We all know that online marketing is important, but far too often I hear business owners talk about it being overwhelming and difficult, or they just have no idea where to start or how to make it really WORK for them. They’ve tried so many strategies and techniques, and nothing seems to get the results they want – i.e. more clients!
The truth is, while strategies and techniques are great, if you don’t have a solid foundation and some really key pieces in place, those strategies aren’t going to do much for you! There are some crucial first-steps you need to take to make online marketing work for you.
Step #1: Know Who You’re Trying to Reach and What They Are Looking For
If you don’t know WHO you’re trying to reach, how can you possibly find them or craft a marketing message that will attract them? It’s vital to know who your ideal client is so that you can speak directly to them.
You also must know what they are looking for, so that you can give them something that is relevant and valuable to them. This is what will capture their attention and get them to say YES to you.
Write a profile for your ideal client. Make up an imaginary perfect client, or write about one of your existing clients. Describe in detail who they are – what is their lifestyle like? Where do they shop? What are their hobbies? What is their family like? What is their age? Career? Hopes & dreams? Fears & frustrations? Where do they hang out online? And anything else that comes to mind about this person.
Then get super duper clear on what they are looking for. What is the #1 problem they are coming to you for help with? And what is the desired result they want to have once this problem has been solved?
Step #2: Address Their #1 Problem in Their Language
Now that you know who you’re trying to reach, it’s important to speak to them in their language so they will hear you and understand you. If you try to talk to them using your industry jargon describe things in a way that they don’t understand, then you won’t be able to catch their attention; let alone get them to say YES to your offer!
The easiest and most effective way to learn their language is to talk to them! Do some market research and interview some of your ideal clients. Ask them questions, and then pay close attention to the words they use and how they describe things.
When you interview your ideal clients, you want to ask them questions to find out about their frustrations, pain-points, fears, those things they struggle with related to your topic, and particularly those things that you can help them to solve.
You also want to ask them questions about their hopes and dreams, their goals, what they want to achieve in this area and by when. Really dig into those results they want and listen to how they describe what it is that they want.
Watch for common themes that come up over and over again as you talk to more people. These themes will give you a clue as to what your ideal clients most want or need in this area.
Step #3: Share Your Expertise in a Way that is Valuable and Relevant to Your Ideal Client
Now that you understand their language and what they are looking for, it’s time to start crafting your marketing message! In your messaging, it’s important to share your expertise and to do it in a way that is valuable and relevant to your ideal client. This is why that market research and understanding their language is so very important.
Now you can write content that speaks directly to that ideal client AND addresses the very topics and concerns that are most important to them.
This will catch their attention and make your content irresistible to them, because you’re talking to them right where they are at, and about things that really matter and are top of mind for them.
When you’re writing, picture that ideal client – just ONE person – and write to them as you would to a friend. Talk about that #1 problem they are struggling with, and the thoughts, feelings and symptoms they experience. Really let them know that you get them, you know where they are at. You understand what they are going through.
It’s also important to talk about what they desire – that result or transformation that they want to experience when their problem is solved. Paint that picture and speak to their dreams, desires and goals, letting them know that you can help them get there.
Step #4: Tell Them How to Learn More and Make It Easy for Them to Signup
The next step is to give them an EASY, irresistible way to say YES to you. Your goal is to get them to sign up for a free gift with their email address, so that you then have a chance to build a relationship with them. Most people will not be ready to buy when they first hit your website, so this step is crucial if you want to have the opportunity to turn them into customers down the road when they are ready.
Keep in mind that you need to entice them to sign up. You can’t just throw up a newsletter opt-in form and say “Subscribe to my newsletter” or “Sign up for updates”. That’s boring, and they won’t be interested. Remember, they are looking for something that is relevant, valuable and interesting to them.
As you do this step, ask yourself “What’s in it for them?”
Create a free gift that is related to their #1 problem and desired result! In that free gift, give them the first baby step toward solving their problem so they get a taste of what you have to offer and what it’s like to work with you and move toward what they want.
This free gift sign up should be the most prominent and irresistible thing on your website. You want this to be the obvious next step for your website visitors, so don’t distract them from it with too many other links and offers. Your #1 goal on your website is to get them to sign up for this free gift, so make sure it is on every page and in a prominent location where it’s easy to see.
Step #5: Build a Relationship with Consistent, Value-Packed Marketing & Communication
Okay, so now you’ve got all these people signing up for your free gift and joining your email list… Now what?
This is a crucial stage in your online marketing, because this is where you turn them from subscribers, into raving fans and paying customers. This is the relationship building stage.
It’s important to develop a regular marketing schedule so that you are consistently getting in front of them, sharing valuable content, helping them… And then when they are ready to buy, YOU are front and center, and the obvious choice!
You need to email these people on a regular basis. Once a week is ideal, or a couple times a week when you have extra things going on to share with them, like an event or special offer. But aim for once a week for your regular communication and develop a simple marketing plan to help you plan your content and make sure that weekly email gets out.
Pick one topic for each week. It doesn’t need to be complicated, it could just be one quick tip that you want to share that week. Write an article or make a video about it on your blog, then send it out in an email. The email could contain the whole article, or you can point them back to your blog to read the article or watch the video.
Be sure to share your article or video on the social media sites you hang out on. You can also take short tips and quotes from your article to use on social media so you have a little something to share every day throughout the week.
Make sure the topics you’re sharing are relevant and interesting to your ideal clients. Go back to your market research notes to find topics, questions, pain-points, etc that are top-of-mind for them and create content around those.
You can also ASK your audience what they would like to learn about and find out what their questions are or what topics most interest them.
This marketing plan will help to provide regular valuable content for your subscribers, AND it will also help you to attract new people who are interested in what you’re talking about.
And ALWAYS be sure to include a call to action, letting them know how to learn MORE if they are ready to take it further. Your call to action might be a complimentary strategy session with you, or a lower end product on your website – whatever that NEXT step would be, make it obvious, and invite them to take that step.
These 5 steps are the foundation for your online marketing. Once you have these pieces in place, you can start to play with other strategies and techniques to get your message out there in an even bigger way and attract more of your ideal clients. You’ll also feel more confident using other strategies to bring more people to your website, because you’ll know that your website is doing its job to turn those visitors into subscribers and your marketing plan is doing its job to build a relationship with them and turn them into customers!
Which of these 5 steps are you going to focus on to start building your solid online marketing foundation? Pick just one to start with, then move on to another one once you’ve completed that one.
I’d love to hear which step you’re working on. Share it in the comments below!