Step 1: Conduct Internet Market Analysis
Analyze your market segment or vertical, identify best (or ideal) customer profiles, figure out why they buy from you (or should by from you), apply the same analysis to your competition (taking note of why people buy from them).
Key: Remember that your prospects primarily care about solving their needs not your business issues. What are the problems they are trying to solve? The goal here is to gain a better understanding of what your customers are actually “buying” – rather than what you are trying to sell to them.
Step 2: Perform Niche and Keyword Research
To attract web traffic, visitors, leads and customers it is critical that you be able to get visibility on Page#1 of Google (and other) Search engine results. Think with an open mind, and use the tools available to identify different “niches” that will lead customers to you (Google’s free “keyword tool” can be used, for starters). Recognize that the way to achieve Page 1 rankings in those niches is to focus on “long tail” keywords that have at least 50-100 searches per day, but 30,000 or less competing sites (sometimes even the sites ranking for those keywords are too competitive, so you really need to conduct some SEO competitive analysis, too).
Key: You will be far more successful by focusing your search engine marketing efforts on achieving Google Page 1 rankings for multiple keywords, rather than struggling to get Page 1 rankings for just one or two search terms that are especially competitive.
Step 3. Create Something of High Perceived Value & Give It Away For Free to Attract Prospects, and to earn their trust.
It may sound contradictory, but it has become almost axiomatic over the past few years that giving stuff away for “free” is actually one of the best methods to make money online. The ideal “give way” is either an eProduct, or some other information product or resource that can be given away digitally. Your goal here is to establish credibility and trust – and the “hook” you will be using is the opportunity for the free “instant gratification” that can be achieved by leveraging digitally downloadable (or deliverable) content.
Tip: The viability of offering visitors a “free subscription to a newsletter’ is pretty much over. Downloadable information-packed PDF reports, or streaming video’s (which can be hosted on YouTube Or eZ3 media, Viddler, etc), or other original and “actionable” content that is related to solving their business needs have the best conversions now.
Step 4: To Get Your “Publishing” Platform or Infrastructure In Create a Blog, Website, Facebook, Twitter, or some other web 2.0 Social Media site.
Tip: The goal here is to make it easy for prospects and customers to receive, be exposed to, or otherwise find and get your content. Web 2.0 Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, etc offer a powerful opportunity for your message to “go viral”.
Step 5: Get an Auto-responder account (such as Aweber, Get Response or others) and place “Lead Capture Forms” on your site – in the sidebar, header, or anywhere that prospects will see them.
You most likely have encountered lead capture forms numerous times. Both Aweber and Get Response offer a wealth of training materials, and they are designed to be relatively easy for a customer with “average” technical skills.
Note: The goal here is to build a sales pipeline of viable prospects by using a lead capture form, “squeeze page” or “squeeze form” to “squeeze” contact out of visitors and prospects seeking to obtain the unique and valuable digital content you will be offering them.
Step 6: Set up your Auto-Responder and create follow-up sequences of emails to Automate the Follow-up.
This is relatively easy to do. Once you have an auto-responder account, just follow the instructions to create a List Name, Opt-In Options, Success Page options, etc. Pay special attention to the very first email you visitors and prospects will get – as this will have a significant impact on their opinion of you.
Tip: When creating a sequence of follow-up emails, consider the “incoming mindset” of your visitors, as well as the desired “action” that you want to elicit from them. Be aware that in many cases, converting prospects into buyers online takes as long as it would offline. Your objective should be to engage them and to provide them with enough value for them to remain on your auto-responder “opt-in” mailing list long enough for you to earn their confidence that you can fulfill their requirements.
Step 7: Offer Your “High Perceived Value” Item In Exchange for the Contact Information of Your Prospects.
As an essential pre-requisite of acquiring new customers is that they have to develop a sense of trust in you. The item you offer in exchange for their contact information should help to convey and underscore your ability to solve their needs or requirements. It follows that, if you are offering some form of digital content (i.e. PDF report, video, etc) that the content should be closely related to the problem they are trying to solve.
Note: In this day and age, virtually everyone wants instant gratification. This is especially true when someone is trying to deal with a business problem or some form of “pain”. The most compelling opt-in offers for email list-building purposes offer the promise of “instant gratification”…such as “just enter your email address here and I’ll meet you on the other side”. That’s what works.
Step 8: Promote Your Offer!
Now you will want to make your offer available everywhere that it is appropriate (and business-like) to do so.
Obviously, your offer will be displayed prominently on your website or blog where it can be seen throughout the site. Now create or edit your signature footer for all emails to further promote your enticing opt-in offer. Start visiting Forums where prospective clients spend time and actively participate in the dialog…using your offer-promoting-signature footer every time. Post on Craigslist, BackPages, Kajibi, and in your local city or town classified ads sites. Get your business cards re-printed with your new offer-promoting signature footer on them. Advertise in the inexpensive supermarket classifieds. Go online and create free “identities” on web 2.0 sites that allow you to do so.
Key: Now that you are all set up – Your primary objective is to push your free offer to as many people as possible. Use Facebook, Twitter, and lots of other Web 2.0 Social Media properties to blast your enticing offer out – and to make it easy for people to get it!
Step 9: Nurture Your Leads While Developing Their Trust
Now that you are beginning to build an opt-in email list of prospects, you need to carefully nurture them along. Recognize the reality that people buy when they want to buy – not when we want them to buy, or when we need them to buy. Your challenge is to continually supply them with enough useful information (no spam!) so they will remain on your opt-in list and so they will consider you as an authority for information, or a trusted supplier. That way, when they are ready to buy, they will already have you in mind, and they will be “pre-sold” on doing business with you.
Tip: It may make sense to use one signature file for emails that you send to people who are not yet on your opt-in list, and another one for your opted-in “subscribers”. That way you can actively (or, perhaps “passively”) promote the opt-in offer to the broad public, while presenting a “buy” offer to your subscribers in your nurture sequence of follow-ups).
Step 10: Manage Your Sales Process
Do you even use a sales process? You should! As the old saying goes: Only that which can be measured can be managed. It is only by implementing a sales process that you can realistically monitor where your prospects are in terms of making a buying decision. Then, if you continually track your prospects, and take particular note of the prospects you “lose”, you will have an opportunity to “fix” your sales process to minimize prospect-loss. One of the greatest benefits of actively using a sales process is that it will significantly enhance your ability to accurately forecast sales – this is especially true if you are disciplined about updating the data.
Important: There are a number of sales-process templates or types that you can easily find. Don’t waste too much time trying to figure out which is the best one. In all likelihood, in terms of using a sales process to monitor and manage your sales, anything is probably better than nothing. Remaining disciplined about monitoring the process is the key.
Step 11: Deliver On Your Promises
If you a serious about making this plan work, it is absolutely essential that you deliver on your promises to the customers you get. One of the most potent marketing forces in existence is “word of mouth”. In fact, the great power of Web 2.0 Social Media such as Facebook, Twitter, etc, is the technologies ability to automate and accelerate the communication of information in ways that old fashioned “word of mouth” can’t possibly keep up with. Good news travels fast – but bad news travels faster…and farther.
Important: To make this plan your own reality, whether you are getting your next 100, 1000, or 1,000,000 clients, make sure that you take care of your customers to the extent that you deliver on your promises. And, know this, if you make a habit out of “over-delivering” on your fulfillment – it will most likely accelerate and amplify everything associated with your marketing and sales efforts.
Step 12: Optimize This Process And Repeat It Over and Over