5 effective online lead generation strategies
Lead generation strategies
In the last blog we talked about how online lead generation can help your business. In this blog, we’re going to look at some proven online strategies that will help you generate and quantify new leads.
Special offers –
Everyone loves a special offer, and whether you’re offering money off your products or services, BOGOFF deals or free gifts, you’re bound to get leads. Shout about your special offers on social media and also invest in boosting your social media posts, as well as using Pay Per Click advertising
By offering a free prize draw or a competition that involves a task or answering questions, you’ll get more brand awareness. The more impressive the prize, the more likely it is that you will get more engagement on social media, including shares. And whilst the majority of the people entering the competition will only have their eye on the prize, you are making more people aware of your brand, and will get lead generation as a result.There are loads of online strategies that you can do to generate and quantify new #leads. #leadgen Click To Tweet
Many B2B companies offer free information in the form of reports, but in return ask you for your details. The advantages are that you can keep this on your website for as long as you want, meaning it’ll be ticking away in the background at all times, and because it will only appeal to people genuinely interested in the information, so the leads are more likely to be fruitful ones.
One way of getting new leads is to host a webinar. It’s particularly useful as you will reach a much wider audience than would normally be able to attend events physically held at your premises, or going to see you do a presentation at networking events (many of which are members-only).
Another way of engaging potential clients and customers with a view to generating leads is by encouraging people to sign up for your regular newsletter. If you make your newsletters interesting and engaging enough, your potential clients are more likely to read them, and therefore will be more likely to take up offers.
What is online lead generation?
Lead generation is vital for business. Without new leads your company is never going to expand its client base.
A lead is someone who shows an interest in your company, whether that’s through signing up to your newsletter, or making an enquiry about your products or services.
Lead generation is a way of attracting people and encouraging them to engage with your business, with the ultimate aim in getting them to buy from you. Leads can be generated in a number of ways, although many techniques can be frustrating for your potential customers who find them annoying or invasive, i.e. telephone cold calling, junk mail, advertising etc.
Online engagement and lead generation
Social media has enabled many companies to build leads organically. By raising brand awareness on a regular basis through tweets, posts on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, the aim is to get people interested in you and see you as an expert in your field and, as they become more familiar with your brand, get to trust you more and more. Eventually, this should lead to further interaction, with the ultimate intention that they will become paying customers and brand advocates.Lead generation is vital for business. Without new leads your company is never going to expand its client base. #leadgen Click To Tweet
Content marketing, particularly blogs, is an excellent way of building up enough organic interest in your brand to begin generating leads. Not only does posting regular blogs ensure the search engines are more likely to rank your brand higher in the results, they also help people gain trust in your company – so if you want to position yourself as an expert or thought leader, write considered blogs that show you know what you’re talking about. This can be done by commenting on industry news and events, giving free advice to potential clients, talking about some of the challenges you’ve faced (and overcome of course!), or writing case studies.
If you need to create leads more quickly, online advertising, handled correctly, can be hugely effective. Whether it’s on Google, Facebook, Twitter or any other platform, choosing the right keywords and parameters can really pay off, often for a surprisingly reasonable outlay. Just make sure that your advert links to a landing page that makes it easy for customers to buy; directing them to the wrong landing page will result in a high bounce rate, fewer sales and poor ROI.
In the next blog we’ll look at specific ideas about how to increase online lead generation. But in the meantime we’d be very happy to talk to you about your online lead generation needs. Call us on 01992 582 824 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We heart this new website
East Anglia Cardiology’s new website is amazing!
We have not been working in vein – another website has just been launched from the chamber of Cariad’s website development team (they certainly have their finger on the webdev pulse)! This time on behalf of East Anglia Cardiology who provide mobile cardiopulmonary disease services for small animals.
Our client didn’t need a large website, but did want it to be bold and simple in design, fast and easy to use, as well as fully responsive. The use of black and white images, with splashes of the company’s logo red give the whole site a classic look and reassuring feel.
One of the main tasks of the website is to sell the company’s innovative ECG/EKG electrode clips, Comfy Clips, which have been designed to be easy to use for vets at the same time as reducing discomfort for their feline and canine patients. The website therefore needed an online ordering and payment facility with PayPal, which we configured to show stock levels. As a specialist product, the clips are sold around the world, which meant we also had to configure the payment facility to calculate the appropriate shipping costs at the checkout.
About East Anglia Cardiology
East Anglia Cardiology is run by vet Paul Smith who specialises as a small animal cardiologist. Paul travels to veterinary practices all over East Anglia to monitor and treat cats and dogs with heart and lung diseases. He carries his own specialist equipment around the region so he can undertake ECG monitoring, echocardiography, blood pressure measurement, and bronchoscopy. Being on the move like this enables him to charge pet owners less than those referred to specialist centres, and without the need to transport the pet any further than the local veterinary practice.
As a specialist in veterinary cardiology, Paul realised that an alternative to the usual alligator clips was needed for small animals, and in 2009 commissioned the development of Comfy Clips. Designed especially for use on cats and dogs, the Comfy Clips reduce discomfort to the animal, and there is no need to clip the fur. He oversees the manufacturing process himself and sells the clips direct to veterinary practices which is why it’s so important that he has a good website.
Robex new website
We’ve got it covered!
When it comes to the launch of a new client website, our website development team have got it covered. This time for Robex Contracting which specialises in the manufacture and installation of epoxy resin and anti-slip floor and wall coatings. They already had a new website, but approached us to ask us to upgrade it because it wasn’t doing the job they wanted it to do. They wanted the website to work hard in order to increase organic traffic to the website, generate leads, build relationships with clients and potential clients and raise brand awareness.
We also advised that the Robex website needed an SSL certificate which would not only give added security to the website, but also help boost the company’s Google rankings.
Far from being floored by the brief, our team excelled themselves (as usual of course). They have produced a stunning website that is a clean, fresh design, as well as being user-friendly,
fully responsive, and makes the most of the client’s high quality product photography. It was also fully optimised by our SEO team.
Based in Hitchin, Robex is an industrial floor, wall and roof coatings contractor. The company has developed and manufactured its own products for many years, then in 2003, set up Robex Contracting to answer the demand from customers who wanted an application service as well. Since then the company has worked on projects for many industries, including hotels and restaurants, car parks, manufacturing plants, leisure centres and tourist attractions.
Their high profile clients include London Zoo, Wembley Stadium, Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club, the British Museum, Britvic and Fullers Brewery.
It doesn’t matter if the job is large or small, Robex is happy to undertake it. From repairing a swimming pool floor or installing anti-slip GRP tread covers onto fire escape steps, to replacing an entire warehouse floor or coating the roof of a manufacturing facility.
The quick drying properties of Robex products enable Robex Contracting to minimise and even eliminate the the disruption to staff and customers. Contractors work over weekends and often overnight to enable them to get the work completed after the close of play on one day and before work resumes the following morning, ensuring business continuity.
If you would like to talk to us about improving the SEO and user experience of your current website, call us on 01992 582 824.
How to write awesome marketing copy
Marketing is a much more subtle (and cheaper) form of advertising. When people are reading your newsletter / leaflet / email / website, they understand your ultimate aim is to get them to spend money on your brand, but they are generally still willing to go along with it… as long as you don’t have too many overt sales messages in it.
Awesome marketing copy is a subtle blend of interesting and useful information written in an engaging way in order to foster interest and help increase brand loyalty.
How do you do that?
Bear in mind who’s reading your copy –
The first thing you have to do is put yourself in your target audience’s shoes so you write copy that will be interesting and informative to them, not necessarily to you. Whilst you know every last detail about what you’re selling, don’t assume that everyone else does too. After all, you’re not interested in the minutiae of other brands, so why should they be of yours?
Assume they know nothing about you –
Forget you find your business is the most interesting thing ever and you’re fascinated by every teeny tiny detail, do you honestly think that other people are going to be that engrossed in it too? Or let’s put it another way – are you all that interested in the minutiae of theirs? Of course not! So don’t blind them with science or bore them with details. You’re trying to position yourself as the trust expert satisfying the needs of clients who are looking to you for guidance. So keep your copy short and simple (but not simplistic).
Don’t be salesy –
If every newsletter, email or social media post you write is an obvious sales message, you’re going to lose readers quicker than Road Runner outwits Wile E. Coyote. When you’re writing about things that are not even about your products and services, what you’re doing is engaging people and making them more interested in you – and if they like you, they’ll take an interest in your brand. If you’re sending out a newsletter, for instance, keep the sales message to an absolute minimum and produce something that will be of genuine interest to the reader, otherwise there’s no point in spending all that effort producing it in the first place. Write a short report on an item of industry news and comment on it, or something that’s happening locally, or write news about what your staff members are getting up to, especially if they’ve been involved in charity work or fundraising.Awesome marketing copy is a subtle blend of interesting and useful information written in an engaging way in order to foster interest and help increase brand loyalty. #copy #copywriting Click To Tweet
Keep it credible –
Trust is a vital element in brand loyalty, so always write truthful, honest copy in order to position yourself and your brand as authoritative, responsible and principled.
Tell them what to do next –
When someone’s finished reading your copy what would you like them to do next? Do you want them to ‘click here for more information’, ‘click here to buy/book’, or ‘sign up for your newsletter’ etc? If so, instruct them what to do and make it easy for them to do it. If you hyperlink the ‘click here’ to the wrong page, people won’t bother to look for the right page.
Ask Cariad to do it for you –
OK, so yes, this is my call to action bit. So if you’re not interested in getting in touch click here to see a photo of a cute puppy instead. On the other hand, if the thought of writing website copy, newsletter copy, social media posts etc makes your head spin, ring us on 01992 582 824 to see how we can help.
Winner winner chicken dinner! *
What a brilliant year we’re having – and it’s still only just half way through! Last night we celebrated not one but two wins at the SME Hertfordshire Business Awards.
Our apprentice, Rory Welch, was crowned Apprentice of the Year, and MD Justine Perry won the Business Person of the Year. It probably won’t surprise you to learn there are a couple of sore heads in the office this morning…
We nominated Rory for the award in secret, so the first he knew about it was when he got a letter letting him know he was through to the final. He was surprised then, and even more surprised when his name was announced on the night. Officially his reaction is of “delighted disbelief”, but it’s probably more accurate to describe him as ‘gobsmacked’!
Justine was a little less surprised to be announced as winner of the Business Person of the Year as she was the only finalist listed. But still, she was worried about the possibility that they’d announce that no-one had won it, so didn’t fully start celebrating until the trophy was in her hand… but as you can see, she celebrated hard!
After a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast, she was able to put her thoughts into words: “I’m beyond thrilled to have my own achievements recognised in this way. It’s a great validation of my ethos and business model as well as the success of my company. I have some very exciting plans for Cariad’s future and am looking forward to what happens next.”
And what’s one of the first things that’ll happen next?What a night! Our apprentice, Rory Welch, was crowned Apprentice of the Year, and MD Justine Perry won the Business Person of the Year. On to the National Awards which will be held at Wembley Stadium! #bringiton #SMEAwards Click To Tweet
They’re in the National finals
The best thing about the win is that Rory will get another chance to wear the new suit he bought especially for the occasion. As regional winners the pair are both through to the SME National Awards which will be held at Wembley Stadium in December. We wish them the best of luck and have everything crossed for two more Cariad wins!
* Well, actually it was a beef dinner, but that doesn’t rhyme!
Why good writing is essential for visibility in search engines
If you want to improve your company’s SEO and help it come top of the Google searches, your website’s user experience must be a good one. And that includes the quality of your copy.
Google has got quite a few ‘demands’ about your website copy if you’re writing with SEO in mind, and they make comforting reading for writers, grammarians, and those who appreciate the well-crafted word, because good writing is essential to succeed in acquiring visitors from Google search.
Web content should be original
You know that lovely cut and paste function that’s generally so useful? Don’t use it! Google only responds to original content. You can look for inspiration from other websites, provide hyperlinks to them, and use short quotes from them, as long as you make sure they’re reputable sites that’s fine. What you mustn’t do is use what is known as ‘scraped content’, i.e. taking copy from another website and posting it on your own. The all-seeing Google knows when you’ve tried to cut corners, or found a nicely written paragraph on someone else’s website and decided to appropriate it for your own (which is also an unethical practice).
There are times when you want or need to use the same information on different pages of your website, but even though you’re using your own words on your own site, by not having original content on each page, you’re harming your chances of being found. However boring it is to rewrite the same thing five or six times (and believe me, I know only too well how painful that task can be!), if you want to be noticed by Google, then there’s no way around it – you’ve got to find lots of different ways of saying the same thing!
Website content should be relevant
There’s no point in writing about penguins if finance is your core business. Whilst you’ll engage your followers on social media by tweeting about, say, #NationalPenguinDay (25 April in case you’re interested!), if you’re trying to sell your bookkeeping skills on your website, you must write about bookkeeping so Google picks it up… and to make sure your potential clients know what you’re selling!
Content should be fresh so keep posting!
Google’s Search Index is constantly evolving to reflect the new content that’s being posted all the time. Therefore, in order to stay ahead of the game, you too have to constantly post new, original, readable content that people will easily understand and enjoy. No pressure then!Google only responds to original #content. You can look for inspiration from other websites, provide hyperlinks to them, and use short quotes. #SEO Click To Tweet
Don’t stuff your website content with keywords
Google’s webmaster guidelines state that searchable content should be written for the user, not for the search engine. Therefore, what they term ‘keyword stuffing’ (i.e. filling the page with too many keywords whether or not they fit in with the copy) is not acceptable. In my experience, not all keyword search terms are a natural fit when you’re writing an article. So your keywords may well be “digital marketing Hertford”, but try putting that into a sentence and make it sound seamless! Thankfully the latest Google rules have been kind to copywriters by lessening the reliance on keywords and phrases – the quality of the writing is now more important than repeating the keywords.
Hyperlinks can also be used less than they used to. It they’re a natural extension of the copy then fine, but writers no longer need to to invent reasons to include hyperlinks in the text just so they have the right number of them. This, again, is good news for copywriters who, with more opportunities to craft great copy can now make it readable as well as informative and relevant.
The main thing to remember about the rules of SEO is that they’re fluid and Google will change them all the time. So if you want to stay ahead of the game, you’ve always got to be aware of what Google is up to by checking the webmaster guidelines on a regular basis, or using a specialist digital marketing agency with content marketing specialists plus Google Partner status, like, ahem, Cariad!
Why you’ll fall in love with Cariad
“Cariad” is the Welsh word for love and is a great representation of our company ethos. We love what we do and our clients love what we do too! You can see it in our logo which has merged the infinity sign with a love heart to show that once you’re smitten with Cariad, you’re going to stay smitten! Furthermore, if you look closely, you’ll spot the Cariad Marketing initials in the logo too!
As February is the month of love and we are celebrating our 9th anniversary (pottery and willow apparently), we’ve been looking at scientific studies about love in order to check that we’re on the right path.'Cariad' is the Welsh word for love and is a great representation of our company ethos. We love what we do and our clients love what we do too! #LOVE Click To Tweet
Reciprocal liking is a psychological way of saying that when you know someone likes you, you’re more likely to like them back, and this mutual liking can blossom into love. Aw!
In the words of Cariad’s MD and founder Justine Perry, when it comes to staffing: “We recruit people who love what they do and do what they love. By taking on the right people with the right attitude and making sure they’re motivated and happy, they’ll keep our clients happy too!”
And we’re happy to report that Justine’s cunning plan has paid off! As a company, Cariad has formed long-term relationships with the majority of clients, and they have demonstrated their love for us in the form of referrals and testimonials. In the 9 years that Cariad has been trading, there has been steady growth in the number of new clients coming on board every year, with a parallel growth in the number of team members working at Cariad Towers. In fact, we have welcomed so many new clients into the fold recently, we’re currently on the lookout for new staff, so there’s lots more love to go round!
Scientists and existentialist philosophers alike tell us that authenticity is a key element in love because it makes for a better connection. These are qualities we like to foster with our clients as we firmly believe that openness and honesty create trust. If a client wants us to do something we don’t think will work, we’ll be upfront about telling them and explain why. Apart from being the right thing to do, this kind of authenticity fosters respect, which makes for a much better working relationship.
You want each other to do well
When it comes to a successful relationship, the boffins talk about compassionate love: “concern for another’s welfare and taking actions to promote it, regardless of whether those actions are perceived to result in future benefits to the self”. In other words, people in love do nice things for each other simply because they’re in love!
We like to embrace this spirit of altruism with our clients for the simple reason that we care about them. It makes us happy when clients do well, so if we come across ways we can help them succeed beyond our contracted work, at the very least we’ll make sure they know about it. Whether it’s a referral, a PR opportunity, helping out with charity fundraising, or voting for them in business awards, our aim is to help them to do better.
This year, to celebrate our 9th birthday, we’ve launched a competition to offer free LinkedIn social media training to 9 Hertfordshire businesspeople. By sharing our skills and expertise, we hope it’ll help other companies do well. And, nope, we don’t expect anything in return, we’re just passing the love forward! The closing date is 23rd February and the workshop will take place on 28th February: find out how to enter.
Why being an award winner is great for business
We were delighted to begin the new year with the news that we have been shortlisted for Digital Business of the Year in the FSB East of England Awards. Over the years Cariad has won many awards so we know a thing or two about how useful they are when it comes to boosting business. The advantages aren’t just confined to being a winner, you can use being listed as a finalist to benefit your business too.Winning an award can be an excellent way of getting free publicity for your business Click To Tweet
Saves you hiring a business consultant
Winning, or being chosen as a finalist for a business award is great in terms of your business strategy. Awards are judged independently by business people who have proven success in their field (our MD Justine, having won many awards is now often asked to be a judge herself). If independent experts think you’re doing well, then you’re doing well! Being shortlisted for an award isn’t just a chance for you to dress up and smile for the camera, it’s a genuine indication that you’re doing business right.
Use the judges’ feedback as part of your business plan
Conversely, if you don’t even get to be a finalist, that’s also valuable feedback about your business. What is it that you’re not doing that maybe you should be? Contact the organisers of the award to see if they can tell you where you went wrong – not all organisers will give feedback, but there’s no harm in asking. And if you do manage to get hold of the judges’ comments, use that information to start planning how to make your business better in the future.
If you think your business isn’t quite ready to enter an award for this year, don’t just leave it. It’s a really useful exercise to look at the different categories, pick the ones you’re interested in entering next year and research the information the judges are asking for. What you’ve then got are useful indications of the direction you need to take your business in if you want to be in with a chance of winning the award the following year.
For instance, if the award is asking for evidence of your company’s CSR policy but you don’t have one, create one and make it into a policy document! Then, when you enter the award the following year, you’ll not only be able to use it as supporting evidence, you’ll also have the opportunity to talk about the positive effects introducing it has had on your business in terms of customer engagement, staff engagement etc. The more information and evidence you put into your entry, the greater your chances of getting into the final.
Similarly, if the category information mentions testimonials, then use that as a reason to ask your customers and clients to give you testimonials throughout the year – the more the merrier!
Everyone loves a winner and winning an award can be an excellent way of getting free publicity for your business. There will usually be a professional photographer at the event, so make sure you get hold of a high resolution copy of you with your award (maybe you’ll even get to stand next to someone famous). Then write a short press release about the win, add a quote about how delighted you are, attach the photo and send it off to the local paper, trade press, and any trade bodies you’re associated with (they usually have a news section on their website).
You must also post it on all your social media channels and add it as a news story or blog onto your website. The news will give your clients or customers extra assurance that they’re dealing with a great company.
The organisers of the award will send you a logo saying ‘winner’ or ‘finalist’ which you must add to the homepage of your website. This will give future clients or customers the assurance of the quality of your company, which can only result in more sales.
Use social media to your advantage
Don’t just use social media to post photos of you and your award. The value of social media can be best seen before the ceremony begins. Find the social media details of all the other finalists the day of the ceremony, then post ‘good luck for tonight’ messages to them. By tagging them in to your message, you’ll reach not only the company but all their followers too!
Hertfordshire business awards
There are literally hundreds of business awards you could enter, some specialising in trade, some are national, and some are local. Many are free to enter making it affordable for even the smallest of businesses – a lot of awards cover start-up businesses so don’t discount entering even if you’ve only been going for a few months. Bear in mind, though, that if you are short-listed, you will have to pay to attend the ceremony, so if cost is an issue when it comes to entering, do some research about how much it’ll cost to attend it.
Here’s our recommended list of Hertfordshire awards that are free to enter, have a broad range of categories, and bring prestige to the winners and finalists.
Inspiring Herts – administered by the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, information about entry for the 2018 awards should be available at the end of January/beginning of February.
SME Hertfordshire Business Awards – watch out for details of the 2018 awards in mid- to late-February.
Hertfordshire Business Awards – run by the Archant newspaper group, winners are bound to get publicity! Look out for details of the 2018 awards in late June.
Biz4Biz Awards – getting into the finals of this award relies on the public vote which usually opens in July, after which the short-listed businesses will have to do a presentation to the judges.
Best Business Women Awards – whilst this is a national award, its home is in Hertfordshire and we love it, so we’re including it in the list! Look out for details in March.
If you are entering business awards and would like to capitalise on any of your successes, we can handle the management of your social media and content marketing. Contact us at the award-winning Cariad Towers to find out more. And please keep your fingers crossed for us at the FSB East of England Awards on 1st March 2018!
A case of website integration: when three become one
Our website team has been at it again! We were asked to design and build a new website for UOE, a company which has three separate parts of its business. Originally the three divisions each had its own website, but this had become confusing and cumbersome, so UOE asked us to consolidate them all into just one website, www.uoe.co.uk. It was a website integration and migration process that required detailed SEO planning and flawless execution.
This proved to be a massive task in terms of migrating content from each of the three sites, ensuring there was no duplication of pages, and writing new copy that brought all the information and different sides of the business together in a consistent way.
As UOE is currently doubling the number of stores and coworking hubs and has ambitious plans for the future, we also added a store locator plug in, as well as dedicated pages for the three new stores which will be opening shortly.
UOE is enjoying strong growth and has ambitious plans to expand its network of high street Stores & Post Office franchises and coworking Hubs. Currently, it has three complementary divisions which serve consumers and small enterprises. These are:
Post Offices and UOE Stores – UOE has gained a high street presence by taking over the main Post Office franchises in East Finchley, Potters Bar and Hertford, and combining them with their own shops selling stationery, cards, branded gifts, business supplies as well as offering business services such as printing, binding, photocopying etc. By combining the Post Offices with the Stores and training all members of staff in all aspects of the business, UOE has not only been able to keep the Post Office at the hub of each community but also to increase opening hours, sometimes to 7 days a week.
Coworking Hubs – The Hertford branch of the Post Office & UOE Store also has a UOE Hub, a coworking office space which serves local small businesses and freelancers with affordable small serviced offices and hot desking facilities. This means entrepreneurs can keep their business and personal lives separate, at the same time as having a professional address and introducing them to other small business owners. The professional atmosphere of the Hub, combined with the networking opportunities with other entrepreneurs enables Hub members to fulfill the principle reason the Hub was set up – to help people GET WORK DONE!
Office supplies – UOE’s B2B office supplies division has been the core business for many years. Companies with accounts can take advantage of UOE’s online office supplies business as well as services such as document management, design and print, expenditure control etc.