I’ve had an online business since 1999, starting it from my rural East Texas hometown, where the reigning industries are bass fishing, forestry and lumber, banking and education, none of which are markets. in which I have an interest. labor. So what’s a new online business owner to do when he lives in the back of nowhere with no networking opportunity in sight? Take advantage of the power of internet marketing, of course.
Unfortunately, I didn’t immediately realize the power at my fingertips, and I slowly embraced a series of proven strategies. But if I could go back in time knowing then what I know now, I wouldn’t have hesitated for a moment to implement a complete Internet marketing plan.
If you’re starting an online service business from scratch, or even if you’ve been in business for a few years, here are the 21 steps I recommend you take to get 95% of your customers from internet marketing:
1. Describe your target market. Fully understand what they do, where to find them, what their most pressing problems are, and how they will benefit from your solution.
2. Know your keywords. Start looking for the words (keywords) that potential customers will search for when they search online for the solution you offer. Use them in articles, article titles, blog post title/content, your business, and your website URL.
3. Summarize your customer attraction device. Create a description and summary of your Ethical Bribery (Customer Engagement Device) to give away and entice visitors to subscribe to your list. To complete this task, you need to incorporate the issues of your target market and your keyword research as you describe this device.
4. Buy a keyword-rich domain. Get the .com version of the domain if possible. People stop listening after you say “period,” so they think you said.com even though you said.net or .biz instead. That’s why it’s smart to find a keyword-rich domain on the .com version.
5. Set up your hosting account. Get a hosting account that allows you to host an unlimited number of websites, offers unlimited bandwidth, and offers WordPress as an option that you can activate when needed.
6. Create your blog site. Start a blogging site (blog/website hybrid) that focuses on your target market niche. Using a blogging site as your website platform allows you to update your site regularly instead of having to hire someone to do it for you.
7. Buy your email marketing system. Sign up for an email marketing and checkout/shopping cart system so you’re prepared to capture your visitors’ contact information and sell to them too. Some solutions offer both as a single service.
8. Write your automatic responses. Write a series of 10 autoresponder messages to send to potential customers after they request your customer engagement device using your email marketing system. These autoresponders serve to keep you in front of your new prospect, as well as continue to educate that prospect on what you do.
9. Create your subscription. Add a subscription box to your blog site where visitors can sign up for your customer attraction device, get on your list, and thus become a lead. You can easily do this through your shopping cart/email marketing system.
10. Create your customer attraction device for your ethical snippet. It can be an ebook, audio, video, special report, etc. Make sure the offer is valuable enough that people are willing to pay for it. Have a graphic image designed to represent your customer engagement device on your website (visitors like to “see” what they’re getting) and assign a value to the download.
11. Start writing a blog. Submit blog posts 2-3 times a week, 200-300 words per post. Don’t worry too much about these posts. Write about a problem you helped a customer solve (without mentioning details, of course), a new resource you discovered, a wow moment you had in your business, or your response to some notable event in your industry.
12. Design your ezine template. Create your template for an email newsletter. An ezine is most effective if it is sent weekly to your list. If it seems overwhelming to start a weekly stream, start monthly with plans to increase the frequency from there.
13. Start social media. Join 2 social networking sites (the ones your target market uses) to help you build your list. Install or start using one of the social media management tools like TweetDeck, Seemsmic Desktop, or HootSuite to help you better manage your social media efforts.
14. Be active in discussion forums. Get in front of many members of your target market at the same time by answering questions in 2-3 discussion forums active in your industry. This is a great way to easily demonstrate your expertise. Log in a few times a week to see how you can help other forum members.
15. Write the content of your first ezine. Insert the content into the template you created and send your email newsletter through your email marketing system.
16. Start article marketing. Start writing articles that provide valuable content to your target market. Be sure to use keywords and keyword phrases from your previous research and incorporate two of them into your article title and content. Submit your articles to article banks and directories. You can start this process by taking your ezine’s lead article and submitting it to major article directories.
17. Reuse your content. Create a reuse plan for your items and implement the plan. This could include creating a podcast, video, press release, or teleclass from the content of your written article.
18. Create an information product. Once you’ve created a series of articles or conducted several interviews, you’ll have enough material to create your first information product for sale.
19. Write your sales letter. Create a list of features and accompanying benefits for your product. Use it, along with an introduction that tells your story of why you created a product, to write the sales copy for the product.
20. Create an affiliate program. One of the best tools available to help you sell your product is through an affiliate program, or an unpaid sales force that loves your product but doesn’t get paid until you sell your product/service to someone on your list. Your shopping cart program may include an affiliate management piece that will help you set up and run an affiliate program.
21. Build your list with a telesummit. Host a telesummit (a virtual conference on a telebridge line) for your target market/industry to help you drive traffic to your site, build your list, and generate some income in the process. By asking well-known industry experts to speak on your telesummit, you’ll gain a higher profile in your industry.
How many of these steps are you implementing in your business? Remember, consistent action is the key to trading success. Go through the list, complete each step, continue to repeat some of the steps as appropriate, and watch your business skyrocket!