How to Get High Quality Leads from Your Blog

Every business owner wants high quality leads. Your blog can help you get those leads, working on your behalf 24/7, 365 days a year to attract the perfect customers with money to buy your products or services. Here’s a case example illustrating how one of my clients is attracting high-value prospects by blogging about her work.

I Hate My Kitchen … Don’t Know What to Do

That was the subject line of an email inquiry my kitchen designer client received recently. The writer went on to say:

There is not much I like about my kitchen, and I would like to completely remodel and renovate it. I have some ideas but I believe I need help with the overall design — especially a more efficient use of space and lighting.

I have a 7.5 x 9 kitchen in a circa 1965 condominium, which puts some constraints on what I might do, but I was encouraged by the 9/9/13 article I retrieved from your web site, “Budget-Friendly Arlington Condo Kitchen Remodel.” (Emphasis added.) Your clients’ kitchen in that example looked somewhat like mine and my condo board is receptive to approving major renovations, including knocking down walls.

I am still in the initial stage of the renovation: I do not have a designer or contractor, and I have not decided on any vendors or suppliers. I have a decent budget and I am willing to make dramatic changes. Your design capabilities and offerings look like what I need.

Please call or reply if my project has potential.

The beauty of this lead is that it was generated directly as the result of an article my client had written and published more than a year earlier. It attracted the attention of this prospective client because it addressed a specific need he had at the moment he was contemplating a high-dollar purchase (kitchen remodeling services.)

Because of the way we optimized my client’s content, her article shows up high in search results for Arlington Condo Kitchen Remodeling. In fact, it is the #1 organic (unpaid) search result (out of 1,220,000 search results) for the phrase “Low Budget Arlington Condo Kitchen Remodeling”:

arlington condo kitchen remodeling

#1 Organic (unpaid) search result for “low budget arlington kitchen condo remodeling”

Not only does the link for my client’s article appear on page 1 of search results for this keyword phrase; but two of the photos she used to illustrate her Arlington VA Condo Kitchen Remodeling article also show up on page 1, giving her additional high-value backlinks to her website:

Arlington VA Condo Kitchen Remodeling

Blogging Establishes Authority and Trust

By writing in detail about one of her own kitchen remodeling projects and how she solved some specific kitchen design challenges for one of her own clients, my client’s blog article immediately establishes her as an expert resource for other condo owners living in or near Arlington, Virginia, who are eager to remodel their own cramped and outdated kitchens.

Blogging Pays Off

While many business owners resist putting time, energy, thought, and creativity into blogging about their business, this case example demonstrates that the investment in blogging can yield high-dollar results.

If you like the idea of having a system in place that works for you even when you are not working, a system that will funnel the right people to you at the exact moment they are ready and eager to buy what you have to offer, then a business blog is something you should consider.

Once you have eager, presold buyers reaching out to you and asking for your help, the sale itself becomes easy.

Want Help With Your Blog?

If you would like expert help setting up or structuring your business blog to attract high-value leads and more paying customers for your products and services, I can help … whether you just want a few hours of coaching, or someone to do the writing for you. I can be reached at:

(540) 729-4076 or by email at yvonne@herbstmarketing.com.

And if you live in Northern Virginia, Maryland or Washington DC and are planning to remodel your kitchen soon, call my client: Sandra Brannock, Expert Kitchen Designs, at (703) 801-6402. She will be happy to talk with you!

How a Mexican Restaurant in Missouri Boosted Revenues by $3,500 per week with a $30 Facebook Advertising Campaign

text message marketing success story

Text Message Marketing Success Story

3 Margaritas Restaurant in Fenton, Missouri wanted to increase business and revenues. They succeeded in boosting revenues by $3,500 per week by implementing a simple mobile marketing campaign. The same strategy can be easily set up and implemented by any restaurant.

Key Advantages of Mobile Marketing for Restaurants

When you build a database of mobile subscribers, you can send out short messages instantly whenever you like that can fill seats at slow times within just a few hours.
Read more »

Which Social Media Sites Work Best for Your Business?

Which social media sites will work best for your business?

Which Social Media Sites Will Work Best for You?

Are you a small business owner who is trying to understand how and where to promote your business on social media? Is there any way of determining whether your social media activities will yield real results and be worth the time you invest in social networking?

As the saying goes, time is money, so if you are going to invest your valuable time (or an employee’s time) in social media marketing, it’s wise to concentrate on just one or two social networking sites to start. As you gain experience and confidence, you might want to participate in more sites in the future.
Read more »

Website Project Questionnaire

Your company is unique. Therefore, your new website needs to be tailored to your specific needs, goals, and expectations.

We need to understand your business in order to develop an appropriate quote and scope of work for your new website.

The following questions will help you clarify your goals and objectives for your new website, and your answers to these questions will help us create an appropriate scope of work and quote for your project:

Business Information

  • How long have you been in business?
  • How do you currently attract new customers to your business?
  • Is there anything you are not currently doing to bring new business in that you would like to do more of?
  • Are you required to be professionally licensed in order to conduct business legally? If so, do we need to publish your business license information on your website? Can you provide that information to us?
  • What is your business address, phone number and email address?
  • Do you work from home?
  • Do customers come to you? Or do you go to your customers’ home or place of business?
  • Who is your competition?
  • Have you won any awards that you want to mention or feature on the website?
  • Do you belong to any professional associations? If so, do you want to include those membership logos on your website?
  • Do you have any social media accounts set up? Can you provide us with login information and URLs for each of your social media accounts?
  • What is your sales cycle?
  • What is the primary message that you want to communicate to your clients / customers?
  • Do you have any published customer reviews or testimonials that can be included on the website?
  • Do you have a convenient way to gather / collect customer reviews via your website?
  • How many people work in your company?
  • What do you sell?
  • What is your list of services??
  • What is your service area?
  • What distinguishes or differentiates you from your competitors?
  • What’s your tagline?

Project Information:

  • Do you have a website now?
  • What is your budget?
  • What is your timeline for getting the website completed and launched? How critical is it to have the website completed and launched by a specified date?
  • What problem do you expect the website to solve for you?
  • What are your expectations for the website? Including how it will look, how it will function, how you will maintain it, and what results it will deliver for your business.
  • What don’t you want?
  • Do you have any examples of other websites you like and would like to emulate? Where can we find those examples?
  • How many people will be participating / providing input into the website building process?
  • Will you be the sole decision maker or is there a group/ committee making the decisions?
  • If a group: How many people will be involved? How much time will they need to deliberate / make decisions at project milestones? How far along are you in the process?
  • Have you worked with another designer before? Why are you not working with your previous designer?
  • How involved do you like to be in the process?
  • Is your site meant to be a lead generator or an online brochure??
  • Who is writing the website content?
  • If you sat at your computer and did a Google search which keyword(s) would you expect your site to show up for?

Design

  • Do you have images you want to use on the website? Are you able to provide those images to us? Do you have copyright to use those images?
  • Do you have a logo?
  • What color scheme do you have in mind?

Technical

  • Do you have a domain name? Can you provide us with the login information for your domain name registrar so that we can direct the domain name to our hosting service?
  • Do you understand the distinction between a domain name and a hosting service? Do you need us to explain how hosting works and why it is necessary?
  • Do you already have a hosting service for your website? Are you willing to host the new website with our website hosting service?
  • How is your email configured? ?Do you have a Gmail account that you use? Can we use your existing email account or should we set one up? (We need this for Analytics & Webmaster Tools)
  • Working Style

    • What is the best method of communication for you? Emails, Skype, in person, phone? 

    Web Presence

    • What else do you need aside from a website?
    • Do you have social media accounts??
    • Do you plan on blogging?
    • Do you want training on WordPress?
    • Do you need a lead generating form set up on your website?
    • Do you want me to customize templates in an email platform to match your web design? If so, what email platform are you using or do you plan to use? Will you be able to provide me with the login information for your email platform account?
    • Are you interested in having us provide local search engine optimization services, Google adwords advertising and/or Facebook targeted advertising for your business?

    Get More From Your Advertising Dollars With Sales Funnels

    FauquierNow.com is a popular online newspaper serving the Warrenton/Fauquier County Virginia community. It is also a favorite venue for Warrenton/Fauquier businesses to advertise online. What these advertisers don’t realize is that their ads are not well-structured to convert visitors to valuable leads; therefore, they do not provide the best return for their advertising dollar.

    This article analyzes a few local business ads on FauquierNow.com and explains what I would change to bring about a higher conversion rate (i.e., lead generation) and make the ads as effective as possible.

    Sales Funnels Explained

    Structuring a sales funnel for your business is key to increasing sales and profits. The illustration below provides a simple example of a sales funnel and how it works:

    Sales Funnel illustration

    Effective online advertising

    As you can see from the illustration above, there are 4 key components of a sales funnel:

    1. Creating consumer awareness of your business through advertising.
    2. Capturing contact information through your ad (“lead capture”)
    3. Subsequent follow up communications with prospective customers who have responded to your advertising by providing their contact information.
    4. Sales resulting from your follow up communications with people who have indicated an interest in your products or services by providing their contact information to you.

    Poorly Structured Ads = Poor Conversion = Low ROI

    The ad examples below are typical of local business ads on FauquierNow.com and most other online advertising venues. Note how the ads click through directly to the advertisers’ websites. The problem is that the ad destinations (advertiser websites) are not structured to convert visitors into genuine leads.

    Latitudes Fair Trade Ad

    Town Duck Ad

    Shops at 5th and Main Warrenstock Ad

    How to Structure Ads for Better Conversion and Return on Investment

    Latitudes Fair Trade, The Town Duck and other Old Town Warrenton shops have formed a marketing alliance called The Shops at Fifth and Main. If I were in charge of marketing the Shops at Fifth and Main, I would start by making sure that their website(s) as well as all online advertising were structured to (a) provide a powerful call to action / incentive to provide a name and email address; and (b) set up and implement a follow-up marketing strategy using both email and text messaging to stay top of mind with their subscribers every week. Step 1 of the sales funnel might look like this:

    Call to Action and Lead Capture Example

    Call to Action and Lead Capture Example


    A Compelling and Irresistible Offer is Key

    In the example above, the irresistible offer is an opportunity to win a $100 gift certificate honored by any of the Fifth and Main Street shops in a monthly drawing. The $100 amount is high enough to generate interest and willingness to provide one’s name and email address for a chance to win the monthly prize. The long-term benefit of developing a highly-targeted list of local consumers who have given these shops permission to email and message them is well worth the short term cost of a monthly $100 gift certificate drawing.

    How to Fix Incorrect Google Local Search Listings for Your Business

    Google CitationThe Middleburg United Methodist Church was referred to me recently for help correcting their Google local listing.

    The problem began when the church created a new website for itself with a new domain name.The church website’s original domain name (middleburgvaumc.com) was never redirected to the new domain name (middleburgunitedmethodistchurch.org).

    When the church failed to renew the original domain name (assuming they no longer needed it because they had a new website) someone else purchased their original domain name.

    Subsequently, people searching online for the Methodist Church in Middleburg Virginia would find this local search listing:

    Middleburg United Methodist Church incorrect local search listing

    There were a number of problems with this listing:
    1. It linked to the outdated incorrect website.
    2. It displayed a nonsensical spammy description (Emergency Food flappy bird cheats flappy bird free download flappy bird, etc.)
    3. It displayed the wrong name for the church (Asbury Methodist Church).
    4. While the correct church website link displayed further down the page, most people would click on the first listing and then be confused.

    How We Fixed This Google Local Search Listing

    1. The church did not have a gmail address, so we set up a gmail address for the church.
    2. Using the new gmail address, we logged into plus.google.com and set up a Google+ profile page for the church pastor (a prerequisite for setting up the church’s Google+ Local page that is referenced in local search results for the church).
    Manage Google Local Page3. Using the church’s gmail address, we logged into plus.google.com, navigated to the Google+ Local page for the church, and clicked “Manage This Page” where prompted to do so.
    4. Once logged into the Church’s Google+ Local page, we edited the business information for the church to:

    • replace the incorrect website URL with the correct website URL for the church
    • correct the church name (it was listed as Asbury Methodist Church; we corrected the name to Middleburg United Methodist Church);
    • added a cover photo to the Google+ Local page that depicts the church exterior,
    • added photos of the church exterior and interior into the photos section,
    • added church hours in the hours of operation section.
    • 5. The church’s new website had a dead link to the church’s Facebook page. Since the church’s Facebook page provides another link to the church’s website which helps confirm and reinforce the correct website URL, we fixed the dead link to the church’s Facebook page in the website footer.

      Verifying the Church Google+ Local Page

      The final step in correcting the church’s Google+ Local listing was to get the listing verified by Google. Fortunately, Google allowed phone verification for this listing. (Often, Google does not offer the phone verification option and will only verify a listing by sending a postcard to the listed business address.) Phone verification is immediate and can save a week or more waiting for the Google postcard to arrive with the PIN number needed to verify the Google+ Local listing.

      Although the Google+ Local listing was updated on a Saturday, we had to wait until the church secretary returned to the office on the following Tuesday to receive the phone call from Google with the Google verification PIN number.

      Once the secretary was in the office, the verification process took just a couple of minutes. First, I logged into the Google+ Local page using the church’s gmail address. Next, I navigated to the Church’s Google+ Local page and clicked “manage this page.” At the top of the page was a message stating that the page needed to be verified. I clicked “Verify this page,” and then followed the prompt to have Google call the church office.

      I called the church office from my cell phone and instructed the secretary to have a pen and paper ready to write down the PIN Number that would be provided by Google when they called. Then I clicked “call now”.

      Google called the church office immediately, the secretary wrote down the PIN number, told me the PIN number, and I entered it into the designated box on the Google+ Local page, then clicked “verify”.

      Once verified, the new and correct Google Local+ Page for the church appeared in search results within 24 hours. Here’s what the correct listing looks like:

      Middleburg VA United Methodist Church Correct Google Listing

      Now people will find and be able to click through to the correct new church website when searching for “Middleburg United Methodist Church Virginia”. (Note: there is also a Middleburg Florida United Methodist Church; you have to specify “Virginia” to see the Middleburg Virginia United Methodist Church listing.)

      Lessons Learned and Suggestions

      1. When creating a new website for your business or organization, have a plan for moving the new website onto your original domain name or redirecting the original domain name to the new domain name.

      2. Make sure your Google+ Local page is set up and all business information in that page is accurate and complete. 95% or more of all online searches for local businesses and organizations are conducted through Google, so it’s essential that all information about your organization in Google is accurate and complete.

      3. Check your online listing score at Moz.com/local and follow the instructions there to complete and correct all other online citations / listings for your business or organization.