August 15, 2008
Many service business owners, once they become busy working with current clients, no longer make the time to market their businesses. It’s only when business has dropped off (and the well is starting to run dry) that they frantically begin marketing their businesses again, anxious to fill in the gaps. When they speak to prospective clients, the prospects can hear the desperation in their voice and are thus unlikely to hire them. Frustrated by rejection, the business owner is off again, desperately seeking more clients. Does this describe your marketing pattern? If so, you’re not alone.
More than 50% of service business owners experience this feast or famine scenario. What if you could create an environment so that the well never ran dry and would permit you to continuously market and promote your business? There is another way to keep yourself supplied with an eagerly waiting list of prospects with whom you can work when you have the time and space in your business. Often referred to as “drip marketing,” this strategy is defined by a deliberate, planned and sequenced system of deploying marketing messages over a period of time. In many cases, drip marketing is conducted through direct mail, but the Internet entrepreneur can create her own drip marketing campaign as well.
Here are 6 secrets you can use to create your online drip marketing campaign and keep prospects in your pipeline:
- Client attraction device. The best way to get prospects into your marketing funnel is to give away something that would compel them to part with their name and email address and join your list. Often called an “ethical bribe”, your client attraction device must answer a pressing problem experienced by your target market. You can format this information into an ebook, special report, ecourse, audio recording, video, or some combination of all of these.
- Newsletter: Whether you choose to publish a hard copy newsletter that’s directly mailed to your prospects or an email newsletter that is emailed on a regular schedule to your list, your newsletter is the best “stay in touch” device that you have. Regular publication of an email newsletter (weekly is most effective) will enable your prospects to get to know, like and trust you and have you be top of mind when they are ready to solve the pressing problems that fall within your line of expertise.
- Blog. Business blogging has become more popular than ever. Blogs use RSS feed technology to immediate get new posts and updates out to your blog subscribers through a feed reader, Unlike ezines or traditional websites, search engines index blog posts almost immediately, which help you generate traffic to your website. You need to post 2-3 times per week to keep your readers interested and coming back.
- Article marketing. One of the best ways to generate traffic to your site or to your blog is to regular write and publish high quality articles that demonstrate your expertise. In addition to placing these articles on your website and blog, you’ll want to get them distributed throughout the Internet on high traffic article directories. Ezine publishers, reporters, print media editors, and bloggers all frequent article directories in search of quality content to present to their readers.
- Social networking. If you don’t yet have accounts on the two most popular social networking platforms, Facebook and Twitter, today is the day to hop on board. Business owners are getting prospects on their lists and making sales every day to people they met exclusively through social networking. Best of all, these strategies are free of charge!
- Public speaking/teleclasses. What better way to wow prospects than for them to hear you speak at an organizational meeting or on a teleclass? Speaking locally to groups comprised of your target market or holding teleclasses are very effective ways to build your list and increase the number of prospective clients. Design a signature speech or teleseminar that demonstrates your knowledge and expertise without giving away the store (focus on the what and the why but not the how) that compels your listeners to visit your website or request your client attraction device and get on your list.
Don’t become overwhelmed and try all of these strategies at once. Pick one that you find appealing and work at it for 3 months. If you discover that you don’t enjoy it or that it’s not working for you, try another one. Continue to slowly add more drip marketing strategies until the process is firmly ingrained in your day-to-day business practices. Ultimately, you’ll create a list of prospects who are ready, waiting, and eager to hire you.
Online Business Manager 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 OnlineBizU.com . Ask Donna an Internet Marketing question at AskDonnaGunter.com