As I mentioned in the last post about the key marketing concepts for freelancers, today we will be talking more about the online marketing funnel, your online presence, and testing.
Let’s get to it…
The Online Marketing Funnel
Okay, lets think about marketing your business in a whole different way, this is important. Let’s take a BIG funnel. When a person visits your site (engages with you), they’re at the top of that funnel.
Your primary goal or the websites goal is to get visitors to ask about your services or products, maybe even buy something. The ones that completed a goal converted into paying customers, they followed the funnel all the way to the bottom.
However as some people skim through your site, some will leave. This could be you didn’t fit their needs or wants, could be your branding didn’t connect with them or they simply couldn’t find your contact info (which happens in many sites).
This shouldn’t come a s surprise there are only two factors that can influence your success. One is your “conversion rate“–How good you turn visitors into customers. When you improve conversion rate, you can create more paying customers.
Two is traffic–Getting more traffic to go through your funnel (even with your current conversion rate) will bring in more paying customers.
However, your effort to market to your prospects involves more than a single funnel. To give you an idea, you create an email campaign, some people open those emails, then that small group that did open, they visit your site, later some of them go to the order page, some click buy and others end their journey at the order page without any action after that.
The point is, the funnel gets smaller and smaller with every step of your buying process. This is the reason why more traffic and a better conversion rate matter.
When you understand how much traffic you need to convert, your decisions about marketing get better.
So, do you know what marketing effort are you going to give more attention to? or Do you know how much traffic you need to get that growth you want?
Think having a website is good enough? Think again, maybe a few years ago it was sufficient. When prospects wanted to wanted to know more about your services, they would go and check out your “brochure” style website, that explained your services, showed them some client testimonials, and a portfolio of work you’ve done.
Welcome web 2.0. Now, prevailing wisdom recommends you should be in a variety of web properties besides your home (your website) to enhance your presence online.
Social media sites, forums, trade organizations. The logical reasons to build that presence is:
Better Chances To Be Found
A stronger presence online creates more ways for prospects to locate you. The more people that can find you, the bigger the funnel gets, to grab more traffic (even if they’re not searching for you specifically).
Because content is indexed highly efficiently by search engine, and links are frequently shared through Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, more prospects are coming through different sources than just your website URL like the old days.
Instead they are looking for their needs somewhere else and they’re running into some content you’ve created specifically to serve those needs.
To use this to your advantage, your online marketing strategy should look for ways to create new profiles, with descriptive words to help people find you, and use those profiles to bring traffic back to your site (the home of your online marketing footprint). And where future clients can continue to connect with you.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Backlinks are what influences search engines the most, specially links from other sites (external links) that point back to your website. For example: If you’re featured on another site and hyperlinked from their site, that adds a linkback. In many social sites or forum you’ll get a chance to link back to your site also.
Control Over Brand
When people are looking to buy something or use a service these days, its normal for them to search on Google. When you have more than one profile to control your own branding, it will enable prospects to cross examine the results and make a good judgements about your credibility.
For example: a Google search for Wilson Usman reveals the following destinations that help an inquiring prospect better get to know me.
And, creating these different profiles online helps manage your brand by preventing negative comments to show up. (That drunken photo in college)
A search for “Comcast” returns a video A Comcast technician sleeping on my couch, a Youtube video in the 9th position. After this happened Comcast has taken action to push the search engine results down from the first page of Google. (As you can see it’s still there though)
It’s proven that the first three positions receive a big percentage of clicks, but I’m sure this video still hurts the “Comcast” brand.
Lets Prospect Engage However They Want
It would be nice if potential customers took the path of our sales process as we picture it. It would be very simple if a big time prospect in your field received your email campaign, went to your site, clicked on the order button and bought everything you have to offered right there and then.
But you already konw that’s not how it’s always going to happen. By giving prospect multiple platforms to engage with you whenever they feel most comfortable helps them engage you at their own terms.
For example: A possible prospect might not need your services now, yet he may be compelled to add you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter, or maybe even subscribe to receive updates through email (the best platform).
Allowing them to stay engaged yet avoiding any business commitments or pitches until the right time comes and they trust you can turn them into paying client later.
18 Different Ways To Grow Your Online Presence
- Build your main site
- Create a blog
- Create a Facebook page
- Open a Twitter account
- Start a Youtube channel
- Open a Google Places and Google+ profile
- Create a Flickr account
- Start a Vimeo channel
- Open a LinkedIn profile + company page (your business)
- Register with Yahoo!
- Write guest posts for other blogs
- Start a Tumblr account
- Spend time on Q&A websites like Formspring and Quora
- Make slide shows and submit them to Slideshare
- Start an iTunes podcast
- Share content on Scribd
- Make a press release at PR Web and Pitch Engine
- Submit your work on a variety of portfolio sites (e.g Behance)
Test, Test, Test and T…
Online marketing cannot be just set and forgotten. Things change in the online marketing world and you can always improve your results by testing new tools and analyzing the date you receive.
If you’re always striving to get better, eventually you’ll land at the formula that’s optimized effectively to drive new clients and maintain the relations you already have.
Some examples of things you can and should always be testing:
- Email campaign content to get better click through rates
- Titles, subject lines that can help get more email open rates
- Your website design and content that lead to better conversion rates
- Viral content that makes people want to share and visit your blog
- Social media content that drives traffic home and converts
- Keywords, titles and descriptions to bring more SEO traffic and converts
The list is endless. So it’s important that you apply the opportunity cost concept here to avoid spending to much time doing work that doesn’t get successful results.
Now that we’ve covered some key marketing concepts that you should know to have a strong foundation we’re going to focus building a list and converting those prospects into paying customers.
So, what do you think? Are these three concepts important?
Are you using any of them in your online business or offline business?
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