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View Full Version : What works for Internet Marketing/Development companies?



koalatech
09-10-2009, 10:28 AM
Hey everyone,

I am actually still new to the forums, so please bear with me, I hope this is the proper place to pose this. I wanted to create a thread that would allow people involved in Internet Marketing and web development to discuss what works and what doesnt and possible share ways of gaining leads and clients.

So, I will start with what has worked so far for me.

Be up front and honest with your clients

A large chunk of the clients we are getting are referrals. So much so that after almost a year we are just getting around to putting a decent website up. We have offered honest pricing with fully itemized hours, we stick to our quotes and go above an beyond when it comes to support. Every client is assigned a project manager and communication with the clients is critical. When we get referrals, the biggest thing we are hearing is how well we work with the clients and how trustworthy and reliable we are. That feels good.

What we are working on trying (and dont mind suggestions)

Online - So far we have gotten very little from the Internet, but we have just started targetting online for sales. The reason is, we had more projects than time up until now. As it is now, things are slowing down and we are pushing to pull in new clients.

Low cost package - Small businesses are tight with their wallets, especially now... and they have good reason to be. The problem is they think saving on marketing works. It doesnt.. but how do you convince them of that? Tracking the effects of marketing helps, but isnt enough. We are hoping that by dropping the rate for the base marketing plan will help get them in the door and let them see the value.

Sales - We have a salesperson who is making cold calls and walking into busiensses and talking to them. The idea of being local is helpful, but again convincing those companies they need something can be a challenge. Even with a good strategy they dont get it. A few companies got it, but figured they could do it themselves and put up free builder sites.. ugh.

An Online Resource Center - The idea here is to gather a repository of information and articles that will help small businesses. Several of us at Koalatech do research daily, to keep up with marketing trends, so we are working toward putting some of that research on our site for our clients.


It's slow going and Im sure it will take some time before our team is back up to 100% workload.

So, the question is, what have you done to generate leads? What has worked and how effective has it been?

cbscreative
09-10-2009, 10:41 PM
There's a lot to take on in your post but I'll choose a few points and offer some insights on those.

Your direct question is tricky to answer. What has worked in the past does not necessarily yield the same results now. As you are already finding, the climate for business has changed a lot over the past year. I've got some things I'm working on, but it's too early to report the results.

Your online resource center could very well catch on. It might be challenging to stand out in the crowd, but I'm sure there is always a way. It will take time, but I think that will pay off for you over the long haul.

As for reducing your price, don't yield to that temptation. Go back to marketing 101 basics and build value instead.

I had to cringe when I read about potential clients using the DIY site builder approach. I see this all the time, but it still baffles me that business owners would stumble through the learning curve rather than just paying an expert and getting profit much faster. I guess it's a good ROI though. They invest time building their own site, and then get a return of lots of time waiting for something to happen (and wondering why nothing does). You may want to keep a list and revisit them in a year. Maybe then, if they survive, they'll be ready to have it done professionally.

The one thing that struck me about your sales person having this reaction, is you need to figure out why prospects draw the conclusion that they can do it on their own, and address the issue of why that almost always fails. You need to remove that option from the table during your presentation. Every lost sale is an opportunity to eliminate the reason for it next time.

You're right about what you're doing and why. For business owners to use the economy as an excuse for not marketing will make a bad situation worse. The ones who don't get that won't be in business when the economy recovers, or they'll be to weak to recover with the economy. Many business owners do understand that. Your challenge is either to find them, or remind the ones who forgot because they got caught up in media hype on the economy.

Basically, I think you are doing a lot of things right, you just need to fine tune it based on the results you get, and give it more time (especially online marketing).

Harold Mansfield
09-10-2009, 10:58 PM
I'll just chime in from what I have always believed from the beginning. For a service oriented business online, the only way to capture leads is to be in the first 3 spots for a strong search result, or advertising.

Don't get wrong, I still believe in articles, and press that can get you some exposure...real exposure, like related online business magazines, not article sites and directories. Those will not bring you any customers, they are merely for trying to rank.

I look at a website as a tool to help along the footwork. Something to build credibility and perk interest after some other kind of contact or exposure.

E commerce sites are something completely different.

The bottom line is, without a continuous advertising, or SEO budget (or knowledge) most of your leads will still come the old fashioned way. Direct contact, Networking, and referrals.

Dan Furman
09-10-2009, 11:48 PM
Ok.... I'll be a little critical about something. I apologize in advance - I'm not looking to ruffle your feathers. Maybe what I'm saying will help.

I read your website... it doesn't solve anyone's problem. It's telling me what I need for sure, but I, as a customer, don't really like to be told that.

On that note, your post itself seems to have an undertone that you know better than your prospective clients. You are trying to convince them that they need you. I have to tell you, that's a tough road to travel.

I'd move away from that thought process. Instead, become a problem solver.

ETA - I know this isn't answering your leads question. But maybe it helps you do more with the leads you have? Personally, I'd rather try and raise conversions than trying to get more leads.

vangogh
09-11-2009, 01:09 AM
That is a lot to take on. I'll add what I can.

There are lots of ways to market your services and each of us might do better with certain things over others. I've gained clients in lots of ways. Some right through this forum, some found me via search engines, some have found me through my blog, friends online and offline have recommended me, clients recommend me, etc.

I don't know that one has worked better than the rest. More that each brings in a few new clients and the more they do the better they continue to work.

As far as trying to convince clients they need you I mostly gave up on that. Instead focus on the people who already understand the value of what you have to offer. After awhile you just end up spending too much time trying to convince people they need you when those people aren't willing to listen.

I agree with Steve about the pricing. You have to be careful about dropping your prices because then people will expect those prices in the future. You don't have to charge more for the sake of charging more either. You know what's fair for your services so charge that. There are people out there who will understand that value and be willing to pay for it.

I have to agree with Dan about the site. The first question I want to know when I land on your site is what do you do? I came looking for something and want to make sure I'm in the right place before I spend time digging around. Instead of the question why not simply a quick overview of what's inside.

Maybe a section on the home page listing your services. You could write sentence about each or just link to the page with details. With your Small Business Package, what is it? Don't make me read the whole page to know what it is. I'll read for the details, but let me know right away if it's a design package, a marketing package, both, neither.

koalatech
09-11-2009, 01:46 AM
Good points on the site, it's still a work in progress, but was more developed with the mindset that it would be for a follow up to our sales person. We werent really thinking in terms of people finding us online, but moreso people who we talked with or left a business card with. We will look into the addressed issues.

Harold Mansfield
09-11-2009, 02:33 AM
Good points on the site, it's still a work in progress, but was more developed with the mindset that it would be for a follow up to our sales person. We werent really thinking in terms of people finding us online, but moreso people who we talked with or left a business card with......
You need to be prepared for both. While your website may serve as back up and verification of your services, you will drop a lot of cards in a year and you never know who is going to pull one out one day when they need your services and remember you, or pass it on to a colleague who asks, "Hey, do you know anyone that does..?"

I frequently read and re-read my own words online (websites, social media profiles, etc) and look for places where I can trim and improve.
One of the things that turns me, and probably a lot of other people, off is having to wait to get to the point..especially if I have to read it.

I have no formal training in marketing, but I believe that your purpose should be in the first 3 sentences. If you want to expand on it afterwrds, and people want to know more, they will continue to read and you can wow them with a thesis if you like.

I understand the need to want to express yourself and knowledge, particularly with Tech/IT products and services to insure that your more educated prospects feel comfortable with your skills, but you have to remember..especially on the web...skimming is the new reading. People of all education levels like to get to the point as quick as possible so they know they are not wasting their time.
It's an impatient society we live in today.

I used to hear people say that you need to make your point in about the same amount of time and space as it takes for people to read the back cover of a book...these days you need to make it in about the same amount of time and space as the drive though menu of a fast food restaurant.



Please note, we are a team of 5 each specializing in different aspects of marketing and development. I am actually just a programmer, not a designer or copywriter. Up until this week, we all have been working about 10 hours a day, with a focus on growth. This is the first week our leads have slowed.. but we dont have a strong docket either, hence my nervousness.

5 People ! Personally, I am my own web designer, copywriter, marketer, tech support, blogger, hardware specialist, secretary, accountant, and social media consultant and I work 10+ hours a day myself.
With 5 people you should be getting 5x's more done in a day than I do with your web marketing.

If I could get 5x's the work done everyday, I'd be sitting pretty:).

I bring that up to make the point..unless you guys are sitting on more work than you can handle, you don't have the luxury of titles and job descriptions. Everybody is everything. If you can't hire someone to cover all those things that need done, you all better add to your job descriptions real fast. You can't focus on growth, if you are not willing to grow your skills and knowledge, or too many things will go undone, or done half assed.

In other words, if you need a copywriter, and no one is "educated" as a copywriter..somebody better learn. There's enough of you.

Dan Furman
09-11-2009, 05:34 PM
Good points on the site, it's still a work in progress, but was more developed with the mindset that it would be for a follow up to our sales person. We werent really thinking in terms of people finding us online, but moreso people who we talked with or left a business card with. We will look into the addressed issues.

This would change my opinion a bit. But just a bit.

Maybe something like some intro text, then perhaps a "how can we help you?" statement, followed by a few bullets/boxes/etc:

- I've been thinking about a website, but don't really know if it'll help... CLICK HERE

- I have a website, but boy, it's not doing what I expected it to do... CLICK HERE

- Website or not, I need more customers... CLICK HERE

The above isn't anything further than me thinking out loud for a few seconds (so it's pretty poor), but maybe you get the idea - now you're kind of solving the problems that your business is setup to solve.

vangogh
09-14-2009, 02:33 AM
If anything I'd say the site being planned as a followup to a sales call and people you followed up with is more reason not to as those questions on the home page. I would hope your sales people have already answered those questions and the potential client is visiting the site because they already know the answers to those questions.

You'll probably want to think what would be on the mind of the person who's already spoken to a salesperson. Visiting most likely says they already understand why what you do is important so the challenge is now to convince them you can deliver.

I also agree with eborg. You can't assume that only people who you've spoken to will visit the site. The site will pull people in all stages of the buying process so you want to have content that is of interest to as many of those stages as possible.

Harold Mansfield
09-14-2009, 12:03 PM
You'll probably want to think what would be on the mind of the person who's already spoken to a salesperson. Visiting most likely says they already understand why what you do is important so the challenge is now to convince them you can deliver.

I also agree with eborg. You can't assume that only people who you've spoken to will visit the site. The site will pull people in all stages of the buying process so you want to have content that is of interest to as many of those stages as possible.

Yeah, I mean God forbid you actually do some SEO and get some search engine traffic, write some articles, or get some press that drives traffic to the site. Those will be people that you have never talked to, but you need to entice them to contact you for the first time.