Why leads are important to service businesses in Delaware, Maryland and Southeastern Pennsylvania
For owners and managers of service businesses, finding new customers is always job No. 1. After all, if you don’t have customers, you don’t make money. It’s not hard for business owners like you to see that new leads (and customers) are directly connected to profits. Because of this, lead generation is probably one of the most important things that you can do as an owner of a service business. You need to continually create and maintain a steady stream of qualified leads in order to stay in business.
How do you get more leads? You can get referrals from existing customers. You can build a great website. You can be active on social media. You can network at local business functions. You can run ads on radio, in newspapers, on billboards or in local magazines. These are all solid strategies for growing awareness and reputation. But no matter what you do, you must first and foremost raise the profile of your business. You need to be visible, easy to find and easy to connect. Awareness is critical, because as prospects start to notice your business, they also start to become familiar with your products and your services. As prospects become aware, the most qualified will also become curious about who you are and what you do. Solid leads will ask questions. They look for answers. They try to meet their needs. They opt in. They identify themselves. Every prospect who clicks on an ad, visits your website or reads an email form your business becomes a lead. Once you have prospects interested enough to ask questions, you can start the process of converting them into paying customers.
So how do businesses in Delaware and Maryland get started?
1. They make sure they are easy to find with SEO
It doesn’t matter how good your website is, if people can’t find it easily. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s focused on growing your visibility in search engine results. Effective SEO optimizes technical and creative elements in ways that boost rankings, drive traffic, and increase various search engines’ awareness of your URL and associated pages on your site. Everything from the words on you
r web pages to the way other sites link to your business’s site affects how search engines rank your site. The structure of your website and the dynamics of your online content need to follow ever-changing search engine guidelines in order for these same search engines to find your site, and rank it highly in your geography and in your business category.
Search engines want people to quickly find the right information. SEO rules weren’t developed to help you trick the system. SEO guidelines were developed to help match your website with the kind of people most likely to find your site, your business and your services interesting and relevant. Good SEO facilitates good content matches. That’s a win for everyone. The FMDi team is always monitoring best SEO practices, and is experienced in helping all kinds of businesses create and implement SEO plans.
2. Businesses invest in being easy to find
SEO helps people find your organic, or unpaid, listings. This means that when people search for your products or services, your name pops up as one of the best options. But you’ve probably noticed that search engines often feature paid listings at the top of each search engine page. These paid ads, sometimes called Pay Per Clicks, PPCs or Paid Search, are all part of SEM, or Search Engine Marketing. SEM refers to the discipline of creating, placing and optimizing paid listings within search engines. While SEO, or free listings, is the ideal way to reach customers, even with expert help SEO can takes months to pay off. SEM can ensure you show up in relevant searches immediately. Most search engine marketing is on a pay per click model – you pay based on the number of people who click through on your ad. In theory, with enough funding, you could be the number one listing for certain paid search terms tomorrow. In reality, you’re better off using experienced SEM marketers like FMDi who can advise you on the most affordable, and potentially most effective, terms to use. You’ll get better results without spending a fortune.
3. Make sure your leads land in the right place
Once you get a lead to click on your listing, were will they land? On your home page? Do you want them to see a special offer? Fill out a form? Win a prize? While website home pages may be good entry places for the site for some visitors, you may want to direct others types of visitors to specific offers or actions. FMDi can help you think through the process, and create special landing pages for short-time offers, or just for search engine visitors. Landing pages can look like special mini-sites, or appear as seamless extensions of your website. You choose the option that makes the most sense for your marketing objectives.
4. Make sure your local business listings are up to date
When people search for your business, or for businesses in your category, local business listings are often at the top of any search engine. If you’re not listed with them, or you listing is incorrect, your prospect may pass you by. Every individual directory you list on makes it that much easier for prospects to find you online. Search engines like Google, Bing! And Yahoo have extensive local business listings. You’ll also want to be listed accurately and thoroughly on sites like Whitepages, YP.com, Foursquare, CitySearch and more. FMDi is able to update all your business listings for a small fee, ensuring that people AND search engines find you quickly. Updating business listings is the first step in any serious SEO or SEM effort. And we also recommend you conduct periodic reviews of your listings, especially if any emails, phone numbers, addresses or branches have changed recently.
The bottom line?
Marketing and promotions can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive for small and medium-sized businesses. If you’ve got a business interest anywhere in the Delaware Valley, including Maryland, Delaware, Southern New Jersey or Southeastern Pennsylvania, we may be able to help. Contact us today to set up a free consultation.