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In the Ultimate Guide to Local Business Marketing, Google AdWords expert Perry Marshall and lead generation expert Talor Zamir present the basic framework for a successful local marketing campaign. In this edited excerpt, Marshall and Zamir offer 6 ideas to make prospects. Buy it now on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes or click here to buy it directly from us and SAVE 60% in this book if you use code MARKET2021 by 04/03/21.
If you're successfully using Google AdWords, the phone may ring. However, it's up to you to convert those leads into customers. Unlike e-commerce, where the entire transaction takes place on the website, local businesses require human interaction to close the deal.
These six tips can help you turn those online leads into real prospects:
1. Do not allow calls to go to voicemail.
This is a basic rule of thumb when spending your money on advertising and marketing. You are not allowed to send calls to Voicemail! One of the biggest problems we see is when calls come in and no one answers. The call is forwarded to voicemail or the caller is put on hold for two or three minutes.
The fact is, you have no relationship with most of the people who click on your ads. This is cold traffic. When they call and get your voicemail, most people don't leave voicemail. You just hang up and call the advertiser on the next ad.
The same goes if you put them on hold for three minutes. You're still sitting in front of your computer or on your cell phone and the temptation to just hang up and call the next person is overwhelming. Make sure you are equipped to handle the calls and have a system that does it well.
One of our customers, a dentist, uses a call center so that a living person answers the phone around the clock. The call center can even make appointments for you. Using a call center allows you to serve ads all day with the confidence that every call will be answered by a living person, resulting in higher conversion rates.
2. Hire test buyers.
The acid test for your telephone team is mystery shopping. Have someone call your company and have prospects play to make this work. Make sure the test buyer knows how to behave like your customer. Make a note of every call. Many business owners are appalled to find out what actually happens when a customer calls their company.
The thing is, you started your business and poured your blood, sweat, and tears into it. You know it cost $ 90 to make this phone ring, and you've spent months building advertising systems and making mistakes. You can't imagine someone screwing up all of this and letting a customer go down the drain.
But you are not your co-workers. It's not your $ 90 – it's yours. It's not their blood, sweat, and tears – it's yours. They have no skin in the game, so they're laconic.
Quality control is critical. Hire this mystery shopper and keep an eye on what's going on. Point out that calls are recorded at all times and any call can be monitored. Performance and increases should be measured by how well customers are treated on the phone.
3. Invest in sales training.
Even if it's not in the official job description, anyone who answers the phone in your office is a salesperson. You should have a basic understanding of how to sell and how to handle incoming calls in a professional manner.
At the very least, buy a book or two through sales for the people who answer the phone in your office. Better yet, invest in a course or even hire a sales trainer to work with them. This investment can pay off later.
4. Use systems and scripts.
Whether or not the answering machines have sales training, it's a good idea to put systems in place so that calls are consistently handled the way you want them – regardless of who answers the call.
In most cases, you don't want your employees to talk on the phone too much. So giving everyone a script can be helpful. Richard Jacobs, owner of Speakeasy Marketing, a law firm specializing in marketing for lawyers, has his clients' employees use this effective script:
"Oh, Mr. Jacobs is off the phone right now, but he wants to make sure he's talking to you, so let me get his calendar. I see it's available this Thursday at 11am or 2:30 pm. And Friday between 9 am and 10:30 am. If you bring your calendar out, we'll schedule a time when it's good for you. "
This script makes the calling person feel important, which makes them feel good about your company and doing business with you. More importantly, it sets an on-site appointment and receives that initial commitment right away from your prospect.
5. Always get contact information.
Whoever answers your phone should write down each caller's contact information, including their email address. If you don't have their contact information, there is no way to track them and the lead will be wasted.
6. Use email marketing.
When you get your prospect's email address, you should have a system in place where you can email at least weekly or monthly email to your email database on a system like MailChimp, iContact or any other email Service providers can send.
There is no shortage of things to send. Maybe you have some type of sale or promotion that you could share. Or maybe it's just a great story about one of your customers. You can send them a video that will help you create a closer connection between you and your prospects. You can also send a good article or helpful tip that you wrote. Basically, send out things that keep you posted on a regular basis and continue to build a relationship with them that can help generate more business and referrals in the future. If you don't use email marketing and email tracking, there's a lot of money on the table.
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