Have you ever had a day where you couldn’t get started? You thought that things were holding you back? I have had days like this, no matter what I tried to start, writing a blog post, creating my next webinar training even creating my next course, it just wasn’t happening. It’s a rare business owner who—at some point—doesn’t feel stuck and thinks that their business is lacking something.
Perhaps you’re in the early stages of burnout. Perhaps you aren’t reaching your goals and can’t seem to get past the income ledge you’ve found yourself on.
All of this is perfectly normal in business. But staying stuck or on your ledge isn’t.
Successful small business owners figure out how to overcome the hurdles, wade through the overwhelm and continue to grow their business.
The first step is to determine what exactly is holding you back and what you’re lacking in your business:
When you don’t really know what it is you want from your business, you’re experiencing a lack of clarity. Maybe you aren’t clear on who you’re meant to serve, or can’t quite envision your sales funnel. Or maybe you can’t even picture your signature training course in its entirety, or the thought of selling it leaves you in a haze of confusion.
These are all symptoms of a lack of clarity, and they can stop a business dead in its tracks.
This technique can help you get clear on what your next step is and why it’s important to you.
If you’re clear on your goals but you’re having trouble moving forward consistently, then a lack of focus might be your trouble. You head to your office each morning with purpose, but by lunchtime, it’s clear you haven’t accomplished anything you set out to do.
You’re not a bad person, or even a shoddy entrepreneur. You’re just having trouble focusing on the next step that needs to happen to make your dreams come true.
Try this: With your end goal in mind, brainstorm the next physical action you need to take to achieve it. So if your goal is to build a 4-week course, then your next step might be to poll your mailing list about what they need/want from you.
Tried the next step and you still lack focus? Get your smartphone out.
Brain.FM is one of my go-to apps and you can listen to a “focus” piece of music that will help you. I love music and understand deeply how music can help you move between states and change how you feel – it really works well. The next time you listen to music be present:
If you find this doesn’t work for you, I highly recommend hypnotherapy. I use Hypnosis Downloads
A fantastic resource to help you regain your focus amongst the many other things they help you with
I often skip Brain.fm and jump straight to the hypno – for me, this brings faster results.
Bored? Lost interest in that business you once loved? This is, unfortunately, pretty common among entrepreneurs. That’s why we see so many of them jumping from business to business, never spending enough time in any one business to see it through to success.
Staying excited about your business starts with having a dream and a vision that keeps you going even when you’re faced with the day-to-day drudgery that every small business owner encounters. Not everything is fun when you’re running a business, and I know I won’t be popular for saying it out loud. It’s how you get through the dull and boring days that make a difference.
I take a minute and think of my girls, Sarah my wife and Bones our German Shepherd and remember my business provides the environment for me to be able to spend the time with them all, when I want, doing what we all enjoy. Your reasons for doing and being an entrepreneur will keep you motivated.
Want to know how to easily fix all these issues (and more) on a permanent basis? It’s a simple technique that the world’s most successful entrepreneurs have been using for decades: vision boards. These fun and colourful tools are often just what you need to clarify your dreams, work out your next steps, and stay excited about your business.
We hang ours on the office wall, and we can see at a glance our hopes, dreams, and vision for our business. I won’t deny it; there’s a lot of sparkle on my vision board.
Vision boards can be as simple as a few images clipped from a magazine and pinned to a corkboard, or as complex as a framed poster with handwritten quotes and 3 tubes of glitter. The choice is yours. It’s completely personal, fun, and best of all, it works.
Give these things a try next time you’re feeling stuck in your business. And if you’re not stuck, share your tips in the comments for becoming unstuck and envisioning your success.
In the real world, there’s nothing more offensive that someone looking you up and down and demanding to know how much you earn. There’s an online equivalent of this real-life rudeness and that’s demanding to know how big your email list is.
The reason you’re asked these questions is the person that’s asking is assessing your worth, qualifying whether you are worth speaking to or not.
I have a real, intense dislike of the people that “qualify” you with these questions as there’s an assumption that if you meet their criteria that they can help you, and that you need them to help. There’s very little consideration for you and what you’d like, in their assessment, and that’s possibly the main reason I despise the people who do this.
When I used to network heavily I would often come straight before or after a job (i owned a courier company). I would be wearing steel toe cap boots, shirt and trousers pulling up in an unmarked white van. Often I was overlooked as anyone of ‘worth’ I had multiple times been told I wasn’t a serious business because I didn’t wear a suit. Those same people would then stand up in the network meeting and asked to be connected to people exactly like my clients. Bigger companies, companies with lots of employees, you get the gist… they never got the referral
They made assumptions rather than asking, The same view is and should be taken when people out of the blue message me and ask me how big my list is.
They’re trying to work out if I’d be a good JV partner, and let me reassure you despite my list size, I’m not a good JV partne for them.
If you want to JV with us you need to know a few things.
It’s none of my business :), and it’s none of your business how big my lists are. Really it’s not.
Size is irrelevant when it comes to email lists, because there are so many different variables to take into account. Let’s face facts, if numbers are all you are interested in (and not nurturing the relationship) knowing precisely how many subscribers I have won’t help you at all.
If I did do a JV with you all you’ll discover is how bad your targetting is!
I may get upset if we work together and you don’t email your subscribers. But only when we work together. Prior to this, it’s none of my business.
What’s important is that your emails get opened, they get read and they get acted on, and if they don’t then you clean your list and adapt your subject lines and content until they do work. Size is irrelevant, but if you don’t email your subscribers you won’t know this.
What you need is decent relationships, and the right people getting the right information.
Relationship building is hard. I won’t pretend it’s easy, and even we can struggle at times. It means showing up regularly in your readers inbox, it’s sharing useful things with them and it’s building connections with them and starting conversations, even when you may not feel like talking!
And here’s the deal… In the box below is an email planner PDF. It’s yours, it’s my gift to you.
If you share the post via the box you can get the email marketing planner and do more with your email marketing. It won’t stop you being asked how big is your list, but it will enable you to reply confidently it’s none of your business, and my list is healthy and profitable.
A lot of people think business blogging is a free hobby. Or, as I’ve seen it promoted – a free marketing tool.
As you know, business blogging isn’t free. If you want to make your best impression you will need to self-host rather than have a site that has yourname.cheapskate.com on it, so that means you’ll need hosting, possibly a framework and probably a premium theme such as Thrive
Then, of course, you’ll need a decent pop-up that isn’t going to drive people bonkers and an account with Active Campaign to manage your list efficiently. Not a lot of change out of £500 if you are lucky.
Many bloggers and online marketers have lists with hundreds of subscribers, often thousands. They’ve heard that the money is in the list but if these subscribers are not clicking on the links nor participating in the discussions, why are you still clinging on to them?
An email management service starts at $12 a month from Get Response, or $9 with Active Campaign and this fee increases with your amount of subscribers – the more you have, the more you need to invest. This means you need to keep your email lists clean and tidy with people who want to be there, that open, read and engage with your emails.
The best way to do this is to simply set up an automation in your email system that identifies inactive subscribers, you then try to re engae with them and after a few tries if nothing happens you remove them from your system, all done on autopilot. You can set up time spans to do this so, for example, any subscriber that hasn’t opened any email for 6 months then enter them into your ‘re-engage’ sequence.
If you are a nice blogger / online marketer, you might like to warn your subscribers that you’re going to delete them if they do not take action. With services like Active Campaign you can program in re-engagement campaigns really easily and then set and forget so you know ALL of you subscribers have been active within the last xxx months.
If your subscribers are just deleting as soon as they hit your inbox and generally ignoring you, you have a content issue or they have a time issue. If the issue is time you need to consider how many times you’re going to say hello and be ignored, before you realise this is their choice.
Your choice is not to continue paying for them to be on your email list.
Tough? You have to be, because you want your marketing to work for you – you want to build an awesome relationship with your readers.
By running your ‘re engage automation you will be targetting your subscribers in a way that you have not previously. You might try sending them some emails telling them that they’ve been inactive for a while, and you intend to remove them.
These subscribers many need a push instead of a pull to act, and of course you can try a new approach on these inactive subscribers compared to your active subscribers.
It could be a terrific market test on more aggressive ad copy, different placement of links, and brand new or fresh approaches.
Of course, the minute they start to open, click and interact they get removed from the ‘re engage ‘ automation and are sent back into the regular list schedule that they came from.
If they decide to take no action or unsubscribe then you have moved them on from being dormant or inactive.
Either way you will take an inactive subscriber forward on their path with oyu either as a re engaged subscriber or an unsubscriber.
I know it is boring, but honestly, you need to do this so that you know what is going on with your subscribers. For instance, if you have an inordinate amount of inactive subscribers, meaning, if most of your subscribers are very inactive consider that your current advertising copy, and email copy, might not be meeting their expectations when they signed up for your list. Look back to where they signed up, read your first email to them, what did you promise. Have you delivered?
If you haven’t, quickly correct this issue and start delivering value right now. It wouldn’t hurt to eat a bit of humble pie and send your readers a free gift or a truly great offer, explain that you’ve re-evaluated your marketing strategy and it should improve. You might be surprised at how this small change will help with your conversion rates and encourage engagement.
The entire point of email marketing is to get some kind of return on investment (ROI) and if your list is not paying for itself, modify it until it does. If they have not unsubscribed, and you’re not going directly to the spam folder, you still have a chance to convert them.
The subscriber that engages, but is never happy. Some subscribers only subscribe to a few lists. Yeah, they are rare but they are out there. So if you email them every day they get hacked off, and they email you back to moan. Other subscribers love the value that you send but the monthly offers you source or create to make their life easier isn’t appreciated.
They moan right at you rather than unsubscribe. Delete them. Harsh? As I mention right at the start – blogging is not free. It costs you time, energy and money to blog and then start a relationship with your readers. If it is not working, do something about it, start a dialogue with the subscriber, call them… but if it’s not making them happy, delete them.
It is important to remember that even if your copy is perfect, and you’ve done it all right, some people will simply just stop opening your email for no reason whatsoever. There are reasons for this, sometimes it is that your email is disappearing into the spam black hole, and sometimes it’s just that they weren’t interested to start with. Perhaps they were a freebie seeker and really did only join to get the opt in gift that you were offering. This happens, if you try to re-engage them and it does not work, then it is time to delete them off your list.
If you haven’t started your email list yet then why not start today. learn exactly how to start your email list from scratch with our help
You’ve got your website online and the next step is to actively market your business. You’re smart enough to know that giving away something of value can help you build your email list quickly. But what do you giveaway to show your audience that you undersdtand their needs and that you’re exactly the right person to help them?
1 – Make a simple PDF cheatsheet. OpenOffice, Word and most other popular spreadsheet software programs have a “save as PDF” option. This makes turning any text-based resource into a lead magnet quickly and easily. As an entrepreneur your time is precious, and your subscribers time is precious too – don’t underestimate the power of a cheatsheet.
2 – Use Snagit, Screenr or Screencast-O-Matic to record mini video trainings. Videos enjoy a much higher perceived value than text-based opt-in gifts. It allows you to build rapport and trust with your audience too.
3 – Record an MP3 file. The growth of podcasts means more and more people are listening to content rather than reading or viewing it. Audio content is perfect content for people on the go, and if your ideal customer is always on the go an MP3 will be most appreciated.
4 – Create a buyer’s guide, walking someone through every step of a particular buying or shopping process. When you aid someone’s decision-making process they’ll be appreciative of the time you’ve saved them.
5 – Give out a valuable coupon which substantially discounts the price of one of your products. Not only is your lead magnet useful, it converts them from browser to buyer much quicker!
6 – Create a short 7-day problem-solving mini-course to be delivered by email. This can be via email only, via video or even pdfs. Whatever your audience will love is what you should do.
7 – Free previews work great as list builders, and pre-sell your e-book or product. Give away a free chapter or module of your e-book or how-to course and you entice your new list member to purchase the entire product.
8 – Repurpose a blog post into a handy resource, add a checklist and a worksheet and you have an attractive teachable.
9 – Build a mobile app or piece of software that solves a big problem in your marketplace and then use it to list build. In the past we’ve done this with WordPress plugins and it works very well.
10 – Checklists are simple to create, and your readers will absolutely love them. They know you know your stuff when you’ve got a checklist for a particular process.
11 – Perform a video review of a product or service. Show yourself actually benefiting from or using the product. Include your affiliate link, and your new list member might just become your newest customer as well.
12 – Give away a free consultation. You are perceived as a caring expert when you give away your valuable time to help someone else. Some entrepreneurs use these to sell, but it may be too soon in the relationship for certains types of product for this to work effectively.
13 – Interview an expert or guru in your field. Expert interviews make excellent lead magnets as well as enhancing your reputation.
14 – Access to a webinar or summit usually leads to high conversions as far as email sign-ups are concerned. as well as building your list, webinars are also excellent for selling products and services.
Bonus -15 – Create a FREE challenge, we have been build a list via our 5 day customer mindset challenge and our Content nitro challenge which is adding subscribers every day to our email list.
This should give you some great ideas to start thinking about what you have available within your content to create a fantastic email list building optin for attracting the right people to your list.
If you sell services via your website or blog, there are 7 types of promotional blog posts that work well. Now, let’s be upfront about this… Writing these posts and then publishing them back to back isn’t a good idea, you need to be careful with promotional posts. Your editorial calendar should include blog posts for traffic and blog posts for a deeper personal connection as well as details about your special offers. Your reader shouldn’t feel overwhelmed with your sales message.
This kind of post compares the features and benefits of your product or services to similar solutions available on the market. Be honest and objective when producing such content or you risk chasing away some of your followers. Contrary to popular belief, customers are not sheep and they won’t buy without question or often, consultation. If you don’t tell them the truth in comparisons, they will find it out elsewhere and you will have lost the sale.
For the best results, include a few instances when your product is not the best solution. I’m often asked how this works, well think of your worst possible customer, the one that sucks the life and energy from you. How would she use the product/service? Then send her to the competition. Life is too short to work with people who don’t like or respect you.
Use your blog to showcase some of your business projects. Show the process, share the results and mention some of the issues you faced while you were working on it. This post from Rosanne Berry is a great example as she showcases her shop’s makeover.
These are usually very visual posts containing a lot of photos, and / or a video. These kind of posts can be really aspirational, and if the images are good and the headline catchy, then it will pull in a lot of social shares and increase your visibility.
If you are an online marketer there’s no faster way to build trust and credibility with your audience and using the income report post. When you show your readers a breakdown of the income you are generating, they start to see all the aspects of marketing their business online. Make sure to add a little bit of humor and self-irony to juice up the post, and remember to include your expenses in your report or people will really think you can earn 10k a month pure profit 😉
Take a look at Alexandria’s income report here as a good example.
Product tips posts are a great way to promote services and products to your readers. Consider writing articles that help your customers take full advantage of what you are selling. The product tips post also help affiliate marketers promote their recommended products quickly and easily.
Best-of posts pull together the most liked and commented blog posts you have written over a period of time. They are a good way to drive traffic towards “old but gold” posts that newcomers to your blog could be unaware of. If you also add in a section for your comparison posts and your product tips’ post you’re onto a winner.
This is possibly my favourite way to sell a product or service online. A detailed case study shows your customer as the hero, and how you have supported them on their quest. When you outline the problem, the solution and the journey on the way, you’ll generate new leads and prospects for your business. When a reader can view a case study and picture them self in the same position, you have a powerful lead generator. These can be difficult to create for a small business blogger, so they’re often outsourced to copywriters.
Sometimes product creators don’t share enough of what works well and how customers feel about that product. I’ll admit that my testimonial posts are few and far between, and that’s a shame as they tend to be the piece of content potential clients ask for. Don’t make this mistake. In the blogging challenge we encourage the participants to add a testimonial to a blog post and then publish it.
Here’s two of my recent testimonials:
What I really like about working with Kevin is his deep understanding of not just marketing a business, but how to actually run a business successfully. This knowledge has helped me to make considered decisions about what I need to do in order to prevent myself from wasting a lot of time and money. I especially value Kevin’s honest approach to giving advice, which has always been spot on even if it is not always what I would like to hear. If you are looking for someone to tell you what you want to hear about marketing and business, then go elsewhere. If you want to know exactly what you need to do to be successful then speak to Kevin. His knowledge and experience is vast
Susan Marot – Succeed At Selling
Kevin is highly skilled at helping businesses generate leads and sales through digital marketing. He has been instrumental in helping me form a strategy for my business. I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed going through the 30 day blogging challenge which Kevin and Sarah run together which has helped me build traffic to my website
CJ Sohal – Business Owner
There it is, 7 blog posts that help you promote your products and services.
PS if you like this post you might like to join us on the 30-day blogging challenge. It will help you get more from your blog posts 🙂
Most business blogs go through a fairly predictable pattern of growth from white belt blog to black belt blog. To make it to the point where your business blog is making significant income, you’ll go through all of these stages. Each and every stage has its own challenges and rewards and of course, lessons to be learned. Just like on the mat in your dojo
Here are the five stages every profitable business blogger needs to go through to reach success, assuming your definition of success of course, is more sales, leads and reach.
You’re selecting your WordPress themes, have less than ten posts and are still experimenting. You’re still finding your voice and various options when it comes to starting a blog. You’re not quite sure on your branding and you could change themes several times a month. You are a big consumer of knowledge at this stage and perhaps somewhat reluctant to spend on advice – how do you know the good from the bad?
A lot of people underestimate how long this stage can last. Unfortunately, you can be stuck in the zero to low traffic rut for as many as twenty posts, sometimes more.
In order to succeed, you’ve just got to persevere. Persistence Pays Off. Keep on blogging, keep writing and do not give up because you think your only reader is your mum. The language of being online is confusing and sounds like gobbledy-gook and what the heck is a ranking?!
I promise being a white belt blogger won’t last forever even if it feels like it, this stage flies by although it may not seem like it at the time.
At this stage you’ll start to get a trickle of readers coming to your blog from a variety of sources.
People may be finding your site through totally random Google searches that you’re not really optimising for. That can be frustrating – how do you reach your ideal reader? You start looking at SEO and SEO plugins.
At this stage, you start to have an audience, though a very, very small one. Look after them, they can be with you a whole lifetime.
Though you’re not the go-to person in the industry, you’re beginning to get a small following of people who listen to you and trust your advice.
You have a couple of pages that are ranked in the search engines. All that bookmarking paid off! 😉
This isn’t as great as you had hoped it would be. At this stage you’ll probably have at least fifty posts, but it still feels great to see some of your pages getting decent rankings and getting google traffic for the things you really want to be found for. If you post once a week it can take a year to reach this stage.
At this stage you start to see the power of your blog and worry about what happens if Google sandboxes you, you might want to think about subscribing to Activecampaign and setting up a newsletter if you haven’t already. If you’re still using a free theme or design, you now want to pay for a custom design and move onto Thrive Themes. You may already have a custom theme and now is the time you start exploring and unleashing all of it’s potential.
You are more choosy in the content that you consume. You start looking for like-minded individuals and forming friendships. You have to adopt the courage of a martial artist and ask for links from other bloggers and comments. Suddenly comments matter. Many bloggers stay in this stage, it’s comfortable and there’s not a lot of pressure.
At this stage you’re making just enough money from your blog to support yourself. You no longer panic and break out into a sweat when it comes to guest blogging. You are thinking of becoming a full-time blogger and you get 1 or 2 direct advertising deals. You’re getting backlinks without having to beg for them and a higher percentage of your pages are getting ranked for the stuff you want to be found for.
When you review and recommend a product, people take it seriously. People with products come to you and offer you Joint Venture deals. Sales start to come easier because people are starting to trust your reputation. You start thinking more and more about developing your own products. Something beyond that ebook.
The dangers of this stage is you may lack patience and you may feel one day you are the coolest kid in town and the next day you don’t have a friend in the world. Despite outward appearances, this can be a lonely stage for a blogger – who is a friend and who is a foe? In this stage friendships that are formed last a bloggers entire career. Typically you have been blogging 3-5 years.
At this point your blog is one of the top 3-5 in your chosen industry. If someone mentioned your name at a conference, more often than not people would recognise the name and you are asked to keynote at the major industry conferences. Life for this blogger is good, it can take up to 5 years to reach this stage part time and about 18 months full time. Of course everyone thinks you are an overnight success…
Sadly most blogs never reach this stage and that’s okay if you are happy at the other stages. If your blog reaches maturity there are many perks
These are the five stages in the lifecycle of a successful blogger. The key to moving from one stage to the next is to
All business blogs start the same way, just like walking on the mat in the dojo for the first time, it’s new and exciting, the key to success it turning up, building every time you go onto your site and moving forward whilst building and learning.
If you are still at the white belt stage and need some extra support then do take a look at the longest-running and most successful business blogging challenge here
Once you’ve picked your niche and got your blog set up, you’ll want to start adding content in order to boost your opt-ins and sales. Stop wasting your time guessing and try these ways to boost your opt-in or sales. Some of them are ways to add a stream of income such as paid reviews and others are ways to get more traffic which can translate into more buys and more conversions.
Create a Content Calendar and Schedule
The best way to ensure that you are publishing enough content across all platforms including your blog that will bring traffic and sales is to create a content planning schedule and a content calendar. Your content calendar will be based on the products you want to promote focusing on the problems they solve for your audience. Then you can throw in trending topics to give your content a more current feel and show you’re up to date and paying attention to what’s happening.
For example, if you have identified an app that you know your audience will find value in start with educating your audience about the problem before you provide the solution. By the time you’re done talking about the problem when you introduce the solution, they’ll be ready to purchase.
Always Include a Call to Action
Every post that you publish should have a reason for being, as mentioned before. When you are brainstorming the types of posts you want to include on your blog think about your goals. A goal, to be effective, needs to be able to be converted to a call to action.
Don’t be afraid to sell something on every single post that you publish within the text, in an advertisement in between paragraphs, through sidebar links, pop-ups or slides, and via content upgrades to help convert people to your email list. If your audience can easily consume the free content you’re providing, giving them more ways to buy will improve sales. Don’t be fearful of doing this. Yes, some people may get mad and go away. But they aren’t your target audience anyway.
Create Clear CTAs
When developing your CTAs, it’s important to use clear language that provokes enthusiasm, provides a reason (solves pain points) for your audience to act, limits the time they can act, and shows proof that the solution works for other people just like them. Additionally, the CTA button when one is used should be very prominent and use words that demand action rather than “buy now” say something like: “Yes! I want my Freedom Now!”
Using these direct and indirect ways to boost sales and opt-ins will be effective if you add the new content on a regular basis, promote every piece of content you publish, and become very responsive to comments and questions.
Content ideas are literally everywhere if you are looking for them, and with care an attention will boost your sales.
My perfect customer is someone with a pulse!! Anyone with a pulse. Well, actually, I don’t even check for a pulse.
My headline was me being partially sarcastic. Shall we talk about problems? Oh go on then I hear you say.
The biggest problem I see in business — and I mean everywhere, not just online businesses — is that so many business owners want to sell what they’ve got to everybody. I say so tell me who is your ideal customer? They respond…everybody.
Really? Everybody? Everybody??
Like that dead person waiting to be embalmed at the funeral home is your ideal client? What? No? What about that homeless guy? No? Okay, what about those students over there? No? Those kids playing in the park, what about them? Men over the age of 73?
These businesses want to sell as many of what they have as possible, so they don’t niche down and sell to a targeted audience, they go broad instead. Now, I like you, you’re reading this post and you’re smart, (what’s not to like about that) and unlike these crazy businesses who don’t see the value in narrowing the scope of their marketing efforts, you do. They see a targeted audience as reducing their potential sales, you see it as a way to grow them.
You must have been to one of those networking meetings of small business owners, recruiters, multi-level marketers, and salespeople, where each person gets 30 seconds to tell the group who they are and what they sell, in an effort to generate referrals?
Nine out of 10 will say something like, “I sell these widgets, and they’re really great widgets. Everyone needs to use my widgets, so I sell them to anybody and everybody.” I really should use a non-widget example but widget works… everyone knows what a widget is, right?
You might as well be honest and come right out and say “My perfect customer is someone with a pulse. Anyone in the room with a pulse?”.
But every now and then, there’s a person with a specific message. He says something like, “I sell widgets to garages. A good referral for me is the mechanic who fixes your car.” And guess what? He gets referrals. The rest don’t.
The same is true in the online world as well as business networking. The more specific you can be with your marketing message, the more success you will have. So speak to your target customer as directly as possible in each piece of marketing material you put out. Speak directly to them in their language, not jargon or pseudo-corporation-speak that you never understood even when you worked in a corporate position. The words and language they use make a real connection.
Let’s explore a scenario. Let’s say I might be a prospective buyer of your widgets. I might really need your widgets, but I just don’t know about them. All you have to do is get my attention, and maybe I’ll buy from you.
You get me by tweaking your marketing message.
I’m a unique individual, with my own specific circumstances and my own specific problems. I don’t think of myself as one of “anybody and everybody.” I’m special. Stop sniggering, I am. When I’m busy not being special I do think of myself as a member of a group. In fact, I’m a member of many groups.
I’m a business owner. I’m a dad, brother, nephew husband, and a son, as well as an employee and a business owner. You get the idea. This isn’t just ME I’m talking about, I’m talking about who YOUR buyer is likely to be.
Maybe I like to watch Marvel films or eat doughnuts, so “film” and “doughnut lovers” are groups I identify with. If I have bad eyesight or tennis elbow, that puts me in one of those groups, people with a particular ailment. So if you say your widgets work for dads who own their own business, who watch Marvel films poorly due to dodgy eyesight, guess what? You’ve got my attention!
You’ve described me, my pain, and now I feel connected. The fact you have a box of dougnuts in your hand is no way irrelevant, I know you totally get me. Not only do you totally get me, you know my inner pains and you can cure them with your widgets. You say your widgets come with doughnuts? That sounds right up my street! I’m totally listening, tell me more as I wipe away my drool.
The way to build a following — a tribe, as Seth Godin puts it — is by targeting a specific group of people; a niche of people with a common problem that your product solves.
You’ll never build a following by trying to sell to “everybody,” because the truth is there’s nothing out there that appeals to everybody. Take food. We all have to eat. Do we all like the same foods? Some of you worry about the doughnuts, others can imagine the jam and the sugar… You know what I mean when I say there’s nothing that appeals to everybody, so why try and appeal to them?
The fact is, the more precisely you describe me, the more I’m going to like you and trust you.
People buy from people they know, like and trust, they buy from people who totally get them and they don’t just buy once, they buy over and over and over.
Remember it’s not difficult to find your ideal client but you do need to put a little bit of leg work in. If you need help with this then feel free to let me help you some more by clicking here
Every business should be able to shout out about who their ideal clients or customer avatars are…yes you do have more than one.
We’ve all done the exercise. Writing down who will buy our products and how our products and services will help this one special person. What do you mean you haven’t? How do you know who to market your business too? You think everyone is your potential client? Move along nicely… for you, there’s nothing more to read here.
You determine who will buy your products and services. what specific products and services they need, and then create a client avatar. By creating an ideal client avatar or buyer persona, you start to understand your prospective customer better, and then when you start blogging, you write to this person, much in the same way as you talk to them offline, and in all of your other marketing materials.
This vision of your ideal client impacts upon everything you do, including pricing (you can’t charge a single mum as much as you can the CEO of a FTSE 100 company), pain points differ (mum probably has fewer shareholders, with different priorities like “what time is our dinner, and no we don’t want fish fingers again“), and it even impacts upon the colour of your logo.
When putting together your ideal client avatar you’ll spend a few hours considering things such as their:
Your answers to these questions form the basis of your client avatar. You can even write up a nice little story about your ideal client. You give her a name, a couple of kids, a husband who just doesn’t get it, and maybe some debt, maybe the pressures of raising a family, oh, and a mortgage. You know quite a bit about her and her feelings, or at least, you should do, after all, you created her!
But you would be wrong, and if you stop there, you may be missing a huge piece of the puzzle—and losing out on the best clients because of it. Here are 4 things that impact upon the client avatar and stop you attracting the right customers.
I’m told that being authentically yourself means you’ll attract people just like you. I don’t think so. Are you really your own ideal client? When you are yourself, you may attract people similar to you, but you also have to remember a flame attracts moths as well as those seeking warmth.
What would a client base compiled of people just like you feel like? Is it a harmonious blend or do you prefer to work with people resonating on a different frequency? What if they’re a blue sky thinker and visual (most people are) and you’re tactile and respond kinesthetically…
There’s only one of you and one of them, and to say you are the same (but 5 years ago) with the same feelings, thoughts and experiences won’t help either or you. Times change, technology changes and circumstances change.
You 5 years ago isn’t your ideal customer and you’re losing business in huge amounts if you think it is!
Here’s something that’s rarely considered in the ideal customer conversation and it’s the most intriguing part: personality.
If you’re snarky, sarcastic, fun-loving and loud, then a quiet, middle-aged mother who spends her time volunteering at the church is probably not a good fit for you. Sure, she might need your help, and she might love your products and buy all your books, but for one-on-one coaching, this match is a hurricane-style disaster just waiting to happen. Either she will be uncomfortable with your methods, or you’ll be miserable trying to reign in your natural enthusiasm.
Better to pass this lovely person on to a coach who is a better fit for her personality-wise. Don’t want to do this? Ideal clients are human beings, they can sense when something isn’t quite right and it’s usually a personality issue. They may think you don’t “get” them, or the time isn’t right for them, and you shouldn’t force this issue. Telling them they’re not investing in themselves isn’t ethical or decent, it’s a cheap tactic designed to make you richer and the prospect poorer – let them explore their feelings and understand them.
If the person ticks all your ideal client boxes and you decide to work with them because you need their money, well you’re not really serving your business or them. An ideal client avatar is there to help you grow your business and help it thrive, not hoover up cash from the people it can’t help.
I decline more customers than I accept, some I’d love to work with, but I can’t determine their motive, while others I understand their motives but I don’t help people in that specific industry, for various reasons. I pass on a lot of potential clients to coaches more suited to them and their needs. I have discovery calls where the person talking just needs to be heard, and I just listen. There’s no push, and often being heard is the most powerful gift you can give to someone. You might not wish to behave in this way, you may wish to push-push-push because the sky is the limit but this will burn you out, and burn out your audience.
Drive can be difficult to calculate from the start, but once you recognise it (or the lack of drive) it’s worth paying attention to. The client without the drive to succeed will—more often than not—only end up frustrating you both. You’ll go all medieval by tearing your hair out. I know, because when first starting out, I attracted a lot of people who admired my drive and determination. They believed by working with me, they’d increase their drive, that I’d magically rub off on them somehow.
Better to end your relationship as soon as you see the signs of this than to waste your time going over the same material and exercises again and again with someone who simply won’t do the work, or heaven forbid, think they don’t need to do the work because another person (insert the name of any big name guru here) doesn’t do this! Or say they can’t do the work as they’re too busy. You’re not a therapist, pass them along, you’ll have to fire them at some point in the future if you don’t.
Listening matters. It’s all about what’s said and what’s not said.
People tell me they want to be happy, they want more freedom, they want to help more people, when you listen to whats behind these statements there is alot more going on than just these very bold declarations of desires. Often (not always) this translates into ‘I’m frustrated with my work’ or ‘I feel trapped doing something that isn’t inspiring ‘ or even ‘I need to earn more money’.
I frequently hear people say a certain group of people are their ideal customer, because the group is for women because they’re in a certain geographic boundary and it’s simply not the case. There’s more too it than the broad strokes.
Listening deeply truly does mean going into it with open ears and closing off pre determined judgements, your ideal clients are telling you whats going on but are you hearing it?
It’s never been enough, and unless you’re a generic business owner, digging deep and uncovering your dream clients is exactly what you need to do so that you can create customer avatars that grow your business.
P.S want to know how I can help you create the perfect client avatars? Take a look here
There’s a well-known marketer, Rick Page who wrote a book called “Hope is not a strategy”. You can’t just pick any old marketing strategy and “hope” that it will work. Trust me, I’ve tried it and I’m still waiting for it to work. If I’d had put as much energy into a real marketing plan, as I did the “hope marketing plan” then I’d be a billionaire. It’s a waste of energy.
Put hope to one side if you can’t ditch it altogether. Instead put together a detailed sales and marketing plan where you lay out your tools and resources for meeting your business blogging objectives. Without the sales and marketing plan you’ll stuggle through the ups and downs of marketing your business.
This isn’t a comprehensive list of daily tasks although it’s a good starting base. It’s a breakdown of each marketing tactic you might want to use and the process you’ll put in place for its implementation.
Not all marketing strategies work with every business model. You’ll hear all sorts of wild ideas and “proven” tactics, but that doesn’t mean they’re the ones for you. The best one I hear all the time is how we are missing a trick by not advertising our transport business on our vans. Forget that our high-end clients want their goods delivered in unmarked vehicles. If you only listen to the popular marketing conversations you’d think I was missing out.
Look at your own business model first and outline some of the characteristics of that model and your target market, including:
Remember, your business model may not be the same as someone else’s. You may be high end, they may be budget.
Now, look again at your business model and the most popular marketing tactics used by your competition. How do they convert from prospect to customer?
If you try to do several marketing campaigns at once, you will fail at all of them. You’ll need to focus on one to start with, and keep laser focused. Test it out, see if it’s working, and then add in additional strategies. There are endless methods to pick from and by adding in extra ones you’ll work out what is working for your audience and what isn’t.
Try selecting the easiest marketing strategy so you can put it in place and get moving straight away. You should always have at least one easy tactic you can use that doesn’t require a lot of thought and planning. For example, you can create an autoresponder series that starts every time a person signs up for that list. It’s a passive form of marketing that requires very little attention. Once in place you can start mapping out more campaigns.
In order to put your marketing plan down on paper (or computer), start by looking at all the steps involved. Start with the end result (the sale) and work backwards. What are the activities you need to complete in order to implement and maintain each strategy? What do you have in place already? What tools and techniques do you need to learn in order complete the process?
Now put those steps into a priority order and create a process you can follow.
You can even use a mindmap to lay out a visual of the process, which makes it very easy to move things around. Freemind is a great, free tool for creating mindmaps on PCs. iThoughts HD is another one that works really well on iPads. You can export any of the mindmaps to a pdf so that you can print them and post them by your computer or even use them as an ethical bribe or email in your autoresponder sequence.
Make sure you set deadlines for achieving each step in your sales and marketing plan. The success of some marketing strategies is dependent on a specific timeframe, such as the length of time between emails or follow-ups. Put it on your calendar and set those dates in stone.
If you know that your emails need to be set up in daily intervals, then you’ll need to put the outlining and writing of those emails down on your to-do list every day. If posting and promoting blog posts is part of that strategy then add it too the list. Just don’t make the mistake that many impatient, ambitious bloggers make by trying to do everything at once.
Focus on one strategy at a time, set deadlines, and implement it to success.
PS want more?
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