Engage Your Website Audience

Written by Theresa Shafer. Posted in Lead Generation, Polls, tshafer

We all want it – an engaged and interested audience. Here are three easy ways to make your website more interactive and engaging to your audience.

1. Ask Questions

Asking questions is the best way to encourage questions. Maybe it is time to add surveys, online chat, office hours, or a blog post with questions to your site. An example is “Are you looking for advice?” with a “Request an Office Hour”

2. Add a Poll

People love knowing how they compare to others. Polls are common in online presentations. It may be time to add them to your website. One example is a community (www.bootstrappersbreakfast.com) that shares resources with their the “best of” polls. See one example about least productive hours of the work day

3. Provide an Assessment

Collect data from your audience and build an assessment with an online questionnaire or survey. See one example about website credibility

Content Creation for Thought Leadership and Lead Generation

Written by Theresa Shafer. Posted in Lead Generation, Thought Leadership

SKMurphy develops highly relevant and valuable content to attract, engage, and acquire customers. We help our clients organize and clearly articulate their experiences and insights in ways that generate inquires. We develop an editorial calendar that  complements SEO strategy and ecosystem partner relationships. We always consider audio, video, and animation options in addition to  leveraging public speaking events for lead generation.

Treat Prospects Well–Allow For Another Conversation

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Customer Development, Lead Generation

Treat prospects well, you always want to allow for the possibility of another conversation. This is especially the case in B2B markets where you are likely to run into them again. They may not remember you if you were polite and treated them professionally, but they are very likely never to forget you if you wasted their time or were unprofessional.

Niche Markets Are A Small Town

“Be nice. The world is a small town.”
Austin Kleon

Most of our clients operate in business to business niche markets where there are between roughly 500 to 10,000 possible customers. Some niches are smaller with perhaps a few hundred. This does not mean that there will only be a few hundred users (there may be hundreds of users just at one company) but it’s an indication of the size of  prospect pool.

Popular Startup Marketing Techniques Will Make You Unpopular

I have a problem with some of the more popular startup marketing techniques that involve fake landing pages,  surveys that offer no benefit to a prospect, and other techniques that simply waste a potential customer’s time without the possibility of offering them any benefit.

While I am not a fan of cold calling, if you are cold calling with an offer that you believe can help the prospect and that you can deliver on if the prospect expresses interest then this is at least potentially the beginning of a business relationship.

Treating prospects like you will never encounter them again is a poor idea, in particular when selling to businesses.

Related Blog Posts

Tips For Handling Referrals

Written by Theresa Shafer. Posted in 5 Scaling Up Stage, Lead Generation, Sales

Tips for Nurturing ReferralsNurturing Referrals Is Critical to Growth

Nurturing referrals is a critical activity for every entrepreneur. A referral is an introduction to a prospect with an endorsement. They come from shared success with your customers or colleagues, someone who knows your potential and can vouch for you or your team’s ability to deliver. These individuals are the best way for you to get new business.  However, it requires time and energy to build and maintain the relationships that foster referrals. When someone gives you a referral here are a couple tips on how to nurture it.

7 Tips For Nurturing Referrals

  1. Model your relationship after the Save-the-Children Sponsor Program: Pictures and Thank you Letters
  2. Be proactive with Thanks
  3. Communicate on Progress
  4. Keep Them in the Loop
  5. Manage their Reputation
  6. Deliver for them
  7. Be clear on service demarcation (small overlaps are better than gaps)

Three Key Things to Remember

  • They are sponsoring you
  • Reputations are hard to build and easy to dent
  • You are creating “customers in common”

Tristan Kromer left a comment: “It’s rarely possible to overdo follow-ups!”

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Networking and Referrals

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 4 Finding your Niche, 5 Scaling Up Stage, Lead Generation, Sales

This is a guest post on networking and referrals by Steve Moore of SPMSolutions.

Networking and ReferralsNetworking and Referrals

Networking and referrals continue to be the primary marketing strategy for many community-based small businesses (especially those with limited budgets). In contrast, many technology-oriented small businesses rely more upon on-line forums, social networking sites, user groups, etc. to reach potential customers. I sometimes wonder if more old-fashioned ‘schmoozing’ skills can help these companies get more customers–especially here in Silicon Valley?

Two Different Things

First, we need to remember that networking and referrals are really two different things:

  • Networking is the act of putting yourself in an environment to meet and interact with others.
  • Referrals happen when someone introduces you to a third party who might benefit from what you have to offer.

I guess it’s a little like dating. You go to a dance to socialize with others (i.e. networking) and hope to get introduced to someone with similar interests (i.e. a referral).Getting a referral from someone is very special. They are sharing their credibility by referring you to someone you may not even know. They are essentially validating that you are real, credible and can do what you say you can do. This short-circuits the sales cycle considerably. While some referrals are nothing more than warm leads others can be considerably hotter!

So how can we all do a better job of getting referrals?

  1. The first step is to get out there and show up where everyone else in your industry goes. Sure there are a lot of referrals made using emails and over-the-phone but many more are made during face-to-face meetings.
  2. The second step is to give more referrals! The old adage that ‘givers gain’ is so appropriate. Go out of your way to refer your customers, partners and associates to others who could benefit from their services. After awhile you’ll notice them reciprocating and everyone wins.
  3. The third step is to simply ask for them. It is amazing how many business owners shy away from ever reminding their satisfied customers that their referrals would be much appreciated. I would also take things further and make referrals a strategic goal instead of a casual thing that either happens or it doesn’t.

Certainly referrals should not be your only marketing strategy to get more clients but it sure seems like every other strategy takes more time, costs more money and rarely gets the results that a dedicated networking/referrals strategy does.

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Are You Generating iPod Fishbowl Leads?

Written by Francis Adanza. Posted in Events, Lead Generation

While at the Sales 2.0 Conference on Oct 30, 2007, I attended a panel presentation titled Lead Qualification & Cultivation. The complete transcripts are available at the Sales 2.0 portal, I have extracted Stu’s opening story to pair it with one of my own about iPod fishbowl leads.

Lead Qualification and Cultivation Panel

Moderator: Stu Silverman, CEO, SalesRamp

Panelists:

Stu Silverman’s opening remarks:

So let me first start off by giving my definition of the old way [of lead generation]. So we’ve got a $40 million early stage venture-backed company, maybe 12 reps in the field, no inside sales group. And you’ve got a good marketing group and they’ve gone to a tradeshow and they have acquired 400 leads from that tradeshow. So some of those leads are good of course, some of those leads are not good of course.

And then there’s the hundred or so that came from the fishbowl where you were raffling off the iPod and hoping to get a number of good quality leads from the iPod fishbowl leads as I call them.

So let’s say you come back with these 400 leads and what usually happens? In many companies there’s no qualification of those leads and they’re given to the field sales force. And then we all kind of know what happens there. The field sales reps start to call a few of them, they hit or miss and they then feel that the leads are really crap and then they don’t follow up with them. They complain with them and there’s enormous amount of waste of money and time and really significantly a lot of frustration between sales and marketing. So that’s what my example of the old way is and believe me it’s still going on.

IPod Fishbowl Leads

I recently attended the Streaming Media West conference. Just like Stu described it, almost every booth was an early stage venture-backed company with approximately six reps in the field and no inside sales group. These booths had the exact same lead generation strategy, raffling off an iPod for business cards. Having made this mistake before, I can confidently assume that at the end of the show, the marketing team feels ecstatic because they have acquired hundreds of leads. Of course, some of those leads are good, but most of them are not. So now what?

Back at the office each rep is given a stack of cards to start the cold calling process. Having been there, done that, this usually results with frustrated sales reps because of the enormous amount of wasted time and money spent on dialing for dollars. This could have been avoided if the booth people were more concerned with qualifying “real leads” instead of collecting business cards.

At trade shows, its not just the number of leads but the quality of leads. It’s a chance to have a conversation with a prospect, which is more difficult if you are drawing folks who are only interested in the iPod. As Stu coins it, “its not what is inside your funnel but what is moving through your funnel.” Startups do not have the time or the budget to waste trying to filter through hundreds of business cards. Startups are much better served using show floor time to qualify a hand full of serious prospects instead of wasting time afterward eliminating the prize entries.

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