Updated April 25 at 4:56pm

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Leaky sales funnel will lose leads

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At ReachLocal – an online marketing services company catering to small business – the mantra is “Don’t leak leads.” And that’s good advice for business owners investing more and more money in online marketing only to have large chunks of leads slip away.

If you don’t have an engaging website that turns visits into leads, haven’t created a mobile site, aren’t responding quickly when leads do appear or simply don’t know which marketing efforts are working, you may be wasting your money marketing online. According to Kris Barton, at ReachLocal, small businesses never capture some 75 percent of potential Internet leads simply because they lack the basic tools and capabilities to convert them.

And the worst part is that most business owners never even know about the plumbing leaks that are costing them new customers. To fix the problem, start by identifying where leaks may be occurring in your sales funnel. It can happen at any of the three main stages in the so-called “customer purchase journey”:

• The top of the funnel where customers first discover you by looking online for the type of products or services you offer.

• Midfunnel, which is the stage where they visit your website, contact you and become leads.

• And finally at the bottom of the funnel where they actually make up their minds on whether to become a customer or not.

Here are some ways to avoid leaking leads, according to online marketing specialists at ReachLocal:

• Go beyond Google. Sure, Google is the 900-pound gorilla. But some 25-35 percent of online searches come from Bing and Yahoo! So if you aren’t advertising there as well, you could be losing customers to competitors who are.

• Bid on your own business name. Many small businesses that buy keyword ads don’t include their own business name. But like it or not, your competitors might be doing just that – running search ads to capture customers searching for your business.

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