There’s no denying the effect a website can have on your business. Countless case studies repeatedly show mom and pop stores go from barely getting by to exponential growth solely through web traffic.
Just imagine if you could do the same…
Imagine the power – the flexibility – that would come with being able to generate customers repeatedly solely through the internet.
Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Well fortunately, I’ve got good news for you. As far-out as many of the success stories sound, they all have one thing in common: A strategically executed plan.
This post is going to show you how to create your own strategy plan.
Whether you’re a fan of SEO, email marketing, blogging, or social media, this plan works to guide your every effort – and ensure you’re not wasting time and resources.
So follow along as I share with you the 7 steps to crafting your own powerful online marketing strategy designed to reel in new business.
Feel free to take notes but just an FYI, at the end of this post I’ve compiled all 7 steps into a downloadable PDF checklist.
And with all that covered, here’s step 1…
When it comes to one-on-one interactions with clients or prospects, it’s easy to personalize your services to their needs.
As a website, however, you’re now opening yourself up for the entire world to see. As such, the more generalized, vague, and broader your target message, the more likely you’ll appeal to few, if any, visitors.
That’s why it’s vital to break down your web audience and pinpoint exactly who you want to appeal to.
Creating separate web sections or pages for specific audience types allows you to write to their specific, individual needs, wants, and desires. This, consequently, will likely raise your conversion and engagement rate online.
For example, if you run a plant nursery you’ll likely have a variety of customers:
Now if your website aims to address the needs of all three audiences on each and every page, that’s a lot of unnecessary content that one segment will have to read to get to the stuff they actually care about.
As such, bounce rate and exits will probably catapult.
Creating separate web pages and content hubs for each of these segments will do much better for your key business objectives.
What’s more, creating these segments arms your strategy and allows you to further personalize everything you do (emails, banner ads, etc).
I recommend checking out my post on Industry Insight to get a better feel for your audience and how to break it down into practical, effective audience segments.
This industry insight will help for content creation, keyword research, email marketing, and serve as a valuable tool for future success.
As I mention in the post, customer behavior has a tendency to repeat itself.
By using similar words, headlines, and content that’s historically proven to work with your audience, you’re much more likely to attract and convert customers online.
This, naturally, alleviates one of the most common mistakes business owners make with the words they use online.
It goes by the nickname ‘corporate talk’. I recommend the following…
“We are the innovative leader in XYZ for 30+ years”
“It is our commitment to provide excellence and superior service to our every client.”
Ever see a company website with words like the above? It’s what copywriters call “corporate talk” – and we hate it.
In an effort to sound professional and authoritative, corporate talk uses big fancy words to say absolutely nothing meaningful or specific.
Simply put, it’s superficial drab with no substance – like a supermodel with beauty but no brains.
While many larger corporates find themselves using this type of copy, they’re not the worst culprits. It’s the small business owners acting like corporate, big businesses.
Here’s an illustration.
You visit a car repair shop and are introduced by a humble dude named John with a stutter and a crooked smile. John warmly greets you and navigates you through his office to the garage. Here he pulls out a big box filled with several metallic car parts. He then holds one circular tube and demonstrates why this caused your car to break down and how he fixed it.
You can tell John truly cares about your car and did everything in his power to make it work as smoothly as possible.
And he’s killing it offline – but not so much online.
Online, John wants to look like a pro. So he set his website up with a fancy logo, web design, and professional “corporate talk” to give the perception that he’s just like the 21,039 square feet auto shops in town.
Nowhere does his site feature his image, his personality, or anything even remotely related to the unique experience you get at his shop.
You see the problem?
John, like many business owners, is too focused on giving customers an illusion of “success” rather than addressing the key needs, wants, and desires they’re looking to solve.
Or as Larry Bossidy says, “People tend to look at their businesses from the inside out- that is, they get so focused on making and selling their products that they lose awareness of the needs and buying behaviors of their customers”
There’s another even bigger problem to “corporate talk”.
In an attempt to seem professional and authoritative, you end up completely destroying the Unique Selling Proposition that customers likely recognize you by.
In the example above, John sidestepped his most prized sales appeal (his passion and desire to serve the customer) and instead used the “I’m professional and an authority” angle – an angle that the big dogs in town are most definitely using. And there is absolutely no way John could compete on that USP (Unique selling proposition).
It’s like a small grocery store trying to compete against Wal-Mart on price – it’s a death wish.
To attract and convert customers online, start by highlighting the values and Unique Selling Proposition customers already know you best by.
So what happens when you inject a powerful USP that’s catered to your audience’s needs and your best selling points?
It’s a fact that you can expect, on average, 1-5% of cold visitors to convert into customers.
Not much, right?
That means 95% of visitors will leave your site without having done anything!
And as small business starting out with little or no traffic, that can mean months of traffic before a first sale.
That’s why you’ve got to be smart with that 95%…. you’ve got to give them a hook.
Back when I first got into internet marketing in 2007, the popular mantra most marketers followed was simple: get more leads and sales.
Website converts at 5%, leaving 95% of visitors unsatisfied? No problem. Just spend some money and drive online ad traffic to your page.
By following this process and writing strong, result-oriented copy, I made around $20,000 from a simple one-page web page sales letter, 10 pages long.
Fast-forward to today and this process just doesn’t cut it anymore – especially as a small business. Ad rates have soared, one-page sales letter websites have been penalized in Google, and consumers are getting more savvy on hype.
That’s why it’s critical that you give that 95% of unconverted visitors a hook.
They may not take out their wallet and buy from you, but they’ll be much more likely to engage with free eBooks, blog posts, videos, freebies, and special offers. Give them enough value and they’ll likely either give you their email address or follow you on social media.
When you get this type of relationship started, you can then ask for a sale any time you’d like. What’s more, this then allows you to continue communicating with your audience and build a strong brand relationship.
So how do you get web visitors to check out this content?
With all the hype and promotions out there for Adwords, Banner Ads, and social media advertising, it’s enticing to want to jump in and spend money driving traffic to your website.
Hold on just one sec!
If you’re just getting started attracting customers online, spending money on online ads is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.
Question: how many current customers visit your site?
If the answer is not much, there’s a problem here.
Customers are the people most likely to do anything on your site, from downloading a whitepaper, commenting on a blog post, to share an article.
If your current or past customers aren’t doing anything on your site (and these are the people most passionate about your business), how do you expect strangers to do it?
Here’s the deal.
Gurus online like to make it seem like it’s easier to do work online to attract new customers. In my experience, creating the most ROI-positive results online comes from playing with the assets you already have. Email lists. Customers. Relationships with other vendors.
Start with your past and current business first.
Have a list of customer emails or addresses? If so, you could easily set up a message promoting your site content and immediately gain followers within weeks.
If you haven’t collected customer contact information, start there.
A website is not some isolated island from your business.
ive customers and prospects an incentive to visit your site. For example, if you host monthly events, you could require registration online and require an email address.
Send an email to these registrants and they’ll be 2-3 times as likely to engage in your content than strangers that met your business online.
This is money sitting in your backyard unexploited. So grab that shovel, pad up that email list, and work to do the following…
In a riveting research study, Brian Uzzi revealed how embeddedness directly shapes organizational and economic outcomes.
Summing up the study, it was found that organizations with close ties to clients, distributors and providers had better:
Organizations without these close ties (aka they ran business deals more transactional and cold) lacked these benefits.
I need not explain to you the benefits of word and mouth marketing for small business success.
The fallacy is to think the internet is different. That you can just plug some funnels and strategies on your site and generate a whopping amount of sales, leads and engagement.
True online success takes the same relationship embeddedness.
Each purchase on your site, consequently, should be treated as more than just a transaction. It’s a real interaction with a real person. As such, work to turn that interaction into a real relationship and you’ll get far more from each dollar spent in digital media.
The more embedded you become in web visitors lives, the better.
Of course, building strong relationships with visitors is easier said than done. So how do you execute the process of building an embedded relationship with online visitors?
That’s where the road map guiding your path to growth and business success gets to business…
It’s easy to execute digital marketing tactics (link building, social media posting, blog commenting) and feel like you’re doing something… only to end up with few if any results.
The truth is there are really only a few core sets of activities that really make impact. These core activities, however, usually aren’t the most fun.
If you’ve worked in sales, you know what I’m getting at.
“Cold call… Yes, I need to do that. But first let me format my excel doc so it’s easier. It’ll streamline the process – definitely!”
With no direct road map to guide your efforts, this type of time-wasting will kill productivity and the likelihood that you’ll reach success online.
That’s why it’s vital that you set up hard-set goals and objectives. If an activity doesn’t directly lead to this goal, cut it.
Starting out, every minute matters. Spend wisely.
Strategy, however, can be akin to phone makers creating a phone that’ll survive a drop from the Eiffel tower. No matter how much strategy and research went into that gadget, you won’t know if it does its job until you drop it from that tower.
Whatever means you’re using to generate sales, you know the importance of measuring those efforts to see what’s working and what isn’t.
Your website should be held to those same standards.
Treat your website like a virtual salesman with real goals to reach. This will force you (or whoever’s running your website) to show that whatever work being done is directly influencing leads, sales, or traffic.
If your virtual salesman fails to meet the goals, try something else.
Treating your website like a virtual salesman proactively keeps that from happening.
So we’ve just covered 7 beasts that, if you can conquer, will make turning web visitors into customers easy as pie.
Implementing these 7 tactics to your digital marketing is no child’s play. But if you can face this demon head on and succeed, you can become one of the few small business owners that thrives online.
With that comes an automated channel for new sales, leads and business opportunities. And more important, it allows you to better communicate and nurture current customers already doing business with you.
It can literally transform your business and take you to a whole new level of performance.
Get started and get started now. The sooner you plant your seeds for success, the stronger your roots will grow as the days roll on.