So, How Do I Get Customers?
Boy, that’s the million dollar question isn’t it. I’ll bet Stanley and his sea turtle compulsion, in the first section, “What Online Business Should I Choose”, wishes he would have given this more thought also. Customer acquisition is another very important piece of the online business puzzle as you will soon see.
But to get paying customers first, you have to have a plan and a system for getting qualified prospects to your virtual store front, blog, channel or website. These prospects will be referred to as leads from here on out. They are the lifeblood of your business, plain and simple.
Leads Are Leads Regardless of The Business Model
I’ve had success in several different types of businesses offline as a residential loan officer and independent insurance agent. I too had to acquire prospects or leads on my own. I either had to buy them from sometimes unscrupulous lead companies or find different ways to create my own lead opportunities…it’s no different with an online business.
Had to Self Generate Leads
When I was a loan officer I would approach the manager of a title company and let them know that if they would run me a report showing all of the old loans in a certain zip code that I would give their title company all the business that I created within that zip code. They were happy to do it considering it only took them a few minutes to create such a report. It was like free money for them.
I would then take the list, drive to the respective neighborhood and knock the doors that had older loans. When they answered, I said…Hi John, my name is David Lee with Texas Residential Mortgage and I noticed that you guys had a mortgage loan from back in 1988 and I was wondering if anyone had stopped by to show you how to save $400 a month on your house note without costing you a dime?
What were they gonna say? I never heard not one time that they were not interested in saving $400 per month. I already knew in my head with the mortgage amount, etc what type of savings it would be for them. I created leads out of thin air you could say and became the envy of the office. Other loan officers just couldn’t understand how I was closing so many loans without buying leads.
Taking Action is The Key to Generating Leads (Or anything for that matter)
Here’s the pitiful thing. Anyone that asked, I told them exactly how I was doing it, step by step and you know how many other people went out and duplicated what I was doing? Not one person did. And that’s what you’ll find in the online business world also. There’s not many people that will pull up their bootstraps and make the sacrifices, but I digress.
The point here is that regardless, you have to create leads any and every way you can with an online business. And the beauty of the Internet allows you to do this for any type of business about 500 different ways, now that’s leverage my friend and one of the main reasons I started an online business.
Online Business Lead Generation
One of the most important things you have to do when starting out with your online business model is to define your “ideal prospect”. Spending time researching this will pay mega dividends down the road in saved time and money both. Go to YouTube, Google, Bing and forums related to your possible niche and spend days in these platforms. Interact with others on a forum, that’s what they are there for. A word of caution with forums…you will also find people that failed or never applied themselves, and will bad mouth every single product or program out there, just take some of it with a grain of salt.
Now, that’s not to say that you spend so much time doing any of these steps that you become paralyzed and never take any action whatsoever. That too is another pitfall many newer online business owners fall into, don’t do it. Sometimes it’s better to make the wrong decisions than none at all. Just consider it your college, your schooling if you will, that’s what I did.
Marketing to the wrong audience can be one of those mistakes if you’re not careful. If you’re doing free marketing methods online starting out, the cost will be your time wasted. And creating content regardless of the nature, (videos, articles, blog posts, slideshare presentations, etc), takes a lot of time. Time is the most precious of all commodities with an online business, because you can never get it back.
On the other hand, wasting or losing a few thousand dollars on advertising to the wrong audience or using the wrong parameters in Facebook or Google Ad Words can also be incredibly painful. But at least you can recover from that, but you never get time back.
Creating Online Business Leads Organically (FREE)
If the word organically is new to you in regards to an online business or lead generation, it simply means naturally and usually free…except for that pesky time thing you have to expend. This is online leverage and once again the main reason I got in this business.
I received a $39 commission the other day from a link on an article I had posted almost 4 years ago…granted that wasn’t a fortune, but that is pure leverage my friend. I did the work once and can get paid for many years to come…hello successful online business!
One of the main problems I had and so many others have online is being to scale that model up so it becomes a full time business. I will cover that in future posts and videos.
There are many ways to create leads organically and that it itself is what this site is all about. I’m into using as much free as possible not to mention sticking my tongue out at Google. There are so many ways for online customers to find you without becoming a “Google whore” as I call them. You should worry about creating an awesome business for the experience of your customer and not worry about how Google will rank you in the search engines.
Here are just a few of the ways to get leads and customers for FREE:
These are all inbound marketing methods and require nothing more than your time to create. Even the tools to create them are free. That’s not to say there are not tools that cost money that may make the job easier, but if money is tight something has to give and it’s usually your time.
There are also paid lead generations strategies such as Google Ad Words, Facebook Ads or Solo Ads but once again, that’s not what we concentrate on here.
There are good lead generating systems out there that are turn-key like My Lead System Pro. Once again, these cost money, but you really have to figure out the trade off and what’s going to work better for you. In hindsight, I only wished I had spent more money consistently as opposed to trying to do it all myself. I would have saved probably 2-3 years if I had.
MLM Recruiting as Lead Generation
I wanted to cover this topic briefly even though the actual process of recruiting people for a network marketing business or mlm comes after the lead has been generated normally.
If you are not familiar with the network marketing model or mlm for short, you can click…So What Type Of Online Business Should You Really Start to get a little “mini education” into the business.
The main reason I wanted to talk a little bit about here in the lead generation section is because I’ve seen too many people get burned online with this business model. Actually the numbers are similar really to other types of online businesses; it’s just that mlm businesses get a bad rap really.
It takes one hell of an “alpha personality” to have success in a network marketing opportunity using traditional marketing and lead generation methods. With the progression of Facebook and other social media outlets it’s certainly gotten easier no doubt about it.
But if you plan on calling the leads you generated online, (which by the way, is how retention and duplication is increased), you better have that alpha mentality. Most people are afraid of the telephone when it comes to calling strangers, even when those strangers have basically asked you to contact them.
Most newbie’s fail because of the way they look at their leads. They think if they call them that they are interrupting them as if they are a telemarketer or something, and nothing could be farther from the truth. They initiated the contact with you, not the other way around.
when someone puts there information on a form, regardless of whether it’s online or offline, they are giving you permission to call that lead, period. And most people when you call them will be in shock that you reached out to them, but that can make such an impact in growing your online business, especially a network marketing business. (They will remember that FOREVER).
Building Your Email List
Once again, an email list is something that’s really a byproduct of your lead generation efforts or at least it should be. Having a sales funnel, or a funded proposal or a call to action on your website are all ways to start building an email list and make sales.
But most people stop right there and don’t look at their email list as a way to create other leads in the process.
Email List Segmentation to Create New Leads
As you build your email list through your lead generation efforts you should consider segmentation. That simply means dividing your list into sub-lists for future mailings, broadcasts and offers to buy.
Now many in the industry consider this a way to increase sales conversions which it certainly is but there is another way to look at it. Let’s say for argument’s sake that you have an online business that sells three types of widgets, weird widgets, funny widgets and blue widgets.
If for some reason Bobby opted into your “weird widget” list for whatever reason, but is a die hard “funny widget” aficionado, then do you think you will ever make a sale to Bobby sending him emails about weird widgets? It could happen but not likely.
Instead why don’t you create a new “qualified lead” and segment Bobby into your “funny widget” email list. Now, not only have you created a more qualified lead but a brand new one in my eyes, because he wasn’t on that list previously.
You just turned an otherwise wasted lead into a future opportunity. Not only is this a way to create new leads, but a way to increase conversions and sales putting more money into the coffers of your new online business. Oh yeah, one more thing, how much did that lead cost you? NOTHING!
Social Media Interaction for Online Lead Generation
Social media has leveled the playing field somewhat for the “little guy online marketer”. It has literally changed the way society does, well anything almost. With Facebook subscribers at almost a billion now, it’s just a matter of time before others become bigger and stronger in their quest to take over the social media landscape.
You can see a list of the big players in social media here
Having said that, it comes as no surprise that I am 100% on board with creating a social media strategy for lead generation. The biggest problem most online business owners have that I see is that they use the platform as a place to just post links to sell things.
This is wrong in so many ways and trust me sites like Facebook are continuing to make changes to curb such behavior. Just like Google updates, Facebook changes can turn your online business upside down if you don’t play nice or diversify your marketing efforts.
If you poke the sleeping lion long enough he will wake up and bite your marketing head off. The biggest players are Google, (search engine), You Tube, (social media/search engine…Google owns by the way) and Facebook, (social media), which has almost 60% of the market in that arena.
The fact that some people want to continue to walk that very fine line is beyond me, but hey, I’ve always been about building a long term income with my online business.
How To Interact on Social Media Sites
Boy, I could get in trouble here if I’m not careful. Gary Vaynerchuck talks about the different persona’s on the respective social media sites in his new book, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook”, so instead of digging into that area, I would advise you to buy his book. It will help you immensely in your quest for how to identify the different types and what social sites they hang out at.
I am on Twitter, Linkedin, Google + and Facebook, but this discussion, I wanna talk to ya briefly about how to create relationships and turn those into future prospects, leads, sales and business partners.
Think Relationship First, Sale Last
There are many different ways to do searches on Facebook which are covered in the thousands of Facebook marketing programs out there, this is not the place for that. I want you to bring it down a notch and just think of Facebook as a place to make friends…PERIOD.
The old rule of sales is that people buy from who they know, like and trust, it’s no different now. When I’m selling insurance and I’m inside the home, it’s always the people that I click with that are the easiest sales, the one that trust and like me more.
Half the time they don’t even know exactly what their buying, but they buy. Of course before I leave I make it very clear what their buying. Just as in your online business, you don’t want refunds or charge backs in the insurance business either.
So How Do I Do It Exactly
Search out your qualified prospects. Are they network marketers, affiliate marketers or maybe people that love photography or extreme sports. Regardless search them out and engage them.
Of course this takes some time and patience, but remember you want free and that’s what this is. Look at someone’s profile that’s in your search results and try to find anything that could be considered common ground.
That can be anything they “like” such as a band, sports figure, a movie or a tv show. It could be something in their profile picture like a motorcycle a car or one of their kids or pets. Then you send them a message like: “Hey Jim, I noticed your Harley in your profile pic, is that a Softail”? or “Hi Janet, I noticed you’re from Indiana, what part, I am too?”
Just start a conversation with people as if you were talking to someone right next to you. Now, be sure if you inquire about the Harley, that you have some knowledge of such things. Don’t fake interest or knowledge, because they will see through it at some point.
If you were to do this with just 20 people a day, do you realize how many friends you would have in 90 days? A buttload, and guess what, now you can start getting more into introducing them to your business somehow.
If you’re trying to introduce them to your online business or network marketing business you could say something like this…”Hey Jim, I know you work for the city maintenance dept, but I make some pretty good money on the side with an online business so if you ever want to make some good cash on a side project, let me know…just throwing it out there man.”
Do you suppose that after I’ve developed a relationship with someone for a couple of weeks or so, that they would be more receptive to this question than if I just posted it into a bunch of groups “bottom feeding” for a sucker”?
Just think of Facebook or social media as making friends with people in your neighborhood first, and only then introducing or approaching them about business. I mean you wouldn’t walk up to a stranger normally and do something like this would you?
Learning how to show up everywhere is about interaction, relationships and providing value at every turn. If you can’t be memorable in some crazy way, you can certainly be memorable by providing tons of ridiculous, value packed training and information, even if you’re not the Zen-master yet.
On the Internet today, there are so many scams and unscrupulous charlatans, that it doesn’t take a lot to do this. Just be as transparent as possible starting out, and make the phrase of the day, “DELIVER MORE VALUE THAN THEY EXPECT”.
If you will opt into the form on the front of my blog, I will keep you in the loop with all the new tricks of the trade when it comes to “control freak marketing” (inbound marketing strategies Google and others cannot control)!
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Talk to ya,