In my previous two columns, I detailed the many problems dealers face when buying leads from HomeAdivsor, Angie’s List and other lead generation companies, and why you are better off generating your own leads. I also discussed how any time you generate leads you should begin with the leads you already have: your past customers. They are proven buyers of flooring. They trust you, and they are likely to refer you.
Assuming you’re already marketing to your customer list, let’s look at some online lead generation strategies.
Build A Strong Online Reputation
Billy Berber owns Big Billy’s Berber Boutique in Billings, and he has been in business for twenty years. He’s noticed that lately, he’s losing a lot of business to his competitors, Lance’s Luxury Laminates and Wendy’s Wood World. This is puzzling to him because Big Billy’s has a good reputation. It’s built on honesty, integrity, excellent service, and quality products. What he doesn’t realize is that it’s possible to have an excellent offline reputation and simultaneously have a weak online reputation.
When Cathy Consumer Googles flooring in Billings and looks at the reviews, Big Billy’s has only a handful with an average rating of 2.7 stars. On the other hand, Lance and Wendy have dozens of reviews with 4.5 and 4.9 average star ratings. Billy is losing a steady stream of leads to Lance and Wendy because his online reputation stinks. It doesn’t matter how great of an online lead-generation strategy he puts in place; this review problem will hurt results. By having dozens of positive online reviews you’ll not only directly generate leads to your store, but you’ll also get better results from all your other lead-generation efforts.
Lead Capture On Your Website
Have you ever visited a cooking website and got a nice-looking pop-up ad (also called a lightbox) that says, “Sign up for FREE weekly mouth-watering recipes?” Of course, we’ve all seen these kinds of ads. You then enter your name and email to get the free recipes. The company is building a list of hot leads whom they can market to indefinitely with cooking-related products. The lightbox offer gets website visitors to raise their hand and say, “Yes, I’m interested in cooking.”
You see that style of lead generation used everywhere and in virtually every industry. Why? Because, regardless of what you and I think about these ads, they work.
My company has implemented this strategy for many floor dealers we work with, and you should implement it for your business. You could have an offer on your website that says, “FREE guide reveals the top 5 important things to consider when buying new floors.” Then Cathy Consumer enters her name and email address to get the guide. We test different ads to determine which ones generate the most opt-ins, and you should do the same.
Lead Follow Up
It’s essential to follow up with the leads who opt-in for your offer. Research has shown that the path-to-purchase for big-ticket items averages 79 days. So, after Cathy Consumer opts in, subscribe her to an email follow-up campaign so you can stay in front of her throughout that time frame.
Every few days send her an email with information that educates her on how to choose a flooring store, and which steers her towards you and away from competitors. Don’t spam her every day with 10% off coupons, because she’ll opt out of your emails. Send information that helps her in her quest for new floors, and which positions you as a trusted advisor.
In the next installment, I’ll cover a strategy to get other businesses to send you an ongoing stream of leads for free.
To Tons Of Customers!
Jim Augustus Armstrong is The “Coach”
Jim Augustus Armstrong is the President of Flooring Success Systems, a program that equips dealers to double their profits, cut their work hours in half and beat the boxes! Many dealers have totally transformed their businesses and their lives for the better after joining Flooring Success Systems.
See what real, live dealers are saying!