Free Tools to Rev Up Your Lead Capture Strategies in 2015

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The New Year rang in some wonderful free tools ideal for lead-capture, conversions and putting muscle behind your social media posts.  Here are two reviews for Snip.ly and SumoMe, both free and both worth your time.

Snip.ly:  I took App Sumo’s new tool, Snip.ly out for a test-run this afternoon, and I’ve gotta say, this tool has some serious power.  They’re doing a free one-year subscription to the Pro package and I suggest you get it while it’s hot – (it’s a $300 value) and no, I don’t have an affiliate link to them… (yet…)  Here’s a quick 4-minute video showing you the back-end:

Snip.ly not only abbreviates your long urls, but it allows for embedding a call-to-action button right onto your landing page with a one-two punch.  I used it to promote my affiliate hosting site, Midphase with their 40% off sale and my tutorials for Serif WebPlus.  It allowed me to promote BOTH pages on 1 post in both Facebook and Twitter (now how cool is that??)

SumoMe:  I’ve gotta admit, this one was a little confusing (still is…) in that I don’t always see the lead capture box show up on my website.  I put a device up on my home page (lemme know if you see the bugger…) to give away my free report, “The Top (Dirt-Cheap) Tools I Use to Get Noticed Online.” Some leads have come in, but not an avalanche. In all fairness, I haven’t promoted this to the max – I may use the power of Snip.ly to drive traffic to my pages that house the SumoMe lead-capture device and see if that works a bit better.  Nonetheless, it is easy to install, just not always easy to see it all the time, especially if you’ve put in commands that it only show once a month so as not to pester loyal followers of your website or blog.  Here’s the scoop on SumoMe and a few other GREAT tools:

So if you’re playing with your website over the weekend, take these two tools out for a spin and let me know what you think of them in the comments below.


A Girl Named Tsu – A Social Media Platform that Pays You Back

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Got Clicks - Tell Me, Tell the WorldI know, I know – I groaned too when I heard there was yet another social media platform to play with.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t really have a problem with Facebook ads.  I DO have a problem with them owning all of my content.  I DO think the way they monetize by boosting your post is cumbersome.  I like how YouTube uses AdSense and rewards you for good content.  That’s how it should be done and happily, Tsu has taken this to a higher level.

I’m promoting my new program Tell Me – Tell the World where I teach you how to create your own lead capture devices to get more clients.  I was about to post about it on LinkedIn when Caleb Wright’s FANTASTIC review of Tsu hit my screen.  Do yourself a favor and read his whole blog, watch the videos, they’re worth your time.

Here’s a quick video showing you how to setup your Tsu.  Go ahead, sign up and follow me on Tsu.  Let’s see how much we can bank together.

Did Google Kill the Keyword?

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Is the Keyword out of style?
Is the Keyword out of style?

When Google sounded the death knell of the Keyword tool, I was heart-broken.  I’ve always loved playing with words – making it easy to find what your clients are looking for (hopefully, you and your website…) and Google making it phenomenally easy to research how people searched locally and globally. I loved writing the right keywords and page titles along with meaningful metadescriptions to perfectly tailor a customer’s search for their expectation of what greeted them from your page.  I loved seeing my research pay off with my client’s website showing on the first page of a targeted keyword search.

Now?  It’s not so easy to research (for free, anyway…) the behavior of an online patron.  The pay-per-click landscape has definitely shifted from the easy 3-line adword campaigns to more sophisticated PLA (Product Listing Ads).  Gone are exact phrase matches and heralded in are the graphical units driven by a product feed.  The former innocence of Google replaced by the creepy big-brother looking over your shoulder mentality of Facebook ads that harvest your every thought and whim for the sake of your demographic (and psychographic) data.

So is the keyword dead?  Not really.  But it forces marketers to think more like consumers – how do we make it easy for people to buy your products and services?  Where do they hear about you?  On a blog post?  On YouTube?  On an app? When they search on their mobile phone, are they more likely to turn to Siri?  Or your cousin in Kansas on Facebook?

The Last Click Attribution

What triggers the last click before a purchase is made?  It’s not dependent solely on a Google search anymore.  Just as video may have killed the radio star, apps, social media and voice search have put a dent in the traditional keyword search, no doubt.  In Dave Schwartz’s smart article asking if we’re reaching the end of the keyword era, I would say no.  Is it changing?  Oh yeah.  Is it more point at a picture and click based?  Definitely.  But I’m not willing to throw in the towel and face an “Idiocracy” apocalypse.  The word is still mighty – stories still need to be conveyed as an art form.  Killer copy still sells just as it did in the 80s with Gary Halbert’s timeless letters, it just translates differently.

It still comes down to the Big 3 Elements Google has touted for a decade now:

  • Relevance
  • Content
  • Engagement

In fact, go back in history and you’ll see these 3 ingredients are key to any enterprise whether online or off.  The last ingredient?  The Secret Sauce?  Desire.  Do you have what your clients want, need and are willing to pay you for?  If you have these key ingredients, it won’t matter what algorithm Google pitches or how Facebook positions your ads – what will matter is people willing to search for what you have to offer and you making it easy for them to find what they need.

It’s called a great product or offering great service and that never goes out of style.

Playing Solitaire with Your Business

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The Click Retreat happens this September.  Details at FindTheClick.com
Fold. Shuffle. Play Again.

I’m getting ready for the retreat I’m teaching called The Click in mid-September.  Someone private messaged me on Facebook and it took me awhile to respond back to her.  Here’s what she asked:

“I’ve been in business for 7 years now and it’s been rough.  The recession, banks not lending and my credit score taking a nosedive have made me think I need to get a job, but no one will hire me.  Okay, they’ll hire me, but not at a living wage.  So I’ve been dealt a bad hand and I’m trying to make the best of it.  Will The Click help?”

Wow.  I wish I knew the answer to that one.  I can guide, set up a marketing plan, build a website and e-commerce stuff, but no one knows how to deal with a bad hand… or do we?

I put my cell phone down and picked up a deck of cards.  I played the only game I know next to “Go Fish,” and that’s “Solitaire.”

So I dealt a hand.  And I lost.

I dealt a second.  And I lost.

I dealt a third.  And I won.

So what did I do once I had won?  I dealt again.  And I had one of those “aha” moments.  Whether I win or lose, the result was the same:  I dealt again.  Why?

“Hey Vin, what do you do when you lose a game of solitaire?”

“I deal again.”

“And what if you win?”

“I deal again.  But I don’t play it like you do.”  This gave me pause.

“How do you play?”  I pushed my cards aside and he showed me the solitaire game on his phone.  “Each time I play, I accrue points, so it gives me more incentive to keep playing.”  Accrue points; experience.  Each time you play, you learn, right?

Keep playing… So no matter whether you win or lose at Solitaire, we fold up the cards, shuffle, and play again.  Just like in business.  I remember when I had my corporate handcuffs and how people discouraged me from starting my own business.

“Business is risky – work in the cable industry.”  So I worked for Adelphia.  And they folded.

Deal the cards.  Shuffle.  Play again.

And I created (and re-created) Got Clicks along with many other companies.  Some did very well, some not so well.  But I kept playing and learning and accruing not points, but knowledge and experience on how to do it right more quickly.

Ready to Play?

Here are some tips on getting it right in your business:

Stop Putting Cats in Dresses:  My last blog post talks at length about this and it’s the number one reason businesses fail – lack of customer research.  Do your customers want what you have to offer?  Ask the RIGHT questions and learn what your clients are hungry for.

Simplify Your Messaging:  Stop talking over your audience’s head.  How do you describe your business?  “I do Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Management and build websites and landing pages,” was how I used to lead my elevator pitch and I found people would nod and politely walk to the cash bar.  I now say “I help businesses get noticed online.”  Much less scary, more engaging and memorable.

Make it Easy:  Make it easy for a customer to buy from you.  Think about how you want your customer to receive your product or services.  Is your website concise?  Is it easy to understand what you have to offer?  Do you engage with the right people on your social media?  Are you on social media with a purpose or on there because somebody told you to be there?

Success is not defined by how much money you make, the money you make is directly related to how much success you accrue.  If it doesn’t work? Fold. Shuffle. Play Again.

Got Clients? No? Then Stop Putting Cats in Dresses

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Two_cats,_dressed_as_humans,_holding_rope,_which_doll_appears_to_be_skippingBack in January, I had the assignment from hell.  Every day, I had to cold-call 50 people I didn’t know, asking if they wanted digital marketing for their business. There were several things wrong with this scenario:

1) Most people I spoke with didn’t know what digital marketing was or why they needed it.

2) I had a quota to fulfill, so I didn’t have the luxury of time to research their companies.

3) I undervalued what Got Clicks brought to the table thinking that a big-named company could deliver the goods better than my little company. I was wrong.

4)  The power is NOT in the list, (I had literally thousands at my fingertips…) the power is in what you have to offer.

What did I do? Well, I didn’t hit quota, I can tell you that. (Nor did many of the other salespeople I had trained with for that big conglomerate.) But I came away with something far more important. We were missing something in our technique – the ability to listen.

Stop Putting Cats in Dresses

I made the simple (yet fatal…) mistake of talking about my solution before understanding their company, their products, or even understanding what their pain points were. As entrepreneurs, we create a product or solution first and THEN look for customers to sell our product to. It needs to be the other way around. Find the Pain, Find the Money THEN Follow Your Heart. Otherwise, you’re putting cats in dresses – forcing your solution to people who really don’t want (or need…) what you have to offer.
I spent endless amounts of time yapping about how I used Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and a kickin’ lead capture page to generate leads (and results.) What’s wrong with that? Nothing –  if it’s the right fit for that customer.

But what if it isn’t?

I’ve had more than one client have HUGE success independent of social media. Why? Because they spent the time learning what their clients REALLY were hungry for. They created what I like to call “Raging Cookie Fans.”  Raging cookie fans will go to great lengths to find you if you have what they’re hungry for.  Social media and web pages only make it easier for them to find you.  But you MUST have the product, solution or service your fan base is hungry for, otherwise, no Facebook, Twitter or cool website will EVER work if you fail to understand the pain points your customers face and how you can solve them.

The Click Retreat Begins This September


S-E-L-L is a four-letter word
Marketing means misery
Your client base has fallen off and you don’t know why…

Then maybe it’s time for The Click.

I began teaching this workshop last April and it was a HUGE success. I’m teaching it again in September and it’s perfect for those of you who are:

  • Stuck in your business and need a serious reboot.
  • Considering starting a business, but you find social media and website stuff overwhelming.
  • You want some hand-holding and help honing your message and finding RAGING cookie fans for your product or service.
  • You’d like someone to unveil your communication style and how you can successfully approach your clients without it being a hollow, sales-y pitch.
  • You want to meet other entrepreneurs who are interested in joint venture opportunities.
  • You want a weekend away where your main focus is on the messaging of your company.
  • You don’t want a “rah-rah” weekend and then it’s over. You want continuity, a well-defined start-to-finish program that you can implement with your style and your clients in mind.

If it’s time for you to Find The Click, LEARN MORE HERE

Pulling Yourself Up After Depression

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10534302_10202871072639620_3481078607123130324_nAfter sleeping on friends’ couches, bunking in spare rooms, having our dog mark her new territory at the most inappropriate times, I finally came to the end of my patience.  I snapped.  I cried.  I felt disoriented – muddled and couldn’t think my way out of a paper bag even if I wanted to.  Chaos gives you the gift of seeing what really matters and my First Mate, Vinny, is at the top of the list.  We have stepped into the unknown and it is as terrifying as it is empowering.  As I broke down for the 1,000th time, Vinny quietly brought me out in the kayak onto Lake Rescue (yes, it really is called Lake Rescue…) and pulled my boat up alongside his.  “We’re in this together – I’m sorry if my words hurt you earlier today, but I love you very much.”  Stinging words, lashing out, endless crying jags, lack of sleep and mountains of stress result in one winged-out Sarah.  It is at these times when things are at their darkest; when you question everything including the point of your own existence.

I’ve never met Cheryl Hanna, the law professor who was a popular commentator on WCAX who recently committed suicide.  I don’t watch TV, so I can’t say I’ve ever seen or heard her before.  But I can certainly feel her – that dark, lonely place where no matter what you do, you just can’t pull yourself out of a long, dark depression.

Eva Sollberger’s post rang true, brave and honest.  She wrote:

“So I’m taking off my social media mask for a moment to be as human as I know how to be. Let’s be kind to each other as we all try to figure this beautiful and sometimes terrifying life out.  Rest in peace Cheryl. You fought so hard and accomplished so much. You make us brave.”

While I’m not sure if Cheryl’s action made me feel brave; Eva’s tender commentary did make me think.

A lot.

Do we really need to wear a mask on social media?  Is it all too real for those of us who show our persona’s in the public hot lights – where the cloak of social anonymity somehow makes the timid say the most rancid comments, all in the sake of “being honest?”  Cheryl was concerned someone would “find out” about her illness and “take her down.”  So she (and many of us,) continue to mask it until it spills out in the weirdest ways.  There’s a fine line between being “honest” and being hurtful.  I used to tell my son, it’s so much better to be kind than clever – especially in the world of social media. But then, what a world if we all ran around as mindless Pollyanas with our rose colored glasses slipping down our collective noses as we pass judgement upon those who dare to say, “I’m having a really shitty day.”  You can choose joy all day long, but eventually, it sounds hollow, fake and lacks the altruism originally intended.  I’m not saying to be a Debbie Downer or Pollyana – I AM saying… be honest.  Post with integrity.

I love posts that make me think, and especially the ones that make me FEEL… No, I don’t know Cheryl, but I really appreciated Eva’s brave, honest words – letting down the costume mask and sharing a commonality those of us who have dealt with depression endure.  That’s when it stops being social media and starts being human.

Lake Rescue continues to resuscitate me, but it’s always nice to have someone pull your kayak up alongside them when you’re too tired to row against the tide.  Thanks, Eva, you’ve made me more mindful to write what matters, what makes me feel and stay true to it.  We need to be kinder by helping each other navigate safely to shore or to pull each other up when we drift off course.


Finding Your Voice – A Social Media Crash Course

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Find The Click - Stand Out in Social Media
Stand Out in Social Media

I’m working with a few clients who have gone to my 2-day retreat, The Click and we’re doing the second of 12 follow-up sessions.  Every one of them wants to rush right to the social media piece.  The conversations all start the same:

“Sarah, when will we talk about Facebook?”

“We can talk about it right now.  Why do you want to be there?”

“My daughter says I HAVE to be there.”  She sighs, resigned to the fact that technology has robbed her of the human touch – the face-to-face communication she relished in her 27 years in the corporate sector.  A handshake and a contract were her symbols of success.

“Maybe you don’t need to be on Facebook at all.” I reply.

“I don’t??”  I hear her voice brighten.  It happens with each of my clients over 50 – most have been in corporate jobs and social media belongs in the realm of their teenage sons and daughters.  Or, of those who have wa-ay too much time on their hands.

“It’s just so much drivel.  I don’t like everyone knowing my business – it’s so intrusive.”

“Yes, it can be.  So can a diner.”

“A diner?  What does a diner have to do with Facebook?”

When I was a kid, after we worked the horses on the track, we headed over to the local Dunkin Donuts for our reward – a donut and steaming mug of hot chocolate.  Walt, the owner of the racehorses, always had the newspaper open and he’d read our horoscopes aloud.  The banter would begin – “Oh so THAT’S why you’re in a mood this morning.”  We’d all laugh and poke fun at each other.  We’d find other stories about the horses, the track, the cold, the heat.  Year-round, it was our ritual.  I don’t hit the track anymore, or even a newspaper.  But I do hit Facebook for pretty much the same thing – engagement.

Just like when you walk into Barnes and Noble for the first time – it’s OVERWHELMING.  Yet, when you see the sections that interest you, you can easily get lost for hours perusing books and magazines that pique your interest.  Not a bookstore fan?  How about a hardware store?  Send me over to the paint chips and I can easily amuse myself.  Once you learn the tools you can use on social media to hone in on your interests, then it starts to make sense.  You can find all kinds of people who share your interests and that’s where it can become not only beneficial to your business, but it can be (gasp…) FUN!

So no, don’t force yourself to endure social media, find the reason why you WANT to be there, not why you HAVE to be there.  Find someone who can show you the ropes.  Follow (or “like”) people who you resonate with, who have something interesting to share.  Most importantly, don’t make it all about promoting your business – the secret to social media success is sharing other people’s success.  On my Got Clicks Facebook page, most of the posts you’ll see on there are about what my clients are up to. They have so many fascinating stories, I love to share what they’re up to.

So how do you sort through the drivel to enjoy the divine?  Here are some tips to navigate Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook (it’s long, but useful.)


  • What is it for? Best used for headlines or short news.  Only 160 characters, so short and sweet is key.
  • # (hashtag) is used to search for conversations like #babyboomers, #loa, #abrahamhicks.
  • @ sign is used to include people in a conversation so they can be “tagged” in your post and see your comment.  It’s also used to search for people @gotclicksbiz for example, finds Got Clicks and Sarah Spencer.
  • bit.ly or goo.gl – Use these tools to abbreviate long urls so they fit inside Twitter’s parameters
  • Lists – Great for organizing people you have in common (ie I have a list of “Marketing Gurus.”)  You can find List in the upper right corner where the gear is.  Click on the gear and you’ll see how to create your list.

How do I communicate on Twitter?

  • Reply – If someone makes a comment, you can click “reply” to engage in a conversation.
  • Retweet – This is the same as “sharing” a post.
  • Favorite – Similar to the “Like” button on FB if you don’t have anything else to say.
Why would I use Twitter for Business?
  • When you want to test a specific market to see how active it is (ie #babyboomers, #tires, etc.)
  • When you want to tweet about a time-sensitive event, such as a conference, you can find others who are experiencing the same conference by using #nameofyourconference, and meet them for coffee, lunch, etc.  Great for impromptu connecting at an event.
  • When you have writer’s block for your blog, website, presentation, etc. and you need inspiration.  Just pull up your list of gurus you enjoy and become inspired from their posts all in one place.
  • What is it for?  Business networking, finding a job and finding customers if you are in the b-to-b sector.
  • @ sign is used to include people in a conversation that may be relevant or for searching.
  • Posts – Found on the left-hand drop down next to the search box.  This is AWESOME for finding articles relevant to your industry (ie “55+ entrepreneurs, babyboomers,)
  • Groups – Great way to connect to people you need in your circle of influence.  Find a contact you’d like to know better, scroll down on their profile.  Search for groups you may have in common and join the group. Then, when you click “Connect,” when asked how you know them, in the drop down, you can say you have a group in common to get the conversation rolling.
How do I communicate on LinkedIn?
  • Post links to blogs relevant to your industry.
  • Participate in groups with thoughtful questions to encourage participation.
  • Service, service, service.  Always be looking for how you can serve OTHERS, not necessarily yourself.
  • Formal – business only.  This is NOT where you post what you had for breakfast or how you partied hearty.
Why would I use LinkedIn for Business?
It makes connection on a business level very easy.  It shows you as the expert in your industry.  Definitely the place to show and tell what you know for the benefit of other peers in your industry or in industries you wish to sell into.
  • What is it for?  Think of Facebook as your local diner.  All characters from all walks of life enter in with the good, the bad and the ugly.  Real Estate agents, car salespeople, generally anyone who sold used to swear by visiting the local diner on a daily basis to get the heartbeat of the neighborhood. Now?  It’s Facebook.
  • @sign is used to include people in a conversation that may be relevant or for searching.
  • # (hashtag) is used to search for conversations like #babyboomers, #loa, #abrahamhicks.
  • Personal Page – You must have a personal page first before having a business page.
  • Business Page – Can be accessed either in the drop-down on the upper right or the left side of your page.

How do I communicate on Facebook?

  • Comment with links back to your blog or website.
  • Comment on posts relevant to you.
  • Like comments you agree with.
  • Ignore idiocy.
  • Remember your mother – don’t say or post anything you wouldn’t say in front of your mother.
  • It’s always better to be kind than clever.
  • 80/20 rule:  80% interesting, relevant articles.  20% selling your stuff.
Why would I use Facebook for Business?
  • People buy people.  Facebook shows you have depth as a person and not necessarily always pushing your business.
  • ALWAYS make certain you’re clear on who you’re posting as, your business or personal before posting.
  • If you find you’re not getting a lot of views on your business page, you can always share it using your personal page.
  • Facebook is VERY social (which can make an introvert run for the hills.)  The key to the Magic Facebook Kingdom is the power of numbers.  The more likes, the better your chances are of being heard.  The more interaction?  The more likely your post will be seen in others’ news feeds.
  • If you’re new to the game, “like” some pages who have 500 or more “likes” and see how they play the game first.  See if they’ll share a link you’ve offered to their audience to grow your own.
  • Contests- Great way to build your fan base.  Rafflecopter offers a platform and it’s free.  Make sure your prize in RELEVANT to what you sell.  Otherwise, you’ll just get “junk” posts.
  • What is it for?  Use it to write for all your social media under one umbrella.  You can easily put all your posts for the week on a Sunday night while watching TV.
  • You can post across all platforms or select one or two depending upon relevance.
  • Short stuff – Twitter Feeds.  Business oriented:  LinkedIn & FB Biz Page  Interesting Pics:  FB Personal.
  • Abbreviated Links – Hootsuite  automatically shortens long urls for you.
  • Scheduling – VERY important.  Know when your audience is on.  I find 7:10 am for some reason is a great time for me to post.  Experiment and watch your stats to see when you have the most engagement and make it a habit to connect with your audience on a regular basis.
  • RESPOND – For goodness sake, respond if someone’s kind enough to like or comment on your post.  See what they’re up to and share their stuff if it’s relevant and important.  The worst you can do is let a whole week go by and not check your inbox.  Respond just as if these were customers calling you on the phone.  Because one day, if you play your cards right, they will be.

I’m offering my 2-day retreat and 12-one-on-one internet marketing sessions with The Click this coming late August – September.  I would love to see you join us.  It’s designed to help you hone the messaging of your business to help you find “raging cookie fans,” people who want, need and are willing to pay you for your products and services.  Check out the 5 minute video and see if it’s a good fit for you here.