I’m pleased to share with you this guest post from Vee Smith.
Vee, aka The Biz Tech Wiz, really knows her stuff when it comes to online marketing strategy tools and processes.
When did IT all get so complicated?
It used to be so simple! You set up a business, got yourself a phone line (or used your home phone), booked your advert in the Yellow Pages directory and boom, you were off.
Then came the internet and the business landscape changed. No longer dependant on an advert in an annual yellow directory for business that you couldn’t change for a year, we could launch at any time, change our offering on a whim or demand to suit every current trend as they happen.
Then, in quick succession pour in social media and lo, a feast of ways to show off your wares and reach new clients with text, images, audio, video, live video…
Next stir in multiple platforms and tools to make the whole internet marketing thing super easy!
Throw in faster computers, laptops, tablets and smart phones to the mix and it’s never been easier to set up in business in any conceivable industry only limited by your imagination….
Who are they trying to kid?
With such a vast array of IT tools becoming available and new ones obsoleting previous ones that are barely a year old, not to speak of internet gurus advocating the latest techniques that work for them, it’s no wonder business owners both new and experienced end up in a spin of overwhelm and confusion.
In this article I’ll break down and explain an uncomplicated system to promote your business that will stand the test of time no matter whether you’re using good old fashioned face to face marketing methods or the latest gizmo online social whats-o-gram fad you might try out.
1. Biz Web Island
Your website is the base of your business. It’s like your virtual head quarters. The nerve centre of everything you do. Communications come in and out via here. It’s a place that you have full control over as it’s owned by you, not some outer unknown force or authority that doesn’t know you or your business who can change the rules without warning.
Building a website is a bit like building your business on an island. You decide the rules, who can come in and who stays out. You decide and create the whole experience for prospects and customers.
But like all islands, websites are in the middle of the internet sea and no-one knows it exists.
You need to shout about it and get people to visit.
2. The Broadcast Tower
The broadcast tower sits on the mainland shouting out to everyone to come visit your website. The broadcast tower is all your marketing activities that include PR, networking (in person and online), social media, paid ads online and offline, PR… any activity that you use to tell people about your business.
The key is to inspire and intrigue interested people (potential customers) to take a trip to your website island where you have control over what they see and do.
Some may convert to clients on their first visit. More usually they don’t. There could be a number of reasons, but ultimately, they’re ‘not ready yet’. They need to get to know, like and trust you. And the simplest way to do this online, is to provide something for free that is low-risk for the ‘looker’ and gives a tonne of value.
3. The goodie table
Imagine, you’ve travelled on a speedboat from afar looking for a nice destination to have a holiday. You arrive at this beautiful island with warm soft sand underfoot, inviting rugs to sit on, but you’re thirsty now because of the journey. And lo… ahead of you is an orange drink stand and a friendly looking girl carrying a tray of glasses of orange drink that you know will quench your thirst. You want one. So you head on over.
Even better, the drinks are free and look refreshing. The girl tells you that you can have a free drink, you just need to let her have your email address so she can give you a ticket for a free drink and some other island goodies.
No brainer, right? You get a nice cool refreshing drink and some more goodies about this wonderful looking island. You’ve finished your drink seen as much on the island as you are allowed to without having to pay for anything. You’re intrigued about the unexplored ‘payable’ parts of the island, but that’s enough for today. You hadn’t intended to buy today, you were just looking. Time to find another island to explore. Off you go. Never to be seen again…..
Unless…. you have
4. The Ferry Service
The Ferry Service is the equivalent of your regular email newsletter. It goes to people who gave their email address in exchange for the free goodie you offered them when they first arrived on your website. It’s like they bought a ticket to your ferry service so now they’re expecting it to come and bring them back to your website island where they can wander around, get sand between their toes and be reminded of how much they’d really like to visit the private member-only parts of your island only available to paying customers.
Imagine how disappointed those people who have tickets are when the ferry doesn’t arrive. They get disillusioned and wander back home and forget about your beautiful website island and all the wonderful things you provide.
So let’s talk about the ferry service or your newsletter. The ferry has two big challenges. Firstly getting them on the ferry. Even though your passengers have a ticket, you still need to tempt them to interrupt what they were doing to get them to step on-board.
In email terms, getting on the ferry is the equivalent of getting your email opened. Also known as your open rate. There’s three things that decide whether to open your email – who it’s from, the subject and time it was received. If all these things are interesting enough, they’ll stop what they’re doing, get on the ferry and read what’s on aboard.
The next challenge is getting them off your ferry and onto your island where they can get the sand between their toes and be reminded of what it might be like to be a paid up customer of yours. To do this there must be a compelling reason to get off the ferry on to your island.
You do this with….
5. An Info Booth
In website language, this is the equivalent of your blog. This is where you post the whole article that you alluded to in your newsletter (aka ferry service).
Here’s the winning formula: On the ferry, they read an intriguing taster of the article. They want to know more and read the rest of the article. The only way to do this is to get off the ferry and visit the info booth on the island.
There’s several benefits to do this.
In email terms, to get them off the ferry they would click a link to the blog post/article. That registers as ‘click through’ in the email software. That way you know that article was of interest to them. You could either
- Write more about that topic,
- Create an offer about that topic
- Segment the people who clicked that link and send them a related offer
Here’s the bonus
As the article resides on your website, it can be found by search engines for people looking for answers to their problems (that your article solves or talks about), so it’s another way to bring interested people on to your website.
Plus it’s more stuff for your Broadcast Tower to shout about to reach more people and bring them over to sign up for your free goodie and the whole cycle keeps going.
For your reader:
It’s more useful information from you, they’re getting further down the line to know, like and trust you as the go-to person for that issue. It also reminds them you exist and with the regular useful newsletters, when they’re ready to buy, they will buy from you, rather than the island who didn’t bother following up with regular useful emails.
Easy (after all)!
So there you have it. A 5 step online marketing strategy for your small business.
A system that supports whatever marketing strategy you use by gathering interested people into your realm by providing something free and useful for potential prospects to sign up to on your website island and for you to keep marketing to them through regular email newsletters (ferry service) to bring them back and eventually convert them to paying clients.
Plus you’re being smart with your content as whatever you produce sites on your website, can be picked up by anyone searching for it via search engines, and you have ready-made content for your social media.
About the author
Vee Smith is the Biz Tech Wiz. She’s a wiz with web tech tools and making them connect together and work seamlessly. She works with coaches, consultants and trainers creating internet marketing strategies and setting up websites, automated lead funnels, online marketing systems and membership sites that are uncomplicated and look good! You can download Vee’s Online Marketing Toolkit for free from www.veesmith.com/toolkit