If you are reading this article, it is because you found me through my social media presence or my blog. In a niche industry where I can only target agents who sell merchant services, I have had over 100,000 YouTube views; I have 186,000 twitter followers and I get over 6,000 visitors every month to this website. What many of you may not know is that I learned all of this as a way to generate leads for my own credit card processing business. Below I am going to share with you a simple list of procedures I put in place a long time ago which generated a lot of business for me in my local community. I have never spent one penny marketing online for merchants or agents. If you are willing to work hard and do the things I list below for an extended period of time, you can experience the same success.
Side note: Just about everything I have learned about inbound marketing, I either learned or later found in this book. “Inbound Marketing” There are a few things I have done specific to our industry, and I would like to share those with you. This is a list of procedures you can follow to generate inbound leads through blogging and social media.
Visit Blogger.com to create a free blog. I recommend starting with blogger because it is free and because google hosts it, so it shows up in their search results faster. Name the blog using the words of your nearest large city where you sell and the words “Merchant Services.” This will create a blog named yourcitymerchantservices.blogspot.com which is a great way to start your blog. You can easily use blogger to get started and see excellent results.
Once per week post a blog article with a title that matches a local search keyword that you want. For instance, I might create a blog called, “Top Ten Mistakes Altoona Business Owners Make When Choosing Merchant Services.” This way if someone types “Altoona Merchant Services” into google, my article has a good chance of showing up. I might also create a post entitled, “Why my Merchant Services Business is based in Claysburg, Pennsylvania.” Claysburg is a very small town. That means I will not get much traffic to this post, but it also means once or twice a month when someone does search for it, I would be at the top of the results.
Make your blog posts personal and interesting. Post a blog about how much you enjoyed meeting a certain business owner and put in a plug for his business. Then email the business owner a link to the article saying, “I really enjoyed meeting you and posted a blog article about my visit. I hope you enjoy the article, and that it sends some new business your way!” This will go a long way toward turning a prospect into a client. Don’t use the blog as a sales tool. Rather, use it to show you are a professional and to drive traffic. Then make sure your contact information is prominently displayed.
Create a Twitter feed where you post once or twice per day about a business owner you met. This feed should be very positive about how much you love your business and credit card processing and should include some helpful tips along with a link to any new blog posts.
Create a Facebook business page and Google+ profile. Do basically the same thing, but add pictures of businesses you went to on your posts. Have an employee take a picture of you with a new client; ask permission to post it online along with a plug for this client’s great business.
Update your LinkedIn profile. Follow my instructions in “Using LinkedIn to Sell Merchant Services” to generate new leads from that. Also, post links to new blog articles on LinkedIn and see if there are any groups you can join for your area. For example, “Small Business Owners in Altoona” would be a group I would want to join. If there are not any groups yet, start one. And DO NOT SELL IN THAT GROUP!!! Simply post interesting business tips or good business books; talk about business owners you have met in the area, etc. If you join someone else’s group, become an active (but not annoying) participant in the group.
Lastly, start reading up on video blogging and creating podcasts to see if these are something you could do. All the same principles apply. Create videos and descriptions that are geographic in nature and watch your videos come to the top of the search results for those keywords. Create a podcast for “Business Owners in My City.” After a few months you might start getting some subscribers.
Understand that it will be at least three months of consistently doing everything I just mentioned before you will see any results at all. Understand that it will be six months before you really start to get significant traffic. And realize it could take a year before your content is creating a steady flow of four or five leads per month. But think about how much of an impact this could have on your business if you have five sales every month without even trying? Think of what this would do for your reputation in your community? Think of how many leads you would be getting in three to five years if you followed the procedures above consistently? Take some time every week to begin building your online presence for your local community. I personally stopped doing all of this about a year ago because the recruiting now takes most of my time. However, I can tell you from experience there and also from experience in recruiting agents that these strategies and procedures do work. They take a lot of time. And when you post your tenth article and realize that not one person has even looked at your site, it is very disheartening. But keep going. Within three months Google’s search crawler will notice you; you will start to creep into the search results. Next thing you know you will have forty or fifty business owners per month reading your posts, following your twitter profile, and connecting with you on LinkedIn.
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