The systems needed for effective online marketing can seem daunting and confusing. There are so many available that it’s easy to get lost. That means it’s as easy to do nothing which means you’re not making the most of whatever (little) marketing you do. This article describes a simple yet effective online marketing strategy that I implement for a lot of my clients. It saves them time and gathers and nurtures leads from cold to hot to paying clients.

Website island

Your website is a bit like building your business on a island. You have full control over what it contains, how it’s displayed, the experience your customers and visitors have.

However, it’s not like a bricks and mortar business where you can choose which shop on the high street to be in. High street shops benefit from people walking past and seeing something eye-catching in your window display which pulls them in.

If you don’t have a premises in an area like a shopping centre or street, you don’t benefit from footfall. Your business is like an island. It’s in the middle of the sea and no-one knows it’s there.

A website is not enough

It’s not enough to build a website and expect to make sales from it. Yet it surprises me how many new business owners think that.

You have to drive traffic to it. Imagine that you have a broadcasting tower with a tannoy system shouting out messages, letting people know that you solve their problems. That’s what you do with all your marketing activities – whether it’s online or offline. You might be networking (which can be online as well as going to actual meetings), speaking, PR, social media, paid advertising… the list is endless.

The goal of the Broadcast Tower

Regardless of which method you use to ‘broadcast’, the primary aim is to bring people to your website. Forget about building the number of Twitter followers, retweets or Facebook likes. Whilst they’re important for building up online rapport, they don’t count. You can’t control what of your posts get shown to them. You don’t own those contacts. Facebook, Twitter etc change the rules and in one fail swoop, you could lose them all. They might shut you down. They might shut down! Get them to your website.

Once they’re there on your website, browsing around, having a look at your offerings, they might buy straight away. In which case, ka-ching! Success!

The way people buy today

However, more often than not, people don’t buy straight away from their first visit. It’s not your fault. That’s just how we buy nowadays. The power of the internet means we can much easier shop around and look for the best deals and alternatives. Think about how you buy. How many times in the last 3 months have you bought on a first visit to a website of a company you know nothing about? Unless it’s a low cost item for throw-away money, my guess is you probably don’t. You want to get to know them a bit, see how much of an expert they are, do they walk their talk, can you trust them….

So here’s the next problem to overcome. How to get their details so you can get to prove your expertise, build up rapport and trust. The next step might be to have a phone consultation with you. But how can you get from ‘just visiting’ to ‘making that call’. How can you get to the point where they’ll take the next step to becoming a paying client?

Here’s the solution

When people arrive on your website, you need to offer them something useful that they can get for free in exchange for their email address. The ‘something useful’ is information. Here’s the key. The more useful your ‘something useful’ is, the more likely they’ll want it and be willing to exchange their email address for it.

Here’s what’s not useful.

Long gone are the days when all you had to do was offer a ‘Newsletter signup’ box on your website. ‘Sign up to my newsletter’, or ‘ezine’ or whatever you want to call it. Nobody signs up to receive newsletters. No matter how useful you think your newsletter is, nobody else does. Newsletters are not perceived as being useful. They’re perceived as being more junk mail to clutter up an already bulging inbox.

What they do sign up for

Something useful that will solve a problem they have. We desire things to solve our problems. Identify a problem your clients have and solve it with your ‘something useful’. I call this a free goodie. You need only ease 1 immediate problem. There’s no need at this stage to solve all their problems. A free goodie is easy to put together. If you download my free toolkit and resources guide I’ve listed some easy to use (and some are free) tools. It’s no 2.

Next you need a mechanism to collect and release the free goodie automatically. Because seriously, you don’t have time to manually reply to everyone who signs up for your free goodie. These requests could come any time of day or night. So you don’t want to spoil the experience of your potential customer by making them wait until you’re next at your computer to manually reply to them and send them your free goodie. My free toolkit and resources guide has some options here – it’s no 4

Now what?

They’ve had your free useful something. If you’re smart, you’ve cleverly woven in an upsell that the next step is to call you and have a conversation. Some might do that. In which case – ka-ching! You’ve got a proper opportunity to speak with your prospect and find out exactly what they need so you can pitch your service as being ideal for them.

But mostly that doesn’t happen. It’s still too early in the relationship. It’s a bit like dating. You go out on a first date, have a lovely time. But if they then invite you to jump into bed, that’s just too weird, forward and off-putting. For a meaningful long-lasting relationship you want to get to know them some more, so you go on a second date.

Give them more

Remember, you’re website is like an island. That person came and visited and liked what they saw and were interested enough to hand over their email address for your useful information. What do they want now? More useful information that’s going to help them solve their problem. When they gave you their email address for the something free it was like they bought a ticket to your ferry service so now you just have to provide that ferry service and bring them back to your website island.

By not providing that ferry service is like having a load of passengers waiting at the quayside holding tickets in their hands, but no ferry in sight. They go away, disappointed and perhaps, even annoyed.

You’d never treat a customer that way and it’s certainly no way to treat potential customers. Remember visiting your island for the first time you controlled their experience. You can still control their experience long after they’ve left your island with your ferry service.

Your ferry service is your regular newsletter and/or a series of autoresponders (any of the tools in no. 4 will work for this). Autoresponders are a series of emails that are preprogrammed to be drip-released at predetermined times dependent on when they originally signed up. So it could be daily, every other day, every 4 days etc.

Get them off the ferry

Lastly you’ll need to get them off your ferry and on to your website island where they can get the sand between their toes (again) and experience more of what it might be like to work with you. In other words, clicking through from your newsletter/email to your blog post.

Doing this regularly nurtures the relationship and builds the trust needed for them to want to become a paying customer.

There you have it. A simple strategy and process that nurtures cold traffic to paying clients. Setting up that system is what I do for clients.

Case study

Here’s what I did for one client Leila. She was able to reach more potential customers by building her list through Facebook ads. She offered a free weight loss hypnosis recording in return for their email address. Once on her list, they were nurtured through a series of automated emails where she gave more useful information and promoted and sold her 121 hypnosis programmes.  And here’s the beauty of it. When people made that first consultative free call with her, they were already primed to buy. They had a flavour of what she was like, her expertise and what she could do for people like them. By the time they were speaking, they were hot prospects wanting to know if Leila could help them with their particular problem. To which the answer was ‘yes’. Ka-ching!

How to get my online marketing toolkit

If you haven’t yet downloaded the toolkit hop over here to get it and if you have already downloaded and made use of the tools, let me know how what you’ve learned and how you’ve applied the tools in your business. Just leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to respond.

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