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.
In 2009 Forbes’ Advertising Effectiveness Study revealed that 92% of senior marketing executives plan to maintain or increase their search engine optimization (SEO) budgets.
That’s not surprising, given that respondents ranked search engine optimization as the most effective tool for generating online conversions, followed by email marketing and pay-per-click.
As we’ve written before, it’s all about relevance, and relevance starts with keyword research.
The more relevant your website content is to a prospect’s search, the more likely they’ll be to engage with you.
Furthermore, a high search engine ranking also builds trust and credibility. If Google trusts your site, so will your prospects.
Email Marketing Critical — Especially for Lower Budgets
Another interesting finding from the study is that respondents with a marketing budget of less than $1 million found email marketing to be a more effective source of conversions than those with a budget of greater than $1 million.
This is one of the essential website elements we detail in our e-book, The 12 Essential Elements of a Lead-Generating Website.
If you can’t convince website visitors to take action and engage with you immediately, at least you can get them to join your mailing list with a compelling offer.
They’ve then given you permission to market to them over time. You’ve captured their attention. You can cultivate a relationship with them over time.
With the right marketing and offer, you should convert a healthy percentage of your database over time.
What do you think? What have you found to be the most effective digital/online marketing tools? Please share by commenting below.
Download the complete Forbes Ad Effectiveness Study here.
Want to increase your website conversion rate? Request your free website analysis now.
Now that the nature of marketing has shifted the power to buyers over sellers, new marketing strategies are required for more effective and cost-efficient website lead generation.
Something that hasn’t changed is that every business needs to make sales and needs people to sell to.
A key strategy today is a database of customers to whom you can market. But not all databases are created equal. Building a proper database takes time.
Which leads some to ask: “Why not just purchase a huge list of names and email addresses and start from there?”
Here are four solid reasons from aweber.com explaining why that’s a risky move:
- The addresses on those lists get sold to all kinds of marketers. So they get all kinds of mail. So, they lodge all kinds of spam complaints. If ISPs like Gmail and Hotmail notice, they might put you on a blacklist, blocking your emails from all their users in the future.
- Because of the way these lists are compiled, many of the addresses you receive will be misspelled, abandoned or non-existent. When a big chunk of your emails goes to such addresses, ISPs, again, might notice. Again, they might block all future emails from you. List merchants know this. It’s such a sure thing, they even offer a refund of credit for those addresses up-front.
- And if you’re sending through an email service provider and you get blocked, other messages they send from the same IP address could also be blocked. So you’ll actually find that no reputable ESP will let you import a purchased list anyway.
- Unprepared recipients aren’t likely to think, “Oh gosh, I was just hoping for yet another offer from a company I don’t know! Let me click over to their site and buy something!”
So what’s the better way?
One of the most powerful tools a small business can wield to increase their website lead generation is a permission-based database of customer information.
This is the seed crop that will provide your company with long term, lifetime customers if you protect it and use it wisely.
This means that you must capture customer information in the right way and never ever abuse the trust of those customers.
When encouraging people to sign up for free content on your website, they must understand exactly what they’re signing up to receive.
How often will you contact them? Can they opt out at any time? They must know these answers before they click.
Confirmed opt in is the preferred way to gain your customer’s permission to share high quality content with them. This method ensures that the customer really wants to receive your information.
Once you have that vital customer information, you must treat it as a sacred trust and never share it for short term profit. Those customers are now part of your community and must never be taken for granted.
Hub Mentality requires a more genuine, long term approach.
By persuasively pulling customers into your community, you first gain their permission and then their trust. This ultimately increases your website lead generation.
But above all, you gain lifetime customers. Isn’t that what we were after all along?
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.