You’ve decided to start a business. You're excited to share products and services you love. And you’re eager to use your talents and skills to help others improve their lives.
At some point in the process, it’s time to create your online presence via a website and social media channels. Except…you’re a little confused. How, exactly, do you craft a killer website? How do you engage followers on social media? It all seems way too complicated.
If you’ve become engulfed in marketing hell, you’re not alone. Many of us begin our entrepreneurial journeys feeling overwhelmed. You have so many questions!
How do you get clear about your message? How can you create an online presence that attracts your perfect clients? What's the best way to market your business to capture who you are and what you do?
Or…maybe you’ve been running a successful business for a few years. You’re past the beginning stages and are attracting great clients. Now you’re ready to take things to the next level yet aren’t quite sure how.
You're interested in updating your website and you'd like to create a course or an eBook to reach more people. You also want to grow your email list and start an online community.
Whatever phase you’re in, most likely you started your business because you love helping people. In order to help the people who can benefit from working with you, they need to find you. And once they find you, they need to decide to work with you.
A solid marketing strategy is a common denominator among all successful businesses. You can be stellar at what you do, but if your marketing isn’t so stellar, your business won’t thrive. Learning essential marketing skills is every entrepreneur’s key to fueling growth.
What, exactly, is marketing?
Marketing is persuasive communication presented in a clear and simple format. It influences how consumers think about you and your brand.
Marketing is an ongoing process that attracts your target customers. It increases their interest in you, your company, and what you offer. And it allows consumers to make an easy decision: buy from you.
Great marketing engages readers. The more a person interacts with you and your brand, the more likely it is that they will become a regular client.
To boost engagement, you must do two things: provide value and gain trust.
People who view your content decide to work with you if you can solve a problem they have. The more value you provide, the easier they understand how you can help them. And the more they trust you, the more likely they are to buy from you.
So, how do you integrate value and trust into your marketing plan?
Define your ideal customer
People come to you looking for solutions to their problems. They want to know how your product or service can help them.
To answer this question, you’ll need to know your ideal customers better than they know themselves.
A good way to do this is by narrowing your audience down to one perfect customer. We’ll call this person Jay. Next, you learn everything there is to know about Jay.
The below exercise will help. Take out a pen and paper and write down answers to the following (the more detailed the answers, the better):
What is Jay’s age?
Kids or pets?
Types of content consumed?
What is the thing Jay wants most?
Once you have the specifics figured out, you can tailor your marketing message and speak directly to Jay.
For example, let's say Jay is a 40-year-old woman who lives in rural Ohio with her husband. She has two grown sons and a pug named Walton. She’s worked as an accountant for 20 years and is a skilled cook.
Jay’s favorite hobby is creating new recipes and making them for her family and friends. She follows other food bloggers on Instagram, Pinterest, and their websites. She also subscribes to their emails. Her dream is to start a food blog as a space to share her recipes and inspire others.
But she isn’t sure how to create her own website. The idea sounds way too intimidating. What Jay most wants is to find someone to design her a beautiful website and teach her how to use it.
Your job is to show Jay why you’re the perfect person to help her achieve her dreams.
Create relevant content
Take the information you’ve gathered above and use this as the focus for the content you create. Let’s say you’re a website designer. Using Jay’s bio as inspiration, it’s time to educate her about your services and products. Anticipate the questions she might have. Provide information in a clear, simple format to remove confusion.
For example, Jay might have the following questions:
Do you create websites for food bloggers?
What is the process?
How long does it take?
Will it be easy to use?
Will it look great?
How much do you charge?
How do we get started working together?
The more questions you answer via your content, the more likely it is Jay will decide to work with you.
Remember, you are the expert, the authority in your field. You are the guide who will lead your prospective clients down the path to an improved life.
Great ways to share knowledge about your products and services include:
Blog Posts Ebooks
When you create content always ask yourself, “What’s in it for them?” Today’s consumers have endless options. If you don’t offer them clear benefits, they will most likely move on to someone else.
Sharing useful information that benefits your readers will always increase your value and build trust.
Provide a top-notch customer experience
You’ve identified your target audience and provided them with valuable information. Now, they’re ready for the most important step: engagement.
To increase engagement, all interactions with your audience must be prompt, professional, friendly, informative, and reliable.
When a customer contacts you with a question or comment, respond as soon as possible. If you don’t have an immediate answer to their question, let them know you’re looking into it and will get back to them soon.
Keep a friendly and professional tone during your interactions. Honor all scheduled meetings and appointments. Follow through on every promise you make.
If you’re working with new clients, present them with a post-purchase plan. For an example of how this works, let’s recall Jay. Suppose she has read your website content and sent you an email with questions. You answered her questions and she decided to hire you.
Your post-purchase plan will provide her with the next steps. You could schedule a call to share more details. You might send her a questionnaire or provide her with a video you've created. Make the procedure as simple as possible. Continue to answer her questions as you begin working together.
Finally, ask for feedback. As you get to know your clients, it's important to gain insight into their experience working with you. Have they met their goals? What do they enjoy about working with you? What parts of your process could improve? Customers appreciate sharing their thoughts via interactive surveys, polls, reviews, or testimonials.
The information you compile about your brand from valued customers is priceless. You'll learn what is working and what is not. Constructive feedback will guide you toward ways to increase your value and build even more trust.
While it takes time and energy to produce informative content, the payoff is well worth the effort. Get to know your audience, create relevant content, and provide superior customer service. Before you know it, you'll be a trusted expert and authority in your field.