If you’ve started to noticed that you’ve got a great following on social media or have consistent foot traffic in your shop, but no real traction online. You may want to take a second look at your website.
When I first speak with a prospective client, I often find they have a great business and they’re even getting pretty good traffic to their website but no leads or sales.
It’s around this time that I will conduct a little “website audit” and what I find, almost without fail, is that the client has no real way of capturing their visitor’s email on their site.
Many businesses mistakenly think a contact form is an ideal way to capture leads, but that really isn’t true today. In fact, most visitors will “shy away” from a contact form because they’re concerned about spam and cyber-hacking. Other businesses have simply removed contact forms from their site altogether.
Sending Out “Free Spam” Just Won’t Cut It
Some business owners try to “DIY” it and set-up their own email marketing, but give-up out of sheer frustration from the learning curve. They often just email their friends and family and anyone else whom they happen to have an email for through free email services like Gmail, Yahoo and Outlook.
This just isn’t a “best practice” and can do more harm to your business than good. Plus if your list reaches a certain size those email services will just block you from sending out mass emails because it’s considered spam.
Now you may be thinking, ‘This just isn’t worth the trouble,’ but abandoning your email marketing strategy could be the BIGGEST mistake you don’t want to make. Why? Because email marketing has historically had the highest ROI than any other marketing channel on the web. Trust me – it’s worth the time and money and it will become the most valuable asset you own in your business.
But you’re spending good money and time driving traffic to your site right now. You’re running pay-per-click campaigns with Google or Facebook. Pumping lots of time and energy into maintaining your social media feed, going to networking events or even hosting a live workshop. All to generate buzz and get more traffic to your site.
So how do you turn all those visitors to your site into leads?
You need a conversion tool. A conversion tool is something you use to “convert” visitors into leads and ideally into paying customers. Your conversion tool should contain two simple things: a great lead magnet and an effective “sales funnel”.
You see once you do finally get those visitors to your site you want to offer them something in exchange for their email – like a checklist, which makes for a great lead magnet. Once a visitor is on your list you can “nurture” them through your sales funnel.
Getting people on your email list allows you to reach directly out to a potential customer who’s already said that they WANT to hear from you. What’s great about this, unlike social media or even pay-per-click ad campaigns, is that you don’t have to “hope” that your audience sees your post or ad. You can email this group of people whenever you want and at a fraction of the cost.
Now email marketing isn’t anything new but here’s the tricky part – it’s easier said than done. You see it can be costly (and time consuming) to hire someone to build landing pages and set-up forms even on the best of websites.
But there’s good news. There are affordable options that don’t require you to be too “tech savvy”. If you can “click and drag” – you can set these products up all on your own.
If you’re just getting started, you basically have two options. You could either use and email service provider like Mail Chimp or Constant Contact or you could use landing page software like Lead Pages or Ontra Pages.
Let’s quickly go over the “pros” and “cons”.
First off, email service providers are very affordable options but they aren’t always the most user friendly. I often have to set them up for my own clients in my web design business. If you don’t mind having a bit of a learning curve, these services may work best for you.
Most ESPs will let you sign-up for a free account and then once you have built up a big enough subscriber list, you can work your way up to plans with more features. I use Mail Chimp for my own business, but Constant Contact and Vertical Response are good options.
Now what’s becoming increasingly popular in the last few years is landing page software like Lead Pages or Ontra Pages. Software for generating landing pages has been around for years, but it has never been as user-friendly as it is today.
The downside is that they typically cost more than just going with an ESP and they also add another step to your sales funnel.
Let’s say you get your customer’s attention on one of your social media feeds. You provide a post that has a link to your “lead magnet”. Instead of this link leading them to your website it takes them to your landing page – hosted by one of these services.
The page collects your potential customer’s email and automates the process of delivering your “freebie” to them. This is better than not collecting leads at all, but your page does miss out on the traffic.
Services like these, can also provide detailed targeting and follow-up email sequences without you having to figure out what works with what – but there’s just one thing. All of this is happening on their site and in some cases you will still need to have an ESP like Mail Chimp to store the emails in.
Plus if one of these companies is bought by a competitor or goes away for some reason – you’re back to square one. But I doubt this will happen any time soon because this particular space is growing – mainly because the pages and funnels are easy to set-up.
I can’t ever emphasize enough the importance of building an email list for your business. This list can not only generate leads and new business for you but it can also create repeat business from existing customers as well and who doesn’t want that?
Well that’s it for this week’s post. But now it’s your turn. I want to hear from you.
Question: What’s your biggest concern or frustration about building an email list for your business? Share your questions and comments below.
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