There are numerous ways to drive potential customers to your business to generate sales leads. Traditional approaches have included tradeshows, direct-mail flyers, magazine ads, telemarketing, radio and TV ads. While these approaches can be cost-effective in some markets and industry niches, more and more, leveraging the Internet to capture sales leads is becoming the marketing strategy of choice.
As more and more people turn to the Internet for information and entertainment, online techniques have become much more cost effective as a lead generation tool. You can drive traffic to your website with search engine optimization, or through social media, or through well-placed articles and blog posts on industry-leading sites or even with a video on YouTube.
This article explores advertising, business directories and paid traffic as methods to generate sales leads.
Online Advertising Costs Versus Traditional Advertising
When we talk about advertising on the Internet, we are not referring to the expensive ads you see in glossy print magazines. With traditional advertising approaches, there is generally a significant upfront cost to create and distribute the ad. Your distribution costs are generally related to the number of viewers or subscribers to that medium, not necessarily the number of viewers that actually see your particular ad or take action after seeing it.
With online advertising, we’re generally talking about text ads and banner ads that are judiciously placed on relevant industry news sites, blogs and search engine results. The cost to create these ads is really insignificant.
With Internet advertising, there are two cost models: pay per view (PPV) where your cost is directly tied to the number of people who actually see your ad (just like traditional print advertising) or pay per click (PPC) where your cost is directly tied to the number of people who actually click on your ad.
There are numerous advertising networks on the Internet that can help you place your ad on selected news and blog websites. In this approach, you select the website that best meets your industry and geographic interests. Some ad networks are better for generating sales leads and others are better for search engine optimization.
All the search engines also provide advertising. Here, you select the keywords and phrases that prospects are using to search for products like yours.
With online advertising, you could literally be generating leads within a few hours! More importantly, you can track your ROI on a daily basis and make adjustments accordingly.
Why is PPC more popular?
If you do a keyword search on Google, for example, you will see two types of listings: websites that rank on the page as a direct result of search engine optimization, and, websites that have paid Google for the opportunity to display their text or banner ad. Google generally displays such ads on the right hand side of the page and the top three center positions of the page, but occasionally also puts ads on the bottom of the page.
Through advertising networks such as Google Adwords and Bing Adcenter, you can target your ads to people specifically searching for your type of product or service. You have the ability to target your ads and generate sales leads from searchers in certain geographic locations and/or searches during certain times of the week. Your cost can vary anywhere from ten cents per click to more than five dollars per click, depending on your industry and which keyword/phrase you choose.
The advantage of being local
The cost of PPC and PPV is generally lower for local search terms than national/international search terms; there is just less competition for “SPA treatments in Peoria” then “SPA treatments”. In addition, if Google or Bing knows which city the searcher lives, they will prioritize the search results to display advertisements for that particular city.
Do a search for local businesses and take a look at the Google search page closely. In addition to paid ads served via Google Search, and videos served through Google YouTube, there are also listings from Google Places. If you represent a local business, Google Places can put your business on page 1 of the search results.
You can submit your business details to Google Places for free. However, if you want to be at the top of the Google Places list, you need to do more work. Business Listing service can be easily outsourced.
Google Places represents just one example from the thousands of business directories on the net.
Paid Traffic, No Additional Work Required?
You can simply buy traffic. There are traffic services that will simply send thousands of visitors your way, and you can choose visitors from selected countries and industries. These providers generally have access to a large network of websites where millions of users would go to watch music videos, play games, see movie reviews and more. Additionally, they could have a large number of expired domains, which are essentially websites that have been converted to an advertising site. So essentially they redirect those users to your website.
It’s important to understand their methods to drive traffic. They will use a number of techniques to drive traffic to your site, including pop up and pop under ads, so understanding their methods can help you design a better landing page for generating sales leads. Although providers generally won’t admit this, the users they redirect to you could have been previously looking at gambling and pornography sites. Some traffic services encourage their registered users to click on websites in return for some kind of remuneration; this is called paid to click and such networks cannot be used on websites that host Google Adsense (Google Adsense penalizes website owners who generate false clicks on their ads).
Diversify, Measure, Adjust!
Do not rely on one marketing approach or one traffic generation technique. The Internet is constantly changing, and unlike traditional marketing approaches, the price and effectiveness of a particular method changes fast. Never put all your eggs in one basket!
Regardless which traffic generation methods you use, you need to measure their results to determine how effective they really are for you. Create a landing page for each traffic generation method and measure the number of visitors to the page, how many sales leads they generate and the conversion rate of those visitors to customers. Keep in mind that offering a free trial or e-book in exchange for the visitor’s e-mail address will increase your conversion rate in most cases.
Marketing Outfield offers you a broad array of lead generation techniques from outsourced marketing specialists. You could have someone create and manage your PPC campaigns monthly to consistently get maximum ROI; fixed price marketing services are available from outsourced marketing specialists. You could simply purchase traffic from a buyer-rated traffic provider, or, you could dominate Google Places with your local business listing. At Marketing Outfield you’ll find buyer-rated service providers that can help you achieve the most cost effective marketing for your small/medium business