Get Customers first NOT followers
Followers don’t pay the bills customers do. Some of the advice for small business start-ups in the market today tells about brand building and the need to engage people through social media, blogs, podcasts and in new inventive ways every day. This is all great but if you are spending your limited time “engaging” then when are you doing the “selling”? Also, small business owners have to face the fact that when they start out they don’t have a brand to build yet!
The correct start
I heard some sage advice from a local entrepreneur who founded the Search Engine People, Jeff Quipp, he said the first thing your business has to do is make sure it is operating correctly before you go out and try to drive people to your website.
Are you providing the best service or product? Can your customers figure out what you are selling? Can your customers clearly understand how to engage your services or purchase your products? Does the messaging on your site talk to your target customers?
Stop creating all the good content and trying blindly to build audience. You have to get back to the fundamentals and a solid foundation to start from. Yes, this means, no blogging, no advertising campaigns, no content marketing, etc…
Step 1. Who is your target customer?
Determining your target customer is a fundamental but many entrepreneurs don’t manage to clearly determine this because it is sometimes difficult. “Everyone” is not an answer. I say target “customer” because the traditional focus on target “market” is much too broad.
Imagine you are in front of your perfect customer. How old is she? Is she a she or a he? What devices does he use? What is her occupation? What are his interests? How much money does she earn? What does his family look like? What part of the world does she live in? Why does he need your product or service?
If you customer is another business the same questions above can be asked because you are still dealing with a particular person at the business when making a sale.
NOW, once you have the profile of the perfect customer, all the text you put on your website has to speak to this perfect customer.
Step 2. Highlight what you sell clearly on your website
Clearly and right up front on your home page of your website you have to make it clear what you sell. Use text and imagery to speak to your perfect customer.
Recently I did a little study of a very popular multi-million dollar company’s website calledBeachbody LLC. and it is very clear what they sell on their home page. The founder of Beachbody started as an expert in infomercials and drove sales of the PX90 workout through the roof.
It seems that Beachbody tweaks the way they sell to their perfect customers based on what package they are selling. If you are looking for weight loss they provide many “money back guarantees” while on the bulk you muscles product they provide more “buy” button opportunities.
Beachbody does many other things right on their site and in their business and most likely that is why they are at the top of their industry.
Step 3. Testimonials and credibility
If your business is not known you have to put some testimonials or other outside third party references along with your product. You need your perfect customer to have some trust in your product or service and hearing from other sources helps garner that trust.
Ask a few of your previous customers for testimonials. I have also hear of other companies even paying customers for testimonials because they are that powerful in motivating people to purchase.
If you are very new and aren’t able to get any testimonials for some reason simply look to the internet for other proof that your product or service is worth buying. Research studies, statistics or case studies can sometimes help with credibility and are widely available.
Step 4. A little bit of Search Engine Optimization
Okay SEO or Search Engine Optimization sounds very technical but it basically means you want to build your website content so that people will find your site when they search for your products or services.
This is a very big topic and there are many different techniques and technologies to utilize for the best SEO possible but to start simple, create a list of words you feel your perfect customer would search for to find your website.
Once you have your list of words or “keywords” you must use these words in the text within your site. Don’t just repeat the keywords several times as this is keyword spamming and doesn’t work. You need to create full text sentences working in your keywords naturally as if your perfect customer is reading them.
Step 5. Contact your perfect customer directly
It is never the case that once you build it they will come. You have to roll up the sleeves and make some calls and send out some emails on a continual basis to clearly reach your perfect customer.
Use all the information gathered from the steps above to build your message to your perfect customer. Use the same language and be clear about what you are selling. Always sell the benefits of your product or service rather than the product or service features.
Find your perfect customers by using your customer profile to do some online research to find out who and where they are. If you are selling to other businesses they may have websites for their business or there may be associations which your perfect customer may belong. If you are selling to consumers you can look to social sites and blogs to find the right people. This is building your prospect list. There are many techniques to build your prospect list and many resources online through a quick search.
Now, once you have your prospect list put everything else to the side and start calling and emailing. Remember no spamming, you should check the United States CAN-SPAM Act and Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) to determine what you can do with your prospect list. Remember to keep track of your progress and maintain a continual stream of calling and emailing until you know what works and can pay someone else to do this for you.
Build audience after sales is rolling
After you get your sales process rolling along nicely and paying the bills with sales it is time to engage more audience to drive the sales message out to others. Only after the sales process is rolling do you spend some time on social media, blogs, podcasts and any new inventive to reach your perfect customers.
There are always exceptions to the rules but if you are in the business of selling products or services don’t start with building audience.
Go get your customers first and then build audience.