Your goal is to use Internet Marketing to promote your business and build a clientele. Creating a website is a natural first step.
You obviously want to give your prospects incentive to buy from you, so you'll probably include things on your site like a refer-a-friend promotion, a first time customer coupon or anything else you can think of that will get people to ring your phone or come through the door.
These are all good practices, but if you stop there you will miss your opportunity to reach the largest percentage of people who visit your website.
Most people who visit your website don't want to buy anything from you... at least not yet. Eventually they may, but right now they haven't reached that part of their Buyer's Journey.
The Buyer's Journey is the path that everyone goes through when they make any kind of purchase. Whether it's an impulse buy at the supermarket checkout or a big ticket purchase like a home or a car. We all do it.
The folks over at marketing firm SUCCESS Agency created an infographic that does a nice job of explaining that journey:
As you develop your internet marketing strategy, always remember that you are in the relationship business. What you provide isn't unique. The only consistent way to stand out and attract the prospects that will become first time customers and then repeat clients is by building a relationship. The fastest way to do that is to help them solve a specific problem they're dealing with.
"Sharing Knowledge" is Power
I know the expression is actually "Knowledge is Power" but in the game we're playing sharing knowledge is where the true power lies.
Let's do a quick thought experiment. Think about a popular service you provide and a specific problem this service solves. Now put yourself in the shoes of a prospect who has that specific problem and is actively searching the internet for a way to solve it.
The problem is real and your prospect wants it to go away. So we know that they are going to spend money at some point in the future. Just as soon as they find out where and on what.
Most of the visitors to your website are either in the Awareness or Consideration stage in the Buyer's Journey. The opportunity for you to connect and build a relationship as they make their way towards the Decision stage is immense.
By providing information that they'll value and that will help them solve whatever problem they are working through, you begin the process of moving your brand away from your competitors and into a category of your own.
It's important to go after prospects who are ready to buy now, but always remember to plan for the others.