How To Start Marketing A Small Business Online Smart
You are a service provider, especially a coach, trainer or consultant and you know that you want to market your business online and then the craziness starts.
It can be really crazy sometimes. All this conflicting information and you don’t know where to start, what to do first or how to plan for best results.
Everybody seems to have something to say:
- “You should have a blog” (Now they even say you should have a video blog)
- “You need a website” (Of course, you need a website)
- “You should be in Facebook” (Isn’t everybody in Facebook?)
- “You need a YouTube Channel”
- “You must have an ezine”
- “No, no, no… Twitter is the best call”
- “No, no, no… Pinterest is the solution”
You just want to scream “STOP!”
What is the smartest move? A proven plan that works for service providers like you.
This is exactly what you are going to get in this article: a reliable proven plan to market your business online for the best ROI (Return On Investment) if you are a service professional, coach, author, speaker, trainer or consultant.
The most valuable take away here for you is the SEQUENCE: you will discover exactly what to do, what not to do and in what order.
1) ONLINE MARKETING CLARITY
You need to clearly understand what marketing using the Internet is and, most importantly, what it is not.
My awesome definition of marketing is:
“The clear communication of the value of your offer that translates into attraction of awesome clients who will do the work, get awesome results and recommend you to other awesome people”
I define online marketing as:
“The clear communication of the value of your offer to attract clients using the Internet”
This leads us to a very important conclusion: we are not in the Internet business and we are not in the online marketing business. We are using the Internet to spread our message and reach our audience.
There is a group of people who call themselves “Internet marketers” and are in the business opportunity business or how to make money online. They sell all sorts of information and software to teach people who know how to do nothing how to make money on the Internet.
You and I know how to do something. I actually know that you are awesome at what you do and we want to leverage the Internet to reach our audiences. We are better off staying away from the Internet marketers.
We can also use the Internet to deliver some or all of our services but that is a conversation for a different day.
2) BUSINESS MODEL AND MARKETING
Your business model, simply put, is how you are going to actually earn money with your expertise. You need to know that first before you even start thinking of reaching your audience online.
HOT TIP - BTW, your website is not a business. It is a tool but not a business in itself.
You also need clarity on your WHO, your WHAT, your HOW and your WHERE (aka your marketing).
- WHO is your audience?
- WHAT is your irresistible offer to your audience?
- HOW are you going to communicate the value of your offer? (aka your marketing message)
- WHERE do they hang out online? Where can you find them in large numbers and reach them with your message?
3) YOUR GOALS
Set realistic goals and objectives and stick to your plan to achieve them.
Let me give you an example of something that you shouldn’t expect - As a service professional, especially if you offer high end services, it is not such a great idea to write a sales page for your services and have the expectation that people will magically find the page and buy on the spot without even talking to you or some member of your team.
Does it ever happen? Yes.
Is it possible? Yes.
Is it highly probable? No.
One really cool goal to have is to grow a list of subscribers that you can contact any time and develop a great relationship with. (More about that in the next section).
HOT TIP - You have probably heard of the “shiny object syndrome”. You will meet on your journey all sorts of people offering you the latest and greatest tactic.
Stay focused on your plan. It is simply a waste of time, energy and money to start buying little pieces of the puzzle that don’t fit into your plan because you are promised the sun and the moon.
4) OPEN SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
Using your name, open your social media accounts to start learning how things work and to start connecting with your target audience.
Do I really mean that you should be in every possible social media platform? No.
Find the big blogs that your target audience reads. Get a feel for the topics they write about and start leaving comments there as well.
As a business person, your first objective is to start building a platform for your business. Get a feel for topics your people are passionate about and start building relationships.
HOT TIP - Set clear time limits for these activities and remain consistent. Don’t try to sell or talk about business until people actually come and ask you. Just connect and listen to your audience.
Social Media is very much like a party. You don’t walk up to a stranger and say “Hi, I’m XXX. Would you like to buy insurance today?”
5) LIST BUILDING
One of the smartest moves in your online marketing efforts is to prioritize building a list of subscribers. These are people who visited your website, your social media sites and they are looking for a solution.
Shocking as it may be, people don’t hire you the first time they visit your website and if you don’t find a way of developing a relationship with your visitors, they might never find their way back to your site.
Offer them help to their immediate pain and give that help away for free in exchange for their email address.
You have probably heard that often enough. The solution is to think really strategically about the most effective way of immediately helping your visitor.
You don’t need to write a book. You need to package your help in an easy to consume format. You want them to download your resource AND to consume it.
You don’t need to make this complicated. Start with something and you can always develop new free gifts and add them to your website and social media sites later.
The key is to start and to test and keep adding free gifts to your marketing system.
You will need to choose an Autoresponder system to store your database of subscribers and keep in touch with them.
Write a couple of messages to start your relationship with your subscribers, welcome them, let them know what to expect, where to download their free gifts, etc.
You will also use your Autoresponder to send them your newsletter or ezine (electronic magazine), as a way of adding value and building a relationship with your audience.
6) WEBSITE & BLOG
Once you are clear about your audience and your marketing message to them, developing your website is much easier.
Don’t go to a web designer first. What you need is a web developer that will install WordPress for you. I outlined all the steps to take control of your website, here.
Your blog will attract visitors to your website and should be the hub of your online efforts because your website and your blog belong to you, the social media platforms don’t. If Facebook, for example, decides to change the rules 10 times per week, there is nothing you can do about that.
Write about the solutions to the problems your audience has. Write about the answers to the questions people often ask you.
Plan your editorial calendar. Think a year in advance what you will be writing about and be consistent. You have been visiting the big blogs in your field so you already have a feeling for what your audience wants to read about.
I don’t think you need to blog every day. You decide how often and then you need to stick to your plan. There is nothing worse than visiting a blog that looks like an abandoned blog.
HOT TIP - You can always use the articles you use for your blog as the feature article of your newsletter or ezine.
7) SENDING VISITORS TO YOUR WEBSITE
Your website needs traffic (visitors). There are many free and many paid methods to send traffic to your website.
Choose one method, perfect it and systematize it and then move onto the next method.
One of the first things you can do is to start using those connections you have been building in social media.
You have now a marketing message, a website, a blog and your first free gift ready, it is time to choose one social media platform to start promoting your freebie. Social media is actually great to offer your free gifts, teleseminars and webinars.
HOT TIP - I think LinkedIn is the one of the first platforms I would explore as a professional. Develop an awesome profile in LinkedIn and make sure to let people know about your free gift.
If you want access to see my complete profile, send me an invitation to connect with me at de.linkedin.com/in/anarosenberg/
Decide where you are in the progression plan and take the most impactful action that will move your business forward online.
To your online success