Marketing A Small Business Online – What Is The First Smart Question To Ask Yourself?
“Successful entrepreneurs learn to ask smart questions” - Ana Rosenberg
Whether you are a service professional, a coach, a trainer, a consultant, as a modern expert with a message, you obviously value the power of asking excellent questions because it is usually the key to accelerating results for your clients.
What if there were a question that could exponentially accelerate your business success online by attracting awesome clients ready to invest in working with you? That would be really cool, wouldn’t it?
In this article you are going to find out:
•what kind of questions to stop asking;
•what is the first most important question to ask instead.
Let’s get moving…
First, there is something you need to know. Three weeks ago my dear German engineer husband decided to go on a diet. Since he is the one who cooks at home, this has created a problem for me. I’m hungry… I think about food all the time…
Being hungry reminded me of a very useful marketing lesson that helped my business enormously and that I want to share with you today (more about that later).
What questions should you stop asking?
Let’s start with questions that are not so useful first questions. Let me give you some examples:
•What is the best social media platform?
•How can I get 1,000,000 Facebook likes?
•Twitter or Pinterest?
•How can I make my video/infographic/whatever [insert the latest fad] go viral?
•What color should the buy button in my website be to make people buy?
Why are these questions not so useful as your first questions?
Some of them are too narrow-sighted. What’s the purpose of making a video go viral? Is that the ultimate business outcome? If you go and deposit 1,000,000 Facebook likes in the bank, how much money is that exactly?
Some of the other questions are out of sequence. You shouldn’t start by deciding whether to open a Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook account.
Most answers to social media questions are… “It depends”. It depends on your AUDIENCE or what I call your “WHO”.
I’m not going to start talking to you about target market and niche or anything like that. You don’t need to become a marketing expert to succeed in your business.
What you need is to become an expert at marketing your business and for that it is more than enough to talk about your “WHO”. No need to overcomplicate things.
Years ago, fresh out of university, I started my first coaching/training/consulting business, which by the way had nothing to do with marketing or teaching people how to make money. I was a language expert.
At the beginning, I struggled to get clients and sell my services. Pretty soon I decided I needed to do something to take control or I was not going to be in business for much longer.
That’s when I decided to learn how to market my business. That’s also what turned everything around. Big corporate clients started to come to me instead of me having to chase them. The most prestigious professionals in the city also became my clients.
My colleagues and even my competition started to ask how I was doing it. I started to help my friends out with their marketing and right then and there I knew that was exactly what I was born to do.
I don’t know about you, but I learn better when I get examples. That’s why I’m telling you about my first business so that you can see what I did with a coaching/training/consulting business like yours.
Yesterday & today
Back then when I first started my business, the problem was that there was nothing to market our kind of expert businesses. The kind of marketing taught at universities, for instance, was suitable for big corporations with big budgets, not for the service professional who needs to make smart decisions on how to invest their limited marketing budget.
Today, the opposite is true. We are bombarded by “marketing gurus” telling us about the latest “tactic” to “explode our businesses”. (I would like to point something out here: these same gurus have never had a business other than teach people how to make money… Interesting).
Today you are inundated with information. The last thing you need is more information. (If more information were the solution, we would all be rich and slim by buying more books).
What you really need is to develop a smart way of thinking about marketing your business so that you always know how to make the right decisions.
More good news
I didn’t have to go and get a marketing degree. I did study everything I could get, though. I also learned from other successful mentors who had successful businesses.
I experimented a lot. I think I mainly learned from trial and error what really works for people like us in a business like ours.
I was very fortunate. My first businesses landed great clients and I was able to sell that business before moving to China (I worked as a consultant in China building and marketing a successful private language college for several years but China is a story for another time).
When I moved to German to marry my dear German engineer husband I decided I was going to start a new business and that is when something remarkable happened. Since I didn’t speak German very well, I wanted to learn how to use the Internet to market my new business. I applied myself to studying everything about the Internet to spread messages and attract clients. That is when I realized that having a successful “offline” business had made it infinitely easier to achieve “online” success because I was able to think at the level of timeless principles and not at the level of “tactics”.
This is great news for you because the timeless marketing principles are simple to grasp, which is wonderful because this allows you to develop a way of thinking about your marketing so that you always know what are the right decisions to make.
This takes you immediately out of overwhelm and puts you in control of your business, the clients you work with, your income and your lifestyle.
What is the first fundamental principle?
From the 3 main marketing questions to ask, the first one and the one that controls the other 2 is:
Your WHO (Who is your audience?)
The typical mistake we experts make…
We start with the “what”.
I also started with the “what” in my first business. I knew I was a language expert. I wanted to sell language coaching/training/consulting.
How did I switch? I found a hungry buying audience.
The hunger story I promised
Marketing expert Gary Halbert asked in a seminar one key question: “If you had a hot dog stand, what would be the most powerful advantage to make your business successful?”
Some participants mentioned “location”, “quality”, “fast service”… All good answers.
Gary had a genius answer: your most powerful advantage would be a hungry buying crowd.
This video shows you the same principle explained from a different perspective. Regardless of whether he has the style you have, listen to what this other marketing genius has to say and the ingenious examples he gives us:
By know, you’ve probably already realized that the most powerful step you can take to succeed online or offline is to find your hungry buying audience. Find out what they are hungry for and start cooking.
A warm virtual hug