Ask The Expert

Dear Sir,

In your experience, what are the most reliable and trusted Internet marketing methods which would best serve to bring in qualified business leads to our independent communications consultancy? We have direct and reseller contracts with many major vendors, but great services and rates mean little if you can’t get the word out. Like many entrepreneurs within the first five years, we are operating on a shoestring advertising budget. Currently we buy targeted leads, rather than lists, of businesses who have requested information and bids on the types of services we offer.

–G.S. Crable, GCS Telecom Agency

Dear G.S.,

Thank you for your question. Optimizing your ability to leverage the Internet is becoming more and more important as a source of leads. I would recommend the following:

1. Make sure your Web site is clean and clearly articulates your value proposition; which carriers you represent; and how to reach you. Provide multiple phone numbers including a toll-free number, e-mail addresses, physical addresses, etc. You would be surprised at how many Web sites I look at where I have to search how to contact the company or the information is impossible to find.

2. Search Engine Marketing (SEM), also called Search Engine Optimization (SMO) has recently emerged as a specialty consulting area. Ask your Web developer how to maximize your ability to be found through search engines such as Google and Yahoo! Your Web developer might provide this service or can refer you to a specialist. The developer or specialist also can show you how to more effectively represent yourself to be prioritized through search engines. Proper placement of meta tags and keywords can make a huge difference with regard to search engine rankings.

3. Update your Web site at least once a month and have an indicator on the site to display the last update. There is nothing worse than a stale Web site.

4. Take full advantage of your carrier relationships that enable you to be listed as a partner on the public Web site or within the carriers partner site. Many of the larger carriers enable this for their direct agent partners.

5. Be sure to place links on your Web site to the sites of all carriers you represent. End users often do reverse searches on search engines to find partners that link to the carrier sites.

6. Actual purchase of banner ads on other sites or search engines can be an effective way to market, however, this may be very expensive.

I hope this helps.

Michael Fair

founder, MarketRace LLC

Michael Fair brings MarketRace an extensive background of executive relationship management and strategic sales experience. Prior to founding MarketRace, Fair was regional vice president of strategic partners for the Qwest Communication International Inc. Business Partner Program (QBPP).

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