If you don’t have a product or service that can be sold simply over the Internet, you still can benefit from search engine marketing. Use search ads to collect sales leads.
Internet leads are just like leads you’d get from other kinds of advertising. They’re the contact information of people who want to know more about your company. While a strong sales pitch can be effective in persuading people to give you their contact information, offering something in return is more effective.
Everyone loves freebies, and the Internet and e-mail let you offer digital content, such as a newsletter or articles, at very little cost; you pay nothing for printing or postage.
The most common and successful offer is an e-mail newsletter containing useful info tidbits that will appeal most strongly to the kind of person you want as a customer. It might be something as simple as a promise to send them an e-mail alert when you’re having a sale, a special offer, or a special event. It might be occasional expert advice from a staffer or an industry leader. How-to-use newsletters can be very effective for hands-on products like tools, hobbyist equipment, and software — even those who haven’t bought yet will read the tips, because it gives them insight into what it’s like to actually use the product.
Of course, you have to follow through by actually delivering
Keeping in touch with customers via e-mail is an art: Send too many e-mails, and it’s annoying. Offer boring or irrelevant content, and they won’t open the e-mails.
Federal law requires you to offer subscribers an easy and reliable way to unsubscribe in the body of every e-mail, as well as a way to contact you directly, such as a phone number. When someone requests to be taken off your list, do it promptly.
When people sign up for your newsletter, you can ask them for a variety of information, from simply their e-mail addresses to a full postal address. Some companies ask people to check off a list of interests. For example, a veterinarian might provide a list of various kinds of pets. This information can be useful to you in targeting your newsletters to your readers’ interests.
However, the harder you make it to register, the fewer potential customers will take the trouble. The more information you ask for, the more incentive you must offer in order to get it. Some companies run contests as part of their online lead-generation activities. For example, everyone who registers might get a chance to win cash or a company gift certificate.
Online lead generation can be even more direct. If you have a local business, you can use the ads to persuade the customers to walk in. If you’re a restaurant or hair salon, buy ads on keywords people might use if they’re looking for a restaurant or hairdresser in their area, and then provide your address and phone number on the landing page.
To learn about landing pages for search ads, read Landing Pages that Land Business.