I got concerned when Sarah’s eyes started to glaze over and her head began to tilt at a funny angle. We’d been talking about how she could use Internet marketing to grow her new coaching practice when I noticed that she seemed to slip into some kind of semi-conscious coma.
“Did I lose you?” I asked.
She jerked her head up slightly, let out a giggle and said, “I’m so sorry. It’s just that this whole Internet marketing thing is so overwhelming for me. I’m doing my best to understand, but honestly, it all feels like… too much!”
I get it.
Anytime you try to understand something new and strange, it can feel overwhelming. Or like it’s simply too much to take in. And if you’re not in love with Internet marketing (like I am), if you’re trying to make sense of it all (because you know the Internet is the place to be these days!), then you can get stuck in that uncomfortable, confusing mire of “too much to know and too much to figure out.”
So, today, my mission is to show you how Internet marketing and even social media is no more complicated than owning a local hardware store. A really cool hardware store.
Neal has always had an unexplainable love for screwdrivers, nails, hammers, saws and copper tubing. He also has a strong affection for and understanding of people who tend to need screwdrivers, nails, hammers, saws and copper tubing.
So, he decided to open a hardware store.
But Neal knew he could offer people more than those superstores. He had better stuff and a strong desire to share what he knew. So, he leased a little space at the corner of Twisted and Vine, spiffed it up, filled it full of top-notch hardware and put out a sign: Neal’s Hardware. He was in business!
Next, he had to get people in the door. How could folks find out how much better his store was if they never came in?
Ah! He had a brilliant idea. He would entice people into his new store by giving away those cool, digital tape measures! Who could resist a free tape measure! So, he put a small ad in the local paper and a sign outside of his store that said, “Free Digital Tape Measure at Neal’s Hardware. Come in and get yours today.”
That night, he woke up around 2:00 am in a cold sweat.
What if a ton of people come by his store, grabbed that cool tape measure, and then left… forever! He realized that his free giveaway may get people in the store initially, but he had to create a way to get them back again and again. He needed to keep the spark of that initial impression alive.
So, he did something really smart.
He sprinted over to the local photocopy store and printed up a bunch of 3×5 postcards. One side of the card promoted his free giveaway and the other side was a form requesting the name and address of the person receiving that giveaway. He added the phrase “Fill out this card and trade it in for your free digital tape measure.”
Each person who came into the store for their free tape measure got a card, which they gladly filled out and exchanged for Neal’s gift.
Now, Neal had a way to stay connected with those folks who’d come to his store to check it out. Now he could follow up, stay in touch and build upon that first-time interaction with his new customers.
What the heck does any of this have to do with
your Internet marketing?
Like Neal, it all starts with you, your passion for “something” and your desire to share it with those who could really use or appreciate your “something.” So, you establish a place, a space, where people can find you and your “something.” Online, this is obviously your website. Your website is your virtual storefront. Your office. Your stage. It’s where you invite people in and show them what you have to offer.
So, step one: get a website! A website that is inviting, engaging and logically organized so that people can easily find what they’re looking for. A website that speaks straight to the needs and desires of your ideal clients and effectively communicates your value, brilliance and uniqueness.
Ah, but how are you going to get people to come to your website? How are you going to lure them in?
Like Neal, you’re going to tempt them with something cool that they really want and give it to them for free… as a way of thanking them for stopping by. This “free and fabulous” thing is… your Fabulous Free Offer. And, like Neal’s gift, it’s only available on your website. If people want it, they gotta come get it!
But you want to be sure they don’t just come, take their gift and leave… never to be heard from again. You want to create a way to capture their name and email address so you can continue to connect with these folks who now know a little more about you and have had a taste of what you can offer. So, you create an opt-in form that requires your visitors give you their name and email in order to get their free and groovy gift (you can learn all about creating your Fabulous Free Offer and your opt-in form in my free 5-Step Trainig “Transform Your Website Into A Client Connection Machine.)
Meanwhile… Back at Neal’s Hardware
Now, Neal has an advantage over the superstores. He has a way to stay in touch with the people who’ve been to his store. And unlike those superstores, he’s not going to send them advertisements and annoying junk mail. Oh, no! He’s going to send them tips on how they can easily weatherproof their house in the winter, or how to inexpensively turn a postage stamp-sized yard into a high producing vegetable garden, or how to easily fix that leaky faucet in bathroom. He’s going to send them great stuff so they will come to know, like and trust him.
Sure, he’ll also let them know that his store has the materials they need to fix that leak or weatherproof that door, but only as an extension of his service and expertise in hardware.
Then Back to You…
If you follow Neal’s example in your Internet marketing plan, you’ve got a website, a fabulous free offer and a way to capture people’s names and addresses in exchange for that offer. Which means, you’re building an email list! Well, what are you going to do with that list?
The same as Neal.
You’re going to regularly send people great information. Something helpful… or at least interesting or entertaining. Like Neal, you’re not going to abuse that list by sending a bunch of ads or promotions. You’re going to offer communications and information that will allow you to build and strengthen your relationship with the people on your list. You’re going to show them, time and time again, how you can be of service to them. Via email.
And yes, every now and then, you are going to invite them to buy something from you! Something that provides them with a solution or service that will make it easier for them to get more of what they need or want.
Now that Neal has a great little system in place, he needs more business. He wants to expand his store and increase his income. How’s he going to get more people interested in what he has to offer?
I’m going to tell you next week. Next Thursday, we continue the saga of Neal’s thriving business and how simple Internet marketing can be for you.
And honest to Pete, you can get a lot of easy-to-crock information in my 5-Step Video Training, “Transform Your Website Into a Client Connection Machine.” It’s free. If you put your name and email into the form in the right column of this website, click “Gimme,” you’ll have it all in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.
If you have questions about any of this, please leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to give you the best possible answer.