies to choose from, ranging in price from free to about $30 per month to start.
Very often you’ll see these autoresponder boxes in the sidebars of a website and while this can work for some businesses, some visitors might miss the box depending on the design elements and amount of text on the page.
In this case, consider creating a squeeze page without sidebars and extra text. Include just a little bit of text copy, offer a giveaway product or compelling offer in exchange for their email which they’ll type into the autoresponder box. This format is easy to navigate since there aren’t any distractions on the page.
Once you track down your qualified leads and send them to your squeeze page, it’s time to stay in touch. Write regular emails, either to the individuals on your list or as a whole group. Consider asking for their phone numbers on the squeeze page, if a personal conversation is what you prefer. People are more likely to purchase from someone they know, like and trust so don’t forget to develop this relationship.
David Carleton is a Local Business Marketing Consultant who specializes in showing owners how to spend less and get more from their marketing and advertising using low cost strategies in local business marketing, lead generation and conversion, Internet marketing and social media. To learn more go to http://LocalBusinessMarketingSuccess.com or call 858-442-3131