Direct Response and Web Sites-Small Business Lead Generation

One of the most important elements to small business success is lead generation because without leads you can’t increase sales. So where do you concentrate your lead generation efforts?

Get Qualified Leads One at a Time with Direct Response

I’m going to make a bold statement: Direct response is the most effective and affordable ways to generate leads on a one-on-one basis. Let me qualify that statement. Direct response is the most effective and affordable way to reach clients one-to-one if you:

  • know your target market
  • attach benefits to your features
  • understand your competition
  • identify your competitive advantage
  • can write your direct response package in a clear and convincing way

Understanding all that means you can have an effective direct response campaign. No doubt, knowing a few tips about direct response copywriting will help by boosting your response rate. For instance, your heading makes or breaks your campaign. It’s the biggest predictor on whether your prospect ill read it or toss it in the garbage.

Forget about where you’re located or how many year’s you’ve been in business, or describing every detail about your product. Yes, your potential consumer clients want to know a little about the features, but for every feature your product or service has, they want to know far more about the benefit. They consistently and continuously ask themselves, “What’s in it for me?”

A specific call to action, and creating a sense of urgency helps too. It seems most of us are basic procrastinators. If you don’t tell us what to do, and you don’t make us believe we need to do it today (with specials, limited-time or quantity discounts, etc.) we probably won’t do anything at all.

And by the way, a P.S. increases response rates too. It’s the second most-read line in your direct response copy. It should restate your main benefits, call to action and special offer.

Generate Masses of Leads with a Small Business Web Site

But direct response isn’t the only effective way to reach clients affordably. It may be the best way to reach potential clients on a one-on-one basis, but did you know a small business web site is one of the best ways to reach masses of potential clients?

Affordable? That depends. Some small business owners I know personally have paid lots of $$ for their web site. It may be a mistake to pay big bucks for a small business web site when a simple 5 page static site will do. After all, it’s not the design that produces results but rather the copywriting.

Copy for your web site follows the same basic rules as direct response copywriting, but with a few important differences:

  • web site copy is shorter because internet readers are generally impatient
  • include lots of free information because readers are searching for information
  • avoid the hard sell–it doesn’t work online
  • write with your readers in mind, but take search engines into account as well
  • include a way to capture email addresses as lead generation

Effective? That depends too. A web site is only effective if it can be found. And to make sure it’s found you need to know a little about search engine marketing (SEM). A good discussion about SEM is beyond the scope of this short article. But, here’s a few tips:

  • write web site copy around keywords, including headings and titles
  • promote your web site online by publishing articles, joining forums, and listing in business directories
  • try Google AdWords
  • promote your web site offline
  • content, content and even more content
  • update content often

Increase Their Interest Level with Direct Response Pointing to Your Web Site

So, direct response generates leads one-to-one, and a web site reaches the masses. What if you combine them?

Direct response and web sites work very well together to generate leads and close sales. You could create your direct response with a call to action to visit your web site rather than asking directly for a purchase. Your web site includes copy that is different from, but related to your direct response package.

Your web site call to action could be any of a number of things. You could use it simply to generate more leads through capturing email addresses. Or you could be the “information guru” on some subject your direct mail recipients would be interested in. Or your web site call to action could be directly asking for sales.

The point is that the purpose of both is to generate leads and to have some way to convert those leads to sales. There are many different ways to close sales. Follow up brochures can be very effective for instance. But possibly using both direct response and your web site solely to generate leads is less effective than using one to supplement the other as a sales tool.

Turning Knowledge Into Home Business Results

Just the Facts Please

Running a quick Google search will confirm the existence of a vast array of resources for the home business owner. Books, CD’s, training courses, coaching programs, seminars, and conferences provide information from “How to Start a Home Business” to “Building the Best Home Based Business”, all designed to assist you to achieve business success. These tools have their place. Business building is a challenging proposition and it makes sense to listen and learn from people with a proven track record. However, the most important business resource available is often overlooked in the rush for answers. Here’s a question for you: Does attending 5 seminars instead of 2 increase your chances for business success? How about this one – Does signing up for 3 gym memberships mean that you will achieve peak fitness? Of course the answer to both of these questions is ‘No’. While a gym membership may be a useful tool for accomplishing your fitness goals, the real key to becoming fit is to develop an intelligent fitness routine and then follow it consistently. Similarly, the real key to creating the best home business lies in putting together an effective plan and then taking action to make it happen – it’s really that simple.

Knowledge, Knowledge Everywhere

While the abundance of business related training resources provides access to a wealth of useful information, many entrepreneurs discover this is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, increasing your knowledge of business development strategies and tactics can help you to avoid mistakes and make good decisions right from the start. But, on the other hand, stuffing your mind with gobs of information can create information overload – some would use the phrase “drinking from a firehose” to describe this experience. Information overload can cause an otherwise intelligent and capable person to either become overactive and spread themselves way too thin to be effective, or to simply stop taking any action all – paralysis by analysis.

It’s All In Your Mind

So, how does the motivated home business owner learn how to take advantage of great information resources without getting overwhelmed with data? Let’s return to the subject of fitness for a moment. We have already established that just having gym memberships will not produce a beach body – the ingredients needed to accomplish your fitness goals are an intelligent plan and consistent action based on that plan. We have also identified the key to development of your successful home business lies in putting together an effective business plan and taking appropriate action based on that plan. Well, there is one more critical piece of the puzzle that needs to be in place to bring all of this to life in your business. And that critical ingredient is (drumroll here): your mindset. Yes, The final determinant of business success lies right there between your ears – not in ANY training, information resource, or coaching. While these resources can add value to your business, the workshop of your own mind is where all of that great knowledge is processed and converted into a plan that works for you.

Gimme 3 Steps…

So, let’s put this most important of business assets to work for you Pronto, and here’s how:

First, get a picture in your mind of what your lifestyle will look like when your successful business is in place. Seriously. Get that picture in your mind right now, it will serve as an anchor to keep you on track without being derailed by information overload.

The next step is to identify the top 3 actions you need to take today to move yourself toward that picture. Write these actions down on a piece of paper and keep it with you all day. This exercise will help you to stay grounded on the important tasks you need to take right now to make progress toward your desired future.

The final step is to keep these goals ‘top of mind’ throughout your day. If you find yourself becoming distracted and spending unfocused time on non-essential activities like web surfing, email, TV, movies, or even getting wrapped up in business training that does not contribute directly to completion of one of your 3 daily tasks, immediately recall that picture you created in the first step, review your tasks for the day and TAKE ACTION on whatever you have not yet completed.

Repeat this 3 step process daily and you will be amazed at how quickly your results will multiply!

Your Business Reputation: Something to Talk About

The phrase “His name is mud” came from the story about a man named Samuel Mudd who was thought to be a co-conspirator in Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. His conviction was later overturned, but nonetheless, the phrase stuck with him and for more than a hundred years later.

How do you want to be thought of or remembered? It’s really within your control how you will create lasting impressions. The best way to secure a solid lasting business reputation is to adhere to a code of conduct of how you live your life. Take a long hard look at yourself; your ideals, values, and beliefs. These are the essential principles that dictate how you will conduct your business.

If you follow these steadfast business rules your business reputation will be at the top of its game:

• Always offer over-the-top service.
• Be on time. If not, let someone know pronto.
• Keep your promises – always. Otherwise, don’t make them.
• Pay on time. If you can’t, negotiate with your vendors. Least of all, don’t hide.
• Take care of your employees and they will take care of you.
• Admit your mistakes and move on.
• Learn to say no.
• Speak less than others. But when you do make it count.

You may say, “These rules are easy!” If they were so easy then why do so many businesses fall short of them? It’s because too many business owners reject the idea of ‘living’ a sound set of principles or standards. They fail to understand that a business reputation is more than a chart or the bottom line of your financial statement.

As business is about people so is your business reputation. People don’t care what your bottom line says as long as they feel they can trust you. They don’t care if you’re the size of Dell or McDonald’s. Your customers value you as a local business as much as the largest online company. They will listen not only to online reviews but to what their neighbor or fellow church-goer has to say about you and your business.

When you follow these simple rules they will make a difference in three areas: how you are seen by others, how your employees see you and how you feel about yourself. And believe me, how you feel about yourself and your business will dictate what others see.

It takes years to build a decent business reputation. It’s similar to building a close friendship – founded on trust, honesty and loyalty. As you grow and your business matures your may or may not be the richest woman in the neighborhood but you will be at peace with yourself. The objective in life is not only to make a pile of money but to get pleasure from the journey towards your goals.

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