Ever thought how to start an online business?
The past week I’ve attended a couple of networking sessions and in one of those events we were talking about the lessons we’ve learned in our business careers so far.
The chair lady asked each of us to quickly share (in less than 2 minutes) what we will do if we had to start over from scratch. Since she knew I had online business, she asked me specifically to explain how to set up an online business and attract clients via your website.
I actually smiled, because starting an online business and attracting clients via your website is a process. It takes time.
It is not something that necessarily happens overnight.
There is no quick fix or magic bullet for getting started and getting more clients. However, I also know that when you follow a process and a step-by-step plan, you can reach that point of getting clients and making money in your business much faster.
So, I stood up and this was my answer.
Here is exactly what I will do today if I had to start all over again.
Step 1: CHOOSE my audience
I will first of all choose and make a decision on a target audience. I will…
- Decide who I would like to work with;
- Find out what problems they have…. that I can solve;
- Craft a marketing message so they understand how I can help them and then
- Position my business in such a way to solve those problems for them;
Step 2: Identify where to FIND them
After I know who I want to work with and what I will say to them, I will start looking for places where I can find them in large numbers and inexpensively. This can include social media groups, forums, networking events, trade shows etc. I will ensure that I am consistently present in those places – either in person or via my marketing materials and will create a varied and continuous marketing outreach strategy to inform prospects how they can benefit from working with me..
Step 3: Set bait to HOOK them
I will direct all my marketing efforts (from Step 2) to my website. So in Step 3 I will create a website and use the marketing message (from Step 1) to attract my ideal clients (the bait). I will put 1 or more valuable free resources on my site that addresses the specific needs of my target audience (the hook). This will provide me with an opportunity to capture the contact information of ideal clients that are interested in what i have to offer.
Step 4: Follow up to KEEP them
This is the important part. Having people in your client pipeline or on a list means nothing if you don’t create a relationship with them. So, I will use systems to stay in touch with them on a regular basis and continue to deliver value. The truth is: you never know how long it will take someone to become ready to work with you. When you follow up, stay in touch, and send them great information that they can use, your prospects won’t forget about you. It furthermore gives them an opportunity to really get to know and trust you. When they are ready and need the solutions you provide, you will be the first person on their mind.
Step 5: Have something to SELL them
The truth is, you do not have a business and you cannot make money if you do not have anything for sale. Also, you need to ask for the sale in an authentic way. So, I will deliver a service and/or create a product or program that addresses the specific needs of my target audience (from Step1). This will be available through my website, and I’ll have a varied and continuous marketing outreach strategy to inform prospects of it and how they can benefit from working with me..
Step 6: Monetize and EXPAND
In this step, I will enroll clients into my business, enjoy my income and start expanding my business by better leveraging my time, money and knowledge.
In a nutshell, these are the 6 steps that I will take if I had to start from scratch. Obviously it sounds over simplified, but this covers the total process any online business can follow to grow and expand their client base, from scratch.
No business can be successful without a proper marketing plan. Creating a plan will help you with starting up your business AND growing it.
Are you like me?
When I started my business, I had clear goals of what I wanted to achieve – e.g. how many clients I want to work with and the income levels I want to reach. But at the time, I didn’t really create a solid marketing plan around it.
It was just easy to go with the flow and do what feels right in the moment. Can you relate?
If so, is it working for you?
After my first year in business, I knew this hum-ham approach wasn’t working for me. At all.
What I found, was that without a plan, important projects were often put on hold, or they crept up on me and there was simply no time to create effective marketing campaigns around them, or things were simply forgotten, and at the end of the year, I didn’t reach my business goals.
But then I got a little bit smarter and decided that it is important for me, for my business, and for my life to create a written, yearly marketing plan of what I want to achieve within a given year.
I am not talking about a plan incorporating ALL the little details. I’m just talking about a plan where I can see the whole year at a glance. A plan to make sure that I schedule the most important business and marketing activities, so that I…
- don’t forget about stuff,
- give myself enough time to pull things off and
- easily monitor the progress I make against my goals.
I call this my annual marketing and event calendar.
It’s a 1-page document that incorporates the weeks of every month to give you a full-year at a glance.
Every year, I populate this document with the most important events and projects that require any sort of marketing activities. I also make sure that there is at least one event or marketing campaign each month that can lead to new clients and new income.
Within this plan, I don’t put down specific dates; just a rough idea of when I want to implement or do something. Then, I print a copy and keep it next to my computer (a printed copy is handy for making quick notes and for referencing where I am currently).
The results of this?
For the past 3 years, I not only reached all the goals and activities on the annual plan. I’ve doubled my income year on year.
So for me, a yearly written marketing plan – even if it is just a basic overview of the most important activities – is an absolute must in any business.
Here are 7 reasons why I believe an annual marketing plan is important:
1. An annual plan will help you clarify your ideas and most important priorities. It will help you determine what you want to focus on for the year, and when you want to focus on it.
2. An annual plan will help you make crucial decisions. With your plan, you know what is important, and is now in a great potition to say “yes” or “no” to opportunities coming your way. With your plan in hand you have more clarity – and the courage – to manage new opportunities rather than to be managed by them.
3. An annual plan will enable you to maintain balance. You’ll be able to quickly see which months are extremely busy and which months are not. It will help you spread out activities so that you do not overwhelm yourself and have enough time to complete things. Also when you are not able to move things around, it will help you to plan in advance on how you will manage those busy times. And, when you find some months are completely empty, it will give you the motivation to find opportunities and activities to grow your client base for that given month.
4. An annual plan serves as a road map for accomplishing what matters most. It gives you a quick glance of what is coming in the next few weeks or months and prompt you to start thinking about those things that will need attention in the near future. It’s like identifying the markers and waypoints along the journey, so that you have enough time to create an action plan for completing them successfully.
5. An annual plan is a valuable financial tool. When planning out your projects and marketing activities per month it is easier to make projections about the number of clients and income per month to ensure it all adds up to your yearly financial goal . Then you can simply evaluate your actual income per month against the projected income to see if you are still on track.
6. An annual plan measures your progress. It tells you where you are and what you still need to do to reach your ultimate goal.
7. An annual plan helps ensure that you don’t finish the year with regrets. For many entrepreneurs, their years are not turning out like they had hoped. They are disappointed, confused, and discouraged. But it doesn’t have to be that way. While you can’t control everything, you can manage your business with a plan and dramatically improve your chances of closing the year on a high note.
So, get started today with creating your own annual plan and let’s make this year your best year, yet.
To Your success
*Photo courtesy of twobee | freedigitalphotos.net
Doubling your income, doubling the number of clients you work with, doubling your enjoyment of having a thriving business, doubling how you experience life… doesn’t always require a major overhaul.
It only requires two simple things:
- Set the intention via a clear GOAL &
- Get into ACTION!
I believe that goals and taking action can take you beyond your limits to a world of unlimited possibilities.
But you have to set the right type of goals in order to take the right actions.
Many people set goals, and specifically business goals, that are “uninspiring” – goals to only get enough to pay the bills, to get by, to survive, to make it through the day. In short, many are caught up in the trap of only making a living rather than designing an enjoyable life.
The problem is that lousy goals will not take you beyond your limits into a world of unlimited possibilities.
You need to start dreaming bigger, and start getting clearer on the things you really want!
When we first set large goals, they may seem impossible to achieve. But the most important key to goal setting is to find a goal big enough to inspire you – something that will cause you to unleash the power within you.
The way I usually know I’ve set the right goal is when it seems impossible but at the same time it’s giving me a sense of crazed excitement just to think about the possibility of achieving it.
For me, achieving those big goals is like building a 2000 piece puzzle. (Oh, did I mention I love puzzles? LOL).
So, let me explain….
Imagine trying to solve a 2000 piece puzzle without looking at the picture on the box. I bet it will be an extremely difficult task and you might even give up at some stage. But when you have the puzzle picture right next to you, solving that puzzle becomes a whole lot easier.
It is the same with setting and achieving your goals for this year and beyond.
When you think about what you want for your business this year, it might be to achieve a certain level of income; or work with a certain number of clients per month; or create a new way of serving clients; or…[fill in your goal].
That is your puzzle picture.
That is the picture you must keep in your mind so that it can direct all your actions.
And then equally important is to really look at this picture so that the details can become more and more visible.
Because when you are clear about what you want (i.e. when you have a clear picture of your dreams and your goals) and are really inspired on achieving it, your brain has an amazing power to pick up information and decipher opportunities. You then become hypersensitive to strategies, ideas, people and plans that can help you meet those goals.
But having that clear picture about your goals is not merely enough.
It is also necessary to take persistent action on all the opportunities, strategies, ideas and plans that present themselves to you.
Let’s go back to our puzzle example to illustrate this.
You see, if you’re just staring at, and admiring the picture on the puzzle box, and taking in all the beautiful details, the puzzle can’t be completed.
You need to take action, empty the puzzle box on a table and start turning over the pieces one by one.
Only then can you slowly start building the puzzle, one piece at a time.
In the beginning it might seem like an impossible task and you might try to put pieces together that just don’t fit.
But when you persist and consult the puzzle picture regularly, you’ll start taking in the details and you’ll start to look for, and find the pieces that obviously fit together. Only then a small recognizable piece of the overall puzzle will start to take shape.
As you progress with one piece at a time, the bigger picture unfolds and eventually the puzzle on the table represents the picture on the box.
That is when you achieved your goal.
Tony Robbins says that: “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. It is the foundation for all success in life.”
So take that first step in doubling your results this year.
Set the goal.
And then, follow up on it with consistent action.
Remember, your goals provide a magnificent direction and a way to focus your attention on those things you regard as important to you. Keep it at your side – just like you’ll keep the picture on the puzzle box next to you when you solve a puzzle.
No goal or dream for this year is impossible. You can do it!
Here are some practical action steps to help.
- Grab a cup of coffee (or your favorite drink).
- Find a quiet place and start dreaming about your business (or your life). What do you want your business to be like in future? What would you like to have? Don’t limit your thoughts – just dream.
- Put in some details. Build on that dream and get a clear, vivid picture of it in your mind.
- Put all your thoughts on paper or create a visible vision board.
- Keep it close where you can consult it every day.
- Create a couple of shorter-term goals. Goals that excite you and will move you closer to that dream.
- Decide what is the first step (or next step) you can take TODAY to put you on the journey of achieving that goal.
- Then go out and DO it.
- Repeat steps 7 and 8 until you reach that goal.
- Finally. Enjoy the journey!!
To Your Success
Enjoyed This Blog Post? Get Free Updates And More…
Click on the button below and get my “secret weapon”, marketing strategy to help you attract and win more clients.
Is marketing one of those things that you know you should do, but you just never get to do it properly? Mostly because there are so many other things that take up your time?
What? Did I hear you say….”yes”!
Well, don’t feel too bad about it. For most solo-preneurs, this is a common problem.
We have to wear so many different hats in our businesses and have to do everything ourselves that it is easy to put marketing on the back burner and only focus on it once everything else (like doing your admin, cleaning your office or walking the dog) is taken care off.
And common reasons for this are that for many, marketing is not the most enjoyable activity. They even intensely dislike it. Or they don’t know where to start with it.
This is perhaps an over exaggeration, but the fact of the matter is, it often happens that we don’t give marketing and getting clients the attention it need.
And when you put marketing on the back burner and only focus on it once in a while (when all the other fires are put out), you never really get to do it properly. The scary thing is: if you don’t do your marketing consistently you don’t have clients consistently…. which ultimately results in uneven income or no income at all
Here are 5 things you can do to make marketing a priority in your business this year:
1. Plan your marketing activities
Pull out your calendar and write down a number of ideas how you’ll market you business each month of the year. Look for things like special vacation days – e.g Valentines Day, St Patrick’s Day or Thanksgiving and plan special marketing activities around those days. Write down events that you know are taking place and brainstorm how you can use those events to market your business. The thing is: even a rough plan is better than no plan. Just have something on paper that you can refer to frequently and that will keep you on track.
2. Pick marketing strategies that fit the goals of your business
Don’t do marketing just for the sake of marketing. To make your efforts hit the mark, pick marketing strategies that will reach your ideal clients effectively. In other words: go where your clients are! If you for example know your ideal clients are international speakers, it won’t help much putting an advertisement of your services in your local newspaper.
3. Create a frequent and regular communications campaign
A simple rule of marketing success is that it’s necessary to stay in touch with clients and prospects on a regular basis or else they forget who you are and what makes your services so wonderful. So stay in touch with regular communications: create an email newsletter filled with helpful info and send it out regularly; send unexpected greeting cards for birthdays, Valentine’s day, Easter or Christmas; send a small gift; pick up the phone and call clients to ask how they’re doing. Staying in touch does not need to be expensive. A little bit of creativity, can take you a long way.
4. Make time for marketing daily
Block out chunks of time in your calendar daily where you do nothing else than marketing. It will take a bit of self-discipline to stick to these time-slots in the beginning, but in the end it will bear fruit. Here are some things you can do every day, to market and grow your business: Follow up with a potential client who showed interest in working with you; send an introduction email to potential clients; attend a networking event (online or offline); create a blog and write a new blog post; post your article on social media sites and invite people back to your website; create a Facebook ad; call a past client and ask for a referral. Marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. Just make a commitment and do it.
5. Persevere and be consistent in your marketing efforts
It won’t help much to crank out a few marketing activities only when the appointment book looks a bit empty. Marketing is a process – it rarely creates instant results. The marketing activities you do today will bring in clients in future. So do your marketing every day. Persevere and you’ll fill your business with clients faster than you thought possible.
Remember, your clients need your help. They’re stuck and are searching for someone to help them solve their problems and frustrations. That someone is you! It is your duty to help them take the first step to get unstuck…. that’s what your marketing is all about. So, make marketing a priority in your business this year
To Your Success
I want to start today, by telling you a simple, basic truth about marketing…
People can’t work with you if they don’t know about you.
This is the first and most important principle in the expression, “people buy from people they know, like and trust.”
When it’s spelled out this way, it all sounds pretty obvious, right?
Yet, there are so many entrepreneurs who don’t have enough clients, simply because they are unwilling or even afraid to share their message and to take action on their marketing.
I’ve literally had women say things to me such as, “I don’t like to go around telling people what I do. I rather prefer to wait until I know if that person is a good fit for my business and then I let them know that I’m a coach / consultant / trainer / therapist / virtual assistant etc.”
My response is sometimes: “So how’s that working for you?” 🙂
The thing is, whether you have a professional services business, sell physical products or sell information products or some combination of those, one of the critical ingredients to growing and sustaining your business is to get your business / services / products in front of as many eyeballs as possible.
That means getting in front of many more people than just the few hundred or even a few thousand people who subscribe to your e-zine list, your Facebook fan page, follow your tweets or happen to stumble across your website.
Thus, to truly be successful and grow your small business, your marketing must include tactics and strategies that put your business and your expertise squarely in front of your ideal clients.
It is extremely important to actively extend your reach to more and more people within your target market on a continual basis.
So, how do you know which marketing and client attraction tactics are best for your business?
Well, it is those marketing tactics that:
- Effectively reach your target audience where they typically hang out.
- Easily reach a large number of your target audience with little time and energy from your side.
- You enjoy most and thus are most likely to stick with.
- Fit your time frame and budget.
A big part of this is also simple trial and error. So, don’t give up on a tactic after just one attempt. There’s always a learning curve involved, and marketing requires repetition, consistency and continuous improvement.
So, to get those creative juices flowing, below is a list of more than 30 ways to market and get your business in front of more eyeballs.
- Know who you want to work with
- Have a magnetic marketing message and 30s self-intro that engages people
- Know how many clients you need, to reach your income goals per month
- Have an effective marketing plan
- Go to networking events
- Hold a grand opening/re-opening of your business
- Host your own live events and workshops
- Invite target clients to a wine tasting
- Join the board or organizing committee of 1 or more associations
- Speak to groups at least once per week
- Have a client attractive website
- Place your URL in all your social media profiles
- Write a free e-book, special report or e-course to give away
- Use keywords to improve your website ranking
- Submit your website to online directories
- Blog regularly
- Contribute guest articles to blogs
- Hold tele-classes, webinars
- Invest in pay-per-click advertising on sites like Facebook , Google, Yahoo! and Bing
- Submit articles regularly to article sites
- Post videos on YouTube showcasing your expertise
- Join forums where your target market spends time
- Send out a regular newsletter / e-zine
- Create a direct mail campaign – newsletter, postcards, etc.
- Call a client / new prospect each day
- Contact a local magazine to do an article on you
- Invest in “yard” signs
- Pass out flyers
- Have a custom iPhone App developed
- Identify the 20 percent who can get you the 80 percent
- Show up at places that scare you
- Continuously improve your marketing skills
- Have a coach / mentor
There’s truly no limit to the creative ways you can get your business in front of more people and attract more clients. The above list is by no means complete, but it will get you started for now…..and remember, effective marketing and getting more clients ask that you only take one small step every day to expand your reach.
So, start small, take consistent action and expand from there.
I also want you to understand that when you offer a service or product that can improve someone’s life (which most of us do), then you’re doing a disservice to the world by not letting more people know about it.
So, go out there, do your marketing with confidence and create some awesome client chemistry this week!
To Your Success!!
Image source: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
To grow your business with more clients, it is important to reach more and more people with your marketing efforts. It is common sense, right? Clients come, client stay, clients go away …and then those spots need to be filled with new clients…and more clients. So consistently reaching more people is a never ending activity for the lifetime of your business.
The good news however: It’s often easier than you think. But, it does require you to spend some time upfront to get more clarity about what you want and need to do.
So, here are 3 easy and straightforward (but absolute key elements) to incorporate in your marketing when you want to reach more people.
1. Create A Plan
It sounds obvious right, but it’s amazing how many people work without a well-thought-through marketing plan.
And whether you believe it or not, a workable plan can have an amazing impact on your business because it provides clarity, purpose, and direction on how to attract and retain clients.
What I found it that without a plan it is difficult to have continuity in your marketing and you often find yourself doing a lot of marketing…. but you do it haphazardly… a little bit here and a little bit there, without getting real and tangible results.
Implementing and working according to a marketing plan, however gives you the focus you need and keeps your marketing consistent. It furthermore keeps you accountable to do what you’ve set out to do and inspires you to achieve the marketing goals you set for yourself. All this enables you to keep momentum and consistently reach more people – thus increasing the probability of getting more clients.
So, if you are running your marketing blindly, perhaps it’s time to think about creating a plan to do it more effectively. And remember, your plan doesn’t need to be a long, boring document. It can be a simple 1 page document outlining the basics such as:
- Who you work with
- Where you’ll find them
- What marketing methods you’ll use to reach them
- When and how often you’ll use each marketing method.
The journey to reaching more people and getting more clients always starts with creating a plan and working your plan.
2. Have a Multi-Channel Marketing Outreach
If your business is doing okay with only one or two marketing methods, that’s great! But, just imagine what you can achieve if you use five or six proven marketing methods consistently?
By creating a multi-channel marketing approach, you establish more ways for potential clients to hear about you and eventually enter your client pipeline.
An added benefit is if someone doesn’t respond to one of your marketing tactics, they might respond if you present that same offer to them in a different way. E.g. one person may totally ignore an email (because he is just not a reading type of guy), but he might jump at your offer when it is presented in a video he can watch.
A multi-channel marketing approach can include many different methods e.g. your website, blogs, emails, social media, videos, collaboration partners and JV’s, speaking, live events, referrals, the media, paid advertisements, books, articles and many more.
The idea however is not to implement every possible marketing method in your business, but to use the 5-6 methods best suited for your business and your specific target audience.
Using different marketing methods and having a diversified marketing outreach ensures you reach more of your existing prospects in ways that suite their style best AND it helps you to reach more new people that can enter your client pipeline.
And by the way… include these methods in your marketing plan to ensure you do them consistently
3. Put Your Business In Front Of Large Client Audiences
Having 1-on1 conversations with prospects are great and often a quick way to get one or two clients fast. But, it is often a slow and time-consuming way to grow your business.
When you however put your business in front of large client audiences, it makes your marketing easier, more cost-effective and help you reach more people simultaneously.
The important thing here is to ensure it is the right audience.
It is therefore important to know who you want to work with. Once you know who your target audience is, you can identify local businesses that serve the same market segments or identify who else in your industry or in another industry is already speaking / working with that audience. This gives you a change to form a collaborative partnership or joint venture with those individuals.
Contact these potential partners and offer to add something of value to their audience. This way you not only raise awareness of your business, but you reach more people and increase the likelihood that they will end up on your doorstep because they’ve heard about you from someone they already trust.
Also think about organisations, events or places where your target audience regularly hangs out and then ensure you are also present there.
So, here is what I hope you take from this article:
Consistently reaching more and more people to grow your client pipeline and your business is not really that difficult. The important things to do, is to:
- Create a plan how you will do it…. and then work your plan.
- Incorporate different marketing methods to give you more reach and leverage.
- Reach out to possible partners who already did the work of gathering your audience for you.
- Be present in places where your audience hangs out in large numbers.
- Put yourself and your business in front of these larger audiences and wow them with what you can do for them.
- You’ll be amazed at the results 🙂
To Your Success
PS: If you enjoyed the article, you are welcome to share it using the social media buttons. Thanks!