Many independent service professionals nonchalantly enter the Internet marketing game by throwing together a half-baked website without any plan and mistakenly believe that visitors will find them. I should know — I was one of those nonchalant business owners once upon a time..:) Initially, my online business grew from word-of-mouth referrals from other clients rather than from any true Internet marketing. My website simply served as an online brochure detailing my services and my rates for several years.
What changed my mind? Over time, I became tired of trading time for money. This exchange is the bane of existence for most independent service professionals. Upon gaining some time and experience in business, the independent service professional has a rude awakening that there are only so many hours in the day and consequently that limits the number of clients that can be served. The business owner can decide to expand and take on more staff or independent contractors, but that, too, can be problematic. When a business owner decides to pursue this strategy, s/he then becomes a manager of staff/associates, which can be even more time-consuming and sometimes problematic than keeping the business small with the owner as the sole employee?
Despite all the useful information I’d absorbed over the years about expanding my business reach through the development of products that I could sell on my website, I just didn’t want to devote the time necessary to create multiple streams of income for my business. However, as I began to see friends and colleagues begin to do this successfully in their business, the light bulb finally went off, and I realized that this was my next step, as well. So, I bit the bullet and began to try some of the strategies and began to get quick results from what I had implemented. Now, I look back and wonder why I was so hard-headed and refused to do this years ago. Hind-sight is always 20-20..;)
In my own professional development as an Internet marketer, as well as from work with clients over the years, I’ve come to realize that there are 5 Internet Marketing Mindsets that must be in place for someone to be successful online:
1. Create content that can be re-purposed. The goals here is to create your content once and find multiple ways to use it or multiple ways of delivery. So, for example, if you have an Inspiration Line phone service in which you record an inspiring thought each day for your clients, you can record these calls and have them serve as a publicity tool by distributing them as a podcast. This will help drive traffic to your site and bring people into your marketing funnel. When you’ve accumulated enough recordings, you then sell a subscription membership so that the buyer receives a new inspiring thought each day via email or a direct-to-desktop service. Over time, you can categorize recordings by topic and then combine the recordings into multiple motivational CDs or .mp3 downloads and make them available for sale online. When you’ve been doing this for a year, perhaps you then parlay the recordings into a book or an inspirational card deck.
Sometimes it helps to start with the end in mind. As someone who loves to write, it’s fairly easy for me to churn out a new article each week. For marketing purposes, I put it on my website as well as distribute it to article banks, where it’s picked up and placed on other websites, blogs, and ezines. I then record the article and distribute it as a free podcast online. Ultimately the podcasts will be grouped together as a CD or .mp3 file that may be sold independently or as an addition to the special reports or ebooks. I’m now taking groups of articles that relate to the same topic and putting them together for a series of special reports. The series of special reports is bundled together for ebooks, and one of the ebooks is destined to become a print book. The print book will spawn 2 training programs and a subscription membership website, as well as an in-depth home study course. For me, I always knew that weekly article writing would be my catalyst to product creation.
2. Record everything that you do. Whether you’re doing live events, radio or TV interviews, teleclasses, webinars, etc., it pays to record and have a permanent record of everything that you do. Having a digital video recording of yourself in a one-day live event can be packaged into a "home study" course. Teleclasses with transcripts can be resold individually or packaged together for a bigger product. Radio or TV interviews can be placed on your website to enhance your credibility and convince a meeting planner to pay you big bucks to come and provide a keynote speech. Open your mind to the possibilities for re-purposing your recordings.
3. Get yourself and your customers into a sales mentality. Many of my clients simply like to have their products sit obscurely for sale on their websites and do nothing to make their list members or website visitors aware of what they have for sale for fear of offending their visitors or subscribers. If someone is going to be offended because you’re trying to sell to them, then just let them go. You don’t need a list of tire-kickers who want to sponge all the free info that they can from you and never buy anything — you’ll never be able to stay in business that way.
I have to chuckle when I do a promotion and get an email from someone on the list who chastises me for "daring" to sell to them and notes that they much prefer to "decide" when they want to buy something from me and then they threaten to leave the list. I just respond that I’m sorry that they feel that way, but unfortunately I’m not a trust-fund baby, and that my hard-earned information has the same value as any info that they might get from their car mechanic, doctor, attorney, or accountant, and I’ve never seen any of those professionals give away what they know. And, by the way, I don’t advocate sending daily solicitations out to your list — I recommend that if you’re sending a "sales only" missive to your list, that you do so no more than once/week.
Creating a sales mentality means that you need to acknowledge that you’re in business to make money through selling and that your customers need to become accustomed to having you sell and seeing things for sale all over your websites. This is no different than the trait needed for success if you were to own a brick-and-mortar retail establishment. You can still provide free and valuable information to your visitors, but reserve the right to take that info, create a unique packaging and title for pieces of info on the same topic, and put it up for sale.
4. Acknowledge that people will pay more for convenience and instant delivery online. Many times, as I’m trying to help a client determine the price for a product, they’ll object to the price I suggest because they will compare it to a physical product that can be purchased in the local bookstore or online bookstore for less. The "buy it now and give it to me instantly" mentality that is prevalent among online shoppers dictates that you can charge a higher price for an electronic product than a physical product because the shopper can fulfill his/her need for instant gratification and receive the electronic product in mere seconds. Wouldn’t you rather do that instead of having to get in the car to make a trip across town to buy the product or waiting a few days for the delivery of a physical product from an online store?
And, people will pay for convenience. I recently spoke with a client about re-purposing her content that was already available in various locations all over the Internet. She was concerned that no one would pay for the product since it was already available online at no cost if someone were to look hard enough. I told her that many of her customers didn’t know it was available online, and even if they did, they would have to invest a great deal of their free time to gather all the info in one place. Few of us have that luxury of time today. For most of us, if it’s easy and convenient and will save us some time, we’ll buy it.
I gave my client an example of a publicity expert who gave away an 89-part e-course recently on writing effective press releases. I have every single email of the course sitting in my email inbox, but the text of each piece of the course links to her site, so in order to read the course in its entirety, I have to click back and forth among pages of her website. When she offered the entire course in an ebook format a few weeks ago, I jumped on it, as I already knew the info was valuable, and having it available it one place to save me time was certainly worth the $23 I paid for it.
5. Plan your business growth around your marketing funnel. Independent service professionals shouldn’t live on the sale of their services alone. Trust me, at some point in your business, you won’t want to do that any longer. You need to create a marketing funnel of your products and services that range in price from fee to very expensive and base your marketing strategy around that funnel. Your online business success will depend upon people being able to "sample" your expertise before deciding to purchase your service.
Remember that it takes 7-10 "touches" before a prospect will turn into a customer. Give them several ways to experience your expertise, all the way from free to expensive, with any number of price points and options in between. Keep your marketing funnel in mind in all that you do and strategize how every new activity, whether that’s creating a new product, writing another article, offering a new service, or being a guest on a radio show fits into your marketing funnel.
(If you need help in developing your marketing funnel, refer to my article, Create Your Marketing Funnel Online, for more info.)
By adopting these 5 Intenet Marketing Mindsets into your daily marketing mantra, you’ll be well on your way to positioning your online business for many years of success!
Best-selling author Donna Gunter works with successful business owners who are experts in their fields and established in their industry and are seeking a way to stand out from their competitors. Using her Ideal Clients on Autopilot System©, she helps them determine the exact strategies to generate more qualified leads and better-paying clients with automated systems. This proven system makes all their marketing easier and more effective and they find themselves positioned as the only choice for their clients.