Most small businesses are missing a HUGE opportunity to improve the quality and quantity of the leads their sales teams are working with and improve marketing ROI.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM). I know, I’m sort of preaching to the choir here on this blog but, my point today is not to convince small business owners to focus more time and spending on SEM. I’ve tried that for 4 years. I’m rarely successful.
Somehow, most small business owners just don’t get it. My point today is to ponder why this is.
I’m sure part of it is just good old fashioned ignorance and discomfort with all the unfamiliar technology and jargon.
But, the opportunity seems to me to be compelling enough that most entrepreneurs would be willing to wade through the learning curve.
Here’s how easy it can be – with the SalesNexus online contact management system for instance – you can put a form on your web site (lots of our customers don’t even have a contact us form when we meet) and every time a prospect fills it out, their name, phone, email, etc. can be automatically added to the contact management database, an auto-responder email campaign can be started AND an alert for the sales rep to call can be triggered. All automatically and instantly.
Beats spending hours and hours at networking events collecting business cards that probably never end up in a centralized, shared contact management database and many of which probably don’t even get called back.
But to me, the real win is that a search lead is already qualified in ways that a cold call or networking referral can never be.
When you get a referral for instance, they may occasionally have a burning need you can fill but, most often, they need or use what you sell but, are busy with other projects right now and you start a process of chasing the referral, trying to cajole them into making investigating your offering a priority.
With a search lead, your potential customer has decided on their own, without any prompting from you, to stop what they’re doing and do a search for something like what you offer. So, by the time they click on your search ad or listing, visit your site and submit your form, they are effectively telling you they have a strong need for what you have.
You pick up the phone and you don’t have to convince them to give you some of their time, they’re happy you called. They are immediately ready to tell you all about their needs so that you can help them address the problem, challenge or opportunity that caused them to do the search in the first place.
Its a big difference. In a small business, that difference means shorter sales cycles and more sales time focused on hot leads looking to spend money on a product or service like yours rather than on luke warm leads that might buy something someday, if you’re lucky.
Of course there is a lot that you have to do right to make SEM work this well. In my opinion, you do have to have a good contact management system to collect the leads, ensure proper follow up and enable analysis of the quality of the leads.
You also have to have a good offer that compels visitors to your site to fill out the form. This offer has to be “in tune” with your search campaign and with the type of customer that is most profitable for your business.
Of course, there are a lot of experts out there that can help. There are also a lot of people pretending to be experts that can waste a lot of your money.
Here are some resources for you:
A great SEM guru you can trust to recommend solutions that will work for your business.
If you’d like to explore how Search Engine Marketing can help your business grow and profit, join me for my SalesNexus webinar on Wednesdays at 2pm EST. We always cover our contact management system working with our web lead capture service and if you hang around until the end, I’d be happy to answer any questions on SEM.