June 16, 2009
Recently I was asked in an interview to imagine that I was starting all over again, and as a newbie, how I would fill my business in 60 days. Things have changed tremendously since I began my online business in 1999, mostly for the better. Most of the steps, however remain the same. Best of all, the strategies I recommend to fill your business are the same ones that can be applied to any business, and then applied again and again to other online ventures. Here are 8 secrets to filling the prospect funnel in your business in 60 days:
1. Success mind set. Don’t gloss over this strategy — it may be the most important of all. If you truly want to succeed in your business and are passionate about what you do, nothing will hold you back. This often means that you have to step out in faith that you’ll succeed, and most importantly, believe in yourself as a success. Sure, you may stumble, or even fall, but you must be willing to pick yourself back up and persevere — even without a safety net hanging under you.
2. Target market. The biggest mistake that business owners make is wanting to sell to everyone. If you’ve tried this, you have no doubt discovered that casting your net around everyone is a very difficult task. Narrowing that group to a more manageable number will actually serve you much better, believe it or not. If you can identify a smaller group of hungry prospects who are willing to pay for the solutions to the problems that keep them awake at night (or those who are willing to pay for more information about a hobby or interest that occupies much of their free time) AND who are reachable in groups (associations, membership sites, magazines, newsletters, discussion forums or lists, social networking groups, etc.), then you have made a key discovery that will catapult your business forward.
3. Client Attraction Device. You’ve heard it said time and time again that “the money is in the list.” This still holds true today, as well. Without a list of interested prospects to whom you can market, you don’t have a business. The quickest way to begin to develop a list is to give something away. Yes, you heard me correctly. If you have content you have already created, dig through that to see if you have something appropriate for your chosen target market.
If not, identify a problem of your target market, and create some content that answers one of those problems. Perhaps it’s a checklist, a Top 10 list, an ebook or special report, an audio interview, a pod cast, a video — do whatever is easiest for you. Just ensure that it is in a plug and play format , i.e. don’t make your prospect download some weird software that’s not commonplace to read and view this material.
Make sure that your Client Attraction Device has some valuable content in it. Nothing is more frustrating to me than to read a free giveway that only serves to remind me that I have a problem and offers no solution unless I pay for it. Don’t be afraid to demonstrate your expertise by giving “how to” information away. Trust me, if you are truly good at what you do, there’s no way that you can share everything you know on a topic in one short information product. Your Client Attraction Device starts your prospects on the like, know, and trust road that is imperative for them to travel before they will decide to buy something from you.
4. Email marketing system. You must have some way to collect your prospect’s information and a system by which you can stay in contact with them. The best way to do this is by purchasing email marketing services. Do not use a free service for this, nor try to send emails out of your Outlook program. If you want to be a serous online business owner, invest in the most important asset in your business — your email marketing system.
5. Blogsite. A blogsite, which is a web site/blog hybrid, is the quickest way to build an online presence. The two most popular blogging platforms, the fee-based Typepad and open source software WordPress, can be used to create a blogsite very quickly. If you want either of them customized with a particular look or feel, that may take a bit longer and require a greater investment. However, either will work well to get you started, and both will permit you to enter your email marketing system’s signup code onto a page so that you can immediately begin to collect contact information from prospects who have requested your Client Attraction Device.
6. Stay in touch. Whether you do this by submitting regular blog posts or publishing an email newsletter (or both), you need to reach out and touch your prospects at least weekly (or several times a week if you are blogging). Give them some insights about what’s happening with you personally as well as sharing some aspect of your expertise with them by creating a content-rich article or answering their questions. And, don’t forget to sell — offer some product or service in each email newsletter, or submit regular blog posts that remind your readers about what you are selling.
7. Social networking. Never before have we had the opportunity to connect with others online easily and inexpensively as we do now with social networking. Create profiles on the social networks) used by your target market, do research to add friends/followers in your target market, and use the status updates to be useful to your followers, i.e. by sharing resources, asking questions, and updating them about how you help clients/customers.
8. Drive traffic to your site. There are a number of ways to accomplish this, but my favorite starts with writing an article. Once it’s written, I publish it in my ezine, my blog, and to my web site and syndicate it on article directories all over the Web. Then I have the option of making a pod cast with the content; creating a screencast video or “talking head” video from it; writing and submitting a press release; creating a teleclass; create a Q&A radio show interview opportunity; breaking up the points as separate Twitter posts, or Tweets, and tweeting them to my followers; or sharing it on my Squidoo lens or other information-sharing portals. The point here is to work once and profit, profit, profit. Repurpose one article as many ways as you can to drive traffic back to your blogsite and thus get more and more prospects to sign up on your list and ultimately convert them to customers.
The advent of the Internet makes it easier than every to create and promote a business online with very little startup capital. And, if done correctly, the strategies will results in you filling your business in 60 days with eager and willing prospects ready to buy what you are offering.
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