To build a successful business online you need more than just a website.
You need a marketing platform to launch your marketing effort into the world and multiple the effectiveness of your efforts.
Trying to market without a marketing platform or a poor platform can be the source of a whole pile of business success and business growth issues.
Few quick questions:
- Are you proud of your website? Do you refer people back to it?
- Does your website do anything to help a) bring in new prospect to you b) develop the relationship with prospects and cause people to buy from you?
- Do you have a growing list of emails of prospects and customers?
- Do you communication regularly (once a week) with your list?
- Do you feel like you are wasting your time putting articles on your blog or emailing your list?
When I am consulting so many of my clients issues come back to a poor or none existent marketing platform.
So what is the minimum you can do to create a viable marketing platform?
Lets start with a statement.
Lets break that down...
A Minimum Viable - Lets focus on getting it done. What is the minimum we need? Keep it simple and then build on it later.
Marketing Platform - While a website is a key component of a marketing platform, there are several other layers you need add to as well. The platform is a collection of tools that work together to support your marketing.
Gives You a Conversion Focused - Building a business is all about converting new visitors to prospects/leads, leads to buyers, buyers to repeat buyers and raving fans. Your marketing platform has to be focused on conversion or you are wasting your efforts.
Home Base - While you can market on other platforms like YouTube, Facebook or Twitter but you do not control these platforms. First they may disappear overnight if they aren't profitable or they may choose to kick you off their platform. Second you do not control the promotional opportunities that surround your content.
All roads of your marketing should lead back to your home base.
So, for example, your Youtube Video will have compelling links back to content or lead capture pages on your site.
To Showcase Your Expertise - As a potential customer I want to know you know your stuff and can get results. Using a mix of blog posts and case studies you can answer both these points.
The basics of relationship building are that people buy from other people they know, like and trust. The right content lets them get to know you, like you and trust that you know what you are doing.
That Magnifies Your Efforts - If your platform is set up correctly it should multiply your efforts.
For example if you post a blog post and email out to your list the following might happen.
- The blog post has subtle (or not) adverts for lead capture or your products. Done once they keep being re-use for each new blog post
- The blog post promotes sharing on social media (spreading your message further)
- Your blog post formatting is setup to make a great landing page for cold traffic (those who don't know you) adverts.
- Anyone visiting your blog post starts to see adverts for your products on Facebook, Google and other sites (set up once and keeps working)
- Your email system is aware of their visit and triggers a surprise gift or follow up for the person. Your automated sales system kicks in to followup and promote your business.
Makes creating blog posts much more worthwhile if you gain extra benefits (for a one time setup)
and Puts You in Control - A great marketing platform lets you know what is going on, allows you to change and test quickly so you can improve your system.
Sometimes having cold hard numbers in front of you is what you need to make a change, step up a gear and increase your income.
Don't be fooled by the comfort of not really knowing what is happening in your business.
of a Growing Successful Business - At the end we all want to have a successful business that provides an income to remove the financial worries from life, or give you a freedom to travel, retire early or some other goal.
Being successful now isn't enough. If you are not growing you are going backwards in real terms.
A great marketing platform brings in new blood into a process that turns some into new customers. It is all to ease to just get on with serving old customers and suddenly find you have no new business.
Alternatively your platform should help you keep old customers in touch with you and buying more from you. Common mistake is to pay a fortune to get customers and then ignore them.
Make it easy to get new customers and look after the old customer with a great MVMP.
What Makes A MVMP?
Lets look at how to create a Marketing Platform for your business. What are the component parts?
1) Your Website
At the heart of your marketing, your website is key.
Your marketing platform builds on top of your website.
The obvious choice is a WordPress based site. It is easy to use, can be very secure and can be extended in some many ways.
Don't make it hard for yourself by going a different route unless you have support staff or a deep understanding of other systems.
There are so many free marketing add-ons or very professional paid add-ons to save you re-inventing things. There is also a huge number of people that can help if need be.
2) Marketing Focussed WordPress Theme
(The appearance of WordPress Sites is controlled mostly by a theme - which styles your content, controls layout and adds marketing features)
Your website needs to be marketing focussed. This does not mean that it is super glossy and looks like a multi-national (unless you are one perhaps).
It means your site needs to
- match the expectations of your target audience in appearance
- show off your content well
- promote conversions of new visitors to known prospect and then to customers and repeat buyers
When you look at theme libraries remember they are trying to sell you on the theme. Yes they look brilliant with lots of lovely graphics and sliding images.
But will they work for your business?
Most themes are designed without thought for your marketing goals. For example slide shows look great on a home page but for most market places they are a waste of space. No one stops to read them and scrolls to the next image particularly on the home page. Do you?
Most themes do not make it easy to see at a glance what a business is or does. If you can't work out really quickly what a business does there are too many other websites waiting in the visitor's google search. All just a back button away.
Home page layouts for most commercial themes do not answer any marketing goal other than to get you to buy the theme in the first place.
3) Lead Capture
One goal of your site is to build your mailing list.
A mailing list is a major business asset, which needs to be grown and then tended to.
Having multiple ways to encourage visitors to exchange their email address for something of value should be a top priority on your site.
You can add on plugins to your site to do any of the following
- Present an offer when new visitors arrive
- Present an offer after a given time or when they try to leave
- Show offers in the sidebar, top bar and footer
- Show an in content offer - offering an upgrade to the content (see the bottom of this article for an example)
- Content lockers where your visitor shares, likes or tweets your content in exchange for a download.
The best of these have powerful control over when offers are shown to present more targeted offers to your visitor. They should also give great reporting and allow easy testing of alternative offers.
The email address from the lead capture is then passed on to an Email Service Provider (ESP).
4) Email Service Provider (ESP)
You have all these leads and need to manage them.
Don't be tempted to keep a spreadsheet and cut and paste into your email program.
[SIDEBAR WHY NOT DO IT YOURSELF]
Reasons not to email it yourself.
1) One day you will forget to use bcc and sent all the email addresses to everyone
2) To your internet provider you look like either a) a spammer or b) an infected computer and you will get banned
3) Do you really want to manage unsubscribes, complaints etc.
4) Do you really want to have to send out free e-books, webinar invites manually?
An ESP provides the following
- List management - They keep your database up to date. Your lead capture plugins feed details straight into their system, adding to your database.
- Delivery - They send out the email doing the merge for you. No waiting for your computer to do it all.
- Unsubscribe Management
- Broadcast and schedule messages - you can create messages to send to everyone, a selection of people and schedule these for the future if you wish. Go on holiday and still be keeping in touch.
- Autoresponders and automation - The real power of ESPs are that you can create automated sequences of emails that follow up with your prospects automatically. You create these mini-sales people once and they work for you day and night.
Knowing what goes on and looking at it regularly and taking action is important.
Using a good Email Service Provider, quality lead capture plugins and some additional visitor tracking software makes all the difference.
Key things you should be able to see
- How many sales of each product you have made?
- How many people are in your email list, how many joined and from where?
- Which pages gave you the most new leads opting in?
- Which lead capture offers worked best?
- Some diagrammatic view of people moving through your system.
To begin with this may require you to login to different services and create a manual spreadsheet. Once you've learnt what is important to your business you make look to automate this.
6) Basic Advertising
There are some basic, very low cost advertising that you should consider. They multiply your efforts.
You need to discover more about retargeting adverts.
Retargeting adverts allow you to advertise again to people who have visited your website. So once they leave you can still try to reach out to them for awhile.
As you bring people to your site from different means, these adverts give you a 2nd/3rd/4th chance to become prospects/leads.
They are your opportunity to be everywhere. (At least to your visitors you can appear everywhere)
Hopefully you are inspired to take the next steps of building your own MVMP.
By doing so you will be able to publish content, email your list about it and see people sharing your content, joining your list and buying your products. Nothing like success to motivate you to grow your business.