Contact Us – The Importance of Lead Generation

Contact Us – The Importance of Lead Generation

Contact usOne of the most imperative properties of your website is your contact form. And, one of the most valid reasons for using a website as your main marketing tool for your business is to not only create awareness around your brand but to also ascertain lead generation. Believe it or not, people DO want to connect with you and your business and trust me, you want to make this as simple as possible. That’s right, not only do you have to put cheese on the mousetrap but you also have to put the mousetrap where it is easily accessible for the ever so curious mice!

I work mainly with WordPress web development not because it’s my favorite but because it is the best and the best meaning, it is SEO ready out of the box and you can customize WordPress websites with all sorts of helpful plugins. The standard contact form that comes with WordPress websites is completely functional and customizable and above all, absolutely necessary! Contact Form 7 has definitely improved and even though it does the job, there are some drawbacks. It is simple in terms of esthetics and it can be a little confusing for the common Joe just starting out, but as I mentioned and will continue to say over and over, it is better than nothing!

Because of Contact Form 7’s limited abilities, I decided to research what contact forms and plugins were available for WordPress. I first looked at functionality and price. Secondly, I looked at the ability for customization and implementation. I really wanted a robust contact form that encompassed everything from social media links to website links (yes website links) and email connections. Sounds redundant right? Here’s a Pro-Tip: backlink everything even it is on your contact from relinking it to your website and social media. Yes they are on your website looking at this contact form but in the that form are important links that enhance your SEO, so yes keep the links on there! I also wanted something on every single web page not just the side bar or footer but something that pops up and says hello, connect with me everywhere, almost to the point of annoying because the power of suggestion should never go underused!

What I Found
After testing out several options and contact forms, reading reviews, forums and implementing and using different contact forms suggested by bloggers and WordPress lovers and experts abound, I stumbled upon one that particularly stood out against the rest, it is called Contact Us (http://contactus.com. It is fully integrateable with your WordPress website. Not only is there a plugin that integrates it seamlessly but, it is free to use and has more customization once you sign up for your free account on the Contact Us website which you will want to do regardless. You can choose from several colorful, simple, robust templates to design your perfect contact form and for a small annual fee you can also up the ante and choose from premium themes and customizations such as request an appointment etc…
But for now let’s stick to the FREE offering.

I recently tested this out for a client of mine who really wanted to have an option for their patients to be able to connect with them in addition to requesting an appointment. We implemented the contact from and within one day we already had a return. This FREE contact from captures one new patient a week and now they are averaging 4-5! That’s a huge return for something that is FREE! We recently implemented the Request an Appointment (for a small annual fee) option and this also works like a charm. The patient is able to click on a day and time they would like to be seen and the office receives a traffic email stating they have a new appointment request from, they are also given the patient’s information, email phone number, address, email and insurance (you can customize required lead information). You can also add your social media links as well as website at no extra cost to you. This is a full package brilliant marketing piece! Some other items that

Contact Us offers the following items:

• Custom Lead Generaton Design Forms
• Data, Analytics and Testing
• Contact Management
• Social Media Implementation
• Appointment Scheduler
• Opt In/Out Forms
• Chat
• Custom Fields

When evaluating the marketing functionality of my client’s websites the first thing I look for is how they capture leads, secondly how can I connect with them on social media. Most companies have websites but have no idea how they should function as a marketing tool. This is rule #1 in Leslie’s big book of marketing do’s and don’ts! #1 Lead Generation DO NOT NOT have a contact form! Make it easy for your customers to connect with you on all levels.

Social Media is lead generation too!

How can 650 million Twitter users be wrong? Think about it, there are over 650 million Twitter users, over 1 billion Facebook Users and now over 380 million Google + users and growing. Still think Social Media isn’t prevalent in our marketing society and a lead generation? Think again, social media is a pure, definite and complete form of lead generation! Don’t underestimate the power of social media and how it can function as a complement to your contact form and lead generation efforts. Social media not only allows your customers to connect with you on a different and personal level but also allows them to find you and communicate with you immediately! 89% of the population is using the internet to do their research on businesses, as do most use social media in their day to day routines for personal and business purposes. Social Media allows customers to connect with you instantaneously whether it is directly through Twitter or Facebook messages or adding you to their Google Circles, this is an incredible way for potential new customers to understand what is not only dynamically going on with you a s business but also allows them to see what everyone else is saying.

Below are some simple guidelines for lead generation that will help you in understanding how and why to implement the perfect lead generation tools and modules.

Respond!

Make sure you are responding to leads! Leads are the key to the growth of your business and if you ignore your leads, word gets out! Trust me! One mistake I see my clients make all the time is pointing their leads to an email they do not use regularly or not at all. My suggestion is to create an email specifically for leads. Most companies use info@xxx.com for example. Make sure this inbox is directly linked to your outlook, firefox, apple mail, and/or iphone/droid mail application of choice. The biggest slap in the face to your customers and potentially new customers is not responding to their lead interest. Make sure you are checking these leads on a daily basis. I would suggest creating an email through your current domain name. For example lets say your domain is http://www.johniscool.com make sure to create an email that is info@johniscool.com. If you don’t know how to do this, then contact your web administrator and have them set you up, you can also usually do this through whomever hosts your domain or website such as GoDaddy, open pages etc…

Guidelines for lead generation

1. Contact From (any contact form will do, just make sure you have one!)
2. Make the contact form as accessible as possible (pop-up or on every page)
3. Make sure social media links are in the header above the fold
4. Follow up Immediately on all contacts
5. Make sure the contact form information is being sent to an email you use regularly

If you are not using a contact form on your website, you are missing out an incredible free marketing tool that is functional, essential and effective. It’s like owning a shoe store and you only stock size 8 shoes, if you want to reach a broader audience and connect you need to have it all, social media, contacts and emails!!! Don’t underestimate the power of leads, the power of social media and connectivity. Trust me when I say this, if you are not using contact form or social media to connect with your consumer base, you will be left in the dust very quickly. Stay current and connect!

SurveyMonkey vs. Polldaddy

survey--monkeyI’ve spoken in length about the importance of quality control surveys and the benefits of implementing this kind of system in your daily business client exchanges. I cannot stress enough the significance of this very uncomplicated tool and how it can help cultivate and advance your daily business model. Customer feedback is by far, our greatest marketing tool, it’s raw data, it’s exceptional, it’s priceless and it allows you to use this data towards amplifying your existing daily operations.

I have a client that is an Optometrist, who uses Demand Force. Granted, Demand Force is a great tool, but it’s costly. However, one of the nice things about Demand Force is it gives you reviews from surveys it sends your clients and allows you to connect this to your website and media outlets. Not only that, Demand Force does this for you automatically. Great. Well kind of, here’s the kicker, Demand Force is expensive and if you’re a small business starting out, these kind of expenses really add up. So, let your staff be the Demand Force and create your own quality control system. Enter online survey creators, Survey Monkey and Polldaddy. For a nominal cost, a small business can keep their annual costs at a minimum, say between $100-$200 a year. Demand Force is good for a couple of things, but the survey part is really a nice perk, but the truth to the matter is, you can keep continue to send customer surveys simply by creating your own through these very robust, very easy yet very thoughtful online survey creators. And why not?!

Survey Monkey vs Poll Daddy

Quite honestly, both of these programs bring a lot to the table, but let me explain this from a first time user’s point of view. To begin with, if you are small business that wants to implement a QC system, these are both great, I just found that Polldaddy is easier to use. That’s just me. One day I sat side by side and built the exact same survey from the ground up with both of these platforms. Keep in mind I used the FREE versions for both. The paid versions offer more perks, but I was trying to look at it from a small business starting up. Here’s what I found…

Survey Monkey FREE

Slick interface, moderately user friendly, excellent question bank, harder to modify certified questions, excellent template design options, No HTML Snippets, No option for videos and pictures, NO logo option, cannot remove Survey Monkey Branding.

I liked Survey Monkey because it works with great programs like Mail Chimp. However, I found that trying to get around the website and design my survey was very frustrating. I’m a Graphic Designer by trade as well, so I really wanted to make it shine and I just didn’t have the patience…

Rankings

        • Design 3
        • Ease of Use 3
        • Question Bank 5
        • Modification 2
        • Templates 4

Features

        • Number of Surveys 200
        • Number of Responses 200
        • Number of Questions 5
        • Custom URL NO
        • Pictures/Videos NO
        • Branding with Ccompany Logo
        • Offline Response Collection – NO
        • Share on Facebook Wall YES
        • Embed HTML survey on your Website YES

Poll Daddy FREE

Easy to understand user interface, user friendly, good question bank, easy to modify questions, simple but limited templates choices, HTML Snippets, allows company branding, videos, pictures, offline collection of data with iphone/iPad app.

Right from the start I liked this user interface, it was slick but not too slick, and from the FREE module, it is quite easy to use and it has a many features. Polldaddy is inexpensive from a pro and gold standard and as I mentioned the FREE version offers much more than Survey Monkey. The best part is it interfaces with WordPress and if you use WordPress for any reason whether it be a blog or for your company website, Polldaddy is fully integrateable with WordPress and you can even use your WordPress UN/PW to start up and login. All in all it took me 20 minutes to design and upload my survey, add my logo, text and put on my website.

Rankings

        • Design 5
        • Ease of Use 5
        • Questions Bank 2
        • Modification 4
        • Templates 3

Features

        • Number of Surveys- Unlimited
        • Number Responses – 200
        • Number of Questions- 10
        • Branding with Company Logo – YES
        • Custom URL YES
        • Pictures/Videos YES
        • Offline Response Collection YES
        • Share on Facebook Wall NO
        • Embed HTML survey on Website YES

There are premium versions for both platforms to choose from and pricing is very comparable. If you are comparing apples to apples price wise, then the Pro version of Polldaddy is the way to go, many more features than the free version and many more features than the price equivalent Survey Monkey. If you are looking to try out creating your own survey and implementing this into your day to day operations, my suggestion is Poll Daddy, simply because you have more features, it’s easy to use and it is out of the box ready roll as is it’s co-pilot WordPress. But try them both side by side, have some questions in mind when going into this, because the questions bank in Survey Monkey is very overwhelming, general yet specific and doesn’t fit every genre of business whereas Polldaddy allows you write your own questions from the ground up and does not intimidate you from fact that these are not certified questions. The Facebook feed feature on Survey Monkey is really cool and the amount of templates are great especially when it comes to customizing, however, Survey Monkey FREE doesn’t give you the option to brand your marketing which is huge when it comes to brand recognition across the board.

All in all, both platforms have their benefits, but they have one major thing in common, customer intel. The most vital piece of information every company small or large needs to encompass. Don’t disregard the value of quality control. How can you grow as a business if you don’t know your strengths, weaknesses, opportunity or threats? Surveys allow us as business owners to determine what these things are and build upon to generate the most lucrative setting possible.

Surveys Are Social Media Too!

vectorstock_926108In spite of what type of business you are whether it be an ecommerce or brick and mortar; surveys are unfortunately one of the most disregarded pieces of intel you aren’t using, yet! After having a very causal conversation with a close friend who’s company does $50,000 a day in business transactions by selling merchandise online, I asked a very simple marketing question when responding to his frustrations with customers who were discontented. I asked, “do you send every customer a survey after they make their transaction? And do you send them a survey if they had a return?” The answer was no, on all counts, and this started to make me speculate. A company this successful, which is a start up mind you, that has amplified their revenue almost overnight, managed to neglect a very uncomplicated yet extremely imperative piece of information in customer satisfaction verification…THE SURVEY! How could this be? To be honest it is more common than you would think and in the most unlikely industries as well. Living in Austin, TX the second Silicon Valley, there are startups everywhere that do not send surveys to customers but it’s not out of laziness, just simply because like all startup businesses, you get busy!

How is it possible for something so vital go unnoticed or untouched?
Simple, success! People don’t question what is going wrong with their business when they are flourishing. However, can you imagine the increase in success if you knew what your clients were happy/unhappy about? Disregarding client intel is the biggest “no no” in business and customer service. When you make a large purchase, whether it is a car, furniture, electronics, you are typically sent a survey. If you are an e-commerce/service industry business and you are not sending out surveys to ALL of your customers, then your marketing plan has gone awry and needs to be re-vamped. This information is so essential to the growth of your business and let’s face it there will be a time when you are not as successful as today and you will be scratching your head wondering why.

Why is this important to my business, I don’t have time or the manpower to send out surveys?
Good! Then pay someone to do it for you! No excuses though, here’s the little inside secret to surveys, they are a genius way to get your customers to vent to you first if something has gone awry during their transaction. Whether they are wrong and you are right, doesn’t matter, it’s all about repeat business and exuding excellent customer service. Surveys give you the opportunity to respond! So when a bad survey comes back, this is your opportunity to shine and woo these clients, and 9 of 10 times they will return if you make it right. Furthermore, do not afford your customers the opportunity to spread it all over the internet with nasty reviews. We know as business owners that we make mistakes and we cannot make everyone happy, but we can sure as hell try. And when you get those 5 star reviews from customers go back to them and ask them to write a review about your business on Facebook, Google, Yelp etc.. By looking for trends on your reviews you can capture the information you need to make your business healthier, whether it is customer service, sales or product, you have the opportunity to listen and they have the opportunity to speak, so respond! Trust me; just like a bad review on the internet, if it goes unreplied to, then you are guilty.

I’ve compiled a list of online survey sites I recommend. Most of these you can generate your own surveys and some will give you suggestions or have existing templates in place for you to choose from. It is a nominal expense for great information about your business from an outsider’s perspective. And always appreciate that these surveys should NOT be used as a witch-hunt, because let’s face it everyone has a bad day, so take that into account and extract the real information about you business and apply this to your day to day operation and annual improvements. Look for trends, answer questions and respond, respond, respond!
Here’s a compiled list of sites:

Create Survey http://www.createsurvey.com/
I like this one because you can link your positive surveys to your social media sites. Plus, they are reasonably priced $800 p/year unlimited responses

Survey Monkey http://www.surveymonkey.com/
Like Create Survey they are reasonably priced for unlimited surveys but you an also custom design and keep your branding in tact!

Poll Daddy http://polldaddy.com/
I like Poll Daddy because they are brought to you by the creators of WordPress and who doesn’t love WordPress. Pricing is a little steep but they have more robust package.

Google Docs
You can create a survey through your Google Docs. I personally haven’t used this survey option, but from what I’ve read it pretty sound. If you are a small establishment wnating to save extra money, check out this blog, they will explain step by step how to set up a survey with Google Docs.