Advertising can get pretty expensive during the holidays, so we’ve identified three alternative ways to help increase the likelihood of getting prospective customers to your web site during this critical shopping time for many businesses. You can try all of these methods free to help with your holiday SEO.
Participate in forum discussions with relevant eyeballs. For example, I once bought an ad on a golf related blog that had over 100,000 followers, and also joined the forum. Because I had bought the ad, the forum owner was kind enough to also let me link to my company in my signature for any discussion I participated in. The key here is to be REAL. Don’t try farming this out to SEO people who know nothing about your topic. This method creates backlinks and brings in visitors who are seriously interested in your products or services
Try Growtraffic.com, which offers targeted web traffic by interest and geographic location from expired domains. We haven’t tested the value of this service yet, but that’s OK because they offer RISK FREE 10,000 visitors over 30 days.
Blog about what your buyers like. Did you find this article? Then you’re likely in a marketing position and you’re either my buyer or you know someone at your company who is. Do you buy custom logo products for your company or know someone who does? We know how to engage buyers with the right products for any budget, for trade shows, events, and direct mail. Call 800-CEO-1899 9-5 ET for help today.
It’s amazing to me that a business of any size would not have a web presence that exemplifies their brand image. If you’re looking to grow your business from networking, your web site and your business card are all that remains after an initial introduction. What do they say about you? I can’t recall if this introduction was made at a golf event or a different networking event, but the same logic applies in either case.
Below is the business card given to me and a screenshot of the corresponding web site. I’m sure most of you do not have such a disconnect in graphic design, at least I hope not, but I’ll address marketing issues below.
Some graphic designer probably fell in love with the background image on this business card, but it’s worthless if the user has a hard time reading the print or interferes with today’s apps for scanning business cards into contact management systems. Or maybe the problem is it was too hard to incorporate into the wcb site design. Advice: if this design is kept, ghost the background more so it interferes less with the important contact data. Always consider your most important marketing methods and design to optimize for all media.
The web site doesn’t have the same brand identity or company logo.
What’s wrong with this company branding?
I could be wrong, but it appears to be the web site of a single freelance developer. That’s the problem, it doesn’t really say. It doesn’t say who leads the company, where it’s located, or the company name of a single project completed to make someone want to use this company.
“Our background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Master of Science degree in Computer Engineering from Florida Atlantic University.” Ok, so it that one person or two different people? Why all the secrecy? Are you moonlighting on the side while holding down a full time job? It’s the internet, and buying is as much about relationships as it is about the services offered.
The news page has nothing. Even the day the web site was created there should have been at least one bit of news to share. I get it. Make your web site in word press and at least post links to relevant news once a week.
The web developer link at the bottom links to a non-existent web site. By using WordPress, you can be in total control of your content, including the removal of links. If someone does a great job on your web site, give them credit and create the link. For a cheap web site, no way.
Advice: Be honest. If you have a team of freelancers or other special situation, then identify the company as such. “MIT graduate leads an elite team of contract engineers specially selected for each custom development project. Although gainfully employed with a leading technology company, I crave more challenges and have the capacity to deliver your project in a timely manner. I’m the secret weapon that other companies engage, so I can’t disclose the names of any end-user recipients on my web site, but if you contact me, I’ll amaze you with project experience that you can readily verify should you choose to engage my services.”
A small business with a limited budget must spend dollars wisely. If your average sale is $5000, or $10,000 or more, what is that worth to you? If you’re not ready to project an image that matches the audience you seek, skip the web site and use your name and linkedin as your personal brand image until you’re ready for the next level.
When I first began mixing business and golf, I had clear objectives in choosing the players for my team. Sometimes I’ve let myself be paired randomly, which is never a good idea if you’re investing limited marketing dollars, but great if you understand the day is about fun and helping others. Business isn’t part of the day, but building friendships is. Never force friendships. The beauty of the game is enjoying the day, and if there is a common bond, business will come naturally if it’s a good fit for both parties. ^Christine Speedy
This 2011 review of hosted sales contact management and marketing campaign management solutions is based on balancing sales, marketing and CRM needs. Companies have struggled with this for years as Sales Contact Management solutions were not necessarily the best CRM solution. The winning recommendation for Sage ACT! Premium 2012 vs Salesforce Premium vs Sugar 6 CRM is based on very specific criteria. Businesses need to clearly define their needs for now and the future and TEST, TEST, TEST before committing an entire organization. Start with a few key sales and marketing staff and form a beta testing group to help evaluate as well as refine nurturing programs, layouts etc.
Three critical criteria for selecting a solution in this review:
It must meet all sales lead and contact management system requirements.
It must be a hosted cloud solution, offer mobile sync, and be user friendly with little or no integrations or customization needed. Intuitive use is essential.
It must include cross channel support of data input ( leads), and optimally cross channel output- (print, email
The solution must also provide basic needs for a company with these features:
MANAGMENT & ADMINISTRATION
an outside sales force up to minimum 25, scalable to over 100
manager management to assign leads
manager reporting window to see status of leads progress
Sales opportunity reports
Record history with automatic time/date stamp, drop down menu to choose from send letter, phone call etc. The 2nd element for phone to include drop down – completed, left message, attempted. Other elements will be completed or not completed.
Keep customer contact info, plus associated notes, history, activities, documents, opportunities, social media profiles, and more in one organized place.
Search by any data including SIC, city, state, industry, name, company, NOTES,
Access contacts and calendar details from virtually anywhere including iphone, Droid
AUTOMATED LEAD NURTURING VIA EMAIL – Admin campaigns, sales rep campaigns
Automated lead nurturing via direct mail
Integrate web forms capturing leads
In addition to the primary and basic criteria, I’ve outlined some key differentiating elements in the table below.
create automated alerts ie if lead not acted on within certain number of days or hours
Appears to be yes
Appears to be yes with customized sales process
?- I’m sure it can be done, just not familiar with how
* YES, Enterprise only
Can be built in Sugar Studio or is available as a downloadable application via SugarExchange, for free or at an additional fee
YES- Users provided desktop app and will auto sync
Connect service $59.95/user
YES- 3 options- browse web version, mobile version, or use native app (latter on iphone now, coming to Droid 12/11)
archive emails to Sugar and sync calendar, contacts and tasks
YES- integrated Act email, Gmail, 3rd party plugin options
YES- gmail, yahoo, mail, IMAP- use the Sugar email client to archive emails to Sugar
YES- Google Docs
YES- Relate documents to any record in Sugar and store them in the cloud using LotusLive or Google Docs
Hierarchal company organization- parent, subsidiary, related
? Not sure if standard or customization needed
Create and execute campaigns across marketing channels
No- optional email campaign only
Only with APP exchange – choose and configure
YES – Advanced target to lead tracking for insights as to why campaign worked.
Captures leads directly into the CRM
YES with optional monthly service
Yes, but not sure of the simplicity
Automated Drip Email campaigns
YES with optional monthly service
Yes, in the time-based workflow for enterprise and unlimited edition. Otherwise genius.com plugin.
Measures return on investment of campaigns
Yes, but need to customize
Yes, with APP exchange
YES – compare ROI trade show vs direct mail, email etc
YES facebook, twitter and linkedin so you can see all contact activities
YES- Schedule, start or join LotusLive, Cisco WebEx or GoToMeeting online meetings directly from Sugar
Data Intelligence/ Data mining
YES – Sage Business Info Services for ACT! By quote only, estimated $99/mth per user
YES, Jigsaw- added fee
YES- From free. $19/user and $49/mth per user (for $49 you can export and build lists and create custom sales triggers)- Features range and can include automated Hoovers company data, and discovers relationships between you and decision makers; Custom sales triggers!
$359 per user for desktop software license, plus optional data intelligence with Hoovers, plus CONNECT $59.95/user/mth for cloud and mobile sync, plus $44.95/user/mth email nurturing (varies up to $129)
$65/mth for Professional Version, $125 for Enterprise Version, 1 year contract all users
Per User Monthly, 1 year agreement. $30, 45, Sugar Enterprise $60, Ultimate $100.
Your computer, you back up; some data will sync to the cloud
Daily back-up only in Ultimate
Dashboard reporting with graphics
YES- most elegant
Dashboard by lead source
Drill down data, but not sure about graphics
YES- most elegant
Dashboard sales pipeline
Drill down data, but not sure about graphics
Limited- additional fee applies in some cases
YES- customize layout, add modules and fields
Integrations- API support
YES, many 3rd party
Many options, additional fee for ‘objects’ may apply
YES- SOAP, REST, 3rd party
90 days; extra fee after that
Unlimited all plans; 1 hour phone guarantee and assigned rep for Ultimate users.
De-dupe on import
After reviewing many options and other user reviews, the list was narrowed to three based on personal knowledge, market leadership, and ability to pass the basic criteria. Sage ACT! Premium 2012 is included because I’ve used Sage Act! off and on for 15 years, and Sage launched their new version this month with cloud, email, mobile and social integrations. I currently use Act! Premium for Workgroups with a $10 one-time fee iPhone mobile plugin, to sync scheduler and contacts, and I previously used ACT! Corporate about 2 years ago. There were many limitations in the corporate compared to the desktop version at the time, rendering it to be mostly a lead management tool, and not useful enough for sales agents to make it their primary tool. I’ve also used Salesforce off and on for about 3 years since the company was launched. I always went back to ACT! because I felt the cloud was too slow and there were limitations regarding contact fields. I’ve had custom options for so long via ACT!, it’s hard to live without them. The cloud was not drastically slow, but it’s noticeable when you’re using the system for contact activities vs on the desktop. I have no prior experience with Sugar and I don’t personally know anyone using it. PCMAG editors and users gave it the beta version a 4 star review in 2010.
Sage ACT! 2012 doesn’t even come close for return on investment for anything but a small user group. I love the product and there is a lot of value not mentioned in this article that you don’t really know until you use it and compare to others. (Since it failed to meet the basic criteria established, there is no reason to expound on other benefits. ) If you’re not using the optional cloud services, then choose ACT!. If you want the cloud, it’s very limited compared to other options. If you’re an ACT! user and want to stick with it, but upgrade to cloud service, you might want to look at SalesNexus instead. This is a nice comparison chart for Salesforce vs ACT! vs SalesNexus. LandslideCRM is also worth a look.
Salesforce is arguably the most robust solution on the market. But that comes at a price both monetarily and with time investment. For larger companies with big budgets and teams to plan out a complex integration of many other existing systems and resources, it’s a winner. However, that does not meet the initial criteria of simple and easy to roll out.
SUGAR 6 is the clear and convincing winner based on the criteria established and reading the online information. In addition to meeting the criteria, it also has other items on my wish list, including a free desktop version with automated sync. This is a true cloud combining web, mobile and desktop. The open source code is fairly easy to navigate and modify. Though it’s newer on the market, there is a strong community and support team to help users. Note: There is a FREE community version
Follow up on Sugar 6. I signed up for the free 7 day trial. Although it’s a demo account and not necessarily indicative of the live account, it was lightening fast. The dashboards are elegant and useful. There are many positives and great comparisons to ACT! features I already love, but rather than modify drop downs on the fly, users have to click on the admin button. All the changes I wanted to make, such as adding a field for SIC code, were done in the studio without going to the Module Builder where you can create your own custom tabs to navigate. The module builder can overwrite tabs, so just like ACT, some thought should go into planning to deploy for all users. However, out of the box, it’s pretty robust. I probably spent a day on ACT! layouts and the same will be needed here.
There are a few questions raised from using the trial account for about an hour and not knowing what difference the desktop version might have. Limitations- these may be able to be overcome, but not in trial version:
Users can send emails from their account, but cannot send email blasts. ( Users can assign contacts to newsletter lists.)
Email blasts are only from the administrator- one email set up for from etc
Modifying drop downs is easy to do, but all changes must be made in that module. It cannot be done while you are in the contact section like in ACT!. This means it will take extra time to navigate back and
InsideView is a good plugin for time saving insights for prospects. Prices range from free to $99 per month. The free version is built into SUGARCRM.
Management can put in the cost of a campaign and see ROI at a glance by assigning leads to the campaign. You might want to write a script so the ROI displays floating periods- what the ROI was 30 days, 6 months, and 12 months. For example, trade show leads could take many months to close and others quicker or vice versa. The dashboard provides monetary ROI graphics to compare multiple campaigns and marketing methods. If Sugar doesn’t have a feature out of the box, it appears to almost anything can be customized fairly easily. You don’t need to be a programmer, but for more involved stuff, a little knowledge wouldn’t hurt.
20 year marketing veteran shares "the best" in men's sportswear, logo shirts, and luxury gifts