Last updated 1 month ago
You put a lot of effort and investment into getting more leads for your business. But have you ever thought about how easy it can be to scare off new leads? Your business could be suffering from this problem – and you might not even know it. So, we put together a list of five (scarily common) ways many businesses lose leads (and what you can do to avoid them).
We Present: The 5 Monsters of Lead Loss
1) The Ghost of Unanswered Phones
Phone calls are important for any small business because they’re one of the top ways new customers initially contact a company. In fact, 51% of ReachLocal readers said in a recent poll that the primary way new customers contact them is via phone.
But there’s no better way to kill a lead than when a prospect calls your business and you don’t answer. All the life, energy, and investment you spent on trying to drive calls to your business simply die when you leave your phone vacant and unattended. Save your lead management from this monster by making sure you have a living soul ready to answer each call that comes through.
2) The Zombie of Bad Call Handling
Have you ever listened in on the phone calls your business answers? If you did, you might be surprised just how mindlessly some people treat new leads. If you don’t give your staff the knowledge and sales skills to handle each call that comes in, you might be just as well off with zombies answering the phone. So, make sure everyone on your team is well versed on exactly how to handle all the types of phone inquiries your business regularly receives.
3) The Skeleton of Sketchy Information
Even the best phone handling can die before its time if just a skeletal amount of information is gathered from a customer. Without a system in place that requires people to collect and store all the right information, you might have to lay too many leads in the graveyard of sketchy information for eternity.
Getting the right information from a new contact enables you to follow up with them in a timely manner. Did you know that according to Insidesales.com, the odds of making contact with a new lead drop by 3000x if you wait more than 5 hours to call them back? You’re more likely to successfully turn a contact into a new lead if you do it quickly – and you can’t follow up with people unless you’ve got all their information. So, make sure to put a system in place that requires everyone who answers to the phone to capture details like the name, phone number, email address, and call details from each prospect that calls your business.
4) The Demon of Ignoring Hot Leads
Some leads are hot. Red hot. When a lead gets to a point when they are talking about your product and service options, getting a quote, or setting up an appointment, they probably want to do business with you. Why would you banish them into the fires of ignored leads? It sounds unthinkable, but sadly, it happens every day. Don’t ignore hot leads or treat them like they aren’t a priority. Put a system in place that helps you identify and quickly follow up with leads who are ready to buy.
5) The Grim Reaper of Poor Follow Up
All leads deserve your time and attention: you brought them to life through your marketing efforts! Don’t kill your leads through neglect (even if they’re not ready to buy now). Instead, follow up regularly using emails and phone calls to show their existence matters to you (and that you’d like to win their business!)
Lead nurturing is a great way to make sure you are following up regularly with all your leads. And, companies using lead nurturing campaigns report 45% higher ROI than those not using lead nurturing.
What Are Your Monsters of Lead Loss?
Is your business a victim of any of these monsters of lead management? Are there other (perhaps less terrifying) ways your business is leaking leads? Discover more about the problem of lead loss at our new educational website DontLeakLeads.com where you can find more insights, tools, and advice on what to do about lost leads.
About the Author
Tiffany Monhollon shares practical tips and insights about reaching consumers across the web as senior content marketing manager and blogger for ReachLocal. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.
Last updated 1 month ago
Schuelke Plumbing AZ, a full-service plumbing company, wanted to improve the efficiency of its business processes and increase their revenue. Like many plumbing companies, they relied on manual processes and limited point software solutions to manage scheduling, dispatching, invoicing, and payment processing. Looking for a more profitable way to manage these processes, Schuelke Plumbing implemented ReachCommerce, an online commerce software solution that helps businesses increase bookings and reduce operating costs. With this new solution, they saw huge gains in efficiency that enabled them to service more customers and improve their revenue per job.
These efficiency gains resulted in:
58% increase in appointments per week
24% increase in average revenue per job
Massive reduction in time spent processing payments and paperwork
Read this ReachCommerce case study to see five ways Schuelke Plumbing uses ReachCommerce to improve business processes and increase revenue.
1. Route Technicians More Effectively
With ReachCommerce’s online scheduling dashboard, Schuelke Plumbing can easily add appointments to the schedule as soon as they are received, using the system’s routing recommendations to optimize schedules based on optimal driving distances. This has saved Schuelke Plumbing many hours each week creating the schedule manually as well as reduced the amount of time technicians spent driving back and forth across town. This resulted in an increased the number of appointments they could book in a day.
2. Easily Track and Communicate with Technicians
Using the ReachCommerce app on the iPads included with the ReachCommerce system, technicians have their daily schedule including maps and customer information at their fingertips. The dispatcher can see where each technician is throughout the day and receives notifications if a technician is running late, enabling the dispatcher to notify customers and even send a different technician if possible. “Our technicians are able to see their schedule so they’re able to get there on time and not be late. The communication between the office and the field has been cut down extremely by usage of the iPads and ReachCommerce,” Don Paz, owner of Schuelke Plumbing AZ, explains.
3. Create Digital Estimate Templates
Inconsistent estimates were often causing Schuelke Plumbing to under- or over- charge customers for services. The ReachCommerce app standardizes this estimate process for them, reducing the time required for a technician to create an estimate from 30 minutes to five minutes. Customers also prefer the ReachCommerce digital estimates to the written estimates that were often difficult to read or understand.
4. Process Credit Cards On Site
Unlike writing a credit card number down on an invoice or taking a carbon imprint of a card, using a mobile credit card reader (like the one provided by ReachCommerce) enables instant and secure credit card processing and ensures compliance with Payment Card Industry (PCI) rules. Schuelke Plumbing saved both time and credit card processing fees while giving their customers the peace of mind of knowing their credit card information was secure.
5. Digitize Estimates, Payments, and Invoicing
The ability to process credit cards on-site and automatically tie the payment to a digital invoice helped reduce the amount of time Schuelke Plumbing spent managing accounting processes. Customers instantly get a receipt emailed to them once payment is complete, and the ReachCommerce administrative dashboard automatically records invoices and payments. This change allowed Shuelke Plumbings’s administrative staff to reduce time spent processing payments and invoices from four to five hours per day down to less than one hour per day.
Want to learn more about how ReachCommerce helped Schuelke Plumbing improve efficiency and reduce operating costs? Download their entire ReachCommerce case study to learn more.
About the Author
Jenni Williams writes about issues that affect home services businesses, including online marketing, content marketing, and local commerce. She regularly contributes insights to the ReachLocal blog and can be followed on Twitter.
Last updated 1 month ago
Car shoppers consult many media sources before purchasing a new vehicle. However, there is one source that continues to grow in importance in the auto shopper’s buying journey, and that’s the dealer website. But, before consumers can use your site, they need to find it when they search for new cars online.
In order to stay competitive in your local market with search engine advertising, it’s critical to establish some best practices when setting up paid search campaigns to promote new car inventory for your auto dealership. By implementing the following best practices, you can reach your target shoppers as they’re searching online.
1. Create Campaigns Using Makes, Then Models
When setting up your paid search advertising campaign, remember that you must make it easy for consumers to find your dealership and the car they’re searching for. So, it’s important to use make and model keywords along with your location so your ads are shown to someone searching for them.
To get the most from your advertising, it’s best to set up separate campaigns for each make your dealership sells. This will ensure you can effectively monitor and control the budget and performance for each campaign. For example, if your dealership sells Acura, Honda, and Lincoln brands, you should set up a separate ad campaign for each, rather than combining them all into a single campaign. Although it may seem like a good strategy to extend your budget by combining all the brands you sell into one campaign, you’ll never be able to divide or control how much you spend on each make.
Then, set up ad groups by model within each campaign; for example, set up a group for each type of sedan, SUV, etc. that you sell. For instance, when someone searches for “Honda Civic Atlanta,” shoppers are more likely to click an ad that contains the same keywords they are searching for. One way to improve this is with dynamic keywords, which will automatically insert the exact keyword phrase typed into the search box into your text ad so that interested shoppers will click through to your site.
2. Include Your Dealership Name in Keyword Lists
Setting up search engine advertising campaigns with keywords to promote the makes and models on your lot is important. But don’t forget to include your dealership name inside the keyword lists of your digital campaigns. Most big name advertisers do this today!
When someone searches for your business name online, what do you want them to see? Not your competitors, of course; but chances are they are already bidding on your business name and poaching searchers who are looking for your business. Plus, bidding on your business name keywords means you own more of the real estate on the search engine results page, which allows you to control the message and improve your online reputation.
Dealers spend a lot of money promoting specific makes and models. Why not spend some of those dollars on your dealership name, too? The fact is these terms aren’t as competitive as your make and model keyword sets, so these will be fairly inexpensive. Whether it’s an offensive or defensive play, you can achieve a significant ROI on a minimal cost-per-click given the average sales price of a new car.
3. Use Promotions to Reduce Current Inventory
The decision of when to add in new makes and models to your search advertising campaigns can be tricky. Promoting a new model or year before you actually have it on your lot may seem like a good strategy to build up excitement. But wait until those cars are physically on your lot or can be ordered.
Don’t spend precious advertising dollars on something you don’t have yet. Instead, use your marketing budget to reduce current inventory. For instance, you could create seasonal promotions for your text ads. Car dealers often utilize holidays like Christmas, Labor Day, and Memorial Day, which are big sales periods for new cars.
Also, update your text ads to have the newest dealer offers or specials that are going on for the brand. Something as simple as “2013 model price blowout” when you are trying to make space for 2014 models helps clear traffic. Most people searching for cars know that you are going to get good deals during the transition of years for models. Enhance that by putting it in your ad. Make sure the landing page you are sending traffic to also contains the offer or promotion to improve your quality score.
4. Understand OEM Guidelines When Bidding on Competitor Terms
When bidding on competitor terms, it is important to understand the financial impact to your campaigns and the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) guidelines. Bidding on similar OEM dealerships is generally against most OEM guidelines. For example, a Toyota dealer bidding on another Toyota dealer is often against OEM guidelines. However, bidding on competitor OEM terms is a common practice.
5. Build Customer Loyalty, Which Leads to New Car Sales
The lifetime value of a happy customer is more than just the profit made on one transaction. As you set up search campaigns for new cars, it’s important to understand that a good campaign can and will generate some calls for service. These are not bad calls.
If you bring in a new customer to your service department and the service is memorable, you have a customer for life. Service is probably one of your biggest profit centers! You should expect to receive some service calls as part of your campaigns.
Are you following these search advertising best practices when marketing your dealership online?
About the Author
Lori Jones is a Senior Marketing Manager with ReachLocal. She writes about digital marketing for the auto industry. You can follow her on Twitter.
Last updated 1 month ago
Every business has a sales funnel. At the top of the funnel, consumers look for your products and services often by searching for them online. Some of these consumers move to the next step in their buying process when they discover your business online, visit your website, and then decide to call or email you based on what they see on your website. But only some of these leads will make it all the way through the sales funnel and ultimately become customers.
At every stage in your sales funnel, you could be losing leads by not optimizing your online marketing for the most conversions. But what if we were to tell you that by making just a few changes, you could get more prospects to discover, contact, and choose your business? Better yet, what if we showed you how to do it?
Our great new website does just that. On dontleakleads.com we provide you easy-to-use resources, helpful tools, entertaining videos, and more all to help you identify leaks in your sales funnel – and show you how fixing small leaks can mean big improvements to your bottom line.
Ready to be a part of the Don't Leak Leads movement? Check out the video below to learn more, and make sure to visit www.dontleakleads.com where you can learn – and share – the mantra: “Don’t Leak Leads!”
About the Author
Tara Banda writes about how small business owners can reach local customers through online marketing for the ReachLocal blog. You can connect with her on Twitter.
Last updated 1 month ago
We recently announced a new software-as-a-service offering, ReachEdge, a marketing system that helps local businesses acquire more customers from their online marketing. Today, many local businesses are using online marketing but don’t have systems in place to help turn all their leads into customers. In fact, most businesses are losing some of their valuable leads.
So, how does ReachEdge help? It combines a smart website with lead management software that work together and simplifies the process for businesses with its handy app and useful reminders, helping them turn more leads into customers. How, exactly? Let’s take a look at a day in the life of the ReachEdge system to see how local business owners can use it to get more customers. We’ll use the example of Bill, a cosmetic dentist using the ReachEdge system.
SEO-Friendly Website Gets Discovered in Search
Bill knows how important it is for his site to show up in search results, so he has a ReachEdge smart website that’s optimized for his top business terms, like “cosmetic dentist” and “teeth whitening.” When a consumer, Sally, wants to find a cosmetic dentist near her, she turns to a search engine like Google and searches for dental services she’s considering. Because Bill's site is optimized for those terms, it shows up in the search results, and Sally clicks on the organic link and visits the site.
A ReachEdge smart website helps your business rank in the organic search results with search-optimized copy and basic on-site SEO, including keyword-rich product descriptions, meta descriptions, tags, and images, so a consumer like Sally can discover your business and visit your website.
Interesting Website Engages Visitors & Keeps Them On Site
When Sally lands on Bill's ReachEdge website, she is wowed by a clean, professionally-designed site with easy-to-find information like hours, service area, and business details. Plus, the simple navigation enables her to find descriptions of services, video testimonials, and photos of happy, smiling patients that entice her to learn more.
Each ReachEdge website is built with beautiful design, clear information, and important elements that impress and engage site visitors and keep them from leaving your site as soon as they visit it. Because what good is an SEO-friendly website if your visitors can’t find the information they need?
Conversion-Optimized Website Captures New Contact
Now that Sally is impressed with what she sees, she thinks that Bill's dental practice is a great fit for her. She sees a compelling call to action, “Call Now for a Free Consultation,” at the top of his website that encourages her to contact the office. She makes the call and is greeted by a friendly receptionist who answers her questions and schedules her appointment.
ReachEdge websites begin with a design that’s optimized for conversions, featuring an easy-to-see phone number and email address right next to a prominent call to action. This makes it easy for prospects to know exactly what you want them to do so they are more likely to follow through with making a call, sending an email, or completing a Web form. ReachEdge also captures the details of every contact automatically and stores them in your contact list so you can follow up later.
Mobile Alert Notifies Business of a New Contact
As soon as Sally’s call is completed, Bill receives an alert via his smartphone notifying him that Sally is a new contact. No matter where he is, he can review her contact details, listen to the call recording, and classify Sally as a sales lead.
With ReachEdge, lead management begins by alerting you to every new contact so you don’t miss an opportunity. And since ReachEdge records the entire conversation, you can easily review the call and classify the caller as an active or long-term lead for your business. ReachEdge automatically adds the lead information to your contact list so you can follow up with them later.
Automated Email Impresses New Contact
Since Bill's receptionist asked Sally for her email address and recorded it in the ReachEdge system, the business can now connect with Sally via a follow-up email. Soon after calling the business, Sally receives an automated response email that thanks her for her call and for scheduling an appointment with Bill. She is impressed by the quick response, which reassures her that she chose the right cosmetic dentist.
Recording a contact’s email address in the ReachEdge system enables it to send automated follow-up emails that you can customize for your audience. Using an automated response email like a thank you or appointment reminder helps you stay in touch with new leads without ever lifting a finger, helping you create a great experience for your prospects that will turn them into loyal customers.
Notification Reminds Staff to Call New Leads
It's important for Bill to stay in touch with all his new leads in addition to Sally. He receives a notification that reminds him to call Karen, a new lead that contacted him two days ago. With the touch of a button, Bill calls Karen to let her know about a new teeth whitening promotion that is running.
Following up with new leads is a key component of lead management. ReachEdge sends daily notifications that remind you to contact your leads so you can offer them additional information about products and services, share new promotions, or answer any questions so they are more likely to do business with you.
Lead Nurturing Automatically Sends Emails to Active Leads
In addition to automating follow-up emails, the ReachEdge system also sends automated emails to other active leads that have an email address recorded in the system and have been classified. A marketing email goes out to Bill's active leads, sharing photos of happy patients along with a quote about what they love about his practice. Karen has been passively considering getting dental work for several months, and when she reads some of the testimonials from Bill's past patients, she immediately calls back to schedule an appointment.
In addition to hot leads, ReachEdge keeps a pulse on leads who have contacted you or even scheduled a consultation, but have not yet committed to making a purchase. Because you can set up a series of marketing emails and timelines in the system, ReachEdge sends them to your leads automatically. Follow up emails that contain content like videos, client testimonials, and before and after pictures keeps your business top of mind with your leads so they remember you when they are ready to make a purchase.
Mobile Report Shows the Marketing Source of Leads & Customers
Even after he leaves the office, Bill can still check his ReachEdge mobile app to see an overview of his most recent contacts and leads. He sees that organic search is bringing him the most new leads of all of his online marketing programs. He remembered that he is optimizing his website around his new teeth whitening promotion. Since it doesn’t cost anything to post a Facebook update, he decides to also share the promotion on his Facebook page to help drive more traffic from that site.
Since ReachEdge captures the marketing source of leads and customers, it’s able to provide details about how people are discovering your business. This snapshot shows you how effective each of your sources is at bringing new customers to your business. With this information at your fingertips, you can make decisions about where and how to spend your marketing budget, so you get more from the marketing tactics that are the most effective and improve others.
With a smart website, lead management software, and an easy-to-use mobile app, ReachEdge works every day to help local businesses like yours acquire more leads and customers. Learn more about ReachEdge to see how it can help your business.
About the Author
Tamara Weintraub helps equip small business owners with information about local online advertising, social media, and content marketing as a writer for the ReachLocal blog.