Plain-spoken Online Conversion Rate Newsletter - covering web design, sales, marketing, copywriting, usability, SEO, relationship marketing and consumer psychology.


7 Avenues to Customer Leads Online

Andy Sernovitz, CEO of GasPedal Ventures, is a pretty cool guy (and a friend). Besides suggesting you need more ice cream in your life, he also thinks you could use more business, work, contacts, leads, sales and traffic (to name a few). And he's doing what he can to help you get them. He's asked if I'll let him share these "Seven Strategies to Get Fresh Customer Leads Online" with you.

Oh, geez, Andy. Twist my arm! (He approaches.) Enough already. Okay! (chortle)

Seven Strategies to Get Fresh Customer Leads Online
by Andy Sernovitz

1. Reel Them In With Email

A well-written email newsletter delivers your focused sales message wrapped in valuable content that'll keep 'em reading week after week. Make it short and snazzy - a must-read for your prospects. Never doubt the power of repetition to close the sale. Better to have 100 prospects see your message 10 times than to have 1000 prospects see it once. Be creative in your content - anything worth reading, they'll forward to a friend.

2. Create A Word-Of-Mouth Machine

Install a "refer-a-friend" button on your Web site. You'll enable your interested prospects and enthusiastic customers to do your marketing for you. They like what you have to say, so make it easy for them to spread your word. Place a button on every sales page, letting them send your stuff to their bosses, customers, and friends while you capture the email addresses of everyone they refer.

3. Advertise For Free

Want free advertising on 1000 other Web sites? Build an affiliate program that rewards other sites for advertising your Web site and sending sales leads your way. These affiliate sites are paid only when the sale is closed, and you get all the advertising exposure at no additional cost. Best of all, there are great services that manage the entire affiliate program for you, so there's no paperwork at all.

4. Buddy Up And Double Your Leads

Choose a company whose product or service is the perfect complement to yours and partner up. Share customers - advertise on each other's sites, co-promote events and newsletters, recommend each other's products - and drive profits together. Consider hosting a joint online seminar featuring both of your products, and work together to bring in the buyers. You get twice the results for the work you would have done anyway.

5. Bait The Hook

Offer a teaser - a little taste of your product or service - to everyone who offers you their contact info. Give them just enough to show off your value, but leave them thirsty for more. Something as simple as a white paper, a Web seminar, or a product sampler leaves everyone a winner, and it'll grab their attention long enough to hear your pitch. Promote it right and you'll have your prospects forwarding your offer to their contacts.

6. Supercharge Your Surf

Rev up your interns and junior staff to create a hot prospect database. Set up teams to surf the Web for qualified leads and enter them directly into your sales database. Your targets are online somewhere. You'll be amazed at how quickly you've got the low-down on every marketing VP in the tri-state area, for example. And of course, it isn't the worst thing in the world if you happen to stumble across the customer lists of your competitors.

7. No One Can Resist A Contest

Everyone likes a sweepstakes, even executives. With a cool prize and basic promotion, you can attract thousands (or millions) to your site to register for a contest. Pick the prize that'll appeal only to the most qualified leads - i.e. offer a monkey wrench to build your list of plumbers. Put the offer on your home page, and capture each entrant's contact information. Then sit back, relax, and watch your prospect database grow.

*Bonus Concept

Do you really want more leads? Maybe you're better off selling more to existing customers instead. Make sure that your cost of chasing new customers justifies the effort.


Does any of this sound familiar? Good! And isn't it wonderful to know you've got company out there? Thanks, Andy.


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