This is the third of a three-part series. If you missed the first two, start here.
We ended last week’s post talking about online ads as a method of bringing people into your funnel. The problem with online ads—once you have tweaked your message, determined the target audience to show the ad to, crafted the image and the offer to the point where people actually CLICK ON THE DAMN AD—is your new prospect doesn’t yet know, like, or trust you. They’re kind of happy that you gave them something for free, but just about everyone does that on the internet now.
So now you need a nurture campaign to warm them up and build your relationship before you try to sell them something. Common wisdom states that it takes four to seven “exposures” for you to make a dent in someone’s consciousness and actually see sales start rolling in. According to ZoomInfo about 50% of all sales happen after the fifth contact.
Get your 4-7 Exposures Done in Rapid Succession
It stands to reason that the sooner you get those four to seven contacts completed, the sooner you will start making sales. Yes and no.
Frankly, if you send me more than two emails in a day, you stand a very good chance of being deleted from my life. (I’m not counting the obligatory confirmation email from your autoresponder platform.) In fact, one email a day is more than enough. If your opt in freebie is a seven day course, then yes, I’ll expect an email from you once a day for seven days. If you’re sending me an email every day for the sake of sending me an email every day and I am not receiving any value from you, then I’m going to stop opening them. Yes, there’s a whole school of thought that says you should email your list every day. I look for marketing strategies that are easy to implement. You may be a person who is up for sending your list an email every day. I can tell you right now, it ain’t gonna happen if I’m in charge of doing it. Before you embark on any marketing strategy, ask yourself if you can be consistent in your efforts.
I do like to send out a nurture campaign of about 7 emails (sometimes 10, depending on how ambitious I am) within two weeks. I’ll send the immediate email, one the next day, and then send the next 5 spaced out about every other day. After that, subscribers are put into the “general” email send outs. In my case, it’s a weekly blog post and every so often, a broadcast email. (Yes, I know I should step up my marketing.) I think a better ratio is three emails a week, as long as you’re adding value.
The core message is to get your initial email series out to new subscribers within two weeks. By then people will have a good feel for who you are and what you’re about. They’re starting to like and trust you. You may not have their full trust yet, but you’ve made a good start. The higher the price of your offering, the more trust people will need to have in you.
There’s a way to short cut this process.
Leverage Other People’s Audience and Credibility
Online or Offline
I can tell you all day long that I have the solution to your problem, but if you don’t know anything about me, I’m just another person on the internet, blowing my own horn. However, if someone you have already had business dealings with that you know and trust says, “Hey, you need to talk to Barbara about writing and publishing your book; she knows her stuff” you are much more inclined to get to know me and do business with me.
Third party recommendations are the fastest way to build credibility and authority. You can gain these, in varying degrees in a number of ways.
First is a straight out testimonial, recommendation or referral. Most sales pages have testimonials from actual customers, saying how pleased they are with the product, service, or person. A foreword to a book or a “blurb” saying positive things about your book would fall in this category, too. A foreword carries more strength; blurbs, especially from people who are known in your field, give you credibility.
Joint Ventures are another way to leverage other people’s audiences. If you are on a number of email lists, you will often get basically the same email telling you about someone’s new product or service. Those people are launch affiliates, sometimes doing it for the money, sometimes just helping out a friend. You want to build a network of people who have lists that can do an email send out for you, telling their people about your launch. This is a double-edged sword: The time will come when they want you to do a send out to your list to help their launch. Make sure you choose JV partners that you will feel proud to tell your list about. Joint venture partners will sometimes want a piece of the sale—that’s when you need to have the ability to set up affiliate links.
Affiliates are people who sell your product or service to others. They sign up to be an affiliate and often you have pre-written sales emails or ads that they can use to promote you. When they sign up to be an affiliate, they are given an affiliate link to use in their promotional efforts. When someone buys through that link, the software tracks where the sale came from and, at the end of the month (usually after whatever guarantee period you have), you “cut checks” or send out the commission to your affiliates. There are a number of ways to add affiliate software to your site; some as simple as a plugin, some more complex. You can also list your product on sites such as Clickbank or Commission Junction, or ShareASale.
Another way to get in front of other people’s audiences is to write a guest blog post or guest on a podcast. There is an implied endorsement from the person with the blog or podcast that is sometimes elevated by a well-worded introduction or a hearty call to action from the host: “I’m going to put a link to that free offer in the show notes. You need to go to his site and get it now.” (We love those hosts!)
Speaking in front of groups, whether you are at your local Meetup or Chamber of Commerce, or in front of a huge crowd at a national event is an efficient use of leverage. You are speaking one to many. You are in front of an audience—you don’t have to hope that someone opens your email or listens to a podcast or reads a blog post.
The mere fact that you are on stage gives you credibility and authority. Best of all, someone else gathered that audience together for you. You want to make sure you can capture your audience’s contact information. Some event promoters and group organizers will allow you to make an offer from the stage. Some won’t even allow you to collect names and email addresses. I look for events that will allow me to at least give out the link to an opt in freebie and I adore anyone who will give speakers the contact information of all attendees. Don’t abuse this! Send out an email to that attendee list and ask them to click to get more information from you. You need people’s permission to email them and you should always have a means for them to unsubscribe from your email, no matter how long they’ve been on your list.
A very cool thing you can do is have people text a certain word to a number which will automatically put them on your email list. A service such as Textible does the magic. People are very comfortable with texting now and it’s easy for people to do right there in the room.
At the very least, I always have an information handout/worksheet that goes with the talk with my name and website information on it.
Go Old School
Get the word out to local and regional newspapers using a press release or by contacting the features or business editors. Reach out to local radio stations, particularly talk radio. They are eager for guests that match their audience’s interests. (That means do your research; don’t just send out your speaker one sheet blindly.)
You can also contact local television stations. Look for the segment producer on your local morning talk shows. Some of these, as I’ve mentioned before, are pay to play. Some are just looking for interesting guests. If you’re looking at doing television, you want to make sure you have some video clips on your site so the producer will know you won’t freeze up on live TV and that you can put a sentence together coherently.
You may also want to put yourself out as an expert commentator for the local TV news. Depending on what your area of expertise is, you may be able to work yourself in to comment on either individual news stories or even get a weekly spot answering questions for the station’s audience. Get your bio, areas of expertise, your book if you have it, in the hands of the station’s news producer(s) and let them know you’re local and can be available on short notice. When a big national story breaks, producers go to ridiculous lengths to find a local angle. Having someone local who can comment on a story, break down what’s happening, and what it means to the local audience will often fill that need.
You Need a Marketing Plan (That Works)
It’s no fun working hard to create a course, a business service, or write a book, and have the world give a bored yawn. In fact, it’s heartbreaking. And confidence shattering.
List building is the first step for any business, online or offline, whether you are launching a book or offering house cleaning. You need to get in front of people to tell them about what you do. It’s even better if you can get in front of people who need what you have so that the sifting and sorting of prospects happens faster.
Depending on what you do and what your goals are, you may not even need a big list. There are many “boutique businesses” that need fewer than 20 clients a year. If you’re working in the online world and having a big list is necessary to hit the sales numbers you need, list building will be an ongoing process. It should be part of your daily marketing routine.
Hindsight is indeed 20/20 and much of marketing is a matter of trial and error. We look at the target market, their needs, our product or service, and choose the most likely methods to get in front of those people using the right media with the right message. The better you know your product and your target market, the more likely you are to get it right the first or second time. And sometimes “getting it right” is a matter of degrees. You try something, you get a certain level of response, you tweak it this way and that to create the most efficient marketing process you can.