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Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way you could generate leads online for free, without having to pay for tools to help you do it?
Well, it might not be as impossible as you think.
Of course, I’m not saying there’s a silver bullet than can generate you quick and easy leads overnight. However…
What if I told you that by utilising some of the best free online marketing tools out there, you could soon have a system up and running that would help get more leads coming in to grow your business? It’s all about attracting the right people to your website, and findings ways of turning them into leads that you can then convert into sales.
In this blog post, I’m going to use my 20+ years’ experience as an marketer to show you ways of doing this that won’t cost you ANY money at all.
The only real cost?
Your time – and don’t get me wrong, it WILL require a lot of effort and hard work.
DISCLAIMER: Before we get started, there is one caveat to this. By only using free tools, you’ll be limited as to the results you can achieve, as many good things that come for free also have paid versions that are even better. However, doing it this way WILL get leads trickling in, so you can eventually start investing in upgrades that will do the job even better.
So, are you ready to learn how to generate leads online for free? Let’s get this thing started.
If you want to generate leads, you have to start at the beginning; by attracting plenty of traffic to your website. One of the best free ways to do this is by creating helpful content that matches what your ideal customers are typing into Google search. And where’s the best place to share this content? Your blog.
A blog is a dedicated space for posting the best content that your customers will find helpful or interesting – and they should ideally be able to find it when they visit your website. Don’t have a blog yet? It’s fairly simple to get one.
One of the best free blog tools available is Wordpress – which currently powers 26% of the web. Your hosting site may even have a setting that allows you to add it to your website with one click. It’s also very easy to install!
Once your blog is up and displaying lots of fresh content, you want your readers to keep interacting with your site – otherwise they’ll just click away and go elsewhere, without converting into leads. You can help guide your visitors into becoming leads with call-to-actions (or CTAs).
These are clickable buttons ideally placed at the bottom of your blog. They could say something like ‘subscribe to the blog’ or ‘download our free ebook’.
You can do this by using Inbound Now’s free CTA tool. Or, if you want to be a bit more creative with your own custom CTAs, you could also try Canva. I use the latter all the time, as you can put together professional-looking images with hardly any effort!
Once your visitors click on your CTAs, they’ll be taken to what’s known as landing pages. These pages tell them more about why they would want to take the action described in the CTA. For example, if it’s to sign up to your blog or newsletter, tell them the benefits they’d gain.
Or if you have an ebook or guide (more about that below) for them to download, tell them what they can learn by downloading it in return for filling out a form with their contact details. Landing pages shouldn’t be overly salesy, but they should tell your customers why they’d want to take the action on the page. This is how you get visitors to become leads.
You can create free quality landing pages using ONTRApages.
You know how I was just talking about ebooks or guides? This is also known as premium content, and you can offer it for free to download on your website – in return for just a few contact details. This really gives your visitors a reason to become leads, as they’re getting something really useful back in return.
You can put together professional-looking images for your ebook on Canva. As for the writing part, all you need is around 1,000 – 1,500 words that provides more detailed guidance for your customers. If you can match them to your blog content in some way, all the better.
TIP: If you don’t have the time to create ebooks on top of your content, you can collate some of your best blogs on a particular topic and make that into a comprehensive ebook or guide – all it needs is just a little editing!
Now that you have some quality leads, you need to keep them engaged with clever email messages and content. This helps you stay in the forefront of their minds. One of the tools you can achieve this with is MailChimp. It isn’t exactly email automation, but it’s very similar – and free. It essentially allows you to create drip campaigns containing carefully planned content to specific contacts every 3, 5, or 10 days.
Email marketing automation is a little more advanced – for instance, MailChimp has no way of determining when people become customers. You’ll also have to segment your lists manually – which is something I highly recommend you do for maximum effect.
Now that you’re publishing regular content, you don’t want people to read one blog and just forget about it. So, how can you get regular visitors to read and engage with your blog? Well, MailChimp, as mentioned above, also have a handy RSS-to-email feature which allow people to easily subscribe.
It’s very simple to use, and all you need to do is publish your content as usual – it will land in your subscribers’ inboxes! You can control how many posts go out, and the frequency, too. You can even combine multiple RSS feeds into just one email newsletter – it’s up to you how you use it.
If you want the right people to see and engage with your posts, you have to share it to the right places. It may only be one piece of the puzzle, but you probably don’t want to be going to all the effort above without including social media such as Facebook, Twitter etc. That way you can start to build a following and connect with more of your ideal customers.
Buffer allows you to schedule, publish and analyse your social media posts all in one place – handy! So, if you want to increase engagement on your posts and see how people are reacting, I highly recommend it. It will also save you some time and even help your blogs get found quicker on Google!
Below are some other free tools you may find useful, although they might take a bit longer to get the hang of:
TIP: If you’re not necessarily only looking for free tools, check out my blog ’15 Must-Have Digital Marketing Tools to Grow Your Business’.
Well, that’s the basics to help you start generating those much-needed leads online for free! However, you might be reading this article and thinking there’s one clear disadvantage staring you in the face. If you don’t have the time, or the inclination to learn any of the above tools and systems for yourself, you may have to bite the bullet and pay someone to help you.
There’s also the issue of the above tools being very segmented, which means they won’t really talk to each other very well. This can lead to things getting overly complicated and messy. However, it IS a way to save money, and it IS entirely possible – as long as you’re happy to put in the time and effort.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below, or get in touch. I’ll be happy to give you some more free advice that might be able to help.
Are you looking for email marketing tools to help manage your business email list?
Email marketing tools make maintaining and building your email lists so easy, allowing you to separate them into different categories, and send relevant content, updates and offers to the people who will actually want to read them!
The good news is, there are so many affordable (and even free!) tools out there, however, the bad news is that you can spend all day looking at various email clients and still be none the wiser.
If you’re feeling a bit puzzled by all the different email marketing tools out there – and you don’t have time to look through them all whilst trying to run your business – don’t worry.
As a digital marketer, I’ve tested hundreds and hundreds of different email marketing tools, and so I thought I’d give you the benefit of my experience and list the best five here.
After all, it could end up saving you time and quite a few pennies!
First thing’s first; there’s no point in getting software to help you manage and engage with your email lists when you have no great content to send them!
Once you have your blog ready to go, you should be using it to answer your best customers’ questions, challenges and concerns. A good place to start is to think about some of the questions you hear from customers every day, and then answer each in a detailed blog post!
And there you have it; you’ll already have some helpful content to send to some of the people on your list!
With lots of great, easy-to-use features and integration with various apps such as WordPress, Twitter, Facebook and Google, MailChimp is a popular tool used by small businesses and Fortune 500 companies alike.
It’s perfect for automating email messages based on what your visitors are doing on your website, and even better, you can sign up for a free plan which allows you to send up to 12,000 emails for as many as 2,000 subscribers each month. This is great if you’re a small business and just want to try things out.
However, if you have more subscribers, or want to take advantage of all of the features this tool has to offer (such as autoresponders) then you’ll have to sign up for one of the paid plans, which start at around $10 per month.
I personally really like Autopilot HQ, as it allows you to send very personalised messages, and add people to various different lists in such an easy-to-use platform. You can also connect various apps to automate tasks and monitor your data.
Autopilot HQ allows you to track your open rate, clicks and conversions in one visually pleasing dashboard, and it takes very minimal effort to make adjustments and watch your revenue go up. Even better, there’s a free trial, so you can try it out without any risk!
Another advantage of this tool is that you won’t necessarily need landing pages, because it will collect all the data you need from your contact form – however, I’d highly recommend using dedicated landing pages to increase your conversions.
However, the one problem with Autopilot HQ is that it doesn’t allow you to send a block of emails out as soon as one of your blogs is published, whereas MailChimp does, so unfortunately you need both. It also doesn’t allow for RSS-to-email, which is a bit of a problem.
Next on our list is GetResponse, which in my opinion is the best all-rounder when it comes to email automation and just doing everything you need in one package – you can even create landing pages!
It’s also worth mentioning that they are the first email marketing service to actually help you create your own webinars, for even more engagement with your email lists – I just love the idea of this, and it looks really easy to use!
You also have slightly more to choose from in terms of pricing options compared to the likes of MailChimp, and GetResponse also comes out slightly more cost-effective.
Finally, if you want a good end-to-end enterprise solution, and can afford to spend a minimum of £6,000 per year on a marketing platform that can give you email automation, detailed reports and analytics, landing pages and various other tools, HubSpot is the solution for you.
I’ve personally been a HubSpot partner in the past, and not only is it a great platform to use, but the team are really helpful and will be on-hand to give you lots of help and advice with your marketing efforts.
TIP: If HubSpot seems a bit on the pricey side, another option is LeadSquared, which does a lot of the same things at just a fraction of the cost.
I hope you’ve found my insights useful when it comes to choosing good email marketing tools for your home services business – it’s really so important to keep your email lists engaged with great content, and these tools just make life so much easier!
If you have a question about any of the tools above, please feel free to leave a comment below, and I promise to do my best to help you out!
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Is your email database full of uninterested people?
Is your Edinburgh business needing help getting the right people to open your emails?
Email marketing is often a misunderstood marketing channel but can be your best source of leads and repeat business.
If your are an Edinburgh business and you want to increase the size of your email database or increase your open rates then perhaps you’ll turn to email marketing services for help.
In this final best of Edinburgh series I apologise if you came to this post looking for a list of email marketing services in Edinburgh, as you may be disappointed. Continue reading