No Time to Blog? We have the solution! And it’s pretty cool.
Number one complaint/issue I hear from business owners and managers is they want to write blogs and add content to their site, but just can’t find the time, or don’t feel they have the creative resources.
I get that. It’s hard. Many a time I have seen a business owner spend half a day on a blog, and then post it, hoping for amazing results. Or, I have seen them write one or two and then stop.
Blogging is about consistently adding quality information to your site, and giving your visitors what they came for. It’s not about search engine rankings, and it won’t be anything but a waste of time if you don’t focus on those two elements, quality and consistency.
So here is a pretty cool solution for you. Instead of spending all that time on writing, just list the top three or four questions you get about your business, and answer them by using a Live Google Hangout video which will be recorded and hosted on YouTube free. Now send the URL to a transcription service, who will charge you $1 a minute to send you a transcription of your video. And …. there you have the blog. You may need to spend 20 minutes cleaning up the transcript making it more readable. Once you get the hang of this, you can do one when ever you get the itch, and have a good question to answer
I’ll add the pro’s and con’s to this blog a little later in the week. And I’ll also give more detail on how to set these up, or make a much bigger production using this as the foundation of your web visibility programs by adding professional production, a professional host of the show, A YouTube channel, P.R..a and SEO all to the system.
In the continuing series of how to sell Business and SEO services, and based on our premise that relationships are what really sell, I wanted to give you a great tool and process to sell more services.
LinkedIn is the world’s largest business social network. Chances are the vast majority of your clients have a LinkedIn profile. On that profile is a list of their connections. Doesn’t it make sense to take a look at all of your clients connections, making a note of the industry and position each connected person is in, and then ask your client for an introduction?
The first step is to request to be added to each of your clients LinkedIn account. All you need to do is search LinkedIn for their names, and then request they add you as a connection.
We encourage our sales coaching clients and any businesses that sell B2B, to actively, and prolifically ask for referrals from clients. The big challenge most of your clients/customers will have giving you a referral (and I find this true time after time) is trying to figure out who to refer you to. The process of knowing who their connections are on LinkedIn, and asking directly for a referral to that very person, will increase your referrals a ton.
Give it a few weeks if needed
You may need to give it a few weeks before many of your clients respond to your request to be connected, as they may not check their account all that often. For those you don’t hear back from, send them an email and ask that they add you to their LinkedIn connections.
Search their connections
Now that you are connected… go search those clients’ connections! Make a note of the people you think will benefit from your service, and then… write a template email that you can give to your client that recommends a business speak to you about your service.
Send a request for an introduction
Send your client a request for a referral to the identified prospect, and add the email template to the bottom of your email. End your email with something like….
Mike, I wanted to make this as easy as possible for you so I have included a brief introduction of my company for
_____________ (Name of prospect) below. Please feel free to just copy and paste it into an email to _______.
You have now eliminated almost all the reasons you don’t get referrals from Clients. You have identified the person(s) they can refer, you have written the copy they need to send. You will be surprised how many of your clients will happily refer you to non competing businesses.
How to close more sales by increasing your conversion percentages.
A conversion meter system is simple, and if you apply these tactics to your product, your sales conversion rate will increase fast.
People and companies buy based on a lack of fear of doing so. Some people call it trust, but you can trust a service or product and still have substantial fear about buying it.
Let me give you an example. Assume I have an old car I don’t use much but keep it around as a backup car for the family, kids, and guests. One day it starts leaking all sorts of fluids. I may trust the company that I am asking to fix my old car that they can fix it, but my fear may be, will paying for the repair be worth the money, or should I just buy a new car. I am not going to hand over the keys unless my concern is addressed. The car isn’t worth all that much any way.
So it’s not about trust, it’s about getting rid of the fear.
A really smart auto repair company would not only convince me I could trust them (using testimonials, and certifications and all that) but they also would be prepared to “step into my shoes” and let me know that even after I spend the $1500.00 to fix the car, that I could still sell it (fixed) for $4500. If I don’t fix the car it’s only worth $1000. So it’s a net gain of $2000.00.
Now I am ready to get it fixed.
So step one in increasing your sales conversion is identifying what prospects fear when they buy from you. This can be tougher than it sounds. And if you are smart you will ask people who bought from you in the past to tell you what they feared, instead of just winging it.
When it comes to SEO (search engine optimization) services the fear is pretty easy to figure out. Clients fear that 1, It won’t work. 2, It will work but they won’t get many new sales to cover the expense. And 3, that they don’t have enough money in the budget to do the program.
So lots of SEO companies guarantee that the site will be on the first page of Google… what ever that means. (You always have to ask, “or what” with a guarantee. Is it all your money back? Is it they will do more work until it is? And if so what time period are they talking about? And then again, or what?”)
But that only helps with the smaller fear. If you want to eliminate, or greatly reduce all the fears you may need to do a performance based pay model, they pay you based on what actual sales come through the program), and a payment plan that fits the clients budget.
The interesting thing about doing all of that to address and get rid of fears is, you will usually make more revenue and profit when you go the extra mile. you can charge more on performance based programs, andyou can charge more on payments plans. So over time, you end up with a higher margin.
Addressing a clients fears will bring up your closing percentage as much as 50%. It’s worth the thought process and time to figure it out. Feel free to email us if you need some help with coming up with these fears, or just want to run then by us.
The next big thing in your improving your closing percentage is talking and presenting the stuff your clients WANT! Selling what they need will kill your sales fast.
When it’s all said and done, the ultimate score card in a SEO program (or web visibility program) is quality visits on your site. Those being visits that result in some predetermined action on the visitors part.
Actions might include a request for an appointment, request for more information, to be added to your newsletter, downloading a free piece in exchange for their email address, and many other possible desired results from the visitor to your site.
This is where bounce rate can be a very interesting factor.
It’s clear that the higher the bounce rate on a site, the less valuable the overall visitor traffic is (with some exceptions). But you need to know how valuable your quality visitors are to understand how your site is performing.
That’s why we use a visitor value formula to determine the quality of traffic to a website, as well as the standard formula which is just actions as a percentage of total visitors.
The reason we look at it this way, is your site may be attracting a large number of visitors from searches or referral sites that are unintended traffic. You can’t control what odd terms Google may rank your site for if you didn’t pay very close attention from day one of the loading of your site online. So after a few years, you may be seeing a group of traffic that has low value, and is very difficult to manage.
An example of this is we have a client that ranked on the first page of Google for the term glass bar, and a third of the sites traffic came from searches for, you guessed it, “glass bar”. They don’t sell glass bars. They just happen to have a picture of one on the site that had that term in the alt. tag. So it’s not really fair to calculate those visits into a value visit. And because the vast majority of those visits end up as bounces, you will get a better picture of how a site is converting visitors (who find the site through the intended search terms or categories) by weeding the visitors who bounce out.
It’s pretty simple, and can change your perception of how your site is performing.
Calculate Value Visitors
Take your gross number of visitors in a given period (week, month, year). Reduce it by your bounce rate percentage, then use that number to calculate the conversion percentage for your site. That being the number of value visits that end up taking an action. This is the number that you want to see as high as possible, and will vary depending on the action you are calculating, and the industry you are in. For many of our clients we would like to see a 7% to 10% value conversion of the “value visitors” and for this purpose won’t pay much attention to the gross number of visitors or the conversion percentage associated with that group.
Lets use a simple and real example of two sites looking for the same result (A request for information) with the numbers adjusted to make the math easier but still reflective of the real numbers.
Visitors per month. 300
Bounce rate is 15%. Value visits = 255
Requests for Info is 20 which is 8% of value visits.
This site is hitting it’s goal of converting value visits into actions. And also has a very good over all bounce rate, indication that the content and web visibility program is doing it’s job. To be honest, we’d like to see a higher bounce rate with more traffic. Maybe the SEO is to focused and not casting a wide enough net.
Visitors per month 1000
Bounce rate is 60%. Value Visits = 400 or 40%
Requests for information is 16 which is 4% of value visits.
This site has good traffic numbers, but isn’t converting as well even for the “value visitors”. In this case you need to ask: why aren’t we getting visitors who stay on the site and view several pages, to take an action? There can be many causes, page design, no call to actions, content geared towards education and not conversions and many more.
With site number 2, the cause is actually pretty interesting. This site’s center piece is a fairly advanced cost calculator, that is intended to “weed out” prospects who don’t have the budget, or are looking for a low cost company. So in this case, even some of those “value visitors” are not the ones we want to take an action, and therefore a 4% conversion is doing it’s job.
Okay… I m started to feel like Vizzini in the Princess bride, so I will end this for the moment.
If you would like more information on how to determine how your website is performing give us a call, or feel out the contact form below. We offer free 30 minute consultations.
Ready Aim Fire. If you do ready right, the rest will fall into place.
I’ve worked with 100’s of businesses on marketing and sales campaigns, and I have time and time again found that mid market and small business owners have a tendency to approach new sales and marketing campaigns based on what marketing companies, or other business owners suggest or steer them to. This of course can be a disaster. Here’s why.
Lets say Jim owns a Auto supply company, and is in the same networking group as Mark, who owns a semi truck mobile repair business. They get along well, and one day Jim mentions that his local SEO campaign has brought in a ton of business, and Mark likes what he hears.
So, Mark calls Jims local SEO company to find out more. The sales representative does a fine job of using all the current Internet vernacular and quotes the normal research on how “people” use the Internet to buy stuff, and that Jim is not taking advantage of this gold mine. Well, heck, it worked for Jim, maybe it is a good idea.
You see all the issues already I am sure, but I am telling you almost half of the business owners I speak with found me through this type path, and would be an easy sell, if I ddidn’treally have their best interest at heart, or was just so inexperienced that I thought one tactic fits all.
The truth is you have to have a prospect that is online and searching for your service for any SEO to make sense. So in Mark’s case, I would ask this question first, and if he didn’t have the answer I would say – let’s figure that out before we waste a lot of time and money.
The question is, where do your prospects find services like yours? Now, having worked with a mobile semi truck repair business, I have pretty good insight into this, and it’s NOT through internet searches. I won’t go on how that buyer finds those services, because every industry and business is different. It’s the question and answer for your business that counts.
So, Mark was using the AIM FIRE approach. The problem is he would be aiming in the wrong direction, because he wasn’t ready. Ready means doing enough research and analysis to understand where you need to be to be found by a prospect.
Abe Lincoln was quoted as saying if he had 8 hours to cut down a tree, he would spend 7 hours sharpening the blade.
If you do ready right, the rest will fall into place.
So you may asked, why don’t marketers and salespeople suggest more “ready” solutions, like research, before they make a suggestion. I assume its one of several things. They don’t have a ready solution to sell, or they make their money selling what they sell so a ready solution would kill the sale because they are afraid that the research of thought process will end up pointing a different direction than what they offer. Or..
young sales professionals often just don’t have the experience to understand this. Their trained to sell a product, not assess its value.
Take your budget for the next month or two, and spend it on research and analysis just like the really large companies do. They do it for a reason, it just makes sense.
I’ll go into more detail on how and what research and thought process you can use to get ready, and have a successful campaign in the next few blogs. Until then, don’t FIRE until you are ready.
1.2 Million Dollars in New Leads, With 1 Page and no off site SEO.
I know, SEO is a very difficult to understand these days… but we all must conceed there is “something” that determines where Google and other search engines place a result from a search query. Understanding how that works (or at least some of how that works) is what a good search engine optimization company does.
The process of understanding that is to watch carefully how certain pages move up and down in the search engine results for certain specific keywords. And when you see positive movement, figuring out what may have caused it. This is where it gets really tricky, especially for an SEO who is actively working on marketing a clients website, because in my humble opinion, Google does some very interested things concerning “timing” of search rankings.
The short version is, what you see happening today may only be temporary, and based on Google wanting you to think what you did in the last few weeks, or month may have been the cause of the change, when, the truth is, they’re just waiting to see if you react to a positive change by doing more of what you did, and then seeing that you do, they ZAP your silly little SEO process and drop your rankings like a bowling pin going down for a 7-2 spare pick up.
It’s the typical “Google is smarter than you syndrum”. Look,I am pretty sure they only hire people with an IQ higher than 195, and thats for part time positions. You are NOT going to outsmart them… really. Go ahead.. try.
So what do you do? Well, doing nothing with a pages SEO is a great process. You see , once you get past the basic’s of some good quality promotion of a site, and making sure the site has decent if not great on page optimization, the rest falls into the hands of the audience.
The people who search will have a much larger impact on your pages ranking than any backlinking or SEO wizardry you may do.
Here is my example. This page is ranked very highly in about 7 different city searches for the major keyword. In other words, if I set my browser to Denver, or one of the major suburbs around denver, and type in the keyword, with no location intent (a city or zip) this page is in the top 2. That by itself doesn’t mean much, but it also brings in a huge amount of the right traffic for the client. This year they are getting about two proposals a month from the page, with an average value of 50K.
There aren’t a bunch of backlinks to the page. We haven’t done any SEO to the page except the concept, and the onsite work… meaning just the basics.. title tags and such. So why does this page rank so well? People LOVE it! The click through rate is huge, and the time on page is excellent.
This page is so popular that I know of at least two other competitors to the company that use it to show their prospects what a basement finish might cost. Now thats a great testimonial.
So what’s the most important element to SEO? Popularity of the page you build. (past the basics,. aAnd, isn’t that exactly the way it should be? I told you those Google people were smart.
You don’t need to learn to sell. You need to learn how to generate prospects.The truth is, in 99% of the sales challenges I have been involved with, the problem isn’t in the person’s ability to “sell” its in the fact that they have no one to sell too.
First, selling isn’t different than any other skill set, it must be learned. When we hear someone say someone was a “born” salesperson, it’s really not true. That’s like saying Peyton Manning was a born a quarterback, and discounts the years of very hard work and dedication he (or anyone very good at what they do) has put into their profession.
In my experience the absolute most important part of selling is having a plan of how you are going to generate prospects. Small business owners who state, I don’t know how, or I am bad at sales, are thinking about the actual process of presenting and closing a new customer in many cases, when what they are really talking about their ability to generate leads and prospects. The truth is, in 99% of the cases I have been involved with, the problem isn’t in the person’s ability to “sell” its in the fact that they have no one to sell too.
The simple and fairly quick process of having a plan, and working the plan will solve this.
So here are some simple steps for the business owner who doesn’t know how to generate prospects. It’s not original, and you will find this advice by reading any of the great sales or marketing guru’s.
1.) Identify who is most likely to buy your service.
2.) Build or buy a list of these businesses
3.) Develop a compelling reason for them to contact you, or speak with you.
4.) Write a letter (can be email). In the letter describe a problem you solved for some business like theirs. Drop names of happy clients. Offer something in the PS (It’s worth paying a few hundred dollars to a professional direct mail copywriter) Mail the letters.
5.A) wait for them to call you
5B) Call them and asked if they read your letter. What did they think?
6.) Repeat with new letter.
7.) Repeat with new letter
(I will be writing or asking an expert to write a blog on each step mentioned above with instructions and details on each.) Subscribe to be notified. (I mean it, subscribe NOW)
You may be asking… that’s it? Yup that’s it.
Your success will depend on:The value of your service to the target market. Make it (your service) as good as possible before you start all this. The quality of the list, and where you got it. If it’s opt in, great. If you buy it, you need to send a bunch of letters. The quality of the letter or email you send. The offer you make them and your follow up.
In my experience you will have something like three times the success if you are brave enough to call the list. I’ve seen success rates as high as 50% on this program. Overall we average a 14% response or generated prospect rate on these programs. Think about that.
You send 1000 letters. You get 140 prospects. You sell 35%. You have 49 new customers. The cost?…. depends on how you implement it, but figure a $1.00 per letter with printing and stamps and maybe a copywriter.
As far as the actual “sales” process with these prospects, remember that the word sales means to persuade. If they called you, you’re 80% there. Now relax and ask then the questions you have developed on your sales questionnaire. Oh… that’s on another blog here…
And then, ask them when they would like to start.
Congratulations, you are now better than at least 60% of the salespeople I have met who do no targeting, little or no qualifying and never close.
Don’t know how to sell? Who cares, because now you know how to generate prospects.
Just in case you are thinking of offering SEO and digital marketing, I wanted to make a quick list of the resources and tools you’ll need to be successful. A professional digital marketing company or consultant will have access to, or own most of the following. Some of these are simple resources, like time, and some are web properties like social media accounts and web sites.
Minimum Tools You Need To Do Internet Marketing (specific to Local SEO and Organic SEO)
A decent and active facebook page. To Share your content and engage others.
A decent authority and active Twitter page to share your content, engage and build relationships.
A decent authority and active Google Plus page. Same as above – share and engage.
A Blog(s) with some authority, updated several times a month with original and interesting content
If you are a local company, you will need to be listed and verified in the major local directories. Starting with Google + for business, but only after you have submitted your exact and correct information the main national “source” directories. An understanding of how the Local Directory systems work is essential.
Relationships with web masters from other related industry sites. You can’t get in to the good parties without knowing someone. (unless you’re famous)
Being famous really helps
Relationships with Social media firms.
A working knowledge of on site SEO
Time or money to research online opportunities.
Time or dollars, to engage others online through blogs, Social sites, forums, and email.
A private network of authority white hat sites is very valuable.
A working understanding of white hat SEO and linking practices for off site work.
A Google Analytics and Webmaster account
The ability to add pages and make changes to your site on a regular basis
Accounts with one of the major SEO software providers. Moz, Majestic or a handful of others.
A passion and willingness to write great content, or the ability to hire someone who can write great content.
A basic understanding of P.R. in the digital world
Professional relationships with other respected SEO’s
Why all of these? Well, today SEO is still about links and mentions just like it always has been. The difference is what we call a link or mention, and how we earn them. Note the word earn.
SEO Is Just Good Old Fashion P.R.
Because most of the easy and cheap tactics to get a site highly ranked are long gone. Today you have to earn them through good content development. intelligent and valuable engagement on social sites and forums and any where. Although old fashion link building still is utilized (and in some cases effective) the long term process of “SEO” is now much closer related to the old fashion P.R. world.
In that world, you create an event, that would draw attention from your market through the news media. Today, you create content that will draw attention through the Internet, and the “authority” or at least popular sites your market will visit. Same stuff.. different media.
A collection of great articles and Blogs over the last few months.
When I read an exceptional blog I put it in my pocket to read or reference later. I thought it might be a good idea to share some of the better ones here. Some are SEO related, some are content marketing (same thing right?) and then just good marketing.
We all want them, but how do you build a really strong referral group? This article has some powerful ideas if you are willing to work at it. In my experience, it’s one of the better tactics you should use. Stop advertising and get on the referral ban wagon.
And here is one for all of us non tech types who want to do a startup. I loved this article. If you have ever felt a bit frustrated because it seems like all of the successful startups are tech driven, read this. Great advice for all of the non tech entrepreneurs.