Before I started doing affiliate marketing online I was actually involved in a home based network marketing business. I learned a lot about this business and how valuable a solid lead can be in growing a business.
My problem was I always wanted to go on the internet to find my leads but the business itself exploded in a “warm market” environment.
Against my mentor’s recommendations I decided to try the online lead gathering approach anyway… and tried to build trust online so that I could eventually show people the real business plan and hopefully become partners with them.
After a few months of work online I was getting pretty decent at capturing online leads. I thought I really was on to something big. In fact, what I really learned was that my follow-up plan for converting my leads into my business was failing and most of my leads were not interested in joining me in an offline business endeavour.
What I began to realize was I was good at getting leads online but was having trouble converting them in a warm market business. I was able to convert them on other things which made me focus more on the affiliate side of things and I started to lose focus on my original business. This is because I was actually starting to see money come in from my online leads.
I no longer do network marketing, but I do believe it is an excellent business model, and in fact sometimes I think back and wonder if I made a mistake in leaving that offline business to start working online.
My mentor really taught me a lot about business and personal relationships, and I have starting using some of his philosophies when structuring my own online marketing campaigns in a way to stimulate long-term growth, and residual income.
So, with all that in mind, understand that I learned a whole lot from my online approach to capturing business opportunity leads.. and this post is going to explain some of the things I learned
Gathering Business Opportunity Leads Online – What I Learned
Gathering qualified leads online can be tricky, but many people find it a necessary step they must take. With your own list of leads you can continue to promote your own business opportunity, your own products, or continue to market affiliate products and offers to your list well into the future.
Business opportunities is one of the most competitive niches online. You can even narrow this niche down to “home business opportunities” which still gets millions of searches around the world every day. People searching for home business opportunities are very valuable leads for several reasons.
If you do a typical search for home business you will find hundreds or thousands of people advertising the next great opportunity, and millions or even billions of blogs around the globe pumping out daily content in this niche.
Many of these site owners have done nothing more than hire a graphic designer for a few hundred bucks to create a nice website and some of them even pay people to write their blog posts for them. These sites have one goal in mind and that is to capture you as a lead and then later convert you to a customer or business partner. Many of the sites and owners promise fancy cars, and warm days at the beach, and some of them will tell you they have the answer you need to gain financial freedom.
Does this sound familiar? It probably does…
The actual number of these types of sites has drastically expanded in the last 10 years. There are literally billions of them – which makes it extremely expensive to advertise in this niche, and very difficult to stand out above the rest.
So How Does One Generate Their Own Qualified Business Opportunity Leads Online?
There are many tactical methods for generating good business opportunity leads online, but it really depends on what type of business you want to build.
If you are looking to just collect emails and send people a bunch of affiliate based products related to making money then the above mentioned style of websites might be all you need, but of course you will be competing against millions of people doing the same thing.
If you are one of the many people who have come online to find qualified business opportunity leads to expand your own home based business then you are probably familiar with warm markets and cold markets.
For the purpose of this article warm market is people you know, which could be friends, relatives and existing customers, even referrals are said to be warm. “Cold market” refers to a sales person’s future or prospective customers.
You may have a lot of experience in converting a warm market but the internet is generally a cold market environment. This does not mean you cannot turn your online leads into warm leads. It just requires a different approach to online lead generation that goes against the traditional “squeeze page” or “sales page” & affiliate approach.
Below are some of the most important things you should include in your quest to build a large list of business opportunity leads, that you can convert into a warm market business.
Be The “Real” You Online
Your first step should be building a presence online that is the “real” you. That’s right. You have to come out from behind the curtain and actually post your real name and photo online.
Many people who start a home business will come online and try to keep their identity hidden because they don’t want their friends, current employers, or family to see they are doing this. This will NOT work for you if you want to build a relationship with your leads.
You must get over your fears and create your online profile.
To do this you should develop your own blog (WordPress is easiest), which can contain anything you want and can be business related. On this blog you can post your daily thoughts, business tips, quotes, information about yourself… etc. You will want your blog to link to all of the following.
- A Twitter Account
- A Facebook Profile
- A Facebook Fan Page or Business Page
- A Facebook Like Box on Your Blog (Very important for building trust – it shows how many people like you on Facebook.)
- A Private Facebook Group
- A Linkedin Profile
- Facebook Comments – this is a cool way to link your blog to Facebook and every time someone comments on your post it goes on their Facebook news feed.
A Professional Lead Capture Approach
You will want to have a squeeze page or a form on your blog where people can actually enter their emails or contact details, or can contact you directly. You can set up a form on your blog to collect whatever information you want from your leads and even allow people to send you a message. the form is designed to prevent spam. This can be done on WordPress blogs by using a free plugin like WordPress Contact 7.
You can also encourage them to join your email list for exclusive updates, industry news, events, or a free ebook. This can be easily done using a service like Aweber which stores email addresses for you and costs about $20 a month.
Whatever you think your readers would find valuable you can offer to them as an incentive to join your list. Aweber will store all your emails in a safe place and allow you to send emails easily and automatically if you wish.
You might want to steer clear of looking too promotional on your lead capture page and in your messaging. Avoid typical marketing images showing material possessions, and over use of exclamation points. You really need to separate yourself and look professional here in order to keep this people from clicking on the “back” button before they even subscribe.
Most people who are joining your list will be people you have met online or in person and you have already told them to visit your blog. These people will also be referred by friends and family, so you probably don’t want to look like a “shady” salesperson.
To build a following that will trust you, you need to be interactive online. This means you need to update your blog regularly and update your twitter, your Facebook etc. You need to build a following and show them you are the real deal, and you are available to talk at any time. If your leads believe you are there and available, they will be more likely to convert.
Save Time With Syndication
You can update all of your online accounts automatically just by setting your blog up to syndicate the content to other places. If you build your blog in a way that facilitates automatic publication onto social media outlets then you can save a ton of time. For example, you can install the auto tweet plugin so that all your new blog posts are automatically tweeted to all your followers. The same goes for Facebook Page Publish plugin.
Make sure that at the bottom of all your posts you remind people to join your email list or fill in your contact form! People will follow your instructions – all you have to do is tell them. You will want to give them an incentive to do so.
You can also syndicate your content to other popular blogs and websites in your industry if they exist. All you need to do is content the site owners and ask them if they wish to post your content. Many of them will if you have a solid reputation and this will generate traffic to your site.
There are several ways you can generate traffic to your site. Paid traffic is the fastest form of traffic online. Facebook allows you to buy traffic and target specific interests and hobbies. It can be effective, but very expensive.
If you are going to pay for traffic you need to calculate your cost per acquisition or CPA and you need to know the value of 1 lead to your business. This will determine whether it is worth the investment in buying traffic.
You also have to have an end goal in mind on how you are going to get the paid clicks to convert into an email lead and how you will then convert that email lead into an actual business partner. This is the most difficult part of the process for most people.
What is the Cost Per acquisition?
In my experience online using squeeze pages, for every 100 clicks you buy you should convert at least 30 – 40% or more into email leads. So if you pay 40 cents per click it will cost you $40 for 40 leads. ($1 per lead)
I found with a few tweaks and some cheaper traffic I could acquire email leads for 0.50 cents or less.
You could also pay-per-click on places like Bing Ads or Google Adwords which may be a bit cheaper than Facebook.
Once you become more involved and post more blog content you will start seeing a trickle of free traffic. Another trick is to build a viral video or viral content that will be shared among people on social media sites. Make sure it is linked back to your site.
Every time you post new content you should also be sending it to all your other social media accounts and your subscribers. You will find that as you gather more and more leads and continue to build more solid content on your blog that your traffic will increase exponentially since many of your existing leads will share your content through Facebook and Twitter.
You can also set up new business cards with your blog address, and do some offline promotion including radio ads, flyers, classifieds etc.