The world is filled with great ideas and broke business owners with fabulous products but no sales.
The fact is, ideas are not what drives most business success. Marketing does. So, before you quit your day job to branch out on your own, it pays to have a solid marketing plan in place. Start with these 5 ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
For information product sellers, coaches, and service providers, one of the best sources of new clients is in free training webinars. No matter what your niche, the promise of in-depth training at no cost is enough to entice potential clients to part with an email address (which you’ll be able to market to later) and an hour of their time.
Not only that, but webinars are a fantastic way for those potential customers to get to know you better. And the better they know you, the more likely they are to buy.
Not comfortable hosting a webinar? Hit the keyboard and start sharing your thoughts and ideas via your blog, ebooks, guest articles, and other written content. For internet marketers, this gives readers a taste of what they can expect from your product. If you sell physical products, it provides the perfect opportunity to share usage tips and other important information with your buyers.
Of course, there’s another important benefit to content marketing, too: search engine optimization. Google and other search engines index the words on your website and use the information to present search results to their users. Content marketing is a tool you can use to make the most of these results, and to bring more potential buyers to your website.
Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google and plenty of other sites all offer paid placement, and with today’s powerful analytics tools, it’s easy to create ads and drive traffic inexpensively. Consider starting with Facebook, since the cost is low and it’s easy to target your ads to your ideal client. Once you’ve perfected your funnel, you can branch out into more costly ads with a larger reach, such as Google AdWords or another ad network.
Don’t limit yourself to these three marketing methods though. There are dozens of others you can try, including affiliate programs, JV partnerships, automated funnels, direct mail campaigns, and even television advertising. The key is to keep testing and tweaking to make the most of every marketing effort, so that your business continues to grow.
Think the money is in the list? Think again.
The real money is in the follow-up. Without a great back end to support your list-building efforts, you’ll wind up with a huge list of names that do little but cost you money. And nowhere is that more true than with a big giveaway event.
Think about it. You’ll spend time and money—and lots of it—just organizing your event. Between the design work, recruiting guests, writing copy, and setting up the infrastructure, you’re going to spend dozens of hours.
The way to make up for that is with a solid back end that brings in sales each and every day.
Two Pages to Monetize
Want to know the most underutilized page on your site? It’s the confirmation page. You know, that page where new opt-ins land while they wait for your confirmation email to arrive? If yours says something like “Thanks, now go check your email” (or worse, it’s AWeber’s or Lead Page’s default page) then you’re missing a golden opportunity.
This is potentially the first exposure your new subscriber has to you, so it pays to make it a good one. This is the place where you should be offering a low-cost product that is a natural fit with your freebie. So in this case, your free offer is the giveaway event. Think about your products. Which one will help participants make the most of the event? That’s the one to offer on the confirmation or thank you page. And if you can offer a coupon, even better!
The download page is another often overlooked opportunity. Give your readers a relevant offer that ties in nicely with their download (or in this case, the gifts they’re receiving) and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the number of takers you get.
Email Still Works
Don’t forget the follow-up emails. Hopefully you’ve created a series of emails to go out after a subscriber joins your list. These are the perfect place to make offers of relevant products and services, either yours or those of your event guests. You don’t have to resort to hard sell tactics in every email though—and you probably shouldn’t.
Instead, send your subscribers valuable information they can use, so they learn to look forward to your emails. Save the selling for your P.S. or for the occasional (once per week or less) solo email.
Done right, these two techniques can ensure you not only earn back your investment in creating your giveaway event, but earn a tidy profit as well. Not only that, but these strategies work for every opt-in offer on your site, so be sure to take a look at your other funnels and patch up any leaks you might have.
Looking forward to reading your comments below with your techniques for monetizing on your list, Coach Deb
It’s the lead in to your funnel. The one thing that must entice prospective clients to hand over their email address, giving you permission to not only contact them in the future, but to actually sell them things. Professional Services, DIY courses, affiliate offers and others.
Is yours doing its job?
Often times it’s not, and you may not even know it. Take a look at your current opt-in offers with a critical eye and watch for:
A Compelling Offer
This is what will ultimately entice someone to join your mailing list. It might be a free eBook or a resource guide or a short video training series. It could even be the promise of a weekly email, but it has to be something valuable to your ideal client.
Not only that, but the copy on your page must clearly state the benefits of your offer. What will your reader gain from it? What’s in it for her?
It’s important here to know the difference between a feature and a benefit. No one cares if your eBook is 147 pages long. That’s a feature. The benefit is what sells it. In this case, the benefit might be that the reader will discover an easy way to save $100 per month on her house payment. That’s certainly worth giving up your email address for!
A Call to Action
This is where you ask your reader to do something. You want her to fill in her name and email address and click that button, so you have to make it very clear that’s her job.
Great calls to action don’t look like work (subscribe, join, learn all sound like too much trouble), and compel the reader to take the next step.
Using an enticing call to action can mean the difference between a 1% conversion rate and a 60% conversion, so it’s important to look at your call to action with a critical eye, and to test it to make sure it’s performing.
Which brings us to analytics. You can’t improve what you don’t track, so be sure you’re using some kind of analytics on your squeeze page. Google Analytics (and others) will tell you how many visitors you receive. Divide the number of opt-ins by the number of page unique visitors, and that will tell you your conversion rate.
Take this one step further by installing some split-testing software (Google Webmaster Tools or LeadPages will do the trick) to serve half your visitors one page, and half a slightly different page. Compare the results, keep the one with the higher conversions, and then test again with a third version.
It’s no longer enough just to have an opt-in form in your sidebar. You have to consciously create a landing page that makes a great offer, has a strong call to action, and continually test and tweak it to improve performance. Do this one thing, and your funnel will fill itself—and so will your bank account.
As always, I'm looking forward to reading your comments or questions, Coach Deb
Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of setting up your sales funnel? You’re not alone. Many online business owners fail to properly plan out their funnel, and it shows.
They have an opt-in incentive that doesn’t appeal to their audience.
Their follow-up emails don’t flow naturally from the opt-in.
Messages are unbalanced—either too many sales pitches or not enough. Even worse, the offers don’t match the market.
Making these mistakes is common, so if you recognize yourself here, don’t feel bad. The good news? There’s an easy fix.
Step 1: Survey Your Market
All too often we think we know what our readers and potential buyers want, but in reality, we’re simply guessing. We make the mistake of believing that we are our market, but that usually is not the case.
The only way to know for sure what your market truly wants and needs is to ask them. Set up a simple survey (even a Google form will work) and ask your blog readers, social media followers, and email list to give their opinion.
Do this right, and you’ll know exactly what you should be offering your audience, plus, you’ll know that language to use on your opt-in page.
Step 2: Create Your Opt-in
Now that you know what your market needs, it’s time to create your opt-in incentive. Keep in mind that readers today seem to prefer simple, easy-to-digest offers rather than 200-page eBooks or 7-part video series. This makes your job a bit easier, too.
Some popular choices for opt-in incentives include:
Step 3: Map Out Your Autoresponder
Every good opt-in incentive should be followed up with a series of emails that build on the material. If you’ve offered a resource guide, for example, then your follow-up emails might include usage tips for each of the resources, or case studies that show how others have benefited from using the tools.
Step 4: Make an Offer
Arguably the most important part of your funnel, your offer must be the logical next step for readers to take. They’ve worked through your opt-in incentive, read and acted on your emails, and they’re hungry for more. Time to make your offer.
Just like the other pieces of your funnel, your offer needs to be the answer to your readers’ most burning questions. If you consider your opt-in and follow-up series to be the “lite” version, then your offer is the premium package. Bigger, beefier, and the perfect next step.
Before you post your first opt-in code, take some time to map out your funnel according to these steps, and you’ll not only fill your funnel faster, but you’ll close more sales along the way.
Tell us what your most successful opt-in offer is, Coach Deb.
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