If you have been in business longer than about 24 hours, you know that getting people to your website and actually having them become a customer is not about publishing a few articles and watching the cash roll in.
There are a number of problems and issues that are setup to distract people and keep a conversion from occurring, and they move right past your door.
It’s convenient to think that a few social media posts, a couple of articles, an offer and the clients will come right?
Here’s an inconvenient truth. This stuff can be hard…
After all, every business is unique.
You’re unique, and predicting a person’s behavior is not an easy thing to do.
According to SJ Insights, the average person is exposed to between 3,000 and 20,000 advertisements, or brand exposures every day. They summarized their data:
Just looking a the numbers, the obvious conclusion is that there are many more “exposures” for every person than there are “engagements”.
Look at your current business, and the ways that you reach potential customers. And, let’s ignore advertising for the moment.
What do you have?
In this particular list, I excluded any advertising channels. No Facebook ads, no Google Adwords, no direct mail, not even a store front.
As you move down this list, you see a rough alignment with the advertising metrics that we saw above.
Social media is roughly aligned with exposure, and tries to move people to engagement and conversion.
Your web page and email list is extremely focused upon engagement, and works to move your prospects towards conversion.
Your customer list are people who have converted. These are people who are engaged, and provide the opportunity for additional business growth and expansion.
What do you notice about the numbers at each step?
They decrease. They get smaller. As you get each step further down the funnel, there are less people.
Yep, it’s a funnel that gets smaller at each step.
In it’s simplest form, marketing and sales is about amplification. It’s about making sure your business gets noticed, so that people become aware of you, engage with you, and actually buy from you.
For small and local businesses, the quicker the better.
The businesses that are the most successful, move beyond focusing on themselves and focus most of their energy on serving their customers. As you get better at that, your sales and marketing become much smoother for your customer.
The famous phrase from Robert Collier, “enter the conversation going on in the mind of your customer” applies here.
Fox example, it’s unlikely that you would ask someone to marry you when you’ve just met.
No matter what you’re offering at that point, it’s just going to come off as…creepy.
So, making an offer to see your product or service on the first touch, is exactly the same. You need to introduce yourself, have a conversation, and build trust and authority.
You have to move your audience through a simple lifecycle of exposure, engagement, and conversion.
This is your introduction. The, “Hi, my name’s Brandon”.
It’s the opportunity to engage in small talk, introduce your business and potentially connect. To gain followers and fans on social media. To get some traffic to your website.
You’re not trying to make a sale here, but if it happens so much the better.
What you really want to accomplished is to cut through all the noise and chatter. Make sense? Exposure is the investment you are making into this fledgling relationship to build a good foundation for your business.
Your customers are made of up people (I know, earth shattering right!)
Please get a lot of exposure every day. Remember our data from above says that it’s between 3-20 thousand exposures a day.
So are you saying to yourself, “that’s what I have a blog for”?
Perhaps, a little perspective is in order. There are 2 millions blog posts published every day.
When was the last time you went to a site just to read their article? Do you think that your potential customers are any different?
More likely. A friend shared an article with you, or you saw it on social media and clicked through. Or, you went to Google with a question, and you needed an answer. Or, you had a conversation with a friend and they recommended it.
So, the whole point of exposing your business to others is to begin the process of people knowing, liking, and trusting you enough to do business with you.
There’s a LOT of discussion about engagement around the web. But what does the term engagement actually mean?
Do you ever notice a Facebook page that have thousands of likes? Is that valuable? Is that engagement?
Well, really…it depends.
Really, the best engagement is simply a conversation with your audience.
You could have 5,000 likes that don’t include a single ideal customer for your business. In that case, all those likes are not worth anything…
On the other hand, if you have a few hundred people that are actually engaged in what you’re talking about.
People that like, share, comment, and email you. That’s an audience that is “engaged”, and will make a difference to your business.
That engagement that’s visible to others will also attract new people to you, and expand your influence and audience.
Makes sense, right? You’re building a relationship with your audience, and people do that through talking.
When you have people who are engaged with you, who are talking to your and others in your audience, you have a great foundation to build upon.
Now you can use social media, web page posts, and your email to build on that conversation.
There are many benefit to this as you build relationships and even friendships. You get to hear issues, problems, likes, dislikes, and even information about your competition.
Even better, you get to build solutions and ways to actually help your customers. And, these are the products and services that they will actually purchase.
Social media is great for exposure and engagement. After all, you now have the opportunity to discuss problems, issues, to really listen and move your customer further along their customer journey.
So, how do you get them to your website?
This is where your articles and content come into the picture. Are you writing articles that are setup to really help your customer solve specific problems? Throwing 500 words on a page and posting it is probably just wasted effort.
Use your articles to actually talk to your customers…
Using social media builds likability, and maybe trust. Your articles reinforce likability, and build trust and some authority.
However, this last part is really critical.
The results you deliver to your customers is the best method to build your authority.
Think about this…
Nobody stops and eats at the local restaurant that is empty at dinner time. We’re social creatures, and your social proof, the results you deliver, and how your customers talk about you will sell your business better than you ever can.
Here’s the really interesting point. This doesn’t mean you need 100 articles, and have to spend all your time slaving away at writing new content.
What you DO need is a few good cornerstone content articles that can really help your customer solve a piece of their problem.
And, you need a good way to entice people to give you their email address.
HINT: This is your first offer to a potential prospect. First, you’re not going to charge for it), and it needs to be something that really matters to your ideal client!
Remember the data from above. Each conversion is going to decrease the number of people who convert, so focus on making each one matter and relevant to your target audience.
Introduce yourself. Build likability.
Provide solutions, experiences, case studies, social proof and testimonials. Make it easy for people to contact engage with you on your social media and website.
You don’t have to only share your content. Be a resource for articles, inspiration, and just have fun with this.
Here a bunch of examples to get you started!
Biggest recommendation….BE CONSISTENT! And, be yourself.
Not every social media post needs to link back to your site, but about 15-20% of the posts actually should.
Likes, shares, and engagements should tell your when you’re on the right track.
Your cornerstone content should be highlighted on your site, and provide that basis for what service or product you offer.
The lifecycle of a social media post changes based upon the platform. Some are really short, like Twitter which you can expect about 30 minutes, or a bit longer on Facebook which is about 90 minutes.
Don’t worry about reposting your original articles and content. In fact, you should…
Your cornerstone content needs to help your prospect solve their problem.
Now you’re actually building engagement. An actual person did click to your website to read your article, maybe even share it or leave a comment.
How are you going to follow-up with them? Are you tracking visitors for advertising? Are you trying to collect email addresses so you can have more of a conversation?
If someone has visited your site for the very first time, it’s pretty unlikely that they will purchase. You need to continue to build that relationship.
At this point, you need an offer. This offer is valuable content/help (FREE), that helps them solve a specific piece of their problem.
The best advice I’ve received is to help your client solve their most important problem, and give it to them for free. You don’t need to provide the whole solution, but enough so that they could really use the information you’re providing.
Some businesses can transition directly to a sale, but it’s more and more rare. And, if you don’t collect an email address it’s likely that that person will not return to your site.
Let’s face it, your potential customer has lots of options.
There are a number of metrics, but let’s assume it takes 6-8 touches before a customer will make any kind of purchase.
You need to have the content, email, and system setup to help you provide those touches in a manner that is actually helpful to your potential client.
Have your offer’s available, and keep serving them. You’ll continue to build trust and authority, and thus be in a better position to make that conversion from browser to customer.
What’s the best predictor of success with converting prospects to a paying customer?
Have an amazing offer!
An amazing offer with bad marketing will still make money. Amazing marketing with a poor offer will not convert.
At this point, you probably realize that you should be talking differently to customers and prospects at different stages of your funnel.
You may have different content for your existing customer list, your potential customer list, your email list, even your social media followers and fans.
Your list is the most important asset you have in your business. These are people that already know, like, and trust you.
However, if you don’t take care of it, nurture it, and ensure it’s healthy it won’t have any value for you or your business.
Think about it this way, there are soo many distractions everyone’s life that if you don’t reach out to your list on a consistent basis, why would they seek you out?
Talk with your customers and clients, your prospects, and pay attention to the conversation happening. It’s amazing what you can learn!