The world is filled with great ideas and broke business owners with fabulous products but no sales.
The fact is, ideas are not what drives most business success. Marketing does. So, before you quit your day job to branch out on your own, it pays to have a solid marketing plan in place. Start with these 5 ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
For information product sellers, coaches, and service providers, one of the best sources of new clients is in free training webinars. No matter what your niche, the promise of in-depth training at no cost is enough to entice potential clients to part with an email address (which you’ll be able to market to later) and an hour of their time.
Not only that, but webinars are a fantastic way for those potential customers to get to know you better. And the better they know you, the more likely they are to buy.
Not comfortable hosting a webinar? Hit the keyboard and start sharing your thoughts and ideas via your blog, ebooks, guest articles, and other written content. For internet marketers, this gives readers a taste of what they can expect from your product. If you sell physical products, it provides the perfect opportunity to share usage tips and other important information with your buyers.
Of course, there’s another important benefit to content marketing, too: search engine optimization. Google and other search engines index the words on your website and use the information to present search results to their users. Content marketing is a tool you can use to make the most of these results, and to bring more potential buyers to your website.
Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google and plenty of other sites all offer paid placement, and with today’s powerful analytics tools, it’s easy to create ads and drive traffic inexpensively. Consider starting with Facebook, since the cost is low and it’s easy to target your ads to your ideal client. Once you’ve perfected your funnel, you can branch out into more costly ads with a larger reach, such as Google AdWords or another ad network.
Don’t limit yourself to these three marketing methods though. There are dozens of others you can try, including affiliate programs, JV partnerships, automated funnels, direct mail campaigns, and even television advertising. The key is to keep testing and tweaking to make the most of every marketing effort, so that your business continues to grow.
If there’s one thing that holds promising entrepreneurs back from launching their business, it’s this: a lack of confidence in their products. Sure, you think that new course or workshop is a great idea, but how do you know it will sell?
Imagine spending weeks or even months of time—plus the cost of document design, video editing and all the other pieces that go along with it—only to discover it’s not what your audience wants or needs. How frustrating would that be?
You don’t have to leave it to chance, though. There are plenty of ways to test your idea before spending the time and energy on a full launch.
This is the simplest way to get a feel for what your market needs and wants. Simply ask them. Create a survey with Survey Monkey (or even a Google form) and send it out to your mailing list. For best results, keep it short, but do ask:
These three pieces will tell you everything you need to know to create a program that’s practically guaranteed to sell.
Listen to Their Complaints
If you have a community (or are part of one) of ideal clients, pay attention to what they’re asking about the most. These are the things they need help with. For example, if you’re a business coach and your Facebook group is filled with questions about running Facebook ads, then clearly there is a need for some training in that area.
Study Your Competition
Hopefully you have a list of competitors and you’re reading their blogs and emails, and lurking in their Facebook groups. This is a great way to gain insight into what they’re doing—not to copy them, but to discover what’s hot right now.
Consider buying their paid products as well. Again, you should never copy them, but you can either:
Creating products in a vacuum is a great way to waste a lot of time and money on programs that won’t sell. Instead, pay attention to what your market is asking for, find out what they’re willing to pay, and delve into your competition’s offers. The information you gain from these three activities alone will give you incredible insight into your market and what they want and need, and make it easy to create your own hot-selling program.
We look forward to your comments, how do you decide what products to create?
You know you need to do it. You’ve had it on your to-do list for years. Your own coach/mentor has told you time and again that this is the year you must get your book in print.
It’s not that you don’t recognize the benefits, or that you don’t want to have a published book on your resume. You just struggle with it, and probably for the same reasons many other experts resist publication.
You don’t have time
Here’s a biggie. Everyone is busy. We all get that. But that’s not a good excuse when it comes to growing your business.
Rather than lamenting your lack of time, you should be prioritizing your day to accommodate the important things, like writing your book. Maybe that means getting up 30 minutes earlier for a focused (if short) writing stint every morning, or turning off the television after dinner so you can write, or even setting aside several hours each Sunday morning until your book is done.
The point is, you must make this a priority. Block out the time in your calendar, and treat that time as sacred. Pretend it’s an appointment with your most important client, and do not allow anything to get in the way of keeping it. After all, you are your most important client.
You can’t write
Many, many people claim they cannot write; yet when you look at their blogs, there are hundreds of posts. What it really means when someone says they can’t write is that they don’t like to.
Luckily, you have plenty of options for overcoming this particular hurdle. Hire a ghostwriter. Start with PLR. Repurpose your blog posts into a book (Darren Rowse of Problogger.net did this with great success).
And if all else fails, speak. Use software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking, or simply record using your favorite MP3 app and then have it transcribed.
You can’t organize a long project like a book
Ok, so you’re great with blog posts, and you don’t mind writing them, but the thought of writing an entire book makes you stare at your blank screen like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car.
First, if you can write a blog post, you can write an entire series of books. The process is all the same, after all. It’s just putting words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, and so on.
But if you really feel you can’t manage a long project, then an outline is going to be your best friend. Start with a broad overview of your project, and then break it down by sections, then chapters. Make notes about what you’ll cover in each, and then it’s just a matter of filling in the blanks.
There are dozens of reasons to write a book. It’s important for establishing your expertise, for growing your audience, and for solidifying your message. But none of that will happen if you don’t actually write it. So, it’s time to get beyond your hurdles and get your book done.
Your brand is the image that people observe, develop, and relate to. It connects you to your customers and prospects. The branding process, including the planning and decision process are important. These decisions have an impact on your future success. By working through this checklist, you’ll have established a solid brand and a plan to move forward and integrate it into all of your marketing and sales efforts.
#1 I’ve identified my business vision and mission. My branding decisions must remain true to my vision and mission in order to provide a consistent and comprehensive image to prospects and customers.
#2 I’ve identified colors that best represent the brand I want to portray. These colors embody the vision and mission of my business along with the message I wish to convey.
#3 I’ve chosen a brand name, business name, that is easy to remember, easy to spell, and can be registered as a domain name.
#4 I have a solid understanding of who my target audience is and understand what their needs, interests, and goals are. I know how my branding efforts influence my unique target customer.
#5 I know what differentiates me from my competition. I know what value I bring to my prospects. I can answer the following questions:
#6 I’ve created a logo, or hired someone to create a logo for me, that conveys my brand in a way that is simple and easy to understand. My brand colors are used in the logo and the logo supports my vision and mission.
#7 I’ve developed a brand purpose – a statement that highlights what I provide the market, how my business is different, and what makes my business distinct.
#8 I’ve created a brand personality – a statement or list of characteristics that best describe my brand. My brand personality embraces elements of my personality so that I can create a stronger connection with my audience. A stronger connection results in a stronger brand.
#9 I’ve created a brand promise – an emotional statement that connects prospects to my brand and my company. My brand promise and message both evoke a positive emotion.
#10 I’ve created a list, and a plan for each medium, to consistently integrate my brand into various branding opportunities and marketing efforts. These include:
Your brand is who you are, what you represent, and what makes you and your business unique and different from your competition. Spend time creating your business brand and working through this checklist to ensure a comprehensive and clear brand – a brand your prospects won’t be able to resist.
Share below what you have done to create your strong brand presence?
If you would like to use any of our blogs on your blog sight, please do contact us. We would be happy to share with you.
What do top coaches, industry experts, and media superstars all have in common? They've all written a book. You can too. It's easy!