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 the products and services you provide.
Start With a Paradigm Shift
As an the owner of a marketing website you're going to need to adjust your mental furniture a bit. At least as far as what you're trying to accomplish online and what success looks like.
- The first adjustment is how you think of the Internet. It is one of the most powerful marketing tools ever invented for attracting leads and generating sales. It's in your best interest to either become familiar with the tools and techniques that make it effective or hire someone to do your marketing for you.
- The second adjustment is that you reconsider what success looks like. 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 the community you can reach at will and how responsive they are to you.
Generating sales from a community of people who are familiar with you is infinitely easier than generating sales from prospects who are completely unfamiliar with your brand.
Understanding how to use the tools in your marketing toolbox will help you build an incredibly powerful list of clients and prospects to fuel your business for years to come.
These terms probably won't mean much to you now, but you'll find them to be critical as you develop the online marketing strategy and begin building your community.
Your Customer Avatar
If I were to ask you to describe your target audience what would you say? If you said anyone who can buy your product or service, this section is for you.
Just because someone can buy your product doesn't mean they will or even want to. There are tons of people out there who wouldn't buy your product if you paid them to do it.
If this is the case, why would you market your services to them? Makes no sense and it's a giant waste of time. And businesses do it every day. Creating a customer avatar will help you avoid that. This, by the way, is the most unglamorous tool in the toolbox. It's also probably the most important.
A buyer persona (a.k.a. “customer avatar”) is a fictional person who represents a particular company’s ideal customer. The purpose of creating a buyer persona is to get crystal clear on the individuals who you are marketing to. Until you nail this down, you can’t really be sure that your offerings and your marketing messages are going to be successful. That’s why the buyer persona is often based on real customers, and/or extensive research.
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. Your business most likely has a couple of Avatars depending on the spread of your offerings. Having an Avatar helps eliminate wasted time and marketing budget.
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.
The Lead Magnet AKA Your “Mafia Offer”
If you don't have a lead magnet, chances are you're a commodity. You're not all that special. You're probably just like everyone else out there. That may sound a little harsh or over the top, but it's pretty accurate. At least it is for the folks you want to become your future customers.
A good lead magnet tells prospects that not only do you see them, you know what's important to them. You know what's on their minds and you've got a solution for that.
To put it plainly, the lead magnet is one of the most powerful tools in your marketing tool box. It's the hook that gets a prospect to stop being click happy and slow down long enough to see what you bring to the table.
A lead magnet is a juicy incentive that your prospect will want bad enough to exchange for their contact details.
Lead magnets aren't hard to create but you can't be lazy about it. They do require some thought. Different customers want different things.
Let's say you were a HVAC contractor. Two prospects land on your website. One is ready to pull the trigger on a 5 ton York commercial heat pump change out. The other is wondering why their A/C isn't blowing as cold as it did last year.
They are not in the same headspace, so they're going to respond differently to the same lead magnet.
Your lead magnet has to hit them where they live.
With that said, there are three basic rules for creating a good lead magnet:
- The lead magnet must solve a single problem. Don't get fancy and don't overcomplicate things. In this case, more is not better.
- The lead magnet must have high “perceived” value. This is the “Mafia Offer” part. Even if your lead magnet isn't expensive for you to provide, make it so tasty that your prospects have a hard time walking way.
- Finally, the lead magnet must be easily consumable. It's an instant gratification thing.
With that in mind, create your lead magnet with your ideal customer in mind. Using the HVAC example from earlier, what would appeal to your ideal customer if they were about to buy or just started looking.
If they would value 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. If your ideal customer prefers insider information, consider a downloadable report with exclusive information.
Creating a lead magnet prevents drive-by browsing. It gets your prospects to give you the ability and permission to contact them in the future. And as we'll see later, this is when the magic really happens.
The Squeeze Page
Think of the typical website as a Swiss Army knife. It has a lot of pages, all with their own specific task and purpose.
The squeeze page on the other hand is more of a surgical grade scalpel. It has a single purpose and it's not very good for anything else.
The squeeze page exists to accomplish one thing. Convince, cajole, or otherwise ”squeeze” a visitor into providing one of their most sought-after and coveted pieces of personal data: the email address.
The squeeze page is formatted differently than the other pages on your website. The most significant difference being that it usually doesn't have a header with menu or a footer. When you succeed in directing website visitors to you landing page, the last thing you want is to distract them from completing the task at hand.
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 a series of pre-written email messages that are programmed to be sent in order on a schedule that you set ahead of time.
A well crafted autoresponder sequence let's you drip feed information about your products, your services. They also help you shape how prospects feel about your brand.
Autoresponders 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'd like.
SegmentationA common mistake a lot of businesses make is pointing the same marketing message at all of their contacts without considering the differences in what those contact may be interested in.
Basically stated, segmentation is sorting out your contacts into different categories. This allows you to target your messages so they're relevant to every recipient. Segmentation will classify your contacts into categories on the bases of the customer location, customer type, product interest and more.
By directing the right message at the right message, you reduce the risk that your audience and the folks on your list simply stop paying attention to you. As a marketer, that's something you want to avoid as much as possible.