Marketing Concepts Every Freelancer Should Know: The Last Three

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.

online-marketing-funnel

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?

Online Presence

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.

wilson-googled

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

  1. Build your main site
  2. Create a blog
  3. Create a Facebook page
  4. Open a Twitter account
  5. Start a Youtube channel
  6. Open a Google Places and Google+ profile
  7. Create a Flickr account
  8. Start a Vimeo channel
  9. Open a LinkedIn profile + company page (your business)
  10. Register with Yahoo!
  11. Write guest posts for other blogs
  12. Start a Tumblr account
  13. Spend time on Q&A websites like Formspring and Quora
  14. Make slide shows and submit them to Slideshare
  15. Start an iTunes podcast
  16. Share content on Scribd
  17. Make a press release at PR Web and Pitch Engine
  18. 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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Two More Key Marketing Concepts Every Freelancer Should Know

If there’s one that I’ve learned in the past two years to be most important in Internet Marketing is conversion. Start thinking in terms of conversion from now on.

So What is Conversion And Why Care?

Every place you’re online, you should have a desired end. What do you want your visitors to do?

To give you an example, I run an audio products site, my desired goal is to drive traffic to purchase products and sign-up for updates so I can stay in touch with our list. If a percentage of those visitors complete this goal, the site is doing it’s job or in other words “converting”.

A random person that buys a speaker represents one conversion. The more people that convert the more successful your site is.

In this case it’s good to pay close attention to your “conversion rate”. Conversion rate represents the percentage of people who complete the desired goal on the site.

conversion-rate-equation

It’s a good idea to know the conversion rate of any marketing effort not just your websites.

I’ve been using Google Analytics. I like using it because it lets you set goals, view the conversion rate on specific pages and where is your traffic coming from, and it’s the most user friendly tool I’ve used from metrics.

Opportunity Cost Made Simple

Knowing where to spend your time and money is a tough decision for businesses and freelancers, that’s where opportunity cost can help manage those decisions where, for example, a magic bullet marketing opportunity comes up.

There’s a cost associated with NOT doing something, that’s the revenue you would get out of a specific task.

So, you incur an “opportunity cost” by staying focused in what you’re already doing while you’re letting pass the revenue from the other activity.

Let’s use Facebook, Twitter and Cold Calling as an example. The time you’re putting into social media vs. cold calling. The opportunity cost would be the revenue you’re rejecting while focusing a certain task.

If you see more money coming from social media then calling people might be a bad decision. But if it’s the opposite then the payoff might be worth it.

The following post we’ll discuss The Online Marketing Funnel and Your Online Presence. Don’t forget to read about how to designate your time and measure your return on investment as a freelancer if you missed it.

These are two other marketing concepts that businesses and freelancers should carry in their back pocket.

Have a question? Hit me up in the comments and I’ll answer as many as I can. Thanks for your time

Two Key Marketing Concepts Every Freelancer Should Know

Before we really get busy with all those fun online marketing ideas, there’s a variety of key concepts that you should get familiar with first. This is the first of the series of posts of skills 2 money the freelancing guide.

If you were building a house, this concepts would be the foundation of the house or in other words what will keep it from falling down. They dictate how you make your decisions, assign your time, and conclude the success of your work.

Key Marketing Concept: How You Designate Your Time

When it comes to allocating financial budgets it can be an easy process to track in certain marketing activities. But time is a different ball park. It usually ends up being tougher for people to budget and optimize it.

And when you incorporate strategies like SEO or Social Media it can get a bit more difficult, since what you’re paying with is TIME. By the way, don’t be surprised if the results are not immediate.

At some moment in time you’ll start asking yourself, “is this really worth my time?” You can figure it out.

Understanding opportunity cost (more on this later) and return on investment is important too.

These are the tools that will help open up the time you budget for marketing. To get the data you need, you’ll need to discipline yourself to keep track of your own time, watching carefully the result from your work, and diverting tasks that may seem productive but aren’t (like chatting with your friends on Facebook).

Key Marketing Concept: Return On Investment aka ROI

ROI is a performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiency of a number of different investments.

ROI essentially without all the jargon translates to “dollar-for-dollar”. In this case, the “investment” is the time and effort you put in. The “return” is the revenue it brings in.

The reason ROI is a valuable metric is, it can help you analyze every marketing task and know the dollar amount that resulted from the time and effort put in. In some cases, people like using percentage as a measure too.

When you setup the ROI across all your marketing tasks, you can begin making decisions about allocating more or less time and effort.

return-on-investment-social-media

As you can see in this example, spending more time on social media is smarter due to the higher ROI.

You might also consider the value of your time to help assess how net profitable your time investment in marketing the business actually is.

Important Questions to Ask Yourself

  • What am I typically paid per hour?
  • How does this compare to the revenue I generate per hour via my marketing efforts?

Don’t forget this is the first of a series of articles. If you want to learn more about marketing for freelancers sign up below to get updates. In the next post we’ll talk about two more marketing concept every freelancer should know.

Are there any concept that you want to share? Share this post. Leave a comment.

How do you get a quarter of billion visitors a year?

Matthew Inman. Before I watched this video I didn’t know who he was, but I did know what theoatmeal.com was, as I’m sure you do as well; and if you don’t know check it out!

It’s been quite a while since I’ve watched an interview; I’ve been so busy building my niche site, but when I read the title to that video I had to watch it. I had and idea that theoatmeal.com got a lot of visitors, but WOW! a quarter of a billion? That’s 250,000,000. I’m sure some of you Internet marketers would do anything to get that kind of traffic.

If you asked Inman how he does it, he’d probably say: create awesome comics that people want to read, but you and I know we don’t know even know how to draw stick figures if our life depended on it. So here are some other lessons I learned from this interview that David Siteman did with Matthew.

Create stuff and sell it

Inman said that about 80% of the money the website brings is from the shop and only 20% came from advertising. There’s a lot of stuff you can buy on the site like mugs, stickers, posters, shirts, signed prints and other cool things. He goes to say that the top sellers are the ones that are useful to people. A good example of this would be his grammar pack that has posters such as “When to use i.e. in a sentence,” “How to use a semicolon,” and “10 words you need to stop misspelling.” and he mentions that it’s useful because people can learn from them.

The takeaway here is to create stuff that is educational and interesting at the same time, that can build you 1000 true fans quickly.

You get rich slowly

We take a look at the oatmeal and we see how they’re getting so much traffic in such short time, but we need to realize that for some of us that success will come slowly. People that come to a site won’t buy something on the first visit. As Inman puts it, it’s going to take more than 10 visits for one of these loyal readers to actually purchase something.

It’s our jobs to keep them coming. Yea it’s hard. But you need to have patience and keep them coming even when you’re not seeing traffic growing. You need to keep hustling and not get frustrated because of it. One thing I learned from Corbett is to write epic shit; this turns your readers into evangelists of your blog. Slowly you can get rich.

Keep your eye on the ball

When Inman decided to really focus on creating comics is when his hard work started to pay off. One particular post by Hugh Macloud talks about how you should make art everyday taught me that you should always be, well, creating shit. If you focus on a plan and just follow the plan you can see the results from that investment.

When we analyze the success of theoatmeal.com it keeps taking us back to publishing interesting content that keeps readers coming back for more.

Oh about the quarter of a billion visitors a year and how to get that many, I can’t really tell you, but if you ask Matthew or watch the video at hubspot then you’ll see how he did it; for now I guess I’ll continue putting out posts like these that can guide you there.

 

Two reasons why I think people don’t make money online

I’m really curious to know why people don’t make money online right now; the question just popped into my head and I figured this would be a useful post for some of you.

The reason I think I can talk about this is because I myself struggled to make a dime when I first got started. I tried everything out there. Which was actually one of the reasons why I didn’t make a penny for the longest time.

It all starts when you read a book or ebook or maybe a post about how to make money online. Then you either keep looking around the web for other resources. Eventually you say to yourself, “Shit, they’re all saying the same shit,” and you go and buy that $47 product that promises to have the secret.

You read through everything or watch the videos, and still you say, “But it’s the same shit that the other guy said for free.” Yup, that’s how it all goes, and so you then realize you’ve been reading all the right stuff, but you haven’t really been applying anything. You decide to buy a domain name and start blogging about how you’re going to make passive income.

A few months later you know a ton of marketing and blogging information and you decide since this whole affiliate marketing thing isn’t working why not try selling my services. That doesn’t work either. Still months or maybe even a year has passed and you haven’t made a penny online. Why? Why is it that people don’t make money online?

They lack the mentoring or knowledge

Ask yourself this: “Would I build a house without the necessary tools or knowledge?” Hell no! Well, why would you go and build a business or blog without first acquiring some knowledge about it and finding a mentor or joining a beginners course?

When I first got into this business I was all over the place, as I sorta explained in the beginning. There are so many ways you can monetize a site, it’s crazy. Everyday someone figures some crazy way to do it. I tried making blogspot adsense sites at first; I tried writing for sites like infobarrel about stuff I didn’t know shit about, and ehow, squidoo and all those web 2.0 sites. I was crazy enough to try cash gifting, which I regret immensely, but if it wasn’t for that, I would’ve never learned how to earn money online legitimately.

Anytime I receive emails from people asking me what would I do if I was just a newbie and I didn’t know anything about Internet marketing, blogging or niche sites, I tell them to just join some kind of mastermind course. It’s better because at least you get the basics and you have a foundation to go from, when you’re done with it. Unlike reading a new post in some site where everyday a blogger or whatever talks about a different idea and you’re trying to do a new thing everyday.

They don’t have the right tools

When I change the brakes on my car I need certain tools and materials to get the job done. For example: I need a jack, wrenches, brake pads, gloves, hammer, and some other tools I can remember, but I think you get the point. What tools are you using? None? Seriously, you gotta be using something. I’m not trying to say that tools are extremely important, but they are a piece to the puzzle of earning more online.

A tool is only intended to simplify, make more efficient, or provide additional functionality in your journey to earning money online.

What about you?

What do you think is the problem and how can we help those that are struggling? Do you think everything is a scam?

If not, what tools, bloggers, resources have help you succeed in your journey as an Internet marketer?

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