Ever heard of “Pistol” Pete Maravich, the legendary basketball star lauded by the basketball Hall of Fame as “perhaps the greatest offensive talent in in history”?
Though his basketball career ended in 1980, he is still the all-time leading NCAA Division I scorer with an average of 44.2 points per game.
Pete dazzled crowds with fancy shots and head fakes. Left jaws hanging with impossible, behind-the-back and between-the-legs passes. Amazed fans with his sizzling dribbling acrobatics.
Now get this: In 10 years as a professional basketball player, he never won a championship. In fact, in five seasons with the New Orleans Jazz his team never had a winning record.
It takes more than flash to win, and to win consistently.
Contrast Pistol Pete to Coach Norman Dale’s team in the movie “Hoosiers.”
Coach Dale, given a small squad of scrubs, is obsessive about the fundamentals of the game.
He’s unimpressed with offensive flash and drills his team on defense instead. He knows their best chance is to play as a team. He institutes a rule that they must pass at least five times on every offensive possession before taking a shot.
His unorthodox, slow, and fundamental style clashes with the team members and townspeople, who want him to “just let the boys play.”
But after submitting to his discipline and nailing the fundamentals, the team turns around. And when they’re joined by star player Jimmy Chitwood, they start “firing on all pistons” and eventually win the championship as underdogs.
Yes, Jimmy gave them much-needed scoring power. But their core strength was in the fundamentals.
Business owners and marketers wanting consistent website lead generation can learn a lot from their example.
Focus on the Fundamentals
It’s fun and exciting to get caught up in “cutting-edge” marketing tools and tactics: Flash websites, mobile marketing, advanced social media strategies, “creative” ads and videos, etc.
Any of these can play a role in your marketing strategy, but they can never take the place of fundamentals.
Your core website lead generation fundamentals must be executed religiously before you spend money, time, and effort on anything else.
Too many businesses chase “flavor-of-the-week” marketing and advertising ideas, while neglecting their fundamentals.
While specific details may change depending on your business, industry, and model, here are the fundamentals of Hub Mentality, which should be at the core of all your website lead generation and marketing efforts:
1. Consistent Offense (Build and Cultivate Your Database)
Who’s more likely to buy: the person who’s never heard of you, or the person who gives you permission to market to them on an intimate and regular basis?
Your first priority is to take care of the people who have chosen to hear from you. It takes so much time, money, and energy to get people to pay attention to you in the first place that you can’t afford to neglect your database.
- Do you have a database-building strategy (free download, special deals, exclusive content, etc.)?
- Are you inviting every customer to join your mailing list with every purchase they make, and highlighting the benefits of doing so?
- Do you have webforms integrated into your website, with a clear and compelling offer?
- Are you only adding people who have requesting to be added and give you explicit permission to email them, or are you spamming?
- Do you email your database on a regular basis? Do you have the right frequency?
- Is your content relevant, valuable, educational, authentic, and compelling?
- Are you educating first, and selling second?
2. Strong Defense (Inbound Marketing)
While it can be effective and appropriate, outbound advertising is very expensive.
With a few simple tools and strategies, you can make your marketing budget more efficient and increase your website lead generation by making it easy for prospects to find you, rather than you hunting far and wide to find them.
- Is your website optimized to get found by search engines (page structure, headlines, site map, keyword-rich content, keyword-optimized urls, backlinks, etc.)?
- Do you have a blog, and are you adding relevant content consistently?
- Do you have an RSS feed?
- Are you publishing books, e-books, white papers, and online videos?
- Is your content valuable enough to spread organically and virally?
- Are you known in your industry as a thought leader and educator?
- Are you consistently building and cultivating authentic social media relationships?
3. Teamwork: Strategies, Systems, Coordination
- Do you have clear strategic and marketing plans, or are you just throwing stuff up against the wall to see what will stick?
- Are your tactics aligned with your strategic plan?
- Are your messages focused?
- Are you building a brand around core, simple concepts?
- Are your offline and online efforts connected and coordinated?
- Do your back-stage systems fulfill your front-stage promises?
Do you want to be a flash in the pan or a consistent champion? Are you a flashy hare that fizzles out, or a dependable tortoise that wins the race?
Hub Mentality is your Coach Dale. Can you hear him yelling from the sidelines? “Five passes! Five passes before you shoot! Stick with the fundamentals! Tough defense! Run the offense!”
Execute Hub Mentality consistently in your website lead generation efforts and it’s inevitable: You’ll be lifting trophies under flashing lights.
After all, you’re in business to make money, right? So how could giving something away actually boost your bottom line?
The answer is: when it builds trust and enlightens your customers.
We’ve all enjoyed free samples from food vendors or free trial periods to try out a particular product. If your experience was positive, you’re likely to come back for more.
A free marketing download for your website visitors is a great way to give away your best content, but that’s not the same thing as working for free. It’s an essential website element and it provides an incentive that invites them into your database.
You make this happen by giving away something of value–no strings attached.
The key word here is “value.”
Giving potential customers relevant, compelling information that pertains to what they need to know is how you create that value. Even first time visitors will recognize quality content. They’ll also be getting to know you and your business in a risk free setting.
Your free marketing download could be an e-book, a recorded webinar, an audio or video recording, a podcast or a white paper. The options are endless.
This is the perfect opportunity to educate potential customers about your company and your product. Don’t be afraid to show them the value.
Give away your best content to your prospects in a free marketing download and watch them become productive leads.
Instead of simply making a one time sale and then beating the bushes for new leads, you invite the prospect to become a long term subscriber to your brand. With the customer in your permission database, you can now make multiple offers over time.
That’s better than money in the bank.
The Website Architects can help you turn your small business website into a lead generation website.
Get your free website analysis now to see how.
To illustrate the power of a permission marketing database, think of your instinctive reaction when a telemarketer calls or a salesman knocks on your door.
For most people it’s some variation of “Not now. I don’t have time for this.”
An unexpected sales pitch is unwelcome because it is interruptive.
Contrast that scenario with a prospect who searches out your business online. From the moment they land on your website, the ball is in their court. The choice as to whether or not to do business with you depends upon whether they like what you have to offer.
If you wish to market to them, you must obtain their permission to do so. You’ll need to persuade those prospects to share their name and email address with you by having them subscribe to receive information from you.
By clicking on your lead capture offer on your landing page, prospects are asked for their email and then emailed another link they must click on to subscribe to your content. This means they are confirming twice that they give you permission to connect with them.
Your prospects must also be clearly reminded that their personal information will never be shared and that they may opt out any time they choose. Your goal is to capture a recurring audience of website visitors who have given you permission to stay connected with them through technology.
This contact data, captured by Customer Relationship Management (CRM) web-forms, now becomes part of your marketing database. The content you share with your subscribers is some form of free, educational, valuable, and highly relevant content that’s provided free of charge.
It can be as simple as a monthly newsletter, regularly sent to an engaged, ready-built audience of individuals who have given you explicit permission to market to them.
Cultivating your relationship with your permission database marketing subscribers creates a long term source of website traffic and revenue. Because unlike those intrusive telemarketers or door to door salesmen, the people in your database like you–they really like you.
One of the easiest, quickest, and best ways to improve your web lead generation is to cultivate a permission marketing database.
You provide valuable content, and in return, they give you their personal information, most importantly their name and email address.
In our case, we give away “The 12 Essential Elements of a Lead-Generating Website.”
Building and marketing to a database should be one of your primary methods for web lead generation.
A database is a ready-built audience that can be leveraged to generate traffic and revenues — regardless of how much new traffic you’re receiving. Without it, you’ll be dependent on the hamster wheel of constantly driving new traffic to your website.
Your alternatives for creating community and web lead generation include people having to come to your site manually to read new content, and RSS subscribers.
The problem with people checking in on your site occasionally is easy to see — they’re forgetful. And the problem with relying upon an RSS feed is that relatively few people are web-savvy enough to use one.
So how do you keep people coming around? How do you keep them engaged? How can you capture an audience of recurring visitors, rather than relying on driving more traffic? How can you improve your web lead generation?
You build a database of information from people who give you permission to stay connected with them.
How To Build a Database
Step #1: Purchase Email Marketing Software
So start by signing up with AWeber.
Step #2: Create a Free Giveaway
You must give people a reason to give you their personal information, and this takes the form of a free giveaway.
These can include e-books, newsletters, white papers, videos, podcasts — any type of e-product that can be delivered automatically over the Internet.
Make your free giveaway(s) substantial. Create genuine value for for your customers.
Step #3: Create Delivery Systems
Using your email marketing software, create web forms for people to sign up to receive your giveaway.
Once created, it will generate code, which you copy and paste into your website template. Next, create an auto-responder that delivers your giveaway once people request it.
AWeber has excellent instructions on how to do all of this.
Step #4: Display Your Offer Prominently & Market
Include a direct call to action on your home page inviting people to download your giveaway. Sprinkle calls to action and sign-up forms throughout your site so that visitors can’t miss it — but do this as unobtrusively as possible (depending on your niche).
In every place that a sign-up form is displayed, assure them that their personal information is safe with you.
How To Manage Your Database
But you’ll kill the goose if you break the following rules:
Rule #1: Never, Ever Share Personal Information
Don’t even think about it. To do so is to compromise your relationship with your subscribers. It’s wrong and stupid. It may bring you short-term gains, but it will erode long-term profitability.
Trust is money — sharing personal information from your database is like flushing money down the toilet. When your customers subscribed, they gave you and you alone permission to market to them.
Rule #2: 75/25
75% of your contact with your database should be designed to create free value for them. Give them tips, insights, and resources without trying to sell them anything. Limit your direct product offers to 25% of your contact with your subscribers.
Rule #3: Strike the Right Contact Balance
Every niche is different, but you must be very careful with the number of times you contact your database — too few contacts and they’ll grow cold, too many and they’ll get turned off and unsubscribe.
Rule #4: No Carry Over
If you start one thing and get a list of subscribers, then start another, unrelated project, don’t carry over your previous subscribers to the new project.
You can tell your existing subscribers about what you’re up to, but don’t automatically place them into your new database.
Each project needs its own list of people who have subscribed specifically to that project.
Someone who signed up for your health newsletter isn’t an automatic candidate for your e-book on dog training. Build separate databases for each online project.
Ready to create wealth and increase your web lead generation? Look past the gold of profits to cultivate the golden goose of a permission marketing database.
One of the most important elements of Hub Mentality is a permission database.
A database allows you to serve customers by providing free content, as well as sell to them repeatedly over time.
In most cases, building a database requires email marketing software, such as AWeber, or more advanced customer relationship management (CRM) software, such as InfusionSoft. Such software can be expensive and difficult to learn and manage, especially for beginners.
What if you could build a high-quality database without the cost and hassle of specific software?
This is not only possible, but it can be extremely effective — it can allow you to build a database much quicker and easier than the traditional route of driving traffic to your website and using web forms to capture data.
This is achieved through social networking. You can do it through almost every social networking platform, but I’ll focus specifically on Facebook.
Almost everyone is familiar with Facebook. However, relatively few know how to leverage it to its fullest potential, including using it to build and manage a permission database.
People use it to connect person-to-person, but few use it to connect with a tribe.
Here’s how you do it: create a group or cause oriented around your passion/business and invite people to join it. As the creator and administrator, you have the ability to send messages to everyone who joins your group. It’s that simple.
In some ways, this is actually better than email marketing software.
First, when you send messages to group members through Facebook, there’s a much higher likelihood that they will receive the message than through email software.
Industry wide, only 13.2% of recipients on average even open emails that originate form email marketing software because of spam filters, misunderstandings of the source of the emails, and/or lack of interest.
With Facebook, it’s almost a guarantee that your recipients will at least receive your messages, because it eliminates the spam filter issue.
Secondly, it gives you more flexibility to create specific databases for specific purposes. Also, depending on the type of message, in some cases people can respond to your messages, which creates community engagement and interaction.
The disadvantage is that you don’t have advanced features, such as formatting your emails with html code, creating list segments based on geography or other considerations, being able to perform split-test broadcasts to test the effectiveness of your headlines and messages, or having access to analytic data to see who is opening your messages and what links they’re clicking on.
Social Networking Databases in Practice
I’ve personally created and/or administer two causes and five groups on Facebook, all of which combined give me access to a database of 1,813 people. Granted, all of these are for different purposes, so it’s not appropriate for me to promote everything I’m doing to every group. Still, it’s been a powerful way for me to extend my influence.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that, just because you’re in a social setting, you’re free to send whatever messages you like whenever you want. The same rules that govern permission marketing apply to social networking databases — in fact, they become even more critical in this setting.
Specifically, the majority of your messages should be informational and educational in nature, intended to create value for them. This could be telling them about a great website or a new e-book you’ve written for them, for example. Only about 25% of your messages should be designed to sell them something.
Don’t bug people with high-frequency messages — space your messages out, probably no more than one per week depending on the nature of the group. Even if you’re sending them great messages, when they receive a lot of messages from you, they tend to tune you out.
Personally, I think that serious marketers should use both email marketing software and social network databases to get the best of both worlds.
But if you’re on a budget and you’re a beginner with technology, social networking platforms are a quick, easy, and effective way to build a large, quality database.
So how have you leveraged social networks to build a database? I’d love to hear your stories of success and/or failure.