Sales Funnels – How are your going to make money with your website?

Written by Carlos Morales on . Posted in Blog, Content Marketing, Online Marketing, Small Business

SalesFunnel - How are your going to make money with your website?A huge mistake often made by small businesses is not having a sales funnel. In fact, the phrase “sales funnel” is not even discussed when small businesses talk about websites, marketing, offers, etc. I’m amazed to see how many businesses are leaving literally thousands of money on the table by not creating smart systems in their online marketing strategies to get more prospects and customers contact information, deliver strong irresistible offers to generate revenue.

In fact most web designers never ask this very important and critical question: “How are you going to make money with your website?” After all, they went to design school, not business school, therefore it’s hard for them to think strategically on how you can use your website or landing page to generate more revenue.

The goal of sales funnels is to convert traffic into paying customers. My mission is to educate businesses on why and how they should build a website that is part of their overall marketing strategy and helps them increase their profits. I can’t tell you how many people have told me, “Carlos, I wasted $10k on a website that does nothing for my business”. Very often business owners end up with a “brochure website” that sits there doing nothing.

I believe that your online platform is an investment in your business that should quickly pay for itself. I see too many businesses spending time and money on things that don’t matter. Things that create more expenses but not revenue. I’m talking about things like: SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media, Paid traffic, email marketing systems, etc. I’m not saying these things are not important. They are important but each and every one of them has its time and place in the marketing process.

Until you have a sales funnel (a website or landing page) that’s successfully working to convert visitors into leads and sales then you are wasting too much time and money and no amount of marketing or traffic seems to give you the results you want. People come to your site and nothing happens. More people come to your site and still nothing happens.

Keep in mind that today’s buyer has virtually unlimited access to information. They have the power to find and discover products at their own pace and make their own decisions on when to purchase. They do this mostly online. This means that your website has become your single most important marketing asset and that’s why your website needs to be part of your sales funnel process. So what is a sales funnel you might ask? A sales funnel is a plan to allow a person to become aware of your company, learn about it, and make a decision on whether not to buy.

The purpose of a sales funnel is

  1. Capture your prospects contact information such as names, emails and/or phone numbers
  2. Build relationships with your prospects by providing real vale before asking for anything in return
  3. Sell great products and/or services

Most people don’t want to share their email addresses. You have to have an attractive proposition or what we call an Irresistible Offer, that will help your audience solve a specific problem. Here’s where you have the golden opportunity of providing real value, establish trust and build relationships. Does this mean that you will have to wait several weeks or months before you start generating revenue? Absolutely no! If your product or service solves an immediate problem, your customers are willing to pay for it and your website does an excellent job in presenting that product or service so you convert those prospects into customers and generate more revenue then you have an effective sales funnel!

Here’s a quick example of a sales funnel:

Let’s say I’m a travel agent and have my own website where I offer basic information about me and my services. I have a contact information form, my phone number and button that says “call me for more info”. This approach might get me a few leads. However, doing it this way means that I’m just waiting for people to pick up the phone and call me. Here’s how I could turn this basic informational website into a sales funnel:

  1. I create a fee report of a topic of interest for my audience that likes to travel.
  2. The title of my report is “5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Save 50% on Your Next Family Vacation”.
  3. I place the report on my website and give it to anyone that provides me with their name and email address.
  4. I promote the page where I have the free report by mentioning it in social media, driving traffic to my site via Facebook or other social media sites and emailing the page to anyone I think might be interested.
  5. People go to my site, give me their name and email address to access the free report.

Now, I have a list of prospects. People that might be interested in my travel agency services. My next step is to convert those prospects into buying customers. Here’s how I would do it:

Every week I send an email with more special reports, hotel specials, vacation ideas, last minute cruise deals, free travel, etc. Keep in mind the goal here is not to bombard your prospects email list with offers and “buy more from me” but combine helpful content with strong and irresistible Call-To-Actions. This is where you build relationships. Now, you are being strategic and intentional about using your sales funnel to build your customer list and generate revenue. This sales funnel becomes a critical par of your overall marketing efforts.

Do you have a sales funnel for your business, how is working out for you and what would you add to this post?

To Your Success!
Carlos Morales

What to Focus on for Local SEO

Written by Carlos Morales on . Posted in Blog, Marketing, Online Marketing, SEO

local-seo-imageCheck Out What You Need for Local SEO

Local SEO has evolved over the last several years from a fairly simple proposition to one that is a little more involved. While that may seem “harder” on the surface, what it actually offers is a lot of opportunity for those who are willing to do what’s necessary to get their sites to rank well locally.

Toward that goal, we’ve listed several best practices you’ll want to be aware of when it comes to local SEO. Some might not be new to you, while others will. Bear in mind, it’s a stew, and all of it works together to make it tasty!

Local SEO Best Practices

Increase your site speed – Google loves a speedy page load, and besides, people simply won’t wait for your slow pages to load.

Optimize for Mobile – With half the traffic on the Web these days originating from a mobile device, it’s insane to ignore this any longer. Make a responsive mobile version of your site today.

On-page SEO – Make sure your title tags, descriptions, internal links and website schema are all representing your business the way they should.

Get more Reviews and Citations – Reviews are starting to overtake citations, but for now both are still important.

Acquire high-quality links – Make it your business to get the best links you can, from relevant high authority sites and high traffic sites. This is best if it originates from your content.

Give your content a local flavor – As much for visitors as for anything, ensuring that your content appeals to the local audience is a good idea.

Geotag your images – Geo-tagging your images with local geographic information tells Google what it needs to know, and greatly improves your chances of showing up accurately in Maps.

Encourage social signals – In addition to likely being a search engine signal, social media can become a far-reaching evangelist for your brand.

NAP data – As always, making sure your business information is consistent across ALL your platforms is a must. You should probably start right here!

Local SEO may be a touch more involved than in years past, but the rewards for getting it right are also greater. Don’t let it wait another day!

Does Your Website Suck? What You Absolutely Must Know Before Building or Re-designing Your Website

Written by Carlos Morales on . Posted in Blog, Online Marketing, Social Media

What You Absolutely Must Know Before Building a Lead Generation WebsiteYou’ve got a website, maybe a website that you spent quite a bit of money on and yet day after day you are waiting for a whole bunch of customers to walk into your business to buy what you have to offer or you’re waiting for a whole bunch of people to give you their email addresses so you can start promoting your product or service.

But wait. Nothing happens.

You are sitting there and your website becomes an expense more than asset. In other words you are just paying to have an online brochure that no one is seeing.

You are probably blaming Google because your site is not showing when people are searching for you or your web developer for not creating a site that all of the sudden was going to bring customers or your prospects for not understanding what your business offers.

But once you start asking why your website is not doing anything, then you start examining the reasons and start looking for solutions. If you have a website (even if it’s very basic) or you’re thinking about building one, start by implementing these basic strategies because they’ll make a huge difference on your overall business marketing strategy!

1) Have an Offer – but not just any offer. Have an Irresistible Offer. An offer that is so good that people would feel foolish to pass up. It could be a huge discount, a free service, free product, etc. Make it very appealing to your target audience. Bring a solution to your audience’s concerns, questions, problems or demands.

2) Have an Opt-in form – this is a form where you ask your visitors to give their names and email addresses so they can receive the Offer you have for them.

3) Have a Call to Action (CTA) button on every single page of your website – the purpose of this CTA is to ask your visitors to do something in order for them to receive your offer. This could be a “Download Now”, “Get Your Offer”, “Give Me Access”, “Give Me My Discount Now”, “Send My Info Now”, etc. This button needs to be very accessible. Not hard to find. The goal is to build a list of people interested on what you have to offer. This is the revenue generator because now you can promote your product or service to people that are looking for what you have.

4) Social Media Presence – Your website is just one of the vehicles you have to increase your customer base. It’s part of your overall marketing strategy. It’s your starting point. But you also must be building your credibility and authority by being present where your customers are. I can guarantee you that at least a portion of your target audience is in one or two social networks. The question is: Are you there also? Are you communicating with them? Also, by being present and active on social media you help the search engines find you.

If you implement these 4 strategies your website will go from being dormant, a nobody to a very active lead generation tool. These basic strategies are so simple and powerful yet ignored by thousands of businesses.

I just finished a pdf in which I go into more detail about these strategies. It’s a FREE report titled “The Real Truth: What You Absolutely Must Know Before Building a Website Yourself and How To Make it Successful”. It’s a MUST read if you are planning on using your website as a lead generation tool that converts leads into buyers.

What do you think of these strategies? Have you implemented them? What other strategies have you used?

Daily Tasks You Need to Do to Enhance Your Online Reputation

Written by Carlos Morales on . Posted in Blog, Marketing, Online Marketing

OnlineReputationMaintaining your online reputation is a tricky exercise, one demanding equal parts diligence and creativity. In a day when Google is apt to rank the latest news relating to your site on the first page, irrespective of whether it is representative of your business, you have to be able to not only know about these attacks, but be able to react to them.

There are steps you can take on a daily basis to mitigate the effects of these events, and we’ve complied a handy list you can use every day to help manage your online reputation!

6 Tips to enhance your online reputation on a daily basis!

  1. Monitor your online presence – The first order of the day is to be cognizant of what is being said about you and your brand. To attempt to handle this on your own without using many of the handy tools created for this purpose is madness. Employ tools like Google Alerts, Mention, and Topsy, among others.
  2. Ask for customer reviews – Your customers are your best source for positive reviews and endorsements. Don’t be shy about asking and rewarding them for these! This can usually help push any negatives further down the search results pages, where it’s unlikely they’ll be seen.
  3. Try to be pleasant! – Even if it goes against every grain of your being, being pleasant to your customers, even the ornery ones, is a sure-fire way to grow more of said customers!
  4. Check the Google search results – Doing regular searches in Google search and in Google Images will help you locate any less than positive mentions of your brand quickly.
  5. Add to the positives content about your brand – Be sure to move the meter in your direction by contributing positive content about your brand anywhere you can, the more authoritative the better!
  6. Reward positive mentions with links – This can serve several purposes. It not only puts the focus on your content, but in addition gives links to authority and relevance, rewarding them in the process.

Maintaining an awesome online reputation is a bit of work, but is totally necessary in an environment where we can be trashed quite in minutes!

Local SEO Strategies for 2014

Written by Carlos Morales on . Posted in Blog, Online Marketing, SEO

local-seoUtilizing local SEO to rank your sites in 2014 is more defined than in the past. There are a variety of best practices you should use that will certainly help you in the local search results, and with surprising speed. Let’s look at a few of these techniques that will turn up the volume on your search results.

How to do local SEO for 2014

  • Optimized Google+ Local page – This is a must-do. Not only will it help you rank highly for this specific location, your pages will be indexed nearly immediately, and Google features these search listings, especially on mobile.
  • Make sure that citations, NAP listings and on-page address data are accurate – NAP (name, address, phone number) citations are a major ranking signal for local SEO, and work much the same way that backlinks do for a non-local site. Make sure you have consistent information across all of these platforms.
  • Optimize local pages for local keywords – This can be something of an art to weave in location geo-modifiers into your copy and make it sound human. The payoff is worth it however. Be sure that your primary page keyword, brand name and location is in the title tag, the first third of the page, and the description tag.
  • Business directory listings – Make it a point and claim your listings in any local directories. These will turn out to be the easiest citations you’ll acquire, and will also be of great benefit in terms of SEO, search rankings and traffic.
  • Get awesome reviews and testimonials – Be sure you encourage your customers to leave reviews for you on your Google+ Place page, or third party review sites like Yelp. Make it easy for them to do so by providing links on your pages. And don’t ever write fake reviews, or buy the same for your own site! The sites are very good now at discovering phony reviews, and it won’t be good.

The good news is that Local SEO in 2014 can be performed with little fuss, just a bit of work!