A staggering Statistic

According to the Small Business Association (SBA), only two thirds of small businesses survive to their second anniversary. Only 50 percent make it to the five-year mark and a mere one-third last ten years or more.

These rough statistics hold true across all industries and sectors. There are many different reasons for businesses failing, however, there are four reasons that seem to pop up on the favorites list most often.

  • Poor Management
  • Not Enough Capital
  • Lack of Planning
  • Failure to Advertise or Market Your Business

Reason Behind The Failures

In Michael Gerber's E-Myth book series, these particular struggles can be attributed to an interesting statement.  “Most new businesses are not started by entrepreneurs who set out to build a strong business but by technicians who enjoy the hands-on work themselves.” 

Or to put it more plainly, being the best baker in town doesn't mean you qualify to run a bakery.

The Cure for a Rough Start

Each of these four challenges is formidable and each, by itself is enough to ruin a business.  However, of the four, fixing your outreach (Advertising and Marketing) can give you the time you need to fix all of the others.

“You Don't Have a Payroll Issue, Your Have a Sales Issue”
That's one of the most used sayings in the retail world.  It means that regardless of whatever other challenges you're working with, generating sales eases that struggle significantly.

Your business needs customers.  Unless you've purchased a business with a built in clientele, you need a way to attract paying customers to your door.

Successful businesses do this by creating a local marketing sales funnel.  It's a system that finds the customers that are looking for products and services and guides them to you.

Once your sales funnel is set up, this online system will reach out to prospects for new business and previous customers for repeat sales.

How To Build A Local Internet Marketing Sales Funnel

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    Local Internet Marketing Sales Funnel

    In this guide we will outline a local internet marketing sales funnel that, with average technical ability, you'll be able to put in place.  This system will allow you to automate much of your prospecting and your client retention. 

    The Four Parts

    1. Top of the Funnel: Awareness.  Be present online where you are guaranteed to have the most visibility.
    2. Lead Engagement: Get prospects to interact with your online content and give you permission to contact them in the future.
    3. Nurture Campaigns: Provide highly value advice, tips and information that distinguishes you from your competition as your leads move through the buying process toward becoming clients.
    4. Client Referral: Turn clients into fans and get them to tell others about your products and services.
    local internet marketing for contractors

    Part 1 – Top of the Funnel: Awareness

    The first step in building your sales funnel is to get as many people as possible to enter the top of your sales funnel.  With local internet marketing, this means online visibility.  You must place your brand in the places your target audience is most likely to be looking online.

    That's a pretty big task considering how big the Internet is. It’s impossible to be everywhere and your prospects could be looking anywhere.  You need to be strategic about where you place your efforts. 

    About Website Design

    A website is a must to anchor your local marketing sales funnel.  From the  website building services we offer here, to do-it-yourself site builders like Wix and SquareSpace, there are quite a few options for getting a website built.   

    Regardless of where you get your site built, ensure that it's formatted to work smoothly on mobile devices.  A decade ago, a mobile-friendly site was just a bonus point for user experience.  In 2015 Google made mobile-friendly design a ranking factor.  After that, any site that wanted to compete had to adjust.

    In April of 2018, about 57 percent of online traffic came from tablets and smartphones. That percentage is going to continue to increase in the years ahead.

    At the very least, add responsive design to your site so that prospects will have a positive experience from any kind of device. 

    local internet marketing for contractors

    Coupled with your website, the platforms listed below give you the best opportunity to get in front of the prospects you’re targeting.

    Follow the links to create or claim your listing on the following platforms.  With these sites you will have a presence on the most important platforms for your local marketing efforts.

    Part 2: Engagement

    Let’s begin our conversation about engagement with a couple of definitions. 

    • Prospect – someone who has a problem that you can solve and who knows you exist.
    • Lead – a prospect that has taken an action that shows interest in your solution.

    In more practical terms a prospect is someone who is just looking at you, a lead is a someone who is curious and has taken a few steps in your direction to find out more.

    There are two things you must do to get a prospect to move in your direction. Grab their attention and give them something compelling to step towards.

    2a. Grab Their Attention

    People online have very short attention spans.  If you can’t get them to slow down for just a few seconds, you won’t be able to get them to engage with you.

    When a prospect lands on your website, your site should be formatted so whatever they initially see, gets them to let go of the mouse and look at what you’re trying to show them.

    We have a secret weapon to combat this lack of attention: movement.
    The eye is naturally drawn to any type of movement. Adding an autoplaying video or moving elements to your web page is a powerful tool for drawing your prospect’s eye.

    You know you have a service your prospects need. Use movement to make sure they see it.

    local internet marketing

    2b. Give Them Something They Can’t Resist

    When you have your prospect’s attention, present them with an offer that’s really hard for them to pass up.  The fancy term for this type of offer is lead magnet.

    Would your ideal customer prefer a percent off coupon or a free addon service? Would they prefer a tutorial in the form of a pdf document or a short online video? Use your imagination. You’d be surprised at what people respond to.
    The three basic guidelines for creating a lead magnet.

    1. It should address a single problem. If possible it should address your prospects most annoying problem. The one that keeps them up at night.
    2. It has to be something that provides instant gratification. No fifteen page report or several weeks long video course.
    3. It has to have high perceived value. Even if it’s something that doesn’t cost you much to create or provide.

    2c. Software Quick Start
    Prospects can give you this permission by completing a form on your website, signing up for a newsletter or even by responding to a chatbot.  We provide email, text and chatbot marketing to our website customers.  However, if you're building your own sales funnel, email is the easiest way to get started. 

    Email marketing is a very developed field. There are quite a few providers to choose from with varying product offering.  I have listed a few here to help you begin your search.

    Chatbots are another very effective method for bringing prospects into your funnel.  However, the options for incorporating chatbots are a bit more limited.  I've listed an option below to get you started.

    It's by no means the only chatbot software on the market.  I use it on my sites and my customer sites but I strongly suggest you explore all options available to you.  The developers are a bit “salesy” but this software has nice functionality and a smaller learning curve than many others.  It's also easier to tailor to your individual needs than others I've used. 

    Part 3. Nurture Campaigns

    “People prefer to do business with people they know, like and trust.”  This short statement is the heart of your nurture campaign.

    When you attract prospects into your sales funnel, they are more interested in your lead magnet than they are in you.  Your relationship is transactional and not very strong.  To them, you're a commodity. There's very little that sets you apart from any other business that does what you do.

    However, once you have  permission to email tips and other valuable information to them, you can very effectively shift that relationship.

    There are various nurturing campaigns you can send over time.  The most important is the initial Welcome series of messages. 

    Make these emails friendly and inviting. This is the time to introduce yourself and how you can help them. Take the time to tell your story, with each post building on the last.

    These welcome emails and the messages that follow will be the foundation for your relationship into the future.

    Part 4. Client Referral

    Once someone enters your sales funnel, the goal is to keep them there through the referral process and beyond.  On average, generating a sale from a new customer is seven times as expensive as generating repeat sales from your current client base. 

    Use your email Newsletters, Drip Campaigns, etc. help nurture your relationship with your customer base between sales and make this process easier. Do your best to generate a two way conversation between your brand and your customers.

    As we've said, people like to do business with people they know, like and trust.  By creating this sales funnel, you have the perfect tool for becoming that person in your niche for your customers.

    The process of consistently generating reviews, however, is one of the bigger challenges for most small businesses. 

    Online reviews play a huge role in local search visibility and in shaping the opinions of potential prospects as they discover you online. Use the Frictionless Review System to build your review routine.  We create the System for those clients who prefer to handle that portion of their marketing themselves.  It is also a good fit as part of your local internet marketing sales funnel. 

    To get the most from this basic system, focus your initial efforts on establishing your presence on as many of the previously mentioned platforms as you can.  Take your time and fill in each profile as completely as possible. 

    Next, establish your communication channels beginning with your Welcome Email Campaign.  As you put these message sequences together, try to create each message as if you are addressing a single person.  Think of this process as having a very important conversation with  thousands of people… one person at a time.

    Businesses that thrive year after year think of prospecting and maintaining their client base as routine business practices.  What we've listed here is a very basic local internet marketing sales funnel that you can use as the foundation for your routine.

    If you have questions about implementing these steps, feel free to reach out to us for assistance.  We look forward to hearing from you.

    To Your Success,
    Chris Carter

    Local Marketing Posts & Notes