Why Validating Your Product is the Most Important Lead Generation Tool for Small Businesses

This was originally posted on Pantelope.com and is being reposted here for portfolio purposes.

So, you think you’ve found a problem that needs to be solved and are willing to take the plunge and present your solution. But will it work?. Business is a risk;  if it wasn’t everyone would be doing it. For those that do, you quickly learn that the days of “if you build it they will come” are the days of yore. The simple marketing ‘tactics’ you see advertised online no longer cut it in order to build a successful business. Building a business is hard enough work as it is; why work harder doing something that may not even be wanted by your potential clients?

 

This is where validating your business idea becomes an integral part of your strategy. Testing out your idea and building relationships doesn’t have to begin after you’ve built your product — you can start right now before you even have a full website up!  

 

What Are the Best Ways to Validate?

 

You can start  by finding the areas where your audience currently seek answers to their problem. There are a few ways we can accomplish this:

 

  • Reach out to your existing network for validation of your product and gather your first couple leads.

 

  • Utilize social media and share about your product to build excitement around the launch of your product.  a reputation around yourself as being an authority to this audience–they will appreciate your knowledge, and begin to trust your advice.

 

  • Build a landing page that talks about your product.

 

Start talking up your product to everyone in your network – Here is where you can begin building a reputation around yourself as being an authority –your audience will appreciate your expertise and begin to trust your advice.  Like-minded people hang out together, so chances are you’re already part of a network that has the same problem as you’re addressing. Go to those networks and become an active member; chime in on the conversation! Start by talking to them; are they actually having the same problem? Do they even know it’s a problem? It’s time to let them know about it all, and to see if they’re interested in your solution.

 

When I helped start Feedonomics, we knew people had a similar problem, so we reach out to other eCommerce clients and agencies to use the product and used that feedback to help improve the product and the marketing.

 

Build a landing page – As opposed to waiting until you have a completed website, I would recommend putting out a landing page for your product or service. On this landing page you will flesh out the problem, identify why it needs to be resolved, and how you can help. You also need one key feature – a way for people to get in touch with you by email or phone. Using this information, while you may not have the product or service fully fleshed out, you can start conversations with these people in order to get helpful feedback that you can use for developing your product or service and the marketing for it.

 

Share more –  Don’t ignore the people who have gotten behind your product.  Remember, they aren’t just potential customers; you’re all a part of one community. Make them feel like they are a part of the production process of your product; in a way, they are! Give them updates; let them know where you’re at. Build company social networks and communicate with your interested audience frequently as you get ready to unveil your product to the world.

 

Taking the time to build your audience prior to your product even launching is a difficult task. However, putting the work in now will save you money by validating it first and greatly pay off when you official launch and are able to see sales immediately because of all the background work you did.  Remember, your audience is out there, you just need to find them.

 

Why These 3 Pages Are Important in Converting Visitors to Leads

This post was originally posted on Pantelope.com and is being reposted here for portfolio purposes.

Your Website Is A Lead Tool

If your website is more than a digital business card, and instead is intended to gather leads, then we need to use it like a conversion tool. In order to get conversions, we need it to be 4 things – clear, credible, appealing, and differentiating.

Seems easy? When done effectively, getting conversions can indeed be that simple. In fact, it should be simple both to you and your website visitors to understand.

In order to work smarter, not harder, we start with the most frequented pages on your site: the homepage, about page, (and, if you have one, testimonials page). It is among these pages, we can focus our efforts to build a conversion strategy. We will go over how to optimize these pages that will (if done well) turn visitors into customers.

Fun Fact: A study done by Google found that it takes a person only 1/50th to 1/20th of a second to judge a website. That doesn’t give you a lot of time to do complicated, ‘trendy’ tactics in order to get people to click the ‘Buy Now’ button. Keep this in mind as you read through the rest of this article.

Homepage

Above all others, your homepage will be the most frequented page on your site, so it has to wear many hats. It must be clear, credible, show how you are different, and, most importantly, appeal to your target audience.  

 

A great example of this is with Monger.com’s homepage. Their tagline,  “ the fastest way to pay off your student loans” quickly establishes appeal to their target audience and a clear value proposition. With their unique reward system of earning money off of your loans on every purchase,they’ve helped people save millions. By succinctly communicating their unique value and credibility on their homepage, visitors aren’t left wondering if this business will meet their needs.

 

Finally, your homepage should have a clear call to action; you need to tell your visitors what they need to do next. Don’t leave it up to them; they may just find their way right off your site. Get Started, Contact Me, See My Work, and Shop Now are just some of the popular call-to-actions I have seen that generate high conversions.

 

Pro Tip: Don’t get lost in the jargon or flowery language. This often creates confusion in your messaging, and causes people to leave your site!

About Page

Usually the second most visited page of a website, the About page is important; it’s the place to build rapport and trust. People like to know who you are and whether you are credible prior to purchasing anything.

 

It doesn’t have to be fancy. Check out U.S. Elite’s about us page. They cover the important topics of who they are, what values they hold , what groups they belong to,  and a brief bio on their CEO–all without any bells or whistles. Without even checking out their product selection, you can tell exactly what they are about and  what they sell–and that’s all that matters. They also establish clear differentiation through their mission statement that bonds them with their target audience; making them stand out from other sellers. Differentiation, a good story, and a clear mission/vision statement written for your audience is exactly what one needs to be chosen over another. Build rapport and trust with your audience by being authentic – whether it’s explaining how you got your start or giving some silly facts about yourself and/or your employees. Ultimately, your about page must address how you want to help clients now and in the future.

 

Pro tip: Business doesn’t have to mean dull; the about us page is the best way to break away from that stereotype by showing off your personality, and get potential clients to know you a little better.

 

Testimonials

 

Do you wonder why we check the reviews of a product prior to purchasing? Testimonials provide credibility – if you’ve done this for someone else, you can definitely expect it to be done for your own business. It’s why review sites like Yelp (no matter how frustrating it can be) are so vital to service businesses. The testimonial page is one that provides direct social proof to your potential clients, showing that what you offer does indeed work.

 

While your benefits can help get people interested, testimonials can be the key to closing a deal – it provides true credibility to your audience. Whether it’s a feature from a happy client, or even logos of the brands you work with–allowing your clients to be ambassadors for you on your site is not only the highest form of a compliment–but also a highly lucrative conversion tool.

 

Pro tip:While it’s always better to have current clients sing your praises rather than yourself, make sure that your testimonials validate your value proposition. You want to drive home the fact that what you do best will help a potential client at every opportunity given.

Conclusion

While conversions seem like a gigantic mystery, when you boil it down, there are simple practices you can put in place to help you work smarter, not harder, to reach your audience. Focus on creating content on your most visited pages that helps your audience understand your brand and how it relates to them.. From there, you will be poised to offer next steps to clients, actively converting them from visitors to qualified leads.

5 Ways to NAIL your About Us page (+ examples)!

We are always trying to figure out the best conversion strategies for our websites. The best UI, the best content—when we should be focused on optimizing our relationships with potential and current clientele (yes, that includes online as well).

The best way to do this is to write an amazing, kick-ass, About Us page. Behind the Home page, the About Us page is typically the next page your audience will go to when first visiting your site. Get it wrong, you can turn people off to you without you even realizing it. Get it right, you could have a highly converting lead on your hands.  

Continue reading 5 Ways to NAIL your About Us page (+ examples)!