…your approach is keenly focused on wielding the Internet as yet another tool in your money-making toolbox
Please raise your hands if you own your own SOHO business right now. Okay, keep your hands raised if you’ve ever been stumped, befuddled, or plain frustrated by marketing that business. Right. Now, keep your hands up if you believe that marketing is some kind of magic art that only gurus understand.
When I do this in my workshops, about half the people who run a business keep their hands up for the second question, and nearly everyone keeps their hands up after that. In other words, if you’re a business owner, chances are you’re having trouble with marketing and you believe that marketing is something you can’t really control.
We’re going to change some of that thinking right now. I’m going to show you how to take your business and add a systematic process that will bring in a steady stream of leads and sales.
Grow with Marketing Techniques
The idea here is to grow your business with marketing techniques that (1) are relatively easy to set up and maintain; (2) allow you to get started quickly; and (3) don’t require huge cash investments. In this article, I’m going to talk about using the power of the Internet to achieve all three of these goals. I will keep the discussion realistic, because I know that not all of you are “web experts” — nor do you have the time, energy, or desire to become such a person. You’re a business owner, and your approach is keenly focused on wielding the Internet as yet another tool in your money-making toolbox.
Let’s say that you run a consulting service of some kind. I’m using this as an example, because an overwhelming majority of new business owners I meet seem to be experts on a narrow topic who work out of their own homes. The only things they need to succeed are a laptop, a cell phone, and a willingness to work very hard.
Although these business owners are very happy to be free of cubicle hell, they eventually figure out a sad truth about consulting: The paychecks stop when the working stops. If you take a vacation, the flow of money stops. If you get sick (or get sick of working), the money stops. The nature of the work means that every time you meet with a new prospect, you have to go through a lengthy process to land the work and get paid.
Now, it’s in the consultant’s nature to love the process of consulting — take it from me, consulting is a lot like teaching. It’s not a job, it’s a calling. So we need to find marketing techniques that are attuned to the spirit of consulting — there’s just no way that a consultant will take to techniques that will discredit them.
Let’s say you are an expert in identifying waste in a company’s energy bills. Your specialty is to go in to a company’s facility and figure out how to reduce their energy bills. You do this with the help of various diagnostic tools, software programs that you’ve developed, and sheer detective work. You’ve built up a good list of customers that can attest to your money-saving talents.
Although you do satisfying work, it takes a lot of work to convince prospects that (a) they have a problem; (b) the problem needs fixing now; and (c) you are the right person for the job. So you need a process that will educate your customer and build up the kind of trust needed to get hired.
Use the Three-Step Lead Generation Program
What you need is a three-step lead generation program. Take 20 minutes out of your day, and write up a simple one-page bulletin, entitled “17 ways business owners can cut their energy bills today.” Post this paper on your web site, and require visitors to fill out a simple form to download it. This form should be very simple, only asking for name and email address — just the bare minimum to start the process.
As soon as visitors fill out the form, they get an email with the bulletin as an attachment. 48 hours after they get the bulletin, they get a second email inviting the participants to a twice-monthly FREE seminar on cutting energy costs. All they have to do is sign up on the web site for the day and time of their choosing.
During the teleseminar, you record the call, which is entirely informative and lacking in sales spiel other than the name of your firm and a 60-second elevator speech. At the end of the call, you invite each attendee to a free one-hour consultation. They can schedule this consultation by sending you an email.
In three easy repeatable steps, you can transform a total stranger into a buying customer who trusts you. But you’re not done yet! Remember the recording you made of the call? Sell it on your web site, or use the recordings as promotional tools for interested buyers of your services. Because you’re smart, each recording is on a different topic, so before long, you have a library of recordings available on your topic.
Use the Power of the Internet
You’re reading this and saying, hey this is great, but how do I get people’s attention in the first place? How do I kick off this process? The answer: Use the power of the Internet to your advantage.
Because you have a newsletter sign-up widget on your web site, you’re able to gather contact information 24/7. When you send out a newsletter, promote the free downloadable bulletin. These people are already interested in you — so leverage that interest!
Next, sign up for a Google AdWords account, and create a series of three-line ads that promote your one-page bulletin. You can also create ads that point to pages where people can buy the recordings.
Next, turn your bulletin into an article. At the end of the article, invite your readers to sign up for your teleseminar. Submit this article to every e-zine, blog, and other media outlet in your industry niche. Sign up for a free account on PrWeb.com and send out your article as a news release. Pretty soon, your net will be cast fairly wide.
Finally, once you’ve got various recordings of the calls for sale on your web site, invite a trusted network of colleagues to be part of an affiliate network. Give them a cut of the action when they send in paying customers. Affiliate marketing may seem like a really complicated thing, but it comes down to just a few things:
1. A database of affiliates, each with their own unique IDs.
2. A unique link for each affiliate that will drive traffic to your site (must have affiliate ID embedded in it).
3. A web site smart enough to read that affiliate ID from the incoming link and track what happens next.
We’ve just zoomed through an entire book’s worth of topics in a short article. The intent of this piece isn’t to make you an instant expert, but to show you that you can get started very quickly, with little or no money, and keep the marketing machine going in a systematic, repeatable way.
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