So, in this age where everything has gone digital, finding customers for your products and services seem to have gotten easier. But is this true?
If it is, all businesses should succeed! Quite the contrary, many still find it difficult to sell their services and products online. This is because putting a business online, doesn’t mean it will sell itself. Specific steps towards marketing, must be followed – and that is where you come in.
As an online marketer, driving interest and customers to your clients businesses, requires consistency, patience and skill. So if you’re considering becoming an online marketer and don’t know where to start from, start right here.
1. Identify what you’re good at
Your skills and expertise and your ability to apply them will determine how much money you make. Therefore, as mentioned, identify your skills and hone those skills, and where necessary, learn some new ones.
But know what you want to be great at and have a passion for whether you want to make a career out of content marketing, SEO or just social media. You should be able to package your skill to appeal to your target audience, especially those that you want to attract as clients for your marketing business.
After identifying your skills and expertise, the next step is to upgrade them, become an expert and increase your earning potential.
Research to know if there’s a need for your services and where to find your target audience. Start by promoting yourself on social media and decide the exact service you want to provide.
You will know this by figuring out what you’re good at. You should include a host of service packages, one-offs in which you set up a system and then you’re done or offer services on a retainer model. What you offer should be top-notch.
If you’re not familiar with certain aspects, consult someone. For instance, if educational courses are part of your products, then look to LMS consultants.
3. Write your strategy
Another tip is to create an effective strategy to sell your products or services to your target audience. Write a long-term strategy to acquire your first client and build up from there. Consider offering help, ideas and thoughts to businesses.
This is a proven tactic in building relationships and getting new clients over time. Tell potential clients why they should try your services, and give them reasons to think that you have an in-depth understanding of their business and the problems they face. You can achieve this by going out to meet people, attend seminars and business forums.
Write blog posts, guest blog and hold webinars. Doing this will put your name out there, and people will start to follow your work. Set up a sales funnel that converts fans and followers into your customers.
4. Identify your ideal clients
Narrow down the target market you want to focus on and avoid broad statements of your target market. When you overstate your target market, developing targeted strategies that are viable for attracting clients becomes difficult.
When you know the type of clients you want to work for, it’s easier to look for them. After identifying your niche, you should know what their fears and pain points are exactly. Identify what people in that business struggle with the most. You can do this by talking to them in person.
Then think about how your services can solve their problem.
5. Locate your ideal audience and build partnerships
Network online by, for example, making sure your LinkedIn profile information is up to date and adding samples of work you’ve done.
Also, share your blog posts and valuable content to your news feed on LinkedIn. Join groups where your prospective clients make posts, provide valuable content, answer questions, and offer help. Your connections will grow from doing this, and you may acquire a new client base.
You can also use Twitter search to find real-time tweets from companies and people who require your services. You can use certain keywords like:
- Hiring a content marketer
- Looking to hire a content marketer
- In search of a content marketer
- #hiring #content marketer
Use different search phrases, and you will find potential clients. You can choose to have your searches delivered to your inbox by automating them.
Building partnerships with businesses that offer services that complement yours is a great way to keep your customers coming to you as they know that they don’t have to go somewhere else for similar services.
Build strong human relationships and nurture them to keep them strong. It is through these relationships you will get referrals and continue landing new clients. Also, follow up after every business transaction to keep the relationship going and grow your client base.
6. Narrow your niche
Assuming you’re a graphic designer. To be portrayed as an authority in your industry, being a jack-of-all-graphic-designs won’t help.
Potential clients might not even want to work with you. But by using a marketing strategy that targets only a subset of your target market, you narrow your niche enough to be recognized. You shouldn’t be targeting every potential client out there. Determine whether you want to do just Facebook ads, content marketing or just SEO.
That way, a client that wants a particular service knows that you’re the only person who specializes in that service. You’re not like the other generalists. Focus on the right people and stand out from the crowd. Your niche shouldn’t be too narrow, though. It should be able to bring in enough clients and income. You can decide to group similar services.
For instance, a freelance writer can decide to write on topics that have a good potential of bringing in income. Example of such topics include:
- Online marketing
But it is safer to concentrate on one thing when you’re starting and expand later.
7. Setup your blog
As part of your online marketing strategy, blogging is a great tool. You should be able to blog and be consistent with it. Being consistent with blogging will pay off in a big way. 82% of marketers who blog consistently acquire customers through their blog.
On the other hand, 57% of digital marketers who only update their blogs every month don’t acquire any customers from their blog. Though blogging may be time-consuming and requires a lot of effort, it helps. You still need patience, though.
It takes time just like everything else, for a blog to start paying off. Blogs don’t start and generate traffic and clients all of a sudden. You should, therefore, create relevant content and consider personally communicating with your prospects via email.
Also, ask to guest post on blogs that your target audience like. This will help you tap into someone else’s audience and market your brand and services.
8. Position yourself as an expert
If you understand your industry or field well enough and have a firm knowledge of your products and services, attracting clients will not be a problem.
The people who will be interested in patronizing your offerings will see you as an expert and ask for assistance from you.
9. Do direct response marketing
Use tactics that encourage potential customers to complete a specific action like signing up to your email list or requesting more information.
When you know your target audience, every message you put out should be directed towards them. Lure your ideal clients into your funnel by providing something valuable for free. If you have a way of solving your customers’ problems faster and cheaper than others, let them know this, and you will attract more business.
10. Build a sales funnel
A sales funnel involves a series of steps you take your potential customers through to make a sale. This is how it works.
Let’s say a prospect sees your ad or a post while scrolling through Facebook. The prospect is interested in what you’re selling and clicks a link that takes them to your website. This visiting prospect might scroll through a few of your blog posts and check out some of your products.
They get to a point where you request for their email, they provide it, and you add it to your mailing list. The person provides their information, and they become leads. You can now market to them via email or text.
Later, you give your lead a free offer via email, which makes them return to your website. They try it out; they like it and are willing to pay for the rest of the service. Sales funnels have four levels:
- Awareness: You capture the customers’ attention with a tweet, Facebook post or an ad. They now know you and what your services are. If they need your service and are comfortable with the price, you’re in luck.
- Interest: They like what you have but try to compare prices with other offers. At this stage, a great marketing content will work magic.
- Decision: The prospect weighs their options and decides to buy from you. At this point, give them a cool deal like free offers, free shipping or a bonus product.
- Action: The customer finally buys from you. This shouldn’t be the end, though. The next step is customer retention. Thank them, ask for feedback or a testimonial if possible. A testimonial will make it easier to sell to other customers.
So there you have it. You can start your online marketing today and increase your sales. Just follow these simple steps and remember, it doesn’t hurt to try.