The Ultimate Guide to Lead Generation for Small Local BusinessesUncategorized, 07/02/18
Is your service-based business stuck in a rut? Perhaps you’re moving along nicely from day-to-day, but not generating enough new business to build the kind of security and profits you’d hoped for?
Whether you’re a one-person-show or a small business with under 20 employees, lack of new business can bring the kind of stress that has the potential to cripple your income, your health, and your future.
But what if there was a way to bring 5 qualified leads straight to your inbox on a daily basis? How many of those people could you turn into customers? And what kind of impact might that have on the future of your business and your life?
Over the past few years, digital (online) marketing has developed so rapidly that you can now market locally targeting specific type of people and personalities that are most likely to become your customers. Not only is this easier on the budget, but it also cuts down on the competition and gives you the chance to generate consistent leads from locals people in your area.
Not online yet? You’re not alone.
- Despite the fact that 85% of Australia’s population are internet users, only 62% of small businesses (10 – 19 employees) have websites (source: Statistica.com).
- When the number of employees drops below 5, the amount of website presence dips to a minority at only about 40%.
Why is that?
Godaddy.com senior vice president Steven Aldrich said that the reason given by many people in a recent survey is “because they perceive themselves to be too small.”
Keep in mind the local targeting mentioned in the above section, stay with me as I give you one last, even more shocking, statistic.
Of those [small businesses] that do have websites, only about 12% have Facebook pages.
So when I tell you that 60% of the total Australian population is an active Facebook user, you can probably see where I’m going with this.
There’s incredible potential for small, local businesses to ride a wave of opportunity as the online population continues to grow. Half of all mobile searches are conducted in hopes of finding local results, and 61% of those searches result in a purchase (source: Search Engine Watch, Local pages study).
“92 percent of consumers read online reviews when looking for a local business”
(source: RevLocal, 2018 statistics)
By combining a simple landing page with Facebook advertising and “value ladder” marketing, you can target a local audience and bring in a consistent flow of new leads for your business.
Website + Facebook + Value Ladder = Lead Generation = growing profits
In this article, we’ll walk you step-by-step through the process of creating what you need to generate leads (“lead generation”) and convert them into paying customers (“lead conversion).
This guide is split into two sections: “How to establish an online presence” and “How to generate leads.”
In the 1st section (“How to establish an online presence”), we’ll help you understand digital marketing basics and establish an online presence with step-by-step lessons that show you how to:
- Create your buyer personas
- Create your marketing platforms: website, social media, and email
- Create a Facebook page for your business
The 2nd section (“How to generate leads”) will show you a “proven method of marketing” that can generate a steady flow of leads for your service based local business. The step-by-step lessons teach you how to:
- Create irresistible offers with value ladder marketing. A value ladder is a way to structure your business to appeal to your target audience at different phases of their growth. It’s called a VALUE ladder, not a price ladder for a reason. You should focus on your client and how your different product offerings deliver value
- Advertise on Facebook to generate leads from people in your area
Tip: Read through this entire guide once before you begin creating any platforms or promotions. You need to understand the steps involved before you’re equipped to make all of the decisions you’ll be faced with along the way.
How to establish an online presence
In the first section of this guide, we’ll help you to understand how digital marketing works, and walk you through creating the platforms you need to begin marketing online.
Understanding digital marketing
The term “digital marketing” refers to all marketing done on the internet and is also referred to as “online marketing.”
The first step to understanding today’s online marketing world is to get a grasp on the basics of “Inbound marketing.” It’s a term that’s become a household name for digital marketers since Hubspot’s CEO, Brian Halligan coined it in 1999. Wikipedia offers the simplest explanation:
“Inbound marketing is a technique for drawing customers to products and services via content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization, and branding.” Wikipedia, “Inbound Marketing”
Let’s take a look at the structure of the inbound marketing basics.
The typical buyer takes a standard path to finding and purchasing from online businesses. This is commonly called this the Buyer’s Journey. This path includes 3 stages:
In order to effectively market to potential buyers, inbound marketing teaches us that there are 4 stages of successful marketing; Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight.
The philosophy at the core of inbound marketing is that businesses (or business persons) seek to position themselves as experts in their fields by offering genuine value in everything they do. This begins with truthful marketing and high-quality content, but it doesn’t end there.
A true expert offers genuine value in her business, which inspires customers to return and refer over and over again. Successful marketing begins with a mindset – yours! In all that you do, seek to truly be of service to your customers.
Let’s take a closer look at the inbound marketing process and how it relates to your marketing goals.
Value Ladder Marketing + Lead generation + Conversion
Your marketing goals are the steps listed in the inbound marketing stages listed below: Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight.
Attracting traffic to your website isn’t about get the highest numbers possible. It’s about bringing the right type of visitors to your site.
For example, if you’re a luxury hair salon based in Melbourne, it’s not going to help you to get 3000 daily site visitors who live in Brisbane and typically spend less than $10 on a haircut.
But if you can get 100 daily site visitors who live close by and are willing to spend money on luxury hair services, then you’ve attracted the right type of visitor. Not only is this a cost-effective form of marketing, but you’ll see higher profits from your efforts.
The “convert” stage refers to turning website visitors into email subscribers. Once they subscribe, they’re referred to as “leads.”
The “convert” stage refers to turning website visitors into obtaining their contact information name, email and mobile number. Once they convert, they are referred to as “leads.”
According to Wordstream.com, “Approximately 96% of visitors that come to your website are not ready to buy.” Converting visitors to leads is important so that you can nurture them into becoming paying customers.
This is the stage where you turn leads into customers. Leads come from places like your website, email, social media, and referrals.to close the deal means converting them into a paying customer.
Your efforts don’t end when the sale is done. Keeping your customers happy is incredibly important and often referred to as retention. By delighting your customers they will keep coming back, writing raving reviews, and referring their friends!
Understanding Buyer Personas
In a world with over 1.3 billion websites and 3.58 billion people online, how will your business stand out? The answer is simple: Find a need and fill it. This is something you’ve probably already done with your business, which gives you a head start in this step.
Buyer personas are fictitious representations of your ideal customers. They allow you to target and tailor your marketing to people that you know are most likely to purchase your services.
Buyer personas to help you reach the type of people that are most likely to become customers. You’ll use these personas constantly as you’re building your online presence and campaigns. For example, they’ll be used to help with:
- Writing tone and style for advertising, email marketing, sales pages, site pages, articles, posts, comments and long-form content
- Targeting location and personality when you advertise online
- Choosing which services and products to highlight in your campaigns
- Setting price points
How to create buyer personas for your service-based small business:
Begin by creating 3-4 different personas.
- Create a card with a fictitious name.
- Add a fictional photo that might represent the person you’re about to describe.
- Include the following information on your buyer persona profile:
e. Estimated salary
f. Estimated household income
g. What industry do they work in?
h. What’s their job title?
i. Relationship – are they single or married?
j. Children? If so, how many and what ages?
k. Health habits: Tailor this section to fit your business. Depending on what industry you’re in, this may include:
i. How often do they exercise?
ii. Do they see doctors and dentists regularly
iii. Any specific health problems that relate to your business?
iv. Health, Optical, Dental insurance (if it applies to your business)
v. How much annual income do they typically spend at hair salons? Spas? Luxury treatments?
vi. Include any other traits that your best personas have in common
vii. Include any negative traits that indicate red flags for customers who may not be a good match to your service.
l. Interests and hobbies
m. What inspires them to use your services?
n. What specific concerns do they have?
o. What concerns might they have about using your service
p. Why have they chosen you as a service provider? What do they like about you?
A common beginners mistake is creating too many buyer personas. Create no more than 4 personas to begin beginning with (less is fine) as you can grow over time.
Where will you get all this information?
There are a number of ways to compile the information you need to create buyer personas. Some of it will come from your own database and experience.
To fill in the details, many marketers interview or poll current customers to create detailed and highly accurate buyer personas.
But if you’re short-staffed or trying to get up to speed quickly, Shopify offers some great tips on how to use free data to build effective buyer personas in their article “How To Build Buyer Personas For Better Marketing”
Understanding Digital Marketing Platforms
The term “digital marketing” covers a wide range of components. Let’s start by taking a look at the three main platforms used for digital marketing. You don’t have to use (or even remember) all the different terms, but it helps to be aware of them.
The 3 Basic Marketing Platforms
Platforms are places that you market from. There are 3 main online platforms to market from, and most successful businesses balance their efforts between them.
- Website (including a blog)
- Social Media
- Email Marketing
How to set up your digital marketing platforms
We’ll begin by setting up the 3 main platforms so you can start generating steady leads for business.
Website (marketing platform #1)
A website is your home base in the online world. If you’re just starting out, you can keep it simple and build only the basics. Most service-based businesses include the following basic pages on their websites:
- A “home” page that welcomes your visitors
- A sales page that includes a description of your services and a way to make an appointment or get in touch with you
- A services page that showcases more details about the services you offer
- Product pages (optional) If you also sell products, then product descriptions, images, and a way for visitors to purchase the product will be included. Tip: Keep it simple and begin by promoting your services only. Selling products online requires advanced knowledge or a specialist who can build an “online store” for you.
- An “About” page that includes Information about you and your business
- A blog, where you’ll include articles and other content that is of help to your visitors
- A contact page
As you begin creating the design and copywriting for your site, you’ll discover more possibilities than you ever thought existed. Copywriting is the act of writing text for the purpose of advertising or other forms of marketing. It’s important to know your priorities so you don’t get sidetracked and spend precious time on elements that don’t have a real impact on your sales.
What matters most is not the design of your site, but its’ content and functionality. Here are some of the top priorities for a successful website:
- Can customers find their way around easily?
- Does the site look and respond well on different devices (mobile is very important)?
- Does the content draw the reader in and guide them smoothly through the buyer’s journey?
- Does the writing speak to your buyer personas?
- Are your products and services explained clearly?
- Have you made it easy for visitors to contact you for an appointment?
Once your website is built and launched, be sure to head over to Google and get listed as a local business. It’s free, and there’s a chance you might show up in the listing directory that’s at the top of the Google search results!
Email marketing (marketing platform #2)
Email marketing is the process of promoting your goods and services through email. You are able to nurture leads through the buyer’s journey with email sequences. It is a highly effective form of marketing that can produce big returns on your investment.
There are a number of laws and regulations that need to be followed when you send promotional emails to people, and that’s why legitimate businesses use an email marketing service provider (also referred to as “email software”).
Your email marketing service provider will supply you with the online forms you need to get subscribers in a way that follows all of the necessary laws and regulations.
How to get started with email marketing
The great news is that you can get started for free. Popular services like MailChimp, Constant Contact, and Aweber offer generous free trials or tiered pricing that let you get up and running at no cost.
Your web hosting service can usually provide you with a professional email address (often for free) that matches your domain name. Then, you can use their interface to read and write emails, or purchase Google’s G Suite and use the Gmail platform to send and receive emails.
Most email providers also have excellent training and tutorials that will help you to quickly set up your services and learn about some of the best practices and techniques for email marketing.
Tip: Look for email services providers that offer training in how to segment emails for different types of customers.
Also, choose a software that includes analytics or insights so you can see what type of emails are getting the best response. All of this allows you to improve your efforts and profits over time.
How much time does it take to do email marketing?
At first, you’ll spend a bit of extra time learning your way around and fumbling through the copywriting of your early emails. But email marketing is something you’ll do on a consistent, steady basis, so it won’t take long until you can pop out an email to your subscribers in minutes.
How important is email marketing?
Most customers don’t make their purchase decisions on their first visit to your website. So the ability to follow up with your audience and continue to position yourself as an expert while offering promotional messages is not just a top priority – it’s at the very heart of digital marketing.
If you get overwhelmed, take a break and come back. But don’t quit. Email can be the most cost-effective form of marketing that you’ll ever try.
Recent surveys indicate that for every $1 that businesses spend on email marketing, they receive $44 dollars back in return.
Social media (marketing platform #3)
Social media marketing (SMM) is the process of marketing to audiences through various social media channels. This can be done in 2 basic ways:
- Grow a robust social media community through
a. Content marketing,
b. Social customer service
c. Referral marketing
d. Audience engagement
e. Creative tactics and strategies.There are endless ways to grow your community, but for most small businesses it can be a slow and frustrating process, especially on the largest channel – Facebook.The key is to build your community over time, learning more about the trends and tactics as you go along, but not depending on social media to bring people through the doors.
- Paid Advertising is a quicker, more effective way to reach potential customers.
In order to create a steady flow of leads, we’ll be using the most popular platform for Business-to-Consumer (B2C) businesses; Facebook. Its’ sophisticated (yet simple) ad manager allows you to target the specific audience(s) you want to reach based on a wide range of details.
How to set up a Facebook Business Page
Let’s start by clarifying the difference between the most common Facebook platforms:
- Personal profile: A personal page (the one you’re probably already using for friends and family). This profile is not used for business. In fact, it’s a violation of Facebook policies to create a personal profile for your business.
- Facebook page: A full-functioning page used to promote your business, products, or services.
- Facebook group: A group-style discussion page. Groups are most commonly used for discussing topics with other students in a course that you’re taking or networking with your professional peers in a niche group.
The Facebook page option is the one to choose for promoting your business.
Before we cover how to fill out the profile at your business page, let’s do a quick review of your personal profile. If you don’t have a personal Facebook page yet, you’ll need to create one in order to launch your business page. So this section applies to you, too.
Even if you think you have all of your personal profile components set to “private,” it’s worth your time to do a thorough check of your privacy settings and public activity. You don’t want your personal life to spill over into your professional life unless it’s by choice.
Some of the things you want to check for are:
- Games or game activity
- Pages you’ve liked
- Political opinions or reactions to other people’s posts
- Personal photos
Once you’ve completed a thorough audit of your personal profile, you’ll be ready to create your business page. Here are the materials you’ll need to prepare:
A. A personal image of you
B. An image of your logo
C. Business name
D. Your business hours
E. The year your business was founded
F. Phone number
G. Url of your website
H. Email address
I. The URL you want to promote (landing page or email signup form)
To create your business page, go to the blue bar at the top of your Facebook wall. Click the arrow icon on the far right and select “Create Page.” The rest of the process is self-explanatory and Facebook will walk you through it.
How to generate leads
Now that you’ve set up your website, email marketing, and social media platforms, you’re ready to begin generating a steady stream of leads for your business.
Here’s an overview of what you’ll learn in this section:
- How to Generate the right type of traffic to your site through targeted Facebook advertising
- How to convert your new site traffic into leads with an awesome landing page
- How to upsell and resell your products using a value ladder
How to create irresistible offers with value ladder marketing
We’ll start by understanding and creating a “value ladder” of products and services. This way, you’ll know what you’re working with when it’s time to create written content for the lead generation process.
A value ladder is a way of structuring your product or service offerings in a tiered pricing “ladder.”
It begins with an irresistible free offer that appeals to your target audience and allows them to try or sample your services or expertise. The value ladder offers a few more products, each at increased prices, and ends with your highest-level, most expensive offering.
Russell Brunson, author of “Dot Com Secrets” explains it plain and simple in the video below.
Using value ladders in your marketing brings a steady stream of business because it helps you upsell and continue to resell to your happy customers.
You’ll use the value ladder on your sales page and shopping cart as you promote your services.
For example, you can create a sales funnel that offers great promotions for the next higher-priced product at a big discount – during the shopping cart process. These are one-time offers, typically with high discounts, that customers can add to their shopping cart during the checkout process.
Value ladder marketing doesn’t stop at the first sale.
You can get huge results by segmenting your email list so you can continue promoting the right products to the right people. Email segmenting lets you personalize emails in order to promote the next (higher-priced) product on your value ladder.
In order to do this, it’s important to understand how to use your email software so you can segment and trigger campaigns to promote the right products to the right customers.
Your first offer on the ladder should be 100% free or very low cost with no commitment. For example, offering a free conditioning treatment with the purchase of a haircut doesn’t qualify because it requires a commitment to purchase the haircut.
What you’re reaching for is a way to allow potential customers to experience the high level of quality that your service offers, so they’ll be compelled to purchase the next product on your value ladder.
Here are a handful of ideas for the first step of your value ladder:
- Chiropractor: free exam
- Dentist: free teeth cleaning
- Hair salon: free set of trial products
- Consultant: free mini-session
- Coach: free evaluation
What if you can’t offer a free service or product? Try creating a valuable information-based product. For example:
- If you own a hair salon you might try creating a series of video tutorials that offer step-by-step instruction for at-home styling.
- A marketing consultant might offer a free ebook packed with secret tips he hasn’t shared anywhere else.
Before you go on to the next step of lead generation, take a few minutes to sketch out a rough draft of your value ladder. You can make adjustments before it’s published, but it will help to have it drafted out before you read through the following steps.
How to set up a landing page
Now that you’ve sketched out your value ladder, you’re ready to learn how to build those services into a sales funnel that begins on your landing page.
What is a landing page?
A landing page is the website page that customers go to when they click on your ad or promotion. It’s a website page whose purpose is to convert your visitors into leads.
Each campaign that you run should have its own landing page.
Here’s what a good landing page contains:
At the very top of the page:
- No menu. Landing pages are isolated pages without navigation menus.
- Your irresistible offer (the first step of your value ladder) written into a headline and subheadline
- A very short body of text that explains the value of your offer
- An image
- A “call to action” (CTA) button as part of your lead generation form.
Landing pages vary in length and may also include:
- Social proof like customer reviews and testimonials
- Description of services
- Sales copy
Learn more about how to create successful landing pages in Hubspot’s free ebook, “How to design and optimize landing pages.” it’s available for free download at the top of this article that showcases landing page designs.
Important information about landing pages
If you’re planning on advertising through Facebook (as this guide recommends), your landing pages must adhere to Facebook policies or they can get banned.
Before you create landing pages, be sure to understand Facebook policies and follow them closely, so you don’t end up running an add that brings people to a “This page has been banned” notice.
You can learn about Facebook ad rules by reading this article on Facebook ad policies first (for a plain-language explanation) and then heading over to the Facebook Advertising Policies page to be sure you have all the current information.
How to generate targeted leads with Facebook advertising
Once you’ve created your value ladder and landing page, you’re ready to begin generating a steady stream of leads for your business. One of the best ways to do that is with Facebook advertising that targets the exact audience you want your ads to reach.
Here’s how to create targeted Facebook ads
In this section, we’ll walk you through Facebook’s ad platform and show you how to create a target audience. If you’re interested in tips that help you to create the graphics, check out Neil Patel’s detailed guide called “Facebook Advertising Made Simple.”
Begin by installing a Facebook pixel on your website. It takes about 3 days for this to completely register in the system. So you’ll want to wait about 3 days before placing your ads.
You don’t have to install the pixel, but it’s very helpful because the tracking information is added to your Facebook Insights so you can learn what happens after visitors click on your ad. It also lets you tailor your advertising to a landing page format.
Here’s how to place targeted Facebook ads that generate quality leads for your business:
- Navigate to the Facebook Ads Manager from your personal Facebook page.
a. You’ll find the link at the very top of your page (the blue bar) by clicking the far-right arrow icon.
b. Scroll down the list of choices and find the “create ads” option. This will take you to the Facebook ads manager.
- Under the “Choose Your Objective” options, select “Traffic.”
- Name your campaign and click “continue.’
- Choose where to send your traffic by selecting the “Website” option.
- Do not select “offer ads.” Be sure that button remains in the default “off” position.
a. For now, ignore the “custom audience” feature and scroll down to “audience location.”
b. Locations: change the default to “People who live in this location.”
c. Type your physical address into the “included” section. Or choose an address or zip code that your business serves.
d. Choose the mile radius of the audience you’d like to target.
e. Select the age and gender of your target audience.
f. Ignore the “language” option unless you’re targeting non-native language speakers.
g. Detailed Targeting. This is where it gets fun! Select from a wide variety of options that describe your target customer. The more details you can provide, the less your advertising will cost and the higher chance you’ll have for reaching people who will buy from you.
Under “Browse” Interests>Fitness and Health>Bodybuilding (click the checkbox to add to your list).
Narrow your audience further by choosing two requirements instead of one. You can do that by scrolling down to “And must also match at least ONE of the following” and choosing another targeting option.
Demographics>Income>$125,000 – $149,000
You can continue to add more requirements by clicking on the “narrow further” text.
Then, exclude people who may not be a good match for your service. Let’s say that your clients are the “wine-and-scotch type”, but beer drinkers tend to avoid you.
Interests > Food and drink > Alcoholic beverages > Beer
Down the line, when you’ve built an active Facebook community, you can also choose to target people based on their interactions with your page. For now, you’ll probably skip over this part.
h. Click “Save this audience” to review and name the audience you’ve just created.
i. Optimization for ad delivery: choose “Landing pages.” If the box gets highlighted in red, it means that the Facebook pixel you installed on your website isn’t working yet.
j. Budget and schedule. Start out slowly so you can learn more about your audience and continue to tailor advertising for best results. Let’s set an imaginary budget of $5 a day using the targeting details listed above.
My estimated daily results from the example above (viewable in the right column) say that I’ll reach about 370 – 1,400 people a day with the parameters that I just set.
I figured out the average click-through rate for this industry in this helpful Wordstream article. So I’ll start by assuming a 1.24% click rate (rounded to 1%).
My goal is 5 new leads per day, and a good starting point for guessing what my lead conversion might be is 1% (that’s a very low rate but easy to use as an example).
So, in order to get 5 leads a day, I’d need 500 visitors a day. And in order to get 500 visitors a day, I need roughly 5000 impressions.
My current choices say that I’ll get about 370-1400 impressions each day on $5 a day budget. That’s lower than what I need and I’ll eventually bump my ad spend up to meet it. But for now, I’m going to start small as I learn how the process works.
So I’ll leave my target audience and budget the way it is, knowing that I’ll probably eventually increase it by another $5 or $10 dollars a day to reach my target goal of 5 new leads per day.
k. Choose your bid strategy and fill out the remaining bid cost options to fit your budget.
l. Review: Take a look at the information that’s now listed in the right column of your ad manager.
m. When you’re done, click “continue” to select your business page and begin creating the graphics for your ad.
One of the most common mistakes I hear from new Facebook advertisers is that they didn’t narrow down their audience enough. Take the time to browse through all of the options and apply as much detail targeting as possible.
Refer back to your buyer personals for a reminder of the personality traits you’re looking for. As you scroll over the different options, you’ll notice a popup box to your right that offers more details about your selected interest.
You’ve completed the hardest part of your digital marketing journey – getting set up. Here’s what you’ve accomplished:
- Gained an understanding of digital marketing basics
- Created the platforms you need to begin generating consistent leads for your business
- Created buyer personas and a value ladder that are assets to your business
- Setup your free local business Google listing
- Created your first Facebook ad campaign.
Here are a few final tips to help make the most of your investment:
- Improve your lead conversion rate by learning more about:
- Nurturing leads through email marketing
- Creating a blog with high-quality content that positions you as an expert in your field
- Building your social media community through engagement, customer service, quality content, and more.
- How to improve your sales page copywriting skills (“direct response copywriting”)
- Measure for success: Improve your success and ROI by taking advantage of Facebook Insights. It’s a free, user-friendly program that contains charts and data to help you understand what’s working or not working in your Facebook Ads.By continually measuring how well your ads are working, you can tweak them to become even more successful over time.
You’re now ready to launch your campaign and begin generating traffic that converts to leads and paying customers!
It’s a lot of work and no one goes through the process without becoming overwhelmed on occasion. How do most small businesses do it?
The majority of small businesses (80%) hire at least one agency, and lower cost consulting options exist for small businesses that are still ramping up. – Clutch.co, Small business marketing survey
You can do it your own,and keep your costs very low.
The key to success lies in planning and consistency. Pace yourself and set aside time daily to work on your digital marketing. It will take a lot of time and patience during the setup process, but you only need to do that part once. Afterward, you’ll continue at a steady pace, but it will take far less time.
Keep your eye on the prize. Remember how much time you invested in becoming an expert at what you do. Remind yourself of the value you bring to the table and that it’s worth your time and investment to attract new customers with digital marketing.
Generating a steady stream of daily leads for your business can change the course of your life and the lives of those around you.
Once you get through the initial process, you’ll have gained valuable digital marketing skills that you can apply to any future business you might open. You can also use your new skills to help your loved ones achieve their own dreams.
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