Category Archives: small business strategy

Local Small Business Lead Generation

There are many tools available for small businesses which want to generate local leads. They range from advertising syndication to

1) Marchex Local Lead-I wasn’t able to find positive or negative reviews of Marchex online. They did receive the award for best technology for small and medium business in 2009 from Search Engine Watch (they also have a pay for call exchange). You can contact Marchex for information about their local lead program: 800.684.9294
2) Reach Local-unfortunately there are some negative reviews of Reach Local. It also did well in the Search Engine Watch award for small business technology.
3) Yodle-there seem to be an incredible amount of negative reviews of this service online. I think this is particularly the case with businesses which have $30 to $40 lead generation models versus $150 to $250 or more models. Although there are also issues with a) customer service b) overselling services c) questions of the black box of payment.
4) Web Visible is in this category local business marketing category. They have will create a pay per click campaign & landing page for you. They have a start up fee ($200 to 900 a month) and a monthly minimum of $700.
5) Adoozle-unfortunately I didn’t find any negative or positive reviews of Adoozle online. Their pricing plans seem reasonable as long as you get to keep your URL when you are done. Also, Adoozle is a part of Keymetric. (Although on the downside it seems odd that they only have email contacts listed on their website. I would almost rather speak to someone in India that knew what was up rather than wait up to 24 hours for an answer. Although, contacting Keymetric directly may be more helpfu: (866) 305-9110

Unfortunately it appears you should try the service you are most comfortable with and experiment to see how they serve the needs of your business. Obviously you should inquire about their experience getting the cost AND quality of leads you are looking for. You might also check to see how long their customers usually stay with them, as a way to evaluate the value and overall customer experience. (What percentage stay longer than 3 months? What percentage stay longer than 6 months?)

Directory Listing & Monitoring Services

1) Universal Business Listing ( UBL.org )-USB is a local directory listing service. They have packages from $30 to $49 per year on the low end.
2) Get Listed-get listed is a local listing monitoring service

There are also a host of players in the b2b lead generation space, which could obviously be helpful for small and medium b2b companies (Ingenio Marketing, Five9, KPI Analytics Inc, etc etc).

Hopefully this can help you make your decision with regard to local small and medium business lead generation. If you have any extra to add on this topic feel free to leave your comment or review. Thanks for reading.

Advertisements

What is the value of a lead?

What is the value of a lead worth?

Or more properly what is the value of a lead to YOU and to your business? This is a question which has perplexed small business owners and entrepreneurs for ages, so its not surprising that its one I’m wrapping my mind around right now to grow my business. One way to think about it is the commonly cited 30% of business operating costs some firms spend on marketing, advertising, and public relations services. This provides an interesting guess at what a lead should cost you. However, even in a scenarios where lead costs you 50% to 60% of your operating costs, you can still create a profit if you (especially if you have low overhead costs to offset the high cost of lead generation). Some companies devote large portions of their marketing budgets to creating a gigantic sales force whose entire purpose is to generate leads. This is particularly true of individuals that operate businesses where bricks and mortar real estate is not a significant outlay. The time and resources that you save by having leads generated by other means may well be worth the extra expense. If you think about it, real estate firms are built on the notion that agents are one half lead generation and relationship builder, and one half closer.

Back to the original question on the bottom line dollar worth of a lead. (the ROI of leads if you will) I’ve been toying with this question in terms of my own business, which only earns about $300 to $500 for small business clients for more local oriented marketing and $3000 to $5000 for larger clients that are trying to earn top ranking across the board. So for clients on the low end, a lead is worth about $50, and on the high end might be worth between $500 to $1500. (of course this begs the question of how qualified the lead are. a warm lead is worth this much, a lead via search engines that calls me up might be worth 1/3 of this…assuming I convert on 1 in 3 of the leads.) Derek of Pronto offers this analysis of lead value which is straightforward and helpful:

What is your conversion rate of a qualified lead to client?

Qualified lead would be a client that meets your criteria in terms of potential LTV perhaps measured by number of PCs, vertical or other measure. It should also meet the BANT criteria: Budget, Authority, Need, Timing. They could be the perfect target but if they just signed up with someone else they fail BANT.

And the math

If you spend $1000 on marketing that produces 10 qualified leads that convert to one client with a LTV of $20,000 you have an ROI of 20:1 with a $100 cost per lead. My suggestion is have some reasonable back-of-the-envelope math to get to a value of a lead. That’s your acid test for marketing ROI because in most cases marketing is going to bring you leads, not clients.

It might be helpful to share ideas on the following questions;

What’s the value per qualified lead?

Do you already have a number in mind? If someone came to you and said “I can deliver you qualified leads” what would you pay? I talked to someone the other day who was paying a telesales company $450 and was quite happy. Others have told me they would pay $100. This is btw not the same as a sales commission – a lead is what you give to the salesperson (which might be you with your salesperson hat on). I’d view these as two separate things.

What are leads worth for plumbers and painters?
Painters and plumbers might average between $200 to $600 per job. This means a quality lead is probably worth about $25 to $100. Also, if a plumber is decent or has a relationship marketing process in place you can increase that value by 1.1 to 1.25. (assuming one in ten or up to one in four of your clients can will refer you to other people) Whether you do that by providing great service, expertise, experience, flexibility, discounts, or direct incentives for referrals (free Amazon, movie tickets, deep discounts or $50 for a nice dinner). Actually if that person becomes repeat business, this number can sigificantly amp up.

What is a lead worth for a real estate agent?
Lets say you sell houses that are $175,000. This means for each house you sell you might get $12, 250 for selling a house. So a lead in this space could be worth around $4000. This doesn’t take into account that this person may refer other people, so it might multiply your lead value by 1.2 to 1.25 or more.

What is a lead worth for lawyers and attorneys?
Lets assume you are a personal injury attorney and the client wins on average $15,000 per case for each case you win. That means each win is worth $4,500 for you. So a quality lead is worth $1000 to $1500 for you. A low level lead might only be worth $25, $50, or $100. (more realistic numbers are probably a little lower than that, but with repeat or referal business or a decent in court record these numbers aren’t too far off)

What is a warm lead worth to your small business?
This is an introductory post….and I plan to revisit it. I’m going to ask friends who are in these professions to see if they can help provide clarification on these issues. What do you think….are these about right? What are leads worth in your profession?

Christian business productivity and organization

Making a Virtual Business Run Smoothly

One of the hardest parts of being a Christian business owner and a creative who does online content creating and marketing (via SEO and social media) is to make those two parts of my identity go together. I really like the creative part, but sometimes the organization part is lagging. Hence, I think one thing that can save me time and money in the upcoming days is to create a spreadsheet of recommended vendors and collaborators. For instance the spreadsheet (or in my case old school word document) will have information about the following:

• Web Designers (particularly WordPress blog designers)
• Web Designers (other than wordpress: PHP, Ruby on Rails, .Net, etc.)
• Graphic Designers and graphical layout professionals
• White paper editors and writers
• Content creators in individual niches (of various content niches and degrees of quality)
• Other SEOs to outsource to

What are YOUR thoughts on workplace productivity and efficiency? How can you improve your productivity or work flow?

Customer Experience Matters: Five Tactics for Better Customer Loyalty

Customer Loyalty, Business Branding, and Walt Disney:

Customer Experience Matters is a good and educational read. A recent post was particularly compelling and inspiring for businesses aiming at better customer loyalty and branding. For instance Walt Disney once said:

You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.

Here are some implications of this law:

Don’t under-spend on training. You can’t just change some business rules and processes and hope that customers will be treated better. Just about any change to customer experience requires some employees to change what they do and how they do it. So don’t skimp on the training effort.

Make it easy to do the right thing. If it’s hard for employees to do something, then they are less likely to do it — and more likely to get frustrated. That’s why enabling technologies need to be designed for employees to easily accomplish tasks that help customers.

Communicate, communicate, communicate. If you want to have employees feel like they’re a part of something, then you need to tell them what’s going on. So develop a robust communications plan that not only tells employees what the company is doing, but also explains why you’re doing it. And it helps if you sincerely solicit feedback!

Find ways to celebrate. If employees do things that help customers, then find a way to celebrate those actions. These celebrations can take many different forms: a handwritten note from the president, acknowledgement in a company newsletter, or an on-the-spot bonus. Look for opportunities to catch people doing the right thing.

Measure employee engagement. Firms need to put the same rigor in monitoring employee relationships that they do in monitoring customer relationships. So they need to develop a relationship tracking measure like “likelihood to recommend as a place to work” that is used to gauge progress and to identify corrective measures.

The bottom line: Customer experience depends on employee experience.

You can read his 6 Laws of Customer Loyalty here.

How can you do a better job of creating a better customer experience and of making customers feel less like numbers?

Creative Fusion Media is a ethical search engine optimization company and social media agencythat provides white hat internet marketing services from Nashville, TN.