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How to sell to small business, part 2

How to Sell to SMB, Part 2: The Sales Funnel

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This is part two in a series of posts by FullContact’s VP of Business Development, Ben Deda. In the first part, Ben covered his definitions of SMB and discussed how to make sure that you have the right product and pricing to reach them. This time he will dive into the sales funnel and how to make sure that you’re constantly getting the customers that you desire.


Now that you know your product, and you know the customer that you are trying to reach, it’s time to dive in and figure out how to lead them to you.

The Sales Funnel:

The customer lifetime value (CLTV) for Small Business products is likely not going to support an outbound sales force, lead generation team, or an inbound sales force. This game is all about creating traffic to your site and getting that traffic to sign up for your product.

SEO

Despite the fact that https and Google seem to be conspiring to make it harder and harder to track and influence SEO this is still going to be one the foundations to building your funnel.

Focus on the problem your product solves and build out keywords that someone searching for that solution will use. Structure your landing pages around those keywords. You will also need to come up with a supporting strategy from the next piece, content. As we have all learned, SEO optimization that is not supported by content is not going to last

Don’t be scared of the long tail of SEO. These are not keywords that have 10,000 searches per day, but they are often more applicable to your product and provide better quality traffic.

Content

Everyone is singing the praises of content marketing these days, and it definitely is an important part of any marketing plan to build a funnel. But it is not as simple as just writing some blog posts and making some tweets. There are two main types of content that you should focus on:

Thought Leadership

Companies like KISSmetrics, HubSpot, and Moz have made huge names for themselves by combining great products along with quality content that provides their opinions and ideas in areas that are applicable to their business. They have established themselves as thought leaders and have developed followings for that content that drives traffic and creates conversions.

But this is a strategy that takes a lot of time. Unless your name is Rand Fishkin or Hiten Shah you are not going to get 100,000 views with your first blog post. You are going to need to put out a lot of quality content that helps establish you as a subject matter expert and build a following over time.

Thought Leadership content marketing is important and it can pay huge dividends, but don’t expect immediate results.

SEO

As mentioned above you need to support your SEO strategy by creating and sharing content that support your keywords. Think along the lines of “How do I…” or “What are the best…” Sometimes people think that this is “cheap” content and not as quality as Thought Leadership. That is absolutely not the case. This type of content can drive immediate traffic. It may not be as sticky as Thought Leadership but it is still quality.

Campaigns

Since you are not going to spend money on outbound sales/lead generation or inbound sales, the majority of your customer acquisition cost (outside of the salary for the content team) is going to go towards campaigns to drive view, clicks, or installs. Here are some thoughts on the ones we have found the most useful:

AdWords:

This is where the long-tail SEO keywords come into play again. You’ll bid less and convert more. You can still always go after the $$$ keywords, but make sure it doesn’t blow up your CAC.

Retargeting:

One word…presence. I do not know how many times I have heard, “wow you guys must be killing it, I see FullContact ads everywhere,” even from people in tech. I guess retargeting is still not understood by the vast majority of the population. So don’t expect great conversion rates here, but it also is not going to cost you that much and you’ll gain brand recognition.

Content Ads:

Get great content about your product in front of potential customers using services like Outbrain or Taboola. They provide a lot of the “Other stories you may like” or “Recommended for you” at the bottom of the website you are reading. We find that this works best with third party content about your product so it doesn’t seem too pitchy. If you can find third party content that still has a good link and Call-To-Action then you are money.

Mobile Ads:

You have a bunch of different options here: Facebook, Twitter, mobile ad placement services, iAds. Try them all, monitor the cost, and (here is the hard part) measure the conversion rate. This likely works best with a mobile product but it is at least worth trying for a web based product.

All of these boil down to knowing your target CAC and making sure that your CPC/M/I divided by the appropriate conversion rates is less than this number. You also want to be able to measure your conversion rate. Being able to track Adwords to a download from the iTunes store? We have not figured out how to yet. Keep stuff like that in mind.

Place small bets on a bunch of different services and see what you get. Once you find a channel where the CAC is low enough, start pouring money into it and then monitor and optimize.

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