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Sales Funnels Explained

What is a Sales Funnel?

For a coach and online business owner, a sales funnel is probably the most important marketing tool you have. And yet many entrepreneurs – both new and established – don’t have a clear understanding of what a funnel is or how it works.

If you don’t understand this critical part of your business, it can means fewer sales, lower profits, and an unstable business.

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A Simple Sales Funnel

At its most basic level, a sales funnel consists of totally free content. A sales funnel may begin with blog posts, YouTube videos, Facebook content, and other information readers can access for free and without giving their email address. This is considered to be the “top” of your funnel.

Next, you’ll have what’s called an IFO (Irresistible Free Offer) or lead magnet that requires an email address as a sort of payment in exchange for your free gift. You’ve seen this type of offer on websites all over the internet, and probably even signed up for some. This is the free ebook or guide, video series, checklist, workbook, or other valuable content that is available in exchange for “opting in” to an email list.

Once on your mailing list, you’ll then present your readers with a series of low-cost offers. Perhaps you have a low-priced ebook, ecourse, or a trial membership.

Customers who purchase your low-priced product move further down the funnel, and are presented with higher priced products. As they continue to buy, they move closer and closer to your high-end offers at the bottom of your funnel.

How Your Funnel Works

If you imagine your funnel as looking like, well, a funnel, it’s easy to see that your free content—at the top—is consumed by the largest number of readers. Below that, your extreme low-cost item (available only for the cost of an email address) attracts a smaller subset of the true freebie seekers. Next, your low-priced products bring in yet a smaller group.

Finally, as you near the tip of the funnel, only the loyalest of fans and customers will purchase your highest priced offers.

Your job, as a coach and business owner, is to ensure that your funnel leads buyers smoothly from the top (free offers) all the way to the bottom. The more buyers you can keep in your funnel, the more money you will make.

Most new—and even established—business owners can easily envision the top of the funnel, but if you truly want your business to grow, you must master the entire process, and that starts with understanding what a funnel really is and how it works.

Sales Funnels for Coaches

Click here to register for this FREE ONLINE WORKSHOP on November 30, 2016!

Sorry, Coaches. If You Build it, They Won’t Come!

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As coaches and entrepreneurs, many of you have probably heard this many times, and it’s true. If you build it, they won’t come.

You build your website. It’s awesome! You create your IFO (irresistible free offer) to build your email list, build a landing page for it and put an opt-in box on your website. You know it offers high value. You create products and add them to your website. You create your social media profiles and pages.

And then crickets. Nothing. You might get some followers on social media, but most of them are probably friends and family.

Now what? Who cares, except you?

You have a gift and talent to help people, and nobody even knows you exist.

Honestly, it takes time, patience, perseverance and consistency to become the go-to expert that potential clients flock to. It’s not going to happen overnight. You have to make it happen.

How? There’s no one specific thing, although you may find that some methods work better for you and your target market than others. But generally, it’s a number of different factors and strategic activities that all send people back to your website and lure them into your sales funnel with your IFO, including the following:

  • Networking
  • Speaking events
  • Blog posts
  • Search engine optimization (your website and blog posts must be optimized for Google)
  • Social media activity
  • Advertising
  • Free teleseminars/webinars
  • Joint venture activities

So, no, if you build it and do nothing with it, they won’t come. You need to build the “Know, Like and Trust Factor” and drive the traffic to your site. You need to set up the aspects of your Client Attraction, Relationship and Sales Systems that will work together to help you reach your goals. If you want an online business with no limits and endless possibilities for growth, then sit in the driver’s seat and make it happen. Honestly, this is what separates the 6 and 7-figure coaches (and even the upper 5-figure coaches) with a successful online business from the hobby owners.

Ready to learn more?
Grab this FREE Cheat Sheet!

The Only 3 Systems You Need to Have a Successful Online Coaching Business

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How to Market Your Business Online to Find More Clients – Pt 4: Irresistible Free Offer & Landing Pages

Why should you offer a free gift on your website? Think about this. People come across your website and they’re interested in your products or services, but they’re not ready to buy yet. You may or may not have a simple newsletter signup box, but you have nothing else to offer them right now, so they leave. Even if you had a simple newsletter signup box on your website, they didn’t give you their name and email because they don’t want yet another newsletter clogging up their inbox.

They have left and chances are they WILL forget about you, and they will never go to your website again.

Now these potential clients are lost to you. You don’t know who they are and you have no way to contact them to offer your services.

Lead MagnetHowever, they came across one of your competitors’ websites, and that competitor offered a cool free gift. The gift title caught their attention and offered to help solve a pain point that they have, something they’ve been struggling with. They decided they just had to have that, so they entered their name and email address to get it.

Now this competitor is helping and educating your potential client, and they have this potential client’s email address. The competitor is sending out regular emails and newsletters to continue educating this potential client, reminding them of who they are and what they have to offer them, and building the “Know, Like, Trust Factor.”

A month, a year or three years later when this potential client is ready to take that step, spend some money and get some help, who do you think they will likely to turn to? That’s right, your competitor.

Melanie Duncan stated, “Data suggests that 95% of visitors won’t buy anything on their first visit to a site, so what are you doing to encourage browsers to become future buyers? Are you letting them slip through the cracks?”

Melanie also shares some other statistics: “With 838 billion marketing emails sent in a year, you have to be offering a good reason for a customer to welcome another email into their overwhelmed inbox.”

“40% of customers are willing to give permission to be emailed in return for something of value.  And, with 66% of customers likely to make an online purchase as a result of a marketing message, the lead magnet is your golden ticket.”

The lead magnet she refers to is the irresistible free offer. This is exactly why you MUST have an IFO on your website!

What should you offer as a free gift? It could be any of the following examples:

  • Report
  • E-book
  • Checklist
  • Tip sheet
  • Templates or charts
  • Audio download
  • Video series
  • Etc.

What Do You Need to Set Up?

As a brief overview, you create your free gift (PDF, .MP3, etc.) and create an email campaign in an email marketing system. There are many out there to choose from (iContact, MailChimp, GetResponse, Constant Contact, 1ShoppingCart), and they will help you comply with the anti-spam laws. You set up an autoresponder message to deliver your free gift, and then create the code for an opt-in box or landing page – where people will sign up.

Landing Page or Opt-in Box?

Ideally, you should have both. An opt-in box should appear on your home page and most pages on your website so no matter where people land on your website, they have that option of getting your free gift. It should be “above the fold” so people don’t have to scroll down to see it, and it should be either centered or on the right-hand side, depending on the design of your website.

A landing page is a page dedicated to only that free gift so that there are no other distractions or options. This is useful for when you’re sending people directly to your website to get your free gift. You may offer the free gift on the back of your business card or to someone via email. You may do Facebook advertising to help grow your email list, and you are sending people directly to that landing page. Your only objective here is to get people on your email list. If you have things set up properly, they can be directed to your main website after they have “opted in” by giving you their name and email address. Then they will have the opportunity to look around or you can take advantage and make them an offer of some kind.

“Help, I’m technology challenged! I know it’s important, but I don’t have time to figure out how to set all of this up!”

No worries! I have a starter package where I’ll take care of all of this for you. If you don’t already have an email list in a proper system (like I mentioned above), I’ll set up the following for you:

  • Your email marketing account
  • The email list
  • Create an opt-in box and put it on your website
  • Create a customized landing page for you to send people to directly
  • Automatic delivery of the free gift.

And there’s more!

I’ll also set up a simple custom newsletter template and we’ll have a 20-minute complimentary strategy session afterward to discuss implementing a regular newsletter and email campaign so you can keep in touch with your new subscribers.

Ready to get started? Click the button below to order the package and I’ll get back to you soon with more details!

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How to Market Your Business Online to Find More Clients – Pt. 3: Social Media

Social Media Virtual Assistant

In part 3 of How to Market Your Business Online to Find More Clients, we’re going to cover social media.

These are some older stats, so you can be sure that the numbers have increased significantly since then.

In 2012, Yola reported that 69% of consumers were more likely to use a local business if it has information available on a social media site. I know this is true for me. I check out most businesses online before I visit them. If they don’t have an active social media account, and especially if they don’t have one at all, I may feel like they aren’t up with the times and don’t care about their customers. This may be a really unfair judgement, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had those thoughts cross their minds.

In fact, Small Business Can said that 59% of social media users think companies who use or are active in social media seem to be more approachable.

The truth is, we’re not only living in an online world, we’re living in a social media world, and according to Vocus, 85% of customers expect businesses to be active in social media.

In 2011, it was reported on Hubspot that 41% of B2B companies and 67% of B2C companies have acquired a customer through Facebook. I wish I had found a more up-to-date statistic to compare because I am sure those percentages are much higher now. I have acquired many clients through Facebook.

As of 2011, the number of marketers who said Facebook is “critical” or “important” to their business had increased 83% in just 2 years. (Source) That is huge – 83% in just 2 years!

In 2012, State of Inbound Marketing said that 80% of US social network users prefer to connect to brands through Facebook. This is true for me, but I spend a lot of time on Facebook.

However, InboundWriter.com found that LinkedIn generates more leads for B2B companies than Facebook, Twitter or blogs individually. Yet only 47% of B2B marketers say they are actively using LinkedIn vs. 90% on Facebook.

What social media platforms you focus on for your business really depends on who your target market is and where they hang out. You really need to know this to make sure you’re spending time and money in the right places. You can’t just go by what works for somebody else or some other business. You might love Facebook or Twitter, but if your target market isn’t spending time there, you’re not going to reach those people and see results from your efforts.

For my business, I find I get the best results from Facebook and LinkedIn. Depending on your business, you might get the best results from Twitter or Pinterest.

You need to optimize your social media accounts to reach and connect with your ideal clients, offer value (ex. tips, blog posts that link back to your blog, etc.), build the ‘know, like trust factor’, and be social with them so they consider you a friend and trusted resource.

Not only can you create a trusted relationship with potential clients and customers through social media, but SEO.com revealed that 70% of small businesses are using social media to improve their search engine optimization.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with that term, this means how easily you are found in the search results when somebody Googles (or searches) for any terms that are related to your business. If somebody is specifically looking for a product you sell, if they have a question about a problem that you can solve, if they want to learn about something you teach, or even if they are searching specifically for your business but they don’t know your website, you want those people to be able to find your website easily, without having to scroll though pages of search results.

How can social media help you rank higher or more often?

  • Your Facebook page, your Twitter profile, your LinkedIn profile, your Pinterest account, your YouTube account, etc. are all searchable, both on the actual social media sites and through the search engines. Your accounts will register in the search engines, which should also link back to your website.
  • If you’re sharing blog posts and videos that link back to your website, you are specifically sending people back to your website and creating more of those quality links. If people share your social media posts containing these blog posts and videos, you will reach more people and send more people back to your website. This content may also show up in the search engines.
  • If you have social media share buttons available on your website’s blog posts, people have the opportunity to share what they like on their favorite social media sites. This gives you more exposure, but it also tells search engines such as Google that you have quality content that people want to see.

Don’t forget that you can also use social media to grow your email list! You can promote your free gift and events to your audience both for free and through paid advertising that is targeted to the exact people you want to reach. This means that you have increased access to these people and you can contact them directly by email, as you continue to educate them and invite them to work with you or take action on your offers.

Conclusion

In conclusion, find out what social media sites your target market is spending the most time on. Those social networks are where you may want to consider focusing most of your efforts on. Share quality content that educates and links back to your website, make sure your social media networks are linked to your website, make sure your blog posts have social media share buttons so your readers can easily share with their friends, and use social media to strategically grow your email list.

If you hate social media, you don’t understand it, or you just don’t have time to be bothered with it, you really need to consider hiring a social media manager or virtual assistant to get you set up, create the content for you, and help create that ‘Know, Like, Trust Factor’ on your behalf. In this age of social media, if you continue to ignore your target market on social media, you may be losing out on significant business growth and profit, while your target market is drawn to your competitors who are reaching out to them, communicating with them, educating them, and making them feel special.

If you need help getting set up on social media, you would like to create a consistent social media presence, and you would like help to grow your email list, CLICK HERE to set up a Complimentary 30-Minute Discovery Session with me and we’ll come up with a plan for your social media success.

How to Market Your Business Online to Find More Clients – Part 2: Mobile Websites & Email Marketing

Marketing For Coaches
In part two of the How to Market Your Business Online to Find More Clients, I’m going to talk about mobile-friendly websites and email marketing.
Mobile-Friendly Websites
Google is now showing preference to mobile friendly and responsive websites. If Google doesn’t consider your website to be mobile friendly or responsive (even if you think it is), you may find you take a significant drop in search engine results. I’ve had some people come to me recently to have their older websites converted to meet the new standards.
In 2014, BaseKit released a report showing that 91% of small business websites are not optimized for mobile use! This year TechCrunch also found that 44% of the Fortune 500 companies failed the mobile friendly test. That’s an incredible number, especially for small businesses, but it really doesn’t surprise me. A huge percentage probably has no idea about the new Google mobile policy or that their website may not be mobile-friendly, and those who are aware may not have any idea what to do about it.
Until recently, my old (other) website was not considered to be mobile friendly, even though parts of it were responsive. It was in need of a makeover anyway, so I decided to switch over to a more modern, responsive theme. It took a bit of work because of the amount of customization I wanted, as many things couldn’t easily be transferred from the previous theme, but it was much easier than attempting to modify the code on an old, outdated theme. Not to mention the security issues that come with using an old theme that is no longer supported and updated by the developers.
I’ve had a number of people come to me lately with older websites that they want updated not only to be mobile-friendly, but to also have an updated look. It’s a lot of fun to see the transformation of some of the older sites that are… well… rather drab, dull and boring – seeing them come alive and showcasing the true personality of the business owner.
Click here to check to see if your website is responsive or mobile-friendly: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly.
Certainly, there are WordPress plugins that can be used to allow your website to appear to be mobile-friendly (and Google will see it as such), but they are not very attractive. Often, they don’t keep the branding and look of your site. It’s better than nothing, but not in your best interest from a branding and user experience perspective.
According to VisionCritical.com, mobile data traffic is accelerating at 81%. Mobile accounted for 25% of all web usage in 2014. “In short, if you’re still doing business and research only on the web (or offline), you’re missing out.”
Also, 80% of internet users own a smartphone. (Source 2015)
Email Marketing
In 2013, 41% of small businesses were using email to market to customers, a nearly 25% jump from 2012. (Source)
iContact claims that the average return on investment in email marketing is $44.25 for every dollar spent and that consumers who receive email marketing order 28% more often.
However, Unbounce says that 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance and that nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads, producing, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads.
With these statistics, you definitely want to be using email marketing to communicate with your prospects. Therefore, you need an opt-in box on your website, and possibly even a dedicated landing page to send people to. But having just a box that says “Sign up for my newsletter” isn’t enough. Nobody wants more newsletters in their inbox these days. You need to entice them with an irresistible free gift. I’ll talk more about free gifts in a later segment of this Online Marketing series.
The most important thing is to get your website visitors onto your email list so you can continue to communicate with them, educate them, and offer them opportunities to work with you. Otherwise, when they leave your website they are likely lost to you forever. Chances are they will forget all about you and, when they are ready to work with someone like you, they will choose someone else who offered them a free gift in exchange for their email address, and who has been active in communicating with them on a regular basis, educating them and developing that “Know, Like and Trust Factor.”
Need help converting your WordPress website to a mobile-friendly theme or getting your opt-in box and email list set up? Schedule a Complimentary 30-minute Discovery Session with me and we’ll come up with a plan of action to get you pointed in the right direction quickly!

How to Market Your Business Online to Find More Clients – Part 1: Websites & Blogs

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Whether you work with clients only locally and in-person or internationally via phone and internet, as a Trainer, Coach or Consultant you need to market your business online.

According to ConstantContact, 84% of people say that the biggest difference in small businesses between now and five years ago is the use of more online marketing tools.

When you consider that as of June 2014 there were 3,035 million internet users in the world (source), why would you not take advantage of the opportunity to market your business to these internet users?

In this series of articles, I’m going to talk about why you need a website and blog, the current reality of mobile websites, the benefits of having testimonials, why you should create videos, the use of email marketing, as well as how to get more traffic to your website and grow your email list through the use of free gifts, your blog, social media, teleseminars/webinars/telesummits, and more.

All of these play an important factor in marketing your business online, including expanding your reach, creating awareness about your business, growing your email list, educating your audience, establishing the “Know, Like, Trust Factor,” and consistently attracting ideal clients.

In part one, I’m going to start with websites and blogs.

WEBSITES

In 2013, Open Forum reported on various survey results and stated that 52% of small business owners don’t have a website and, of those that do, 70% of small business websites have NO call to action on their website. They say, “If you don’t have a website, your business will become increasingly invisible, until it vanishes altogether.”

I can understand that there are still a lot of small business owners who don’t have a website, but 70% who do don’t have a call to action? If you fall under one of these statistics, you’re missing out on a big opportunity! Your website represents your business online and 44% of online shoppers begin by using a search engine! (Source – 2012)

These days you need a website, and you need to tell people what you want them to do when they land on it! Do you want them to enter their name and email for a free gift (allowing you to build your email list)? Do you want them to sign up for a complimentary strategy or discovery session? Do you want them to buy something? Do you want them to read something? Do you want them to comment on a blog post? Do you want them to share something on social media? Every page of your website should be optimized with a call to action.

As of 2012, 49% of sites failed to comply with basic usability principles, and 50% of online sales were lost because visitors couldn’t find content.  (Source – 2012)

Make it easy for people to find what they need! Have a contact page with a contact form and your contact information. Have your contact information available on every page of your website (name, email, phone number, address – if applicable). Don’t make people search for it – because they won’t!!

Have a clearly laid out menu of pages that are well organized in content. In addition to a Contact page, you may have any of the following: an About page, a Products and/or Services page, a Testimonials page, a Media page, a Blog page, etc. Don’t forget your social media icons, as some people will look for them so they can connect with you on social media.

You may also consider including a search bar to help people find the information they are looking for!

BLOGS

Why is it extremely important to have a blog on your website? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe because blogs are 63% more likely to influence purchase decisions than magazines (source – 2013) and companies with active blogs receive 97% more leads.

In 2011, Hubspot said, “Companies that blog get 55% more web traffic – The more you blog, the more pages Google has to index, and the more inbound links you’re likely to have. The more pages and inbound links you have, the higher you rank on search engines like Google—thus the greater amount of traffic to your website.

Blog-growth.com stated in 2013 that blogs give sites 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links!

Frequent, fresh, original content is what is going to help give you that increased traffic to your website, and more subjects and keywords to be found for in the search engine results. If your ideal client has a question, what are they likely going to do? Google it! When they do, you want them to find your articles in the search engine that answer their questions and address their concerns.

After all, content creation is ranked the single most effective SEO (search engine optimization) technique by 53% (source – 2013).

Having an active blog will educate your readers and potential clients, but it’s going to position you as a knowledgeable leader in your field and it will give you content that you can repurpose to use over and over again (social media content, free gifts, paid products and programs, and more).

Do you have a website? If you do, do you have clear contact information, a well-organized menu, a blog with fresh content, social media icons and, most importantly, a call to action? Tell me about it below!

Stay tuned for Part 2 of How to Market Your Business Online to Find More Clients. I’ll be addressing mobile-friendly websites and email marketing next.

Is Your Marketing Attracting More Clients to Your Coaching Business?

This is part two of my recap from Pat Mussieux‘s Wealth Makers Toronto 2014 event, focusing this time on the Marketing section. This information is compiled from my notes and from some points stated in the Wealth Makers Workbook.

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As a virtual assistant, improving my marketing interests me not only for my own business, but also because I handle many online marketing activities for my clients. However, there are some things I just cannot do for you. You have to be clear on your message and your target market, you have to do the networking yourself, and you should do the actual follow-up yourself.

You know how important marketing is to your business. If you don’t have any clients, you don’t have any cash transactions. “If you don’t have any cash transactions, you have no business.” There are many aspects to marketing, including clarifying your message, utilizing social media, networking, and following up. 

Who do you want to help and why do you want to help them?

A confused mind will not buy. Are you a parenting coach or a relationship coach? Are you a career coach or a life coach? Pick one. Are you a Walmart or a Nordstrom? One is not better than the other, it’s just that the demographics are totally different and you need to know who you are marketing to.

If you’re having trouble with this, work with 100 people and then zero down on the main thing you are helping them with. Then you can create your marketing message and go get those people.

What motivates people to buy?

There are four main things people want, and you need to take these into consideration when deciding what your potential clients want and what you are going to help them with:

  1. More time
  2. More money
  3. Improved health
  4. Better relationships

What is the cost of them staying stuck? The external reasons might be loss of money, poor health, lack of time, lack of fun, not being able to take vacations or act on other opportunities. Internal reasons may be embarrassment, or feeling lonely, depleted, and unsatisfied. Be detached from those who don’t want to become unstuck. They need to make a decision, yes or no, whether or not they want your help.

Qualities of an ideal client

  • They are able and willing to pay what you’re worth
  • They have problems and challenges you love solving and working with
  • They know you can help them and are motivated
  • You actually like them and you wouldn’t mind if they were your next door neighbor.
  • They respect your time, skills, staff and space.

Social Media

I love this quote: “If you are not proactive enough to make sure that your business has an amazing online presence, then you are taking your business in the wrong direction.” – Ali Salman

Here are just a few of the social media stats and tips mentioned at the event or taken from the Wealth Makers workbook:

  • 91% of US consumers who use social media to search for local businesses do so with Facebook. (I know I quite often do.)
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  • 95% of US consumers have a Facebook account, compared to 62% on Twitter.
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  • 30 million businesses now have a Facebook Fan Page.
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  • Use Twitter to get the attention of media and higher level people.
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  • LinkedIn is the best social networking site for lead generation. (Watch for a future article on optimizing your LinkedIn profile.)
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  • LinkedIn is ideal for those of you who want to deal business-to-business, connect with industry/topic specific groups, and develop relationships for potential speaking opportunities.
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  • YouTube has passed Facebook as the largest social media site, with more than 1 billion unique users visiting YouTube each month and over 6 billion hours of video watched each month.

Social media doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Once you know what your goals are, what your promotional schedule will look like, and how much time you want to contribute yourself, your virtual assistant (me) can step in and create a regular presence for you by creating your social media content from blog posts and promotional material, scheduling it, and managing your profiles, if you wish.

Networking

Networking is like dating. Have respect, but also expect others to have respect.

Don’t go spreading your business cards around tables and under people’s noses. It’s tacky. Have a conversation and wait for someone to offer their business card before you offer yours.

Be genuine and sincere. Don’t be pushy and don’t stalk people!

Guard your business cards and be choosy about who you give them to. Don’t collect or accept business cards when they are not a fit and you’re not interested, and don’t give someone else hope you will contact them when you won’t. Don’t give your business card to someone you are not truly interested in developing a business relationship with.

Do not automatically add people’s email addresses to your email list just because they hand you their business card! Not only do people consider it rude, but it violates anti-spam laws. If they give you explicit permission to add them, then add them. Otherwise, if you have a free gift on your website, send them an email from your direct email account and offer the gift to them, providing them with the link to opt in. Let them sign up themselves if they want to. You can also add an image of your free gift and a link to the landing page on the back of your business card to encourage people to sign up.

Which reminds me of another important point that was brought up… don’t use emails like Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo for business! It’s very unprofessional looking and people will not take you seriously as a business owner. I started out with a Gmail address and a free blog site when I started my virtual assistant business, so I really do understand. If you’re starting out and cash flow is tight, as soon as you possibly can, get your own domain name and accompanying email address. It’s really important for your overall business image.

The Follow-up

Put the follow-up appointment(s) in your calendar before you go to the event, so you have that time blocked off. The follow-up is where many of us leave the money on the table. Apparently only 10% of people typically do any follow-up at all. Wow.

Some ways that you can follow-up:

  • Phone call
  • Email
  • Send-Out-Cards
  • Send a personal note and include an article of interest

These are just a few of the points that were covered on the marketing day. I could have added so much more, but I didn’t want to turn this into a plagiarized e-book! Next, I’ll be recapping the Money portion of the event. Of all of these marketing tips, what is your biggest insight or ah-ha? What got you thinking? What are you going to change or implement?

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