From the lemonade stand to the mega corporation to the small business going online, your underlying strategy is the same: figure out who your customer is and get face-time with them. Past models of advertising would have you sending direct mail to thousands of names and addresses purchased from a list broker. However, if you want to take your business online, you’ll want to avoid those types of methodologies. While reputable online list brokers do sell lists from opt-in prospectives, the most return-on-investment comes from a base of much warmer leads–from prospective customers you’ve pre-sold with your content.
Content marketing stands to say that if you provide a customer with valuable, actionable information that you open up the door for a sale. Then, like in every form of marketing, you just have to follow-up to close business.
If you haven’t taken your business online, or you haven’t started your business at all, I can give you a seven steps that will take you from the ground up: from no online presence to a Web presence that helps you gain leads and close business.
Marketing Research and Analysis
Step 1: First, you need to identify what target market you are trying to reach. Basic market research means more than saying your prospectives belong to a certain group, but identifying their common characteristics and habits. Know what kind of lifestyle (and business if you’re a B2B provider) your prospective market has and identify their buying patterns. Understanding your target market will help you to truly focus on reaching a goal: you have to know that what you’re selling will be bought–and by whom.
Step 2: When you know who your target market is, you need to know where you fit into the marketplace. Research your competitors and analyze your marketability. Develop a unique selling position that is a single or combined competitive edge that you’ll maintain against your competitors.
Step 3: Hone your USP (unique selling position) to be oriented to your target market. It is important to speak to your target market and to not simply talk at them. This means that rather than focusing on yourself, you focus on what benefits you offer a customer / client that hires you.
Establishing your Web Presence
Step 4: The key to an organized and efficient Web presence is organization, and that means that you’ll need to have a base of Web operations–the main place to direct all of your target market that has all of your information and your important content organized in one place. This means creating a Web site or a blog. Fill your Web site or blog with the necessary content about hiring you, what you do and all pertinent details.
Step 5: With a home base on the Web established, you’ll need to start building profiles on social media tools. In identifying your target market, you probably uncovered details about which social media Web sites most appeal to your target market.
Getting the List to Closing the Deal
Step 6: The best way to gather a list online is to gather blog subscribers. The best way to get readers to subscribe to your blog is to offer consistently valuable content and an incentive to subscribe, like a free ebook.
Step 7: When you’ve got your list and you’ve got your subscribers, follow-up and close the deal. Sold already on the value of your content and the credibility of your offering, you should be closing deals with much of your list. Note that not all results are immediate, however. Some people will need you sooner (and conversely, further into the future) than others, but you know you’ve got qualified leads if you followed these seven steps.
Reference: You Can Build Your Business, You Just Need a Plan at the Authority Ebooks Blog Disclaimer: This is my blog. The linked post discusses this seven-step plan.