This may sound a little odd, but the easiest way to find new offline clients is to go online to look for them. Online marketing is the most effective yet inexpensive way to get in front of people who have no idea you exist but are out there looking for products and services you provide.
Two Major Adjustments
As an independent contractor, you have to adjust your outlook on what you're trying to do online and what success looks like.
- The first adjustment is how you think of the Internet. You're not a consumer anymore. You're a business and you need to position yourself to attract prospects and leads. You'll need to either become familiar with the tools, techniques and best practices or hire someone to do your marketing for you..
- The second adjustment is what you consider to be successful marketing. In the offline world success is simply measured by the number of sales you make. In the world of internet marketing, success is measured by the size of your list and how responsive they are to information and offers you send them.
Understanding how to use the following tools in your marketing toolbox will help you build an incredibly powerful list of clients to fuel your business for years to come. These following terms probably many not mean much to you now, but you'll find them to be critical as you develop the online marketing strategy that will build your list.
Key Tools in Your Marketing Toolbox
Online marketing is a competition. These are the tools to help you win!
The Lead Magnet
If you use it right, the lead magnet is one of the most powerful tools in your marketing tool box. It's the hook that gets prospect to stop and give you the first of The Four Golden Permissions: the permission to email information to them in the future.
This is the first step in the process of separating yourself from the crowd of other local businesses that provide similar services.
Most websites do a poor job of getting visitors give up this Golden Permission. They know they need to ask for an email address, but they give no incentive for visitors to leave it.
This is where lead magnets shine. When you use a lead magnet, you'll provide your online prospects with some sort of juicy incentive in exchange for their contact details.
Lead magnets aren't hard to create but the best ones aren't cookie cutter, so they do require some thought. There are three basic rules to follow when creating your own lead magnet:
- The lead magnet must solve a single problem.
- The lead magnet must have high “perceived” value. It shouldn't be expensive for you to provide but it should be something your prospects would gladly pay for.
- The lead magnet must be easily consumable. Instant gratification is a real thing, ignore it at your own risk.
A final note about your perfect lead magnet, it should be highly targeted. As with every other form of marketing, when you try to appeal to everyone, you'll end up appealing to no one.
With that in mind, create each lead magnet with your ideal customer in mind. If your ideal customer values discounts, consider creating a coupon. If your ideal customer prefers a specific service, build your lead magnet around that service, such as an upgrade or add-on that they'd enjoy.
Creating a lead magnet is the fastest way to passively grow your list. Then with email address in hand you can become their trusted resource by educating your prospects on what no one else it is telling them. And that will help them make the final decision to buy your product.
A squeeze page is a page that exists on your website to accomplish one thing. Capture opt-in email addresses from potential subscribers and drop those names onto your marketing list. The goal of a squeeze page is to convince, cajole, or otherwise ”squeeze” a visitor into providing one of their most sought-after and coveted pieces of personal data: the email address. If your lead magnet is the ethical bribe to get visitors to join your mailing list, the squeeze page where you tell your visitors about the lead magnet and provide the means of giving it to you.
It happens all the time. You and your friends are sitting around making fun of each other. Then someone drops a line on you that's so harsh it leaves you standing there with your mouth open. Crushed with no come back.
A little later, long after everyone has gone their separate ways, the perfect line comes to you. Unfortunately, by then it's too late to do you any good.
In a manner of speaking, autoresponders make sure you never get caught talking to prospects without the right line. Autoresponders are a key part of email marketing. They are programmed messages you create that are sent to a specified audience in an order that you have chosen.
Autoresponders are awesome tools to help you create confidence, establish rapport and interest in your brand.
A well crafted autoresponder sequence let's you drip feed information about your products, your services and your brand. It helps you maintain contact and interest as prospects move through the buyer's journey. Once they are ready to make a purchase, your autoresponder sequence will have positioned you as someone they know like and trust. Someone who is worth purchasing from.
The most powerful feature of autoresponders is the fact that they are automatic. Once triggered, they allow you to consistently send your programmed messaging consistently with no effort. By continuing to hone and add more relevant information to the sequence, your message becomes hard to ignore.
Using autoresponders lifts a weight off your shoulders as they are reliable, prompt and will run for as long as you want them to doing exactly what you want them to.
Sorting out your contacts into different categories. One mistake that businesses make is sending the same email to everyone on their contact list without considering the differences in their engagements or interests. In order to have emails that are relevant to every recipient, you can use segmentation. Segmentation will classify your contacts into categories on the bases of the customer location, customer type, and their interests. This way you will reduce your unsubscribe percentage.
This is a tool used by companies to target customers based on their previous actions online. This helps to anonymously redisplay your products to people who have visited your site before. Every time a prospect sees your product, it will increase familiarity and enhance the chance that they will actually buy the product. It is a great tool to use as it optimizes on the people who have already shown interest in the product thus are more likely to buy. Retargeting is most successful when used as a part of a larger strategy, it may not be much on its own.
Let me ask you a simple question. Who is your target audience? If you said anyone who can buy your product or service, you so need to be here right now.
Just because someone can buy your product doesn't mean they will. Actually, there are tons of people out there who wouldn't buy your product if you paid them to do it.
Why would you try to market your services to them? Makes no sense but businesses do it every day. Creating a marketing avatar will help with that. This, by the way, is the most unglamorous tool in the toolbox. It's also probably the most important.
Hubspot defines a marketing avatar as a fictional character that represents your ideal prospect. When complete, it will help you understand the motivating beliefs, fears and secret desires that influence your customer's buying decisions. Your customer avatar will help you fine tune your marketing efforts and help you understand why some products sell better than others.
To put it plainly, your Avatar is the tool that helps you make sure that you're tailoring your marketing messages for the right people.
There are plenty of Avatar worksheets available online. But my recommendation for a deeper dive into the topic is The Complete, Actionable Guide to Marketing Personas over at the Buffer.com. It's a complete walkthrough of setting up an avatar and it won't make your head hurt.
If you need help putting your marketing avatar together just shoot me a message from my contact page. I'll be glad to help.