Your Biggest Challenge will Be Attracting Prospects to Your Sales Funnel
In a previous article, Make More Money by Creating an Effective Sales Funnel for Your Business, I wrote about how developing a sales funnel can make it easier to capture sales. The purpose of the article was to make you think about whether or not your sales process is optimized for making you money. After all, I’m pretty sure you didn’t go into business for yourself just for the fun of it but to generate a real income.
One of the most important and also most challenging aspects of the sales process is attracting people to your business. In fact, client attraction is the first part of the sales funnel. Without a steady stream of interested prospects, it is doubtful that you will be able to build the profitable business you want. Selling is a numbers game. The more prospects you talk to the higher the probability someone will make it to the end of the sales funnel.
Use a Blog to Feed the Top of Your Sales Funnel with Passionate Prospects
A blog is an effective way to grab the attention of your prospects and lead them through your sales funnel. First, it provides a space where people can get to know you and your company. It is difficult to know who to trust on the internet. Naturally, customers are going to be hesitant about giving their money to a person they’ve never met face to face. A blog will go a long way towards demonstrating that you are a real person who cares about them.
And speaking of demonstrations, a blog will also give potential customers a taste of the value you have to offer them. People love working with experts and a blog is the perfect platform for showing prospects you have the knowledge and experience they are looking for which will encourage them to take the first step in your sales funnel.
Other reasons why starting a blog is a great idea:
* A blog provides a central place for your leads to gather from all of your marketing efforts.
* It is easy to capture leads for your sales funnel from search engines by implementing SEO/SEM techniques which redirect traffic from Google, Yahoo, and Bing to your blog.
* You can then send that traffic to targeted sales pages designed to lead prospect through the sales funnel to the cash register ring.
* If they are not ready to buy, you can still capture their contact information with a mailing list.
Tips for Using the Blog to Get Customers to Go Where You Want in Your Sales Funnel
* Write informative articles packed with keywords designed to draw targeted traffic to your blog and down your sales funnel. Keywords are the words and phrases people in your target market are using to find information on a topic that is important to them. For example, someone looking for information about blogging may type in “how to start a blog” or “blogging tips”. There are a number of keyword research tools on the market that will help you with this including Aaron Wall’s SEO Keyword Tool.
* Direct your readers by ending each article with a call to action to take the next step in your sales funnel. After they finish reading your awesome article, your visitor may be left thinking, “Now what?” Don’t leave them hanging. Point them to the next step in your sales funnel whether that is signing up for your mailing list, buying a product, or contacting you. Without this prompt, your reader may wander off without ever looking at what you have to offer.
* Have individual sales pages for your products on your website that describes what you are selling and why they should hand over their hard earned money to buy it. Make sure you include relevant keywords so you can get traffic from the search engines and into your sales funnel. Additionally, you will be able to refer to these pages in your social media marketing campaign.
* Integrate a mailing list sign up form so you can capture the contact information of your prospects. Put it in a conspicuous place, like the sidebar, where readers can see it. Even better, there are plugins you can use that will allow you to put a mailing list sign up form at the end of every article on your site. Talk about in your face.
* Encourage your readers to subscribe to your RSS so they can get continuous updates. Make sure your social media profiles links are in an obvious place so they can connect with you on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
* Make sure you have advertisements for your products in obvious places on your site. This includes putting graphics in your sidebar and even in the articles themselves. Be careful not to clog your site with too many ads that it overpowers your content. Strive for balance.
* Lastly, don’t forget to have a personality. People connect to people, not companies. Be personable. Get involved in the communities of other blogs. The more people see you hanging out in their neck of the internet, the more comfortable they will be with you and the greater the chance they will enter your sales funnel and become a loyal customer.
Are you still not sure how a blog can inspire people to take a trip down your sales funnel? Give me a call. I’ll be happy to spend an hour with you talking about the many ways you can build your brand, get it in front of your prospects, and make more money with a blog. Also, don’t forget to sign up for your free copy of my social media checklist that will take you by the hand and walk you through what you need to do each day to build your fan base and fill your sales funnel.
Content is King
- People use the internet for several reasons:
- –To find information
- –To disseminate information
- –For entertainment
- –To make money
- –For community
- To attract prospects to your blog, it should be filled with content that fulfills their needs
- Good content also attracts attention from others in your industry
- Content written write will be linked to which will improve your standing in the search engines
- Well written content is shared on social media sites attracting followers and extending the reach of your brand
Getting Content for Your Blog
- Content includes:
- –Video (YouTube, Homemade)
- –Audio (Podcasting)
- –Graphics (infographics)
- In this webinar we are focused on written content – Articles
- You can get articles from a number of places:
- –Write them yourself
- –From article directories like Ezinearticles or ArticleBase
- –Freelance writers
- –Guest Bloggers
- –Private Label Content
- –Republish content from other websites with permission
Writing Your Own Articles
- Benefits of writing your own articles:
- –They are yours to do with as you please
- –People appreciate hearing your thoughts in your own words
- –Free. Only cost an investment of time
- However, it is time consuming especially if you have no previous experience
- Should have a good grasp of grammar and spelling otherwise you could come off sounding unprofessional or uneducated even if you have a college degree
- Steps involved in writing your own articles:
- –Brainstorm article topics
- –Keyword research
- –Write attention grabbing headlines
- –Writing the article
- –Article SEO
Where to Get Article Ideas
- Ideas abound. You just need to keep your eyes open
- Where to find inspiration:
- –Your life experience
- –What your target market is asking for
- –Reader submitted questions
- –Blog comments
- –Other blogs and news sites
- –Current events
- –Social media sites (trending topics on Twitter etc)
- It is a good idea to keep an idea file so that you always have something to write about
- When people search for information on a topic they enter words and phrases into the search engines related to what they are looking for. These words and phrases are known as keywords.
- Incorporating the keywords used by your target audience will increase the likelihood that your audience will find your content in the search engines.
- Keyword research involves brainstorming the types of keywords your target market is using to find the information you are writing about.
- Tools to assist in finding relevant keywords:
- –Aaron Wall’s SEO Keyword Tool
- –Google Keyword Tool
- What makes a good keyword or phrase:
- –Multi-Word; at least 2,3 or more. Single keywords are notoriously difficult to rank for.
- –The more specific the keyword the more targeted the traffic
- –If you are selling a product or service use “buy” words like “purchase cell phone”
Developing Compelling Headlines
- The first interaction people have with your content is through the headline. Your headline will attract or repel them.
- Good headlines tap into emotions and needs and conveys the benefits of reading the article
- –Lose 10 pounds in time for the wedding
- –The #1 tip for generating massive website traffic
- –Make more money with these simple steps
- Types of headlines that get attention:
- ― Direct (Trim 20% of your mortgage payments)
- ― Instructional (How to buy a home with no down payment)
- ― Question (Do you have the millionaire gene?)
- ― Command (Use this tool to get to the top of Google)
- ― Testimonial (I get my social media tips from StacyKinney.com says Kate Middleton)
- It takes awhile before you’ll get the hang of writing good headlines. Experiment.
Tips for Article Writing
- Determine the purpose of the article
- –To sell
- –To disseminate information
- –To persuade
- Write a headline but don’t be afraid to change it
- Start with an outline of ideas you want to convey. This will make writing the article easier and faster.
- Break up ideas into short paragraphs to fight reader fatigue
- Vary the types of article templates you use. Ex – Lists, Question and Answer, Tutorial (How to)
- –You can find article templates on the Ezinearticles blog @ http://blog.ezinearticles.com/
- End the article with a call to action
- Include your main keyword in the title of your article
- Include the keywords in article headers; use appropriate header tags (H1, H2, H3)
- Keywords in the title and header tags are given more weight by search engine robots.
- Keyword should appear in the first and last sentence of article if possible
- Keyword density should be between 2-5%. Anything more than 7% will be considered keyword spamming by the search engines
- A good article length is 400 words. Gives enough space to provide good information but not too much to give everything away.
- Include links to other related content
- Include keyword in image descriptions
Using Articles from Directories
- Article directories are great places to get ready made content for your website.
- Your blog should primarily consist of original content but these articles can fill in for when you are short on time or ideas
- Rules for using content from article directories:
- –You must use the content in its entirety. You cannot make changes to it
- –The author’s bio must be posted as well
- Tips for using article directory content:
- –Check the links to make sure they don’t take visitors to a crazy place
- –Add your own call to action to the end of the article
- –Content should be inline with the topic of your blog
- Content from other experts in your industry is a great way to increase the value of your website as well as extend the reach of your brand
- Identify experts that can provide relevant information that compliments the topic of your blog. Ex. Real estate agents can have a mortgage expert post on the topic of home loans
- Be professional when you approach people to contribute to your blog. Remember, they are doing you a favor for free.
- Be a good host and promote your guest author
Using PLR Articles
- Private Label Rights articles is content written by freelance writers who then sell reprint rights
- PLR content is very cheap (about $1 per article). The writer makes money by selling the same articles over and over again to other people
- Licenses on PLR generally states that you can use the content however you want except you cannot resell or redistribute
- It is best to rewrite the content so that it is at least 50% unique to avoid the duplicate content label from the search engines.
- If you want to submit to article directories, content must be rewritten completely.
- Make sure the article is optimized for your keywords
- Don’t forget to include your call to action at the end
- Always source your articles and writers to be certain you are not getting stolen content
Legalities of Using Content
- It is not okay to take content from other people’s website and use it on your website without their permission.
- If you reprint someone’s article (and it didn’t come from an article directory) without their permission you could be setting yourself up for a lawsuit
- Content is copyrighted the moment it is created and subject to copyright laws regarding usage.
- You can use other people’s content under the fair use clause. You can reprint a small portion of the article and then link back to the source.
- Another option is to summarize the article and link back to the source.
- Most people will let you use their content if you ask them.
- Free images for your articles can be found on public domain image sources like publicdomainpictures.net and photos8.com
For more information on generating content on your blog as well as marketing online and using social media effectively, visit the Social Media Video Library.
Now is the Time to Start Building Your Email Marketing List
Of all the tools in your internet marketing toolbox, blogs are the most versatile. They can be used in a number of ways to help you make money in your business including community building, search engine marketing, and social media marketing. In fact, I would say that your blog should be “Home Base” and all of your other marketing campaigns should funnel to it.
Among other things, your blog can help you fill your email marketing list with the names of prospects hungry for your products or services.
The Email Marketing List is Where the Money is At
People who sign up for an email marketing list are basically raising their hand as potential customers who are interested in what you are selling. They are aware that you exist and they like what you have to say so much that they basically open the door for you to contact them on a regular basis.
This direct contact provides an opportunity for you to send them marketing materials designed to get them to make a purchase from you or through your affiliate link. If you haven’t started building your email list then I highly recommend you get on top of it as soon as you finish reading this article.
4 Simple Methods of Email Marketing List Building
* Place a call to action to sign up for list at the end of your articles – When people make it to the end of your article they are often looking for the next step. You risk losing the prospect and the sale if you fail to take control and direct them as to what you want them to do next. Place a note at the end of your articles to sign up for your email marketing list. To make things even easier, you can place the actual sign up form at the end of the article.
* Put a sign up form in an obvious place – Most people put the form in the sidebar. With so many things crying out for your prospects attention, it is probably a good idea to draw attention to it in multiple ways. This includes putting a banner ad in the header and/or footer directing the reader to the sign up form for the email marketing list as well as placing the actual sign up form at the end of your articles.
* Offer something for free in exchange for signing up for the email marketing list – Very few people will just give you their email address. You have to bribe them for it. Give away a useful tool such as an EBook packed with useful tips or access to exclusive training in exchange for their contact information.
* Use MailChimp or Feedburner Email signup for sending blog posts – Encourage people to sign up for email notification of new blog posts. Both MailChimp and Feedburner offer this feature which allows you to build a list of people subscribed to your blog.
Bonus tip: Use peel down or pop up – While annoying, using a peel down or pop up to direct your reader’s attention to your email marketing list is effective. However, do your best to maintain the user-friendliness of your blog. Otherwise people will be scared away.
Now just because your prospects are signed up to your email marketing list doesn’t mean you can start spamming them. Like anything else, you must build a relationship of trust with your prospects by providing high quality information they find useful. The quickest way to get people to unsubscribe to your email marketing list is to spam them with useless junk.
Need more internet marketing tips for building an email marketing list? Then contact me for a free consultation. I will show you some effective internet marketing tools you can use to build a profitable business. Are you on Twitter or Facebook? Then learn how to build an impressive following by downloading my social media marketing checklist for free using the sign up form in the sidebar. For more tips on building an email marketing list sign up for my RSS feed.
A Web Content Strategy Can Save Your Sanity
Even though social media marketing is getting most of the spotlight these days, blogging is still an effective way to reach out to your customers and sell them on your business. But unlike tweeting and posting status updates, blogging can consume a lot of time thinking of article ideas, writing the articles, posting them to your site, and then finding people to read them. Developing a web content strategy, however, can save you time, money, and sanity.
What is a Web Content Strategy?
A web content strategy is basically a fancy way of saying you should write out a schedule of articles you want to post to your blog. Developing a plan for your article writing is an excellent way to capitalize on your blog and your reader’s attention.
* You will be able to plan the topics you want to tackle for times when the articles will provide the most value to your readers. For instance, writing an article about saving money shopping during the holidays.
* You will avoid writer’s block because you will have a list of topics on hand to write about. If you write the articles in advance, you can create a pool of articles to pull from for when you can’t think of anything to write about.
* Posting on a regular schedule makes it easier to build a following who will know when to expect your articles to come out. Additionally, you’ll avoid falling victim to the aimless rambling that trap many bloggers.
* It’ll be easier to break up complex topics into a web series that keeps readers coming to your blog to read the next segment.
* You can create theme days where you’ll post specific types of articles. For example, you could post articles about social media marketing every Monday.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of developing a web content strategy is the fact that you can take a day or two to write all of your articles and set them up to be automatically posted on specified days. Then you’ll be able to devote your free time to working on other tasks that make you money. A content development plan also makes it easier to outsource your writing to a professional if you just don’t want to be bothered.
Tips for Developing Your Web Content Strategy
At minimum, you should produce your content schedule on a quarterly basis (every three months). Some bloggers develop theirs every six months and others, usually pro blogs, will plan out an entire year of content. This doesn’t mean you have to sit down and bang out a year’s worth of articles in one sitting. Just having a spreadsheet of dates and article topics will work.
To determine the number of articles you need to brainstorm ideas for, multiply the number of days you plan on blogging each week by the number of weeks in the time frame of your schedule. For example, you would need 24 articles to cover three months of posts if you blogged two times per week.
Your blog writing schedule should have a mix of short and comprehensive articles. Generally, short articles are for giving quick, actionable tips to your readers while longer articles will allow you to delve deeper into a specific topic. Too many short posts will make your blog seem shallow while too many long posts will make your blog a drag to read.
When brainstorming topics for your blog look at your industry through the eyes of the people in your target market. What do they want to know about your niche? For instance, real estate agents looking to attract home buyers will want to blog about buying a home in today’s crazy economy or how to avoid buying a money pit. To be an effective marketing tool, your blog should meet the needs of your readers.
Your web content strategy can be as simple as writing down titles and dates in a notebook or you can use an electronic to-do list to schedule when you will write your articles. Don’t think, however, that because you have a web content strategy that you can’t deviate from it. You can still be spontaneous or rearrange things at a later date especially if notable things happen in your industry that your readers should know about.
The important thing is to make sure you are producing content your readers want. As long as you are giving them quality content, your readers will pay attention. For more tips on blogging for success, take a stroll through my archives. Or better yet, contact me for a free consultation on how to take advantage of the internet marketing tools available today to develop of web content strategy that will help you build the profitable business you deserve.
Facebook Scams Becoming as Popular as Social Network
Like everything else in the world, people have found a way to scam others using Facebook. It’s one of those things that if it sounds too good to be true then it is. With Facebook, people are trying to make (or rather steal) money by crating fake pages that promise one thing but deliver nothing but a scam. The important thing is not to fall for it.
Every year, millions of people are scammed across the internet – with or without Facebook. They give their credit numbers thinking that they’ll be getting something really great in return. All they end up getting are empty promises or dangerous computer viruses. Either way, there are people benefiting from the ignorance or carelessness of others using Facebook scams and other unsavory methods.
Being able to spot these Facebook scams will save you a lot of time, aggravation, and money. You can avoid many of the Facebook scams and dangers simply by thinking twice before clicking on any of the ads or links found on the site – even if it’s from one of your good friends telling you to check out a YouTube video. As technology gets more and more advanced, so do the hackers!
Facebook Scams Depend on You to Click Before You Think
Before you click on a link, check on where it really takes you. Hover your cursor over the link. The address will display in the bottom left corner of your web browser. Many scam artists use phishing sites to get information from you that they use to steal your identity and your money. Looking closely at the web address will tell you where you really are. If it says Facebook followed by a decimal point and then other words or symbols, such as facebook.123abc.com then it’s a phishing site and you should avoid visiting the site or close your browser if you already clicked the link.
Too many people fall for these Facebook scams. It doesn’t matter who you are, you can still find yourself as a victim and often without even knowing it. While Facebook is usually one step ahead of the scams, they’re still out there. Ads, links, videos, even those random people who want to be your friend can all lead you into a scam.
Silence Perpetuates Facebook Scams
Facebook scams thrive on silence. The more you notice suspicious things and say nothing, the more these scams continue. Scams can ruin people’s lives, or at the very least, destroy their hard drive. It you see something that doesn’t look right let your friends know. Stay on top of what the current Facebook scams are by reading internet scam sites so that you have the knowledge you need to prevent yourself from becoming victimized.
So, what happens if you think your Facebook account was hacked into? Immediately change your password and report the problem to Facebook. Don’t let the scammers win by staying silent, otherwise the vicious cycle of Facebook scams continue.
Is Auto Follow a Good Way to Build a Twitter Following?
In just under five years Twitter has become one of the top social media destinations for content consumers and producers alike. As a blogger and business owner you really cannot afford to not have a presence on there. In fact, every business should have a Facebook and a Twitter profile at minimum if you want to connect with your customers and become an integral part of their life.
However, many people find that staying on top of their social media marketing can consume a lot of time and effort. There are a number of Twitter tools that can help you automate some or all of the tasks involved in building and maintaining a Twitter following. One of the things I’m noticing on the social media site, though, is that many business owners are using the Twitter follow tools to auto follow everyone who follows them.
I started thinking about this the other day. Is this really a good idea?
Reasons to Auto Follow
The main reason cited for auto following on Twitter was that it seemed like an easy way to build a following on Twitter. That’s sort of true. One piece of advice I often give people is to find your target market on Twitter and engage them by following their streams.
Suffice it to say, other businesses are targeting you as potential customers or collaborators. So they follow you in order to start building a relationship and they tend to stick around when you follow them back. If you have ten people adding you to their follow list every day, auto following them back can potentially net you up to 300 new followers per month.
Auto follow on Twitter is also convenient. I get about 100 new followers a day. With two kids, a husband, and a full time business I don’t always have time to go through and manually follow everyone back (Follow me on Twitter). It’s even worse for big brands and celebrities who get, literally, hundreds of people following them on a daily basis. So I can see the appeal of having a Twitter tool that tasks care of this task for you.
Reason to Not Auto Follow
But for all the convenience offered by Twitter follow tools, there are a couple of distinct disadvantages to auto following on Twitter.
- You will be targeted by spammers: Spammers love accounts that auto follow because it allows them to build their numbers quickly. They know that people are impressed by accounts that have large followings (a form of social proof). So they get lists of accounts on Twitter that automatically follows everyone and then they follow everyone on that list. Even worse, many of them will wait a few days and then unfollow you!
- Your account will be rendered useless: Being targeted by spammers brings me to the second problem with auto follow. Your Twitter stream will be filled with spam and other meaningless junk; not to mention the tons of auto direct messages you are likely to receive. Tools like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite can help you separate the wheat from the chuff. But that can be even more of a pain because then you have to manually look at each follower to decide where they should go or if you should unfollow them altogether.
So should you auto follow or not? There is no right or wrong answer. It really depends on what your goals are. If you just want to build a following then auto follow may be a good way to do it. If you want to build meaningful relationships on Twitter, though, then you will need to vet your followers either in the beginning when they first follow you or at the end when you are deciding whether or not to listen to their chatter.
What do you think? Do you auto follow on Twitter? Why or why not?
Speaking of Twitter, did you know I have a social media checklist you can download that will help streamline your social media marketing? You can download it for free. More information is located in the sidebar.
For one on one help with your internet marketing, contact me for a free one hour consultation where I will show you a few tools that will get your name in front of hungry customers just waiting to buy. You will never need to auto follow again.