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?

If you loved this article, share it on twitter click here.

 

Why Companies Should Invest in the Customer Experience

We all know how frustrating it can be to get a hold of a big company, hardly do they ever respond to your emails and if they do this is how it look:

email-reply

Yea, I contacted them and told them their Guacamole sucked, WHAT?? I was just being an honest customer. No, but in all seriousness I wasn’t rude. I really just wanted to help them make their product better.

After buying their Guacamole and dipping my first chip and almost throwing up after just one dip I figured why not, you know. As you can see…they did respond but it wasn’t the answer I expected.

There was something I did like about this company that impressed me. Unlike most replies (if you’re lucky) you receive are automated responses that annoying the crap out of you.

However, this post isn’t about me being a dissatisfied customer or something like that. The reason I was inspired about write this post was because everywhere I read something today I keeped running into one company.

Zendesk.

You might be wondering what is Zendesk?

In their own words they’re a “web-based help desk software with an elegant support ticket system and a self-service customer support platform. Agile, smart and convenient.”

I got really curious about customer service today, because like I said it seems like it was customer service day (that should be everyday). At least 4 out of all the blog posts I read talked about how important customer experience or customer service is.

So I figured I share some of the interesting facts that I got from my research. I think if you’re a business you’re going to like them and hopefully they’ll ring a bell too.

I’m a true believer that no fancy ad campaign can replace the ultimate value of giving customer the best possible service. You don’t think so? Would you go back to buy more stuff from someone that treated you crappy?

Now with all the word of mouth reviews on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites coming up everyday, you need to invest in customer service more than ever. You make one little mistake, and it can take off on the web so fast, specially if it’s bad.

If you want the facts check out this awesome infographic:

Customer Experience Is More Important Than Advertising help desk softwareImage originally posted on Zengage, The Zendesk Blog

 

Why Small Businesses Got It Made (if they listen)

If you like interacting with each customer, showing them you care and want to help them if they’re paying or not you have a great opportunity.

As you can see in the infographic, you cannot afford to not pay attention to each and every customer. You and I know that as customers we want to be acknowledge by the company.

One bad experience and they are going somewhere else, that’s why you need to show them some customer love. To thrive in this economy as a small business every customer should matter.

Are you investing into customer service?

Leave a comment.

5 Ways To Get Retweeted

get-more-retweets

photo credit eldh

I recently downloaded a great report about twitter and how to get more retweets, which I highly recommend. The reason I liked it so much was because Dan actually went and did the research and figured out the science of getting more retweet.

Like a lot of us marketers online, I’m sure you too wouldn’t mind getting more retweets than you get right now. I admit it I would. The reason why is quite simple. We all want more traffic to our blog, subscribers, and to all the cool thing you have to share with other people.

The biggest reason for business owners to want more retweets is more leads and customers. If you’re a blogger or you have business online and you’re on twitter, but you’re not getting the traffic that you want, keep on reading.

5 Ways to Get More Retweets

  • Have a link in the tweet. Dan explains in the report that retweets compared to random tweets contain 3 times more links. A tweet showing a link has a better chance of being retweeted than if it doesn’t.
  • Keep the tweets short. By leaving free space it allows people to add something, a message or something he might want to say to his followers, explaining why he liked it, which might persuade others to feel the same and retweet it.
  • Please ReTweet. It’s proven that your tweet will get 50% more time retweeted if it contains a “please retweet” or “please rt” than if it doesn’t. Who would of thought asking would get you what you want. More retweets.
  • Make sure it is interesting and relevant to your followers.
  • Don’t talked to much about yourself. If you just chat and tweet about going to the bathroom or something mundane, you’re not going to get retweeted.

Finally don’t forget to be social, actively engage your followers, build meaningful relationships and your retweets will jump through the roof for sure.

Oh and don’t forget to Retweet this post. Share some ways that help you get more retweets.

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

Quick Tip: Using Google + Settings and Stuff

We humans have needs one of those needs is connecting with others. We connect in many ways these days using all these social platforms on the web. The number of people using Facebook is 750 million, Twitter has reached 200 million in no time and now Google+.

There’s been a lot of people asking how to use Google+. Some people have probably already got an invitation on their email, went and got an account setup and messed around with it, but still want to know how to use it better.

Privacy, Notifications and Sharing

One of the first things I did when I got invited I setup my settings and clicked dont notify me so I don’t get a bunch of notifications on my email. As you probably already know how annoying that can be.

Also make sure you setup up the profile settings because they’re made public and some people don’t like everyone to be able to see who they are where they work and all your personal stuff. You can edit that so it’s not set to public and everyone can see it.

When it comes to sharing you set what circle can or can’t view your profile, which I really like. Make sure you do this.

Before you do anything though, just make sure you set the privacy settings those are the important things to do before anything else.

So How Do You Use Google+?

This is going to sound very amateurish but it’s easy. You find good stuff and share it. You can share stuff you see on your feed or stuff that’s posted in other places (Twitter, Facebook, Blogs). Make sure it’s interesting and it’s relevant to your circles and that’s going to get the conversation going.

Then you look at who comments, follow them if you want and see if there’s more out there.

Are you using Google+ yet? Find me on Google+here

A good question that got brought up in a conversation with a friend was, if he should just use Google+ and forget about his blog.

I really don’t think it’s a good idea because what happens if Google+ did die off, then where would you go. If you a business your main spot should be your blog. In your blog you can say what you want, make it look how you like, it’s your home. Think about Google+ as your best friends house.

It’s cool to hang out there, but if you want to put your feet on the coffee table you won’t do it because, Well it’s not your place.

If you want to know my technique to using it is:

Actually Jake’s post about how Google+ is not a blog makes a great point.

Hey how about you, do you have any ideas on how to use it better? Share your thoughts. Leave a comment.