“Make the prospect a more informed buyer with content.” - Robert Simon
Often times I hear small business owners say that they need to educate their clients and perspective clients about their products and services. This usually takes place over the phone or an in-office visit. Occasionally they may have some of this information on their website.
Using your online presence to educate clients is an excellent way to answer some of their questions up front. Your content, and the methods you use to deliver your content, will help education your audience and help them in their decision making process.
Social media platforms are a great place to share valuable information with your audience. They are already on social media, so you are meeting them where they are.
The information must provide value to them. Share a 25 page industry report will not provide the value that they are looking for on social media, but an infographic outlining important points from that article would catch their attention.
I'm sure you know that video is one of the best ways to grab someones attention online. People will scroll past text on social media, but video may pique their interest and pull them in.
Video content does not have to be complicated. It doesn't even have to be produced professionally. In fact, some studies show that people prefer "raw" video shot from a cell phone camera.
If you have valuable tips or tricks that would benefit your audience, a quick 30 second video could be the way to reach them.
Much like video, people can be intimidated by the idea of blogging. Having a regular blog on your website can help educate your audience and help you stand out as an industry leader.
Blogs don't have to be long. In fact, Seth Godin is famous for blogging short posts every day.
Email marketing is different from your regular email. Email is sending timely messages to clients, customers, vendors, etc. Email marketing is sending our carefully created and curated content to your audience on a regular basis to help add value and to help promote your business.
Email is your Gmail or Outlook account. Email marketing is Constant Contact or MailChimp.
There was a time when people thought that email marketing was "dead," but there has been a resurgence of email marketing in recent years.
Email marketing is a way to educate your audience by adding value to their inbox. If someone has signed up for your email list, they WANT to hear from you. They want valuable content.
These are just a few examples of how to educate your audience online. If you develop a plan, you can easily implement these suggestions and many more.
Know what you want to communicate to your audience, then craft a plan on how you want to reach them.
As always, McArdle Media is here to help. We can devise a plan to reach your target audience, with the correct message, using the best platforms. The education you provide to your audience will be useful for them and set you up for success.
How to Systemize Everything
If you’ve ever looked at another entrepreneur and wondered how they manage to get it all done, the answer might surprise you.
They’ve got good systems.
It’s true. The most productive people all have one thing in common: they don’t reinvent the wheel every day. Instead, they’ve figured out the best, most efficient way to do every task, and they create a system to do just that.
No matter what business you’re in and what projects you find yourself tackling, a systemized approach will help you:
The Magic of Templates
How many times do you answer email from potential clients? What about responding to customer complaints? Or communicating with your clients online?
All of these tasks and more become effortless when you create fill-in-the-blank templates that can be repurposed for specific cases/people. Templates can be as simple as a “canned response” in your email client or help desk, or you can use software such as Text Expander (for Mac) or Phrase Express (for Windows). You might even create a template document in Dropbox or Google Drive to house all your templates for easier access.
While templates will undoubtedly save you time, the real beauty is that once they’re created, you can easily outsource things like email and even sales.
Checklists Prevent Mistakes
It might seem counterintuitive, but when you perform the same tasks over and over again, it’s easy to miss a critical step. You might think you paid your affiliates this month—you might even remember doing it—only to look back and see it was never completed.
But when you implement checklists, it’s suddenly much more difficult to miss an important task.
You can easily create checklists for all your common tasks and projects using nothing more than a text document. If you’re managing a team, checklists in your project management system allow you to see exactly what tasks are complete, and which are still outstanding.
One of my favorite books, The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande, “shows what the simple idea of the checklist reveals about the complexity of our lives and how we can deal with it.”
Templates and checklists turn smart business owners into productivity superstars, and it’s easy to get started. The next time you answer an email you’ve answered before, save your response. The next time you set up a new product in your shopping cart or create a new opt-in page, take the time to record the steps. These documents will make future projects easier and faster to complete, and best of all, you can hand them off to your assistant or marketing team to do instead.
If you want help creating and/or implementing templates and checklists for your marketing, contact us. We are happy to help your business systemize your marketing efforts.
When it comes to leveraging your time, automation is the sharpest tool in your toolbox. It allows you to get more done in less time, and to smoothly move people through your funnel.
For many small business owners, though, the one area that’s often overlooked is your website.
Use Your Blog to Build Your Mailing List
Like any smart business owner, you likely have opt-in forms on your website. They’re in the sidebar or maybe the footer, and you might have a pop-up to capture attention as visitors are about to leave.
But do you have a solid call to action at the end of your blog posts? When a new reader is finished consuming your posts, she’s primed to learn more. Give her the opportunity by offering an opt-in at the end of each post.
Even better, make it a logical next step by creating a related offer for each post. Called a content upgrade, these offers typically consist of a simple checklist or worksheet, and capture attention by providing even more information about a topic they’re already interested in.
Keep Them Reading With Related Links
How often do you revisit old blog posts to link to newer content? This is an important maintenance job that will help provide visitors with the information they’re looking for by linking related posts together.
Not only is this strategy good for keeping visitors on your site, but Google approves as well. Posts that link to each other encourage search engine bots to crawl your site more thoroughly, and help boost the rankings of your most relevant posts.
Make the Best of Your Download Pages
Whether you’re giving away a free report or paid product, your download pages can pull double-duty by offering visitors a “what’s next” option. For free download pages, a related, low-cost product is best. It gives readers the chance to learn more about you with a small investment.
For paid products, consider offering a complementary product instead. If you’re protecting your download pages with a membership script such as Customer Hub, you can even offer upsells based on what they already own, making the choice even easier for them.
And if you’re using a double-opt-in mailing list, make use of that confirmation page, too! That’s the perfect place for a quick upsell or an invitation to join you on Facebook, a webinar, etc.
Here’s a good rule of thumb to follow on your website: Whenever a reader lands on a page, he/she should be offered the next logical step. When you write your blog posts or create your download pages, keep that in mind, and your funnel will practically fill itself.
And in following my own advice 😉, don't forget that McArdle Media is here to help with your social media and digital marketing needs. We can do a website audit and make suggestions on things you can change to optimize your page. Contact us to learn more.
Email marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing ever used. It’s still more effective than social media marketing, pay per click marketing, and other forms of marketing available to use today. Any rumors to the contrary are wrong. Forbes, CopyBlogger.com, and Hubspot all agree that email marketing is still highly effective.
Attract the Right Sign Ups for Your List
You do not have to have a large list to make money. A smaller, more targeted list can be better than a huge list without a target audience. Build your list with smart campaigns that attract only your ideal customer. If your free gift offer isn’t interesting to anyone but your perfect client, that’s a good start.
Use Double Opt-in Lists
SPAM laws in many countries like the UK, USA, and Canada should be followed. They are mostly the same but if you market internationally, follow the ones that are most strict just to be on the safe side. Getting double opt-in agreements is your best bet to avoid issues with SPAM. In addition, sending only relevant information to your audience will help too.
Segment Your Audience
You don’t want to have people on a list that promotes product A when they’ve already bought it. Instead, you want them to be on list B now so that you can promote product B to them. Your email software can be set up to do this automatically. This action alone can help you avoid problems with customers getting bothered by your emails. It will also up the likelihood of your audience buying your next product.
Keep Relevant Information Flowing
When someone signs up for a list it’s because they’re interested in getting the information for which they signed up. If you don’t send them information on a regular basis that is relevant they’re not going to be very responsive. But, if you do send them what they’re looking to get, you’ll be surprised at how positive the email list experience will be, for you and your audience.
Point Your Audience to Helpful Information
In addition to promoting your own products and services it’s also helpful to your list to point them toward information and products or services that they need that you don’t create. You can become a needed and trusted resource for your email list members. As they get to know you and trust you, they’re going to be more likely to accept the helpful information that you provide.
Remind Your Audience about Your Blog
A good use of your email list is to remind them about the messages on your blog. Introducing a new blog post within an email message is a great way to ensure that your readers get the information they need about you, your products and services as well as the affiliate programs you support.
Write Effective Interesting Headlines
Don’t be too cleaver with your headlines. People get angry when a headline is deceptive and dishonest. Be direct about what’s inside so that when they open it and read it they develop even more trust for you based off the fact the headline matched the message. The more direct you are, the more honest you are; the more effective your email marketing messages will be.
Remember the Call to Action
Like blog posts, every email message you send to your audience should include a call to action (CTA) of some kind. Whether its buy now, read this blog post, or share with your friends include something for your audience to do. If you don’t tell them what to do or ask them to do something there is a high chance they will do nothing.
Collect & Test Your Metrics
Nothing is ever done without the numbers. Try different headlines, and different CTAs to see what gets the best results. Which headlines are opened more often? Which CTA’s were answered? How many people purchased X product upon your recommendation? How many people are responding to your questions and surveys? If you know this information you can use it to improve your email marketing campaigns.
Finally, repeat everything that works. When you find a winning way to run your email campaigns, keep repeating it for different products and services because you’ll get better email marketing results.
Constant Contact is a robust email marketing software the allows businesses to easily market to their customers with easy to use drag-and-drop email templates. You can easily import customer data from spreadsheets or email clients, such as Gmail and Microsoft Outlook.
Constant Contact offers a free trial offer to give you the chance to try out the software without a long-term commitment.
Click here to learn more about Constant Contact.
Jennifer McArdle is the owner and founder of McArdle Media.