Welcome to Business Myths. Here’s the deal: We often hear business “truths” and accept them as true without stopping to question them. We’re chatting with solopreneurs and freelancers who have learned the hard way that these commonly accepted facts may not, in fact, always be true. In this case, Rachel Allen shares her (expert) take on why your client avatar is useless, and what you need to know to really resonate with your readers, instead.
Every industry has its must-have tools. And while those change pretty frequently in the fast-paced, online, small business world — “Webinars are the future! No, Periscope! No, Facebook Live!” — one that’s held steady since the beginning is the client avatar.
You know how it works: You sit down, sketch a stick figure, and write out whether they’re a cat person or a dog person, what they like to do on the weekends, and of course, what their favorite breakfast cereal is.
Just one problem…
When it comes down to it, you still have no idea what to say or how to sell to this person. Funny enough, knowing someone’s cereal preferences doesn’t help you communicate with them in a way that really resonates. Because, just like you, your business, and your brand, your clients are complicated. Multi-layered. And very, very human.
The truth is, most client avatars are absolutely useless.
They’re intended to give you a clear idea of who you’re working for, but they almost always give you a sanitized, surface-level, pod-person version of your audience. And you’re not working with pod people, you’re working with people people, those contradictory, irrational, gloriously-difficult-to-pin-down beings.
It was never about the breakfast cereal.
Client avatar exercises ask you questions about the surface level things in a person’s life as a way of getting at the deeper things about them. But somewhere along the way, the search for that soul-level stuff became conflated with the surface-level stuff — and we started thinking that knowing whether someone owns a cat or a dog can somehow give you insight into what they want, when very often people don’t even really consciously know it themselves.
Why client avatars don’t work
When you do a classic client avatar exercise, you’re primarily focusing on demographics — those quantifiable, external things about a person. But when people fall in love with branding, become a fan of your business, or make a decision to buy, they’re doing that from a place of identity, not logic, and certainly not demographic indicators.
…and that’s why you need psychographics
If you really want to get someone’s attention, develop a relationship with them, and make them want to buy from you, you need to approach them in a way that confirms their perception of their identity. (Which is such a powerful force that people will actually act against their self-interests rather than do something that goes against their identity. Homo economicus, you’re out.)
And to tap into a person’s identity, you need to get a sense of their psychographics — their beliefs, feelings, and assumptions, and why they have them.
Sounds great! So how do I figure all that stuff out?
It’s not as easy as going through a checklist, and there’s no foolproof, six-step template for it (see: “not pod people”).
But that doesn’t mean that you have to fly blind, trying out thing after thing until you finally hit on that magic combination of words and ideas that light your people up…because they’ll tell you, if you know how to listen.
Start with some empirical research
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in trying to figure your target market out is doing it in a vacuum — this guarantees that whatever you come up with is going to be biased towards your own perceptions. Instead of working from the inside out, starting with your own guesses about your clients and learning the hard way whether they’re right or not, start with some objectively verifiable data.
Find out where your people hang out, both online and offline, go there, and <em<listen
And by this, I mean where they actually spend their time. Not relatively general Facebook groups, not generic Twitter chats. Find places that are going to be incredibly specific to them because of their industry, their problems, or where their clients hang out — because chances are, you’ll find them there too, pitching.
Once you’re there, don’t fish for business, or post things like “Hey XYZ-type people, I’m doing some research on my client avatar, what are your problems?” Just listen to what’s being said both explicitly and implicitly, and track any topics you see coming up again and again. This is not a one afternoon thing — you want to do this for at least two weeks to gather enough data.
Once you have an idea of the lay of the land, analyze your repeat topics through three questions:
1. What is this really about?
Try to get below the surface and figure out what this topic is really about for your people. For instance, if you’re constantly seeing people post about wanting a VA, is it because they feel overwhelmed, or because all their business friends are getting one, or because they think they need a VA, when really they need an accountant? What’s the bottom line of both the reality and the belief behind this issue?
Knowing this will help you figure out the language you need to use to share your message and services with them, and makes a great starting point for an about page.
2. Where does it come from?
What beliefs, assumptions, and needs underlie these issues? Are they actually true? If so, where do those needs overlap with your message and your services?
This gives you insight into their beliefs, the chance to debunk false assumptions (and show off your expertise), and guidance on how to tap into your clients’ aspirations.
3. What are the stakes?
What happens to your people if they solve this issue? What happens if they don’t? What do their life and business look like next month if this issue persists? What about next year? And how do you fit into that equation?
Knowing this not only helps you focus on the things your people really need help with, it also gives you a starting point for talking about these issues in sales copy.
It takes time. It’s not a simple process I can upsell you in a 45-minute webinar. But it’s worth it. Because ultimately, you don’t need a client avatar. You need a human-to-human relationship — and there’s just no way to get that from a stick-figure sketch.
Product-based biz owners: If late autumn and early winter signal a season of staying indoors, summer is a time to take your creating marketing offline by getting out and interacting with the world.
It’s all about experiences, events and memories for product creators who typically spend all other seasons behind our computers, and it’s the perfect time to build real relationships with customers — and potential brand loyalists. Getting out of your comfort zones and hitting the pavement may uncover opportunities you never expected. Here’s how.
Face-to-face (or IRL, if you will), you learn real information from your target audience, while sharing the real-time people and stories behind your brand. Gary Vaynerchuk said: “Saying hello doesn’t have an ROI. It’s about building relationships.”
But of course, every relationship has to start with a hello. If you’re uncomfortable with personal interaction, a fair or market is a good place to start, because everyone around you is there to sell and those in attendance are an eager audience. These events give you one-on-one time with potential customers and allow you to build brand awareness today – and loyalty into the future. Consider not only what you can sell at these events, but also what you can give away or share with attendees, which will keep you top of mind with them later.
Local festivals and fairs often have deep roots in the history and tradition of the town and celebrate unique themes. Create custom products that align, like:
Exclusive accessories or apparel with local team colors
A unique print or drawing with an historic nod
A scent or flavor of your area’s best produce
What makes your locale special? How can you incorporate it into what you make or sell?
Events are also a great way to introduce a new product or line, especially if your brand is well known to your community. Showcase your newest items – or offer a sneak peek into your upcoming line. Offer an exclusive discount or opportunity only available to those who stop by your booth or table. Print postcards or business cards announcing your new line and tuck them into your packaging in the weeks leading up to the event.
Not sure where to find events going on? Check your city or state tourism websites for fairs and festivals — and look for events that welcome vendors and merchants. You can check FestivalNet.com or Zapplication.org for a variety of festivals, arts and craft shows, tradeshows and more.
If you are feeling particularly ambitious, you can host an event yourself. Whether it’s a small coffee and shopping event, or a large fair or marketplace, make sure you offer an experience to visitors! This time of year, people are looking for a place to gather with family and friends and make some memories. A beautiful location, a band or some music, food and drinks – and you’re on your way!
If this time of year seems to bring a downturn in your sales and/or a lull in your creativity, one of the best ways to recharge is to work with another brand or business in your area. Team up to offer something unique – just for this time of year, or just for visitors and tourists to your hometown. You can work with a brand that offers something similar to you to create a product that blends your work. (An idea: Design a gift basket or bundle with products from businesses around your area.)
Or, you might want to think outside the box and see if you can partner with a company whose vision and mission is similar to yours – but whose offerings are totally different. These partnerships make great stories to share with your local newspaper or news outlets. Get people talking!
Working together with other brands gives you the resources, manpower, and story to create interesting marketing opportunities. A few examples:
Invite shoppers in for a series of workshops or classes in each of your stores (if you have a retail space). You can take turns hosting on a specified evening — or you can rotate shoppers in a progressive-style experience over the course of an evening.
Get the community involved in a special challenge or contest. Remember the library reading challenges of your youth summertime? Work with fellow business owners to create a similarly interactive challenge.
Develop a series of acts of kindness or giving back, cleaning up the community or getting involved in shopping local. Shoppers can receive stamps or marks at different locations, like a scavenger hunt, and rewards can be given out at the end of the summer.
In an era of social media, sometimes we forget about classic marketing devices, but summer is a time for nostalgia — so why not go old school with your message? It doesn’t have to be complicated:
Find out where your favorite local radio stations (and the favorite stations of your customers) are going to be having or attending events. See if you can provide some giveaways or goodies at their booth – and get your brand name on the radio.
Take out a cheeky ad in your newspaper, during these slower days when people might actually take the time to see it over their morning coffee?
Don’t forget about good, old-fashioned bulletin boards. Ask for permission to spread the word about what you do at coffee shops, pools and other community locations.
A great way to get started with this is to just start talking with people. Attend events, even if you don’t have a booth or table there, and collect business cards. Introduce yourself to fellow business owners. Mention that you may want to look into working together sometime — and follow up with a casual coffee. Opportunities often unfold organically.
What feels better than doing good? Summer is a great time to get out in the community and find out where you can help. What are you passionate about? What change do you want to see in the world?
Contact your favorite shelter, organization, mission or nonprofit and find out how you can help. Can you create a special product or a whole line in your shop, from which all the proceeds go to them? Can you donate some of your items directly? Can you set up a donation drop-off in your brick-and-mortar shop? The reality is that the nonprofit to whom you donate will likely share your brand information with their donors and members. Even though you’re not in it for the free publicity, the marketing opportunity is there. If you decide to get creative with a special event, unique line, or other charitable opportunity, you can also harness the story and share with your local news outlets. They love telling feel-good stories – and what feels better than this?
The first step in creative marketing offline: Start the conversation
Again, the first step is introducing yourself and letting people know who you are and what you do. Creative marketing starts with casual conversations and real relationships that you can evolve into mutually beneficially programs or opportunities.
Authenticity and actually caring about people will bring more ROI to your business than any click of a computer key could do. Get out in your community, get involved, and get to know the people – and along the way, watch your creative marketing take off!
Mark your calendars: tomorrow, Wednesday, May 6, at 9pm EST, we’re hosting our monthly #OWSchat.
This month’s topic comes at a prime time for anyone looking to grow their business, expand their brand, or launch new initiatives in the coming months. We’re talking creative marketing for your solo business — something we all need (and only about half of us love). To help us in our fast-paced hour of trading ideas + inspiration, we’re super excited to welcome Halley Gray of Evolve + Succeed to the party!
You’ll want to be there: Halley’s generously giving away three copies of her “Perfect Set of Testes” and one copy of her Sales Page DIY course.
Looking forward to chatting tomorrow, May 6th at 9pm EST!
PS – First ever Twitter chat? We highly recommend using a platform like TweetChat to keep things organized.
Testimonials are a valuable form of social proof that help establish your credibility, build trust, and overcome skepticism and doubt. They give you the opportunity to prove claims about your products and services.
Consumers constantly seek word-of-mouth references from family, friends, and even complete strangers on social media and review sites. That’s because we tend to trust word-of-mouth information from fellow consumers more than the same info from a business.
3 key elements to effectively using testimonials on your website
There are three things to keep in mind that will help you make the most of testimonials on your website.
Vague testimonials can actually do more harm than good. Here’s an example of a vague testimonial:
“Jane is the best! I loved working with her!”
This testimonial might stroke your ego, but it doesn’t provide any details to substantiate your claims. Worse yet, website visitors often see those types of testimonials as generic, fake and insincere.
In contrast, specific testimonials can be highly effective. Here’s an example of a specific testimonial:
“Before working with Jane, I felt stuck and confused. I was a little nervous about working with someone in another country, but our online sessions were super helpful and my career has really taken off. Using the methods Jane taught me, I finally got my business of the ground and doubled my income.”
Wow, big difference! Let’s go over why the specific testimonial is more effective.
It’s more relatable. Potential clients can identify with that story. They’re most likely in that “before” stage feeling stuck and confused just like the person who wrote the testimonial.
It overcomes objections. No matter how amazing your product or service is, potential clients will always have doubts. This client was worried about hiring someone in a different country, an objection that other potential clients likely have. The testimonial addresses that objection and works to counteract it.
It quantifies results. The testimonial reinforces the benefits of working with Jane by giving specific results—she doubled her income. Specific results (my sales increased by 27%) are more convincing and believable than general language (my sales increased).
Ideally, each testimonial should be accompanied by the person’s full name, business name or location, and their photo. These three elements give the testimonial credibility by showing that the endorsement comes from a real person. The more real the person seems, the more your website visitors will trust the testimonial. Simple as that.
Don’t limit testimonials to a dedicated testimonials page. Thoughtfully selecting and placing testimonials throughout your website is essential to maximizing their effectiveness. Here are some examples:
Testimonials on your sales page
Place targeted testimonials throughout sales pages to increase your credibility, drive home your message, and overcome objections.
For example, if you have a paragraph on your sales page that talks about a specific benefit, add a testimonial that mentions that benefit directly below the paragraph. The testimonial acts as proof that the benefit you’re claiming is true.
Let’s say you’re selling a high-priced course. The hefty price tag is likely to be an objection. Place a testimonial that addresses and overcomes that objection where the client mentions the price. Website visitors might still have a “holy crap, that’s expensive” moment. But they’ll also see the testimonial, which helps alleviate their objection.
Testimonials on your checkout page
Testimonials on your checkout page help instill confidence and eliminate last minute doubts.
Let’s say the testimonial about your high-priced course did the trick. I click the buy button and am ready to pay…until some last minute doubts swoop in. Is this course really all that it’s cracked up to be? Am I going to regret shelling out all this cash? Adding a testimonial to the checkout page can help assuage those last minute doubts and fears.
Testimonials on your home page
Include your best testimonials front and center on your homepage.
When a new visitor lands on your homepage, they quickly scan it to determine if they want to stick around or not. Testimonials will help reinforce your credibility and encourage visitors to stay on your website.
Applying these methods to testimonials on your website might take some extra work, but the rewards are well worth it.
Ask clients to rewrite testimonials, giving them clear guidelines that gently lead them to write the type of specific testimonials you need. Don’t be scared of bothering them. Most will be more than happy to help. Then sit back and relax as your effective testimonials start converting more website visitors into paying clients.
Because here’s what I’m going to share: I have three ways you can connect with the ideal audience that’s behind the screen.
Making your website your round-the-clock salesperson
Let me introduce you to a certain situation all solopreneurs encounter. In this situation, you’re a hypothetical business coach, and Sabrina just happens to be your ideal client.
Sabrina wants to improve her teaching presence, but she lacks confidence. So she does a quick search on Google with the query “how to gain confidence” and one of your blog posts pop up. She clicks it and reads. You have a few great tips she takes note of, but now she wants more. She starts to click around your website.
At this point, you have approximately 30 seconds to connect with Sabrina, answering her questions and enticing her to stick around. She doesn’t necessarily know what she needs. It’s up to you, in that brief encounter, to introduce the option of hiring a business coach, and communicate the benefits of working with you rather than figuring it out on her own.
Together, let’s explore three ways you can connect with Sabrina in those 30 seconds and how you can deliver the answers to her questions without actually having to be there:
1. Communicate via video/audio:
Providing quality video and audio content is one of the best and quickest ways you can connect, gain trust, and build credibility with a potential client. Here are a few ways in which you can use video and/or audio effectively:
Create an introduction video for your homepage. When Sabrina visits your website, she has concerns and questions that she needs you to answer for her. Develop an engaging, 30-second video that welcomes visitors to your site, and answers any or all of the following:
How can you solve my problem?
What makes you an expert?
Why should I trust you to hire you?
What would it be like to work with you?
How much does it cost to work with you?
Create a free video or video series for your email opt in. List building is a serious tool for increasing audience engagement. Use a free video or video series as your giveaway to entice sign ups. Be sure to make these videos educational and remember, someone like Sabrina doesn’t know they need to hire you. Speak to what your ideal clients want and need.
Develop an educational webinar. Webinars are another fantastic tool for educating your audience, building your credibility, and allowing you to inspire a connection. And it doesn’t just have to be done in real time. Record a webinar and make it available via your site. Sharing or selling the recording will allow your visitors who didn’t attend live, like Sabrina, a chance to obtain value and see you in action. Alexis Grant has a great example of this with her SEO for Bloggers webinar that can be accessed anytime, for free.
Host or guest appear on a podcast. I am not suggesting you start a podcast unless that is what you want to do — it’s a big undertaking! However, being interviewed by someone who has a popular podcast allows you to share your expertise with someone else’s audience, and it can be linked to over and over again without any additional work by you.
2. Grant easy access to your calendar:
Perhaps video and audio aren’t for you. You still want to make that initial connection with Sabrina before she exits your site. What I’ve seen work: allow visitors to schedule a free consultation with you and get on your calendar instantly. This way Sabrina has access to you to ask any questions she might have and you are able to connect with Sabrina one-on-one to see if she’s a good fit. The best part? all of the logistics can be taken care of while you sleep.
3. Talk directly to your ideal client in your written content:
Your written content on your website should be working for you all the time. When you write your content with your audience in mind, Sabrina will feel as if you are talking directly to her and not to the masses when she reads. Use more “you” and less “I.” Make your visitors feel important, unique, and like they’ve found the right place.
Imagining connecting with one individual at a time makes all the difference in your writing. Consider their needs that you are fulfilling. Live conversations with new prospects mean sparking interest by framing your services in terms of how you can help them solve their problem — and your written content on your website should do the same.
Each of these three strategies requires some upfront work, but once set up, they’ll begin the transformation of your website from passive tool to 24-hour salesperson. Because we all need some time off, right?
Which of these three strategies will you focus on and use for your business? Share with us below.
Welcome to One Woman Shop Weekly Finds – where we members of the community scour the web to bring you a curated list of posts, links, and resources that we they think will help your business—and maybe even your life! This week’s curator: copywriter and social marketer Colleen E. Mayer.
For better or worse, the lines of personal and professional have long since blurred. The Muse has become my favorite stop for both work- and life-related advice. Recent favorite read? How to Recover From an Epic Email Fail. (It’s happened to the best of us!)
Let’s be honest: space in our inbox is valuable. I don’t sign up for regular newsletters often, but when I do, oh baby you can bet it is a good one. (Hello, One Woman Shop!) I follow news from DailyWorth every.single.day. and recently came across this gem featuring 8 Surprising Things You Can Get For Free. Excuse me while I plan what to do with all of the money I’ll be saving.
How closely were you following the #Under30Summit? This quick read sums up one output from the summit: everyone is now a content creator, but at what cost?
If you’re anything like me, you’ve dabbled with dozens of different apps that claim to make your business run smoother. I’m practically giddy over the idea of a simple, stylish app that’s actually functional, and I can actually swear by several on this list: 10 apps every entrepreneur needs.
Want to build up your social presence in advance of launching a campaign? First, make sure you’re everywhere you need to be. This post from Business Insider reveals the top demographics of social sites.
If you’re thinking about making the transition into solopreneurship, if you’re an experienced entrepreneur, or if you’re simply a living, breathing human being, read this genius post from Lifehack.
As solopreneurs, we’re constantly on the lookout for ways to keep business booming. But a simple downside of solopreneurship is just that: you’re solo. And while you might think of yourself as Superwoman, in reality, you can’t do it all. So if you could create one product that would actively promote your business and services, increase your credibility, and start a passive income stream, you’d do it, right?
That’s where writing an ebook comes in. Every solopreneur out there could benefit from writing one, and you’re no exception. Here are my top five reasons writing an ebook could make your business boom:
1. Ebooks Build Your Audience
Launching an ebook forces you to go past your comfort zone and promote your work to people outside your usual circles. If you’ve been hesitant about self-promotion, having a quality ebook that will genuinely help people is a great way to introduce yourself to new markets without feeling pushy.
You can expand the reach of your new contacts even farther by including a simple Click to Tweet code throughout your book. This makes it easy for readers who are loving your ideas to spread the word!
2. Ebooks Promote Your Other Products/Services
There’s nothing like a little cross-promotion to boost your other products or services. The pricetag on your premium services might make new customers hesitate, but an accessibly-priced ebook gives them the perfect place to enter your sales funnel.
Think about what your customers need to know or do before they’re ready for your premium services. Give them that beginning information in your ebook—along with reminders that your other offerings are ready and waiting to help them.
3. Ebooks Enhance Your Credibility
It takes a lot of hard work to write a book, which is why having your name on the cover of your own ebook gives you a boost in credibility. There are a lot of people out there who want to write a book, but only a fraction of them actually take action and make it happen.
By writing an ebook, you’re showing prospective clients that you have the initiative and follow-through to get things done. With qualities like that, who wouldn’t want you on their team?
4. Ebooks Can Land You Speaking Engagements
Organizations look for speakers who are motivated, inspirational, and experts on their topic. By writing a book, you’ve already proven that you’re an expert in your field—it’s hard to write an entire book if you don’t know anything about your subject matter!
Your book also shows organizations that you know how to connect with and inspire an audience. No one wants to listen to someone who rambles without giving their audience what they need. As an author, you’ll already have proven that your ideas are well worth paying attention to.
5. Ebooks Earn Passive Income
Unless offering your ebook for free is part of your marketing strategy, you’ll be bringing in passive income with minimal effort. Since all the work of writing and publishing is done up front, you’ll be free to sit back and enjoy your passive income stream. (Just make sure you have an ongoing marketing plan so your book doesn’t fall off the radar!)
Writing a ebook isn’t easy, by any means. It takes hard work, time, and sincere dedication. But it’s ultimately rewarding. Ready to write an ebook for your business? My new e-guide Typing Away: Your Roadmap to Writing a Bookhas 25 resources and printables to make writing your book pain free. With an easy writing strategy to keep you on track, you can focus on running your business and having a life — all while writing your ebook.
Launching is a buzzword in entrepreneurial circles. It seems like everyone is launching something these days. Your colleagues are launching a website, a podcast, an online course, or a start-up.
Maybe you’ve even heard they are launching a launch! (Okay, too far?)
But what does it really mean to launch something? And should you buy into the launch mentality?
A launch is an “all-hands-on-board-let’s-get-this-puppy-off-the-ground” approach to getting something new out of your cradle and into the world. It’s about telling the story of a new product or service, then distributing that story in as many ways as possible.
If you’ve poured time into building something new, ask yourself a few questions before choosing to soft launch (release it into the world without much fanfare) or go big with your launch strategy:
1) Do I have a new product or service I want potential clients to know about?
To launch effectively, you MUST have something worth talking about. There’s a saying in the journalism business: “if it’s not new, it’s not news.” The same applies to your launch.
Get creative and find a new story regarding your product or service, a new way of packaging it or a way of enhancing it to freshen it up.
2) Do I have the emotional and financial support to invest in a large undertaking?
Launching involves an emotional and financial investment. If there’s already a significant amount of things going on in your business and life, it’s smart to wait until you have space to really focus on your launch. Be patient and don’t put pressure on yourself. Financially, if your budget is already stretched, running a large-scale, effective launch will be tough.
Depending on your strategy, you’ll want to have the funds to buy more product, hire that extra team member or handle any problems that come up – without going into debt.
3) Do I have systems in place to take advantage of this opportunity?
Every successful launch creates new opportunities for your business. Are you positioned to take advantage of these opportunities?
For example, you’ll want to make sure your email client is set up with an opt-in and auto responders for anyone who jumps on board with your launch. In addition, clear your schedule to give yourself time to be available for sales calls, interviews or Q&A’s. Have a post-launch plan in place to follow up with new and potential clients and keep the momentum when the official launch is over.
Launching isn’t for everyone.
A big push like this takes a lot out of any entrepreneur. It involves long hours, a few tears and many, many decisions. You need to be organized in advance with a plan. No one can launch alone (even a one-woman shop). You need to mobilize friends, family and your entrepreneurial colleagues to support you in getting the word out about your launch.
Successful launches, though…
…can yield fantastic results. There’s a buzz about launches for a reason. With a launch, you have the potential to build your list, generate more sales, and position yourself as an expert. All of which helps you in the short (and long) term for your business.
We first heard about growth hacking on this pretty awesome episode of MarieTV, which features special guest Todd Herman. When Todd briefly mentioned the concept of growth hacking, we were instantly intrigued.
What’s a resourceful One Woman Shop to do when they want to learn more? Head to Google of course!
Apparently, Sean Ellis coined the term “growth hacker” and defined it as “a person whose true north is growth.” In other words, “Growth hacking is a marketing technique developed by technology startups which uses creativity, analytical thinking, and social metrics to sell products and gain exposure” (Wikipedia).
On the MarieTV episode, Todd Herman describes it as “all about finding little micro-changes in the conversion on your page.” Basically, he’s saying that a 1% increase in conversion on 10 different page adds up to a 10% increase in conversion overall.
Honestly, it’s a pretty vague and kind of confusing concept, but we’ll try to distill it a bit and make it actionable (because actionable is what we do here at One Woman Shop).
Some real-world examples of growth hacking:
Groupon requiring that their Daily Deals reach a tipping point (a certain number sold) to encourage customers to share the deals, thus expanding their customer base
YouTube creating an an “Embed” feature so that uploaded videos spread more quickly through exposure on outside sites
Airbnb allowing users to cross-post on Craigslist, creating hundreds of backlinks back to the Airbnb site and improving their SEO
Hotmail including the message “P.S. I love you. Get your free email at Hotmail” at the bottom of every single email sent by their existing customers
Some ways that you can apply growth hacking in your solo business:
Adding a link to your opt-in freebie page in your bio when guest posting, rather than a link to your homepage
If you have been anywhere near online marketing trends lately you will know there are just two words on everyone’s lips: email marketing. And business owners are talking about it for good reason. Email marketing has one of the highest rates of return over any other inbound marketing channel. They say that for every $1 dollar invested in email marketing, you could see a 40% ROI. For online shop owners and small businesses, this is great news.
I see it daily with my clients. Email is the single best tool for getting in front of your prospects and customers, for building a relationship with them, and for triggering sales. At the heart of it, email marketing is about having a conversation with people who are interested in what you do or sell. What better audience to have then an engaged and targeted group of individuals who have invited you into their inbox? You can easily see why email marketing has the potential to become the single biggest source of traffic and revenue for your site (tweet this!).
The only thing standing between you and this great influx of massive results is getting started with email marketing. If you have some hesitation or are unsure where to start or what to do, I’ve broken it down for you with these 4 steps that outline how to get started. Let’s dive in.
Start a list
Choose an email service provider software such as MailChimp– one of my favorites! Set up a list in your email program of your choosing.
When it comes to creating your list you might be wondering if you need several or one will do. I recommend starting with one master list. Sticking to one list, as opposed to managing several lists in your account, will help keep confusion at bay and save you from making errors down the line. This will be the list that your signup forms and opt-ins will feed into.
After you have your list set up, create a signup form for your master list. Then place the signup form in various spots around your website. The goal is to create as many opportunities to capture individuals’ email addresses as possible. Getting the email address of a site visitor is the best way to ensure the potential for an ongoing relationship; otherwise, that visitor can just come and go on your site and possibly vanish forever.
A great tool for capturing signups on your site is the use of a pop-up. While some feel that this approach is slightly too aggressive, I think that as long as you create a compelling offer and word it well then it’s a great way to go. Just be sure that the pop-up has a quick and easy way to X out of it.
Rookie Mistake Alert: When naming the master list within your email program, be aware that the list name can be seen by your contacts. So avoid giving an internal name to your list and choose one you are fine with your prospects and customers seeing.
Create an incentive
List growth is a vital element of your email marketing plan- you always want to be growing your list. One of the best methods for doing so is to set up an incentive to offer when your prospects or customers join your list. We all love getting free things and feeling special, so when you create that experience around your email opt-in, more of your site visitors will sign up. Come up with creative offers that fit with your brand, are appealing to your target customer, and relate to the products or services that you sell.
Service based businesses can offer up exclusive content in the forms of special reports, e-books and downloadable lists (like One Woman Shop’s 28 Secrets to Growing Your Community slideshow!). Popular incentives for product based business are offering some form of discount. Test between offering a dollar amount vs. a percentage to see what yields the best results for your business.
Set up a welcome email
This next step is a crucial one. A welcome email is the first piece of communication you have with your new contact; it is the email that gets sent out immediately after they’ve opted in.
The bond between your business and your new contact is at its strongest in the moments just after they’ve opted in. A welcome email is there to acknowledge your new contact and let them know what to expect from you in the future. Setting the stage for your future communications will go a long way in the effectiveness of your email marketing. Welcome emails typically have very high open rates so really prioritize what you put inside the email and what the main point you want to get across is.
Some things to consider including in your welcome email:
A branded experience- this email should show off your brand and creating a lasting memory of it for the reader
The incentive you offered as an opt-in bonus
Introduce yourself or point them to your About page. Give them a chance to get to know you a little better
Highlight or feature the top benefits of your services or products you sell
A next step. Do you want them to make a purchase, contact you or follow you on social media? Give them clear direction of what to do next
Rookie Mistake Alert: Keep the focus on just a few top points and don’t over-stuff the welcome email. Include what you think is the most important and be confident you will have more opportunities to expand on your brand in future emails.
After a prospect or customer has joined your list, the worst thing you can do is to never email them again. They’ve shown an interest in hearing from you so be in touch with them frequently. Start by committing to how often you will be sending emails to your list. Decide if you will be sending your emails weekly, bi-weekly, at a different regular interval, or just when you feel you have something important to say.
Schedule those dates into a calendar and get started on content creation. Develop a theme or topic for each email while ensuring that every email has a goal and objective. Don’t send emails just for the sake of sending them; rather use them as powerful tools in your business and make each email count.
Before sending an email make sure you have answered these 4 questions.
Why are you sending this email? Assign an outcome you want the email to have
Who are you sending this email to? Be clear on who will be reading it
What are you including? Based on the above answers, be sure you know how the content and design of the email will achieve your goals and objectives
Try these steps out in your business and see how straightforward it can be to get started with email marketing. Feel confident that you are investing your time and resources into an area of the business that will come back ten-fold!