September 7, 2007
When I started my online business in 1999, I had a website, but did very little with it, as it seemed impossible to get noticed by the search engines. My website simply served as my online brochure and I had no plan in place to drive any traffic there. Fast forward to 2007, and now almost all of my clients come to me from my website. In fact, my website has brought 5 clients to my door in the past week.
My website and my Internet marketing strategies do such a good job of promoting my business that when clients contact me, it’s usually to say, “I’ve been to your site and I’ve been reading the great info you provide. I know you’re the one to help me. When can we get started?” Consequently, I’m rarely in the position of having to “sell” someone on the benefits they’ll gain by working with me, as my website takes care of most of that for me. I think that’s very cool, as I absolutely hate trying to sell myself.
What can you do to make your website your client attraction magnet? There’s so much information out there about online marketing and so many directions from which to choose that it’s easy to become overwhelmed and confused Whether you have a website and have been online for awhile or are just getting started on creating your Internet presence, here are the most important first 7 steps you can take to get more clients from Internet marketing and create your own client attraction magnet:
Domain that reflects your brand.
The domain name from which you transact all of your online business should reflect your brand in some way. You can accomplish this by purchasing a .com version of a domain name that is the same as the name of your business or by buying a domain containing keywords relevant to your business. Before buying your business domain, make a list of keywords that someone might use to find you online. This list could include your industry, your target market or niche, a problem your target market has, or a solution that you can offer. If you’ve been in business for awhile, it may make most sense to simply stick with the business name you have been using rather than trying to rebrand your business online. I highly recommend GoDaddy.com for all domain name purchases.
In order to have a website and email addresses from your chosen domain, you need to purchase a reliable hosting account for your website. At a minimum, the services that you’ll want in your hosting/design package include: hosting for 1 domain, 5 GB of space, 200 GB of monthly transfer volume (tied to how many visitors your site has), 10 email accounts, 10 MB storage per email account, 24/7 support, and basic website statistics.
Resource: I highly recommend Aaces.com, HostMySite.com, and iPowerWeb.com for website hosting.
A very basic and attractive initial website of roughly 5 pages can be created by a web designer for as little as $350. Or, if you prefer to do it yourself, you can purchase Frontpage, Dreamweaver , or download a free HTML editor, Nvu, at Nvu.com and either build your site from scratch or customize a pre-made template. Another option is to use a hosting service that provides an online interface for website design, creation, and updates. This type of service enables anyone who’s familiar with Microsoft Word to log in and create content, add images, and add pages to their very own website. The major providers of this type of service include GoDaddy.com, Yahoo Small Business, and 1and1 Web Hosting.
As you think about your site design and navigation, determine the look and feel you want to convey on your site, and make your content persuasive. Remember, people visit websites because they have a problem to solve.
Visitors to your website will decide to hang around and browse through your site based on how well you answer the following:
- Who am I and why am I qualified to do what I do?
- Who is my target market? What are their problems?
- Do I fully understand and offer solutions to those problems?
You’ve got less than 10 seconds to capture a visitor’s attention. So, it’s imperative that your site speaks directly to your target market and that they get a good sense of who you are and what you offer so that they can get to know, like, and trust you and eventually buy from you. If you’re not clear and confuse them, they’ll be leave, so don’t let them be distracted by pretty bells and whistles on your site. It’s the content, call to action, and ease of navigation that ultimately matters in site design.
Call to action
Present a clear call to action that is clearly shown on every page of your site. Your primary call to action should be getting the visitor’s name and primary email address by asking him subscribe to your ezine or by giving him access to a free information product like an ecourse, special report, audio/video recording, or ebook.
In order to do this, you need to purchase and learn to use email marketing software that helps you capture visitor contact information. I highly recommend aWeber.com for this task, as it enables you to build, develop, and manage your online contact database.
The best way to obtain contact info from a visitor is to create an information product in which the content is so compelling that the visitor gladly parts with his/her name and primary email address to obtain the free giveaway. By giving you their contact information, they have become a warm lead and you can start to develop a relationship with them and begin to market to them.
The easiest way to create a client-capturing device is to simply make an electronic recording of you talking about a topic that helps your target market solve a problem, have the recording transcribed, edit it for readability and continuity, create a cover, save it as a PDF file, and you now have a client-capturing device you can give away.
A regularly published ezine, or email newsletter, is one of the most effective ways you can keep in touch with your prospects. For the greatest success, publish your ezine consistently on a weekly basis.
Since you’re developing a relationship with your prospects, the best way for them to get to know you is to let your “voice” permeate your newsletter. Demonstrate your expertise in your ezine by writing articles addressing relevant issues of your target market and how they can resolve the issues. Keep your newsletter short and to the point and create 3 columns for each issue — a personal welcome and insight from you, a main article that provides useful information for your readers, and an invitation to buy a product, buy your services, or attend an event.
Your first product
There are any number of types of information products you can sell online. The ones that are easiest to create and require little investment (other than your time to create them) are those sold as an electronic download. The quicker you can develop your first product, the closer you are developing both an effective marketing funnel and multiple streams of income for your business.
Traffic generating strategies
Once you’ve built it, will they come? Only if you start to implement some traffic generating strategies. My favorite traffic generating strategy is article marketing, in which I write a new article each week and submit it to online article directories through my article submission service, SubmitYourArticle.com. I’ve had my articles reprinted on blogs, in ezines, in professional association newsletters, and in print magazines. After reading my article from one of these sources, the reader goes to my website, signs up for my client-capturing device, and then receives my weekly ezine that I use to develop a relationship with that reader, who has now become a prospective client/customer.
Other effective traffic generating strategies include pay-per-click advertising, being a guest on someone’s teleseminar, submitting online press releases, or creating a blog or a podcast. You don’t have to do them all. Just pick one and implement it consistently.
Follow and work this 7-step plan and experience first-hand the joy of getting more clients online.
Author: Online Business Resource Queen (TM) and Online Business Coach Donna Gunter helps independent service professionals learn how to automate their businesses, leverage their expertise on the Internet, and get more clients online. To claim your FREE gift, TurboCharge Your Online Marketing Toolkit, visit her site at http://www.OnlineBizU.com . Ask Donna an Internet Marketing question at http://www.AskDonnaGunter.com.