Starting a Small Business? Do You Know the Top 7 Reasons Why You Should Get a Website?

It used to be that the first thing a starting small business did for their advertising was to get a yellow pages ad (very expensive these days). While that is still a good thing most often new business owners overlook the power of the Internet, the power and the low cost of having a website. So how can a website help you? Here are just a few ways:

1. It gives your business more credibility. When a business has a website it shows the prospective customer that you are serious about your business and take the time and pride to show off what your business is about.

2. It allows you to show off the benefits and features of your new business. You have a chance to explain what your business is about. All the benefits your business has to offer, what will the customer get out of using your services or products, what will it do for them. Then you can get into the actual features on what exactly your business is offering, the specifics and technical stuff if you like.

3. Your prospective customers get to know you, your expertise and history in the About Us page. Getting to know you, and your company gives you a humane face. It helps your starting small business by giving confidence to your prospects simply by building a more personal rapport with them and ultimately helping them with the decision to use your services or products.

4. It’s up and operational 24/7 so anybody can look at it and learn about your small business any time. This is self-explanatory but important. People use the Internet at all hours of the day. You cannot be at your desk answering the phone 24/7, nor should you.

5. If you have an interactive website, and you should, customers can place orders or send in a request for quote any time. Wouldn’t it be nice to get to work in the morning only to find a couple of leads or even sales ready for you to process?

6. Use it as a simple way for people to find your physical location. This cuts down on you wasting your time explaining where the exact address is and how to get there. Have a Google map on your Contact Us page.

7. Best of all it creates many avenues for your starting small business to get much needed leads on a continuous basis with little maintenance. From my experience as a small business owner, I know we all want, need, and wish to get more leads. There are many ways to get leads but some of them are really expensive, others are extremely time consuming and some are both.

So when you start up your business, no matter how small, think about the Internet, people in your own community use it all the time so why not let them know right away that you are open for business by showing off your website.

How Can Small Businesses Squeeze More Sales Out of a Lead Generation Funnel?

The economic times that exist today are testing us all; whether you are a solo entrepreneur, home based business or small business owner. Despite all the doom and gloom, one thing that is for sure is that there will be survivors. The obvious first question is, “Who will they be?” The next one question would be, “What are they doing to make this happen?” While there may be the few who just get lucky, it is probably safe to say that the ones who do get through this and actually grow will have taken very deliberate actions to make it so. What then will these businesses do?

First of all, they will cut back on the costs of doing business without compromising the quality of the goods and services that they produce. This means that they will take the time to find vendors who are offering better prices, look for ways to streamline staffing costs (telecommuting, virtual assistants, cutting back hours), becoming more energy efficient (traveling less, lowering heating and cooling costs), find more affordable health insurance options and so forth. Once they have streamlined, smart businesses will continue to look for ways to get more for less while trying to increase the value that they provide to their customers.

The first place to get more for less is by finding more effective marketing strategies. It is crucial to note that the only type of marketing that should be cut is ineffective marketing. Existing marketing programs need to be evaluated for their effectiveness. Those that do not have a high ROI should be chucked and replaced with those that do. Effective marketing is essential for getting in front of potential customers as well as staying in front of existing ones. This is not the time to ignore your existing customer base. After all, it takes six times as much money to acquire a new lead as it does to market to an existing one. Smart businesses recognize that effective marketing is their lifeline to the future.

What is the best place to start? Small businesses that get organized and put systems in place to automate their marketing and sales processes will get a higher ROI. The best place to get started is by using a customer relationship management program (CRM).

CRM is much more than a contact management system although this is one of the functions that these programs can perform (sometimes they will coordinate with an existing one such as Outlook). CRM is in reality a combination of processes that organize customer and business interactions by providing a means to track all the customer information and then track what has been done with that information. It allows the various departments such as marketing, sales and customer service to be aware of the needs of any given prospect or customer and what needs to be done next.

What would this mean to a business that has a presence on line? It means that a prospect is able to fill out a contact form 24 hours a day/7 days a week. The prospect that fills out this form will now be tagged as a prospect in the CRM system. Depending upon the information that was checked on the form (e.g. newsletter request, product information desired etc.) the prospect will have additional tags that indicate the interests of these prospects. Depending on the type of form that was filled, the database may also now contain demographics such as age, location, occupation and so forth. All of these would be tags that help segment the list. The segmented lists will be connected to appropriate email follow up sequences that automatically send out information, education and marketing materials over a period of weeks, months or year.

This one capacity of CRM has enormous value. Consider that 80% of small businesses fail to follow up with prospects beyond three attempts and that it typically takes seven or more “touches” for a prospect to become a customer. The tragic end result for businesses that fail to follow up is that they are warming up their leads for their competition.

What else can a CRM system do? It will help a business stay in touch with their existing customers by automatically sending welcome messages, customer satisfaction surveys and marketing materials that create opportunities to cross and up sell.

It can also organize affiliate programs, billing and so much more.

A good CRM will be able to use multiple channels to communicate including: emails and newsletters, fax broadcasts, voice blasts, and direct mail post cards. An automated system is highly cost effective and efficient at generating new and repeat sales. CRM is also a time and energy saver and ultimately the best way to squeeze more sales out of any lead generation funnel.

How To Easily Acquire New Customers For Small Businesses

Making money has now become easier in the information age. The internet has opened up a whole new world of accessing and sharing data
between individuals or entities.

Without proper understanding, the internet can be very confusing and intimidating. That is why many small businesses do not own a website.

It is said that 60% of small businesses in the US with less than 100 employees have their own website or probably don’t want to own one.

The reasons may be;
· They don’t know what to do with it
· They can’t keep it updated
· It can be too confusing to keep up with the latest strategies
· They are too busy focussing on the business to bother

About their website and would rather pay someone else to do that for them.

Meanwhile, the internet is one big lead generator.

A lead is simply a prospective customer for your product or services.

There are resources on the internet of people who need and want your products or services. People who surf the net are constantly searching for solutions to solve their problems. If you can position yourself to answer their questions, you can become rich. The problem is the internet can be too chaotic to find anything unless you know What you are doing.

If you can get the website visitors into buyers, you can cash in big time. There are several companies which harness these internet surfers, find out what They really are looking for, get their details and give or sell the information to Those who have the solution to the problems of those surfing the internet. Most of these companies compile this data and sell them as lists of leads to firms Who need new business or who want to expand their customer base. Other companies rent their lead database to service providers.

If you would like, as a small business, to acquire customers without the expensive Way of advertising, you can consider buying or renting these leads from such companies. You need to acquire not just any leads but guaranteed quality leads. For example, if you are a plumber, you may want to get a list of leads of people who Have just bought or are about to sell their houses.

The new home owners may not have a contract with anyone just yet and you may just Be the solution to their problem of changing the bathtub to a better one, for instance. New home owners are targeted leads as opposed to home owners who may have Already created a good relationship with their plumber when they first moved in. It doesn’t matter what you are offering, you can get leads to expand your customer base.

Choosing The Right Mobile Apps for Small Business For Your Industry

With an already large and growing audience, mobile apps for small business is a smart investment to generate dozens if not hundreds of new leads a month.

What is the Major Criteria for the Right Mobile Apps for Small Business?

  • Connecting -It is a Goldilocks decision, has to be just right to be engaging and a real fit. In traditional advertising it’s more about audience share. Considerations include number of readers, viewers and listeners.

Mobile apps for small business takes a different mindset. It’s all about relating to and creating a dialogue or exchange with your customers and prospects. You can start with what you have and grow your audience rapidly from there.

  • Sharing – Engagement is the new objective for “like” marketers. Creating interesting and fun content with your audience is a surefire way for your mobile apps for small business to succeed. While that is important the “holy grail” for your mobile apps for small business is for those who engage to share your content with their circle of friends.

With the average Facebook user having 137 friends you only need 10% or more to share. Known as influencers your mobile apps for small business can quickly spiral into an enormous reach of thousands of interested prospects. For some it’s even millions!

  • Call to Action – While having fun is the frequent driver you’ll want to include a call to action that brings your audience one step closer to being a ready buyer for your products and services.

Here are some successful examples of mobile apps for small business that have carefully integrated an easy call to action.

• A florist who polls mom’s in advance what their favorite collection they would like to receive for Mother’s Day. They receive the contest results that makes it easy for them to share.

• A bar and grill restaurant who sends a free appetizer or wine coupon out on a typical slow night around lunch time when they know everyone is sure to be checking their phone. They include a restriction for groups of 4 or more which encourages even more sharing among friends.

• A health gym who promotes in their membership campaign a BMI (body mass indicator) tracker with points they can earn as they progress toward their choice of perks redeemable at the gym.

• A realtor who shares new below market listings to select real estate investors. This powerful mobile apps for small business shares an exclusive video tour with high resolution pics of key property features 72 hours before the property is listed to the general public. The last screen is an opt in for making a priority appointment request.

Type of Product or Service Is An Important Consideration for Mobile Apps for Small Business

  • Impulse buyers – Is there an entry point that engages immediate mobile traffic? The restaurant example above highlights how easy it is to relate to a naturally social and mobile product.

How about big ticket products? Think about giveaways or contests at open houses, test drives, new product demo’s, etc.

Consider the best timing that will reach a peak audience. Just make sure your mobile apps for small business is fun, interesting and something someone would want to share with their friends..

  • Knowledge – Is there more extensive information that must be gathered before making a purchase? Quizzes or trivia contests that position your product or service expertise favorably are excellent choices. Architects looking to finalize designs on a visible public works project may go with polling their fan base with a slide show before making their final pitch to the decision makers.
  • Experience – Does your opportunity create a memorable experience? How about the outdoor sports equipment store than could run a contest showing their fans posting their best mountain climbing pics. Participants get a 10% off coupon they scan from their smartphone at the store. Bigger prizes for zany categories. People love to share pics of fun moments they are having with their favorite hobbies or interests.
  • Social sharing – What about a contest that invites visitors to your Facebook business page? Just be sure you have fresh content on your page. After choosing to Like the page you are eligible for a drawing for a $100 gift card. Offer lots of lower cost or free incentives that drive traffic to your store or service to encourage even more sharing.

With mobile apps for small business you are only limited by your creativity. There are a growing number of great examples available for every industry that you can begin with. It doesn’t take long to be an expert with just the right mix of mobile apps for small business that fit your exact needs.

Exciting growth in leads and new sales can occur fast with smartly leveraging your mobile apps for small business investment.