Why spend a fortune on marketing your online business when you don’t have to? You can get more accomplished and grow your business faster if you stick to the simple solutions. Years of trial and error by many other entrepreneurs have shown that these solutions all deliver amazing results. Yes, they are simple but so often it’s the simple solutions that deliver the best results.
There are so many new entrepreneurs who start marketing blindly without any form of plan. They have no idea what they’re doing or what they hope to achieve. This is probably the main reason why most internet marketers seem to hop from one strategy to the next without ever settling down. By sitting down and hammering out a plan of actionable steps, you are establishing a direction that you can follow. This simple step will save you countless hours, money, and makes long-term success much easier to achieve.
#2 Narrow your Niche
A huge mistake is trying to be everything to everyone. Avoid this crucial mistake by targeting a specific niche. Targeting makes it easier for you to find your ideal customers while making it easier for them to say “yes” to the services that you have to offer. I like to use the IM niche to demonstrate this point. An IM company does not market to all online marketers. If they did, then they would face so much competition that they would likely never earn a profit. Instead, they focus on specific niches within online markets. For example, they might focus on helping chiropractors establish an online presence. That is called narrowing the niche from all online marketers to chiropractors. Another added benefit of narrowing your niche is that you’re able to charge more for your products and services while having a higher conversion rate! The bottom line is that you can earn more money with fewer customers.
#3 Your Slogan Says A Lot
Hopefully, you have chosen a great name for your business, but have you taken the time to fine tune your slogan? A company’s slogan is a short sentence or statement that is associated with that company. It determines how you answer to those who ask “what do you do?” It’s a hook and should be short, simple, and powerful. When creating your slogan, be sure that it is perfectly clear, memorable, and direct. It should be unmistakable while also sounding like it’s coming from a real person.
#4 Reach Out
Network with others who are in the same niche as you. Blog about the more successful ones and join their mail listings to see what they are sending to their customers. You might even consider buying from them or even emailing them directly. The bigger your network, the more success you will find. Never be afraid to ask questions, become an affiliate, or ask them to promote your products. Only do the latter once you’ve established a relationship.
#5 Network at Live Events
Online marketing can isolate us so much that we sometimes forget to go out and network with real people. That’s why live events are so powerful. Get out there and go to as many live events as you can afford. Don’t do this just for the training that might be offered (although some of this training is powerful) but for the opportunity to network. Take your business cards, get out there and meet real people. Exchange cards with them. Just remember that you should not try and sell to people at events. Your job is to network. Everything else comes later when you have earned their trust.
#6 Fortune is in the Follow Up
This is a famous line in marketing because it’s so true. Going out and collecting all of those business cards at live events does you absolutely no good if you do not follow up by contacting them. Follow up with everyone you meet within seven days of meeting them. You can do this either by email or phone. You might have to remind them of who you are to pick up where your conversation left off.
#7 Utilize Both Sides of Your Business Card
You’re handing them out anyway so you might as well utilize as much of your business cards as you can. Include a testimonial, invitation to a free consultation, or even link them to a free report.
#8 Ramp Up your Online Signature
So many people fail to do this that I feel compelled to list it here. Using your email signature is powerful so be sure to include your name and contact information. You should do the same with any forum that you are a member of. A cool trick is to also include a link in your signature that offers some form of free incentive.
#9 Billboards on your Vehicle
Many businesses spend thousands on billboards but never consider the fact that they could invest in inexpensive vinyl signs for their personal vehicles. It’s an inexpensive option that works wonders.
#10 Put your Focus on Building your List
Focus on building a high quality email list. Quality above quantity should be the goal here. Never miss a chance to list any prospects that are a great fit for your business.
#11 Work your List
Just having a list isn’t enough; you need to communicate with them. Send out great information frequently and consistently. Your goal is to become the “go-to expert” in the eyes of those receiving your emails. Once they know who you are and you have earned their trust, then they will start listening to your recommendations. Once you have earned their trust, be sure that you only recommend the best products and services to them. It takes a lot of effort to earn trust but you can lose that trust with a single bad recommendation.
#12 Create Promotions Around Silly Holidays
Almost every business leverages major holidays but you can stand apart from the crowd by focusing more on the smaller holidays. Some examples include Opposite Day, National Hugging Day, or even Do a Grouch a Favor Day. These might sound like silly holidays but you can really stand out by creating silly promotions around these holidays. Try doing a Google search for “weird holidays” to get a list. Choose a holiday and then create a promotion around it. Then track and watch as that promotion stirs up the attention of your audience.
Give away something to prospects in favor of something that you need. It can be anything you choose. It could be a contest for those new to your mailing list or even a contest to see who can send you the most referrals. Heck, you can even ask them to answer a trivia question. If you offer a big enough prize, then your subscribers will not only enter themselves but might also invite others to join in for the chance to win. Contests can provide you with thousands of new customers in a very short amount of time.
If you’re able, then try providing your services to non-profit organizations. For example, if you design websites then consider helping out a non-profit with theirs. If you write sales copy then volunteer your services in this area. The advantage is that you can grab yourself some awesome publicity while helping out an important organization.
#15 Stage a Launch
Do you have a new product, website, or service? If so, then you should create a launch instead of just releasing it. Launches turn it into a real event and get people talking about it.
#16 Make a Stand
If you really want customers to get behind your products and services then you need to take a strong stand. It must be a strong enough stand that they can relate to. The problem with most marketers is that they are afraid to take this stand because they are trying to appeal to too many people. The problem with trying to appeal to everyone is that you will wind up appealing to no one. I guarantee that you hold opinions that you could share with your audience. No matter what your niche is, you have opinions so taking a stand will give you a method of bonding with your audience. Even those who disagree with your position will bring attention to you. I do feel compelled to remind you that sometimes you will get heated responses, so it’s important that you remain professional. Never allow yourself to be pulled into an argument.
#17 Create Videos and Podcasts
In today’s world, video cameras and microphones are very affordable so there is no reason not to create a few videos and podcasts. Plus, the payback can be huge! Provide great information via a video or just create a podcast if you don’t wish to appear on camera. By doing so, you create ambassadors who will bring you new prospects from all over. As an added bonus, people who subscribe to your email list after listening to your podcast (or watching your video) are far more likely to read any emails that you send them.
#18 Form Alliances with Non-Competitors
Naturally, you’re going to want to start by forming these alliances with non-competitors who are in niches similar to yours. Just make contact and ask about a mutual agreement to promote each other to your lists. You will both expand your sales and gain new customers.
#19 Form Alliances with your Competitors
This option is best reserved for use in service niches since most successful businesses will have more customers than their business can handle. Maybe one of your competitors specializes in a specific area that you do not? Collaborating with competitors is one of the most surprising ways that you can double (or even triple) your business with very little effort.
#20 Add Value
Look at your business closely and see if there are any areas where you can add value. It can be your own products or even affiliate products but try to find ways to add value that enhances the original. For example, if you are selling a book that you wrote then consider giving the first two chapters away for free. Another example would be that if you’re giving away a free product to your email list subscribers then provide additional resources.
#21 Unlock the Power of Testimonials
We’re not just talking about getting testimonials for your products, but yourself and your business. You should dedicate a column on all of your sales pages for testimonials. Nothing you can include on a sales page is as powerful as real customers who have purchased and love your products and services. You should also place testimonials inside of your sales letters.
#22 Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Referrals
Not asking for referrals is a huge mistake made by so many entrepreneurs. You need to be consistent on this one. Ask your readers to pass along your emails by including a short message and link to your sign-up page. Ask Twitter followers to retweet your messages or Facebook fans to like and share your updates. You might even consider putting a referral program in place that rewards customers for referring you to others. Finally, include this process in your policy so that you are consistent.
Webinars are an awesome method of connecting with customers and building lists at a rapid pace. Sit down and hammer out a topic for a webinar and then include a short Q & A session at the end. Be sure that your webinar provides a ton of useful information. Save product pitches until the very end so that you don’t appear too pitchy. If you are fortunate enough to get invited to a partner’s webinar then be respectful. Make them look like a genius for having invited you! Webinars are a great way of building tremendous rapport with your customers. If you provide some wonderful information then they will be more likely to listen to your pitch at the end.
#24 Send Useful Information
You should never send only offers to your email subscribers. In fact, if you want to unlock the power of your email list then only about 30% of your emails should contain offers. The remainder should provide them with useful information. By providing useful information, you will make it more likely for your subscribers to open future emails from you. Naturally, this will increase your conversion rate.
#25 Take your Best Shot
Get professional photographs taken. These can be used everywhere – from Facebook to Twitter and even LinkedIn. You can upload these photos on article directories, your website, or business directories. Photos build recognition that will pay off in the long-term.
If you don’t have a blog yet then I suggest you stop reading this and start one right now. Even if you already have a website, you need a blog! Blogs give you a one-of-a-kind opportunity to connect with your local community and create that personal connection that will pay dividends in the long-term. If that’s not enough incentive, then you should also know that Google loves blogs so by blogging you will have a better chance of being ranked. This can lead to a ton of free traffic.
#27 Unlock the Power of Keywords
Getting ranked on Google is huge in online marketing. If you want to get that ranking then you will need keywords that people are actually searching for. Investing your time on a great keyword can reward you in ways that you never dreamed possible. You might need to invest a little money in a good keyword tool though if you want the best chance of this happening.
#28 Bookmark It
Social bookmarking is one of the best ways to help other people find helpful articles and blogposts. Get out there and join sites like Reddit, Dig, and Stumbleupon and bookmark your best stuff. Also, be sure to bookmark other people’s useful content so it doesn’t seem like you’re only promoting your own content.
#29 Press Releases
If you have real news to report than don’t hesitate to publish it to a press release website.
#30 Spend 30 Minutes a Day on Forums
Be sure that you monitor this time closely because it’s easy to get caught up on forums and waste an entire day. Spend only 30 minutes a day on the best forums within your niche. This has the power to increase your visibility. Also, follow the advice above and utilize your forum signature by including links to your website and information about your business. When other forum members find your posts helpful, they will be able to easily find you.
#31 Utilize the Power of Social Media
This includes Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn. These are all great places for people to find your business, plus they are powerful networking tools. There are enough books that have been written about social media to fill a library so I cannot possible list everything here. Just be sure that you are utilizing the power of social media.
There are a lot of different methods of promoting your business without having to spend a ton of money. Keep an open mind and be creative. You could be well on your way to reaching out to all of those potential buyers out there.