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Getting clear, automated & visible… in just 5 days

Join the Challenge: https://thevirtualsolution.com/5-day-challenge
 

A recap of the video:

I sent out a survey recently, and the results were very interesting. It reminds me that people aren’t always thinking what I think they are and they aren’t necessarily struggling with what I think they are. That’s why it’s important to do some occasional market research with your target market and actually ask them questions.

With my online audience and those who participated in my survey, there is a bit of a divide. Some of you are in different places in your business. Some of you admitted you really haven’t started to make money in your business yet, and some of you are doing very well, consistently making 4-5 figures per month. Some of you have been in business for a very short period of time, while others have been in business for more than 5 or 10 years. This means your needs may be different; however, even though you may be successful, you still might not have all of your marketing and technology pieces in place for running your business online, and you still may not be clear and concise in your marketing message.

I wanted to put together a 5-day challenge so I could share some of my knowledge with you and help you get some clarity and take some steps forward instead of getting stuck in confusion, overwhelm, fear, or procrastination, and I know that’s what’s been happening with some of you. I’ve talked to some of you more than once and you’re still in the same place you were two years ago, in a place of non-action. Taking little steps forward consistently can make a big difference in your business. It tells the universe that you are taking action and you are ready to attract more clients.

I wanted to try to find the common ground with what many of you are struggling with and what’s holding you back when it comes to technology and marketing your business.

There are certain things you ALL need to have in place to be able to attract your target market to you, build your email list of prospects, and make sales. You need to clearly know who your target market is, you need to know what they struggle with the most, you need to have a clear and concise elevator pitch that doesn’t cause a blank or confused look, that allows you to stand out from the crowd and make an impact; you need a compelling free gift set up on your website so you can collect your prospects’ email addresses, and you need to build the Know, Like and Trust Factor with your prospects online.

This isn’t going to be a heavy-duty challenge that is going to take up a huge amount of your time every day, and it certainly is not going to be tech-heavy. Although I may touch on some systems you may need, for example with setting up a free gift for listbuilding, it will be more of an overview of the steps involved, not a step-by-step tutorial of systems. The idea is to clarify the process, help you come up with ideas that will work for you, and help you make a decision to implement.

If you need things set up for you or you want some one-on-one guidance to do it yourself, you can email me and we can discuss that.

One thing you likely all have in common is you get overwhelmed by something related to your business.

For those of you making consistent money from month-to-month, whether you have a VA or not, you probably have quite a busy schedule working with clients, possibly speaking events, workshops, marketing, program and product creation, and more. The last thing you want is to sit down each day and watch an hour-long video and go through a list of time-consuming exercises.

For those of you who are newer to business and you have virtually nothing set up, you likely get overwhelmed by too much information, too many action steps, and not knowing what to do next.

I’m inviting you to “Get clear, get automated and get visible… in just 5 days!” So you can build your email list and attract more clients. It’s a free 5-day challenge designed particularly for coaches, speakers and consultants, although it really applies to any entrepreneur. It starts July 17th. You can go to https://thevirtualsolution.com/5-day-challenge.

This is the first time I’ve offered this type of online event, so I have no idea how many people will decide to join us. I’m going to set up a private Facebook group where I’ll do a short Facebook Live broadcast each day. I’ll also send an email out with the details of the challenge each day.

I’m going to try to keep the daily Facebook Live videos fairly short and generally focused on one subject, and I’m going to try my best to pack as much into that time as I can without making it too confusing or overwhelming. If you can’t make it live for the broadcast, you can watch it later at your convenience.

I hope you’ll find the exercises fairly simple, although some of you will breeze through them faster than others, depending on where you are in your business. Some days it will just be one exercise, and other days there might be a multi-part exercise.

You can make so much progress in your business by taking even one baby step or micro action step each day. It’s all in the action.

The free “Get Clear, Get Automated and Get Visible… in just 5 Days” Challenge starts July 17th.

Learn more here: https://thevirtualsolution.com/5-day-challenge

 

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 Pt. 5: Video Marketing for Coaches – You May Hate Doing It, But Your Prospects Love It!

(My imperfect video with less than desirable sound without my headset!)

I hate doing videos. I hate being seen. I hate being scripted. I hate being unprepared and stammering because I’m unscripted. I hate doing multiple retakes and video editing because I’m a perfectionist.

However, I love the results of video marketing. I love the increased views I receive. I love the feedback I get. I love connecting with my target audience in a more direct way.

I love watching videos. Sometimes I get tired of reading and I just want to relax for a few minutes, and watch and listen. I love seeing the person that I’m learning from speak. I love hearing what they have to say. It feels more real, more genuine. I feel more connected to them. I trust them more. I like them more.

How about you? Do you feel the same way?

Many entrepreneurs feel this way. Many coaches feel this way. Many virtual assistants feel this way. The fact is… many of us have a fear of being seen and judged. It’s something that we just have to get over and do it anyway. Your prospects want and crave video. They want to be entertained. If they’re not watching your video, they’re going to watch somebody else’s, and that somebody else could very well be your competitor! We all need to take every opportunity to put ourselves out there in front of our target audience, to be seen by them in various formats and reach them in different ways.

Video marketing is not new. It has been popular for a number of years and it’s still popular. People are so busy and overwhelmed by online content. Many prefer to watch a short video rather than to take the time to read.

Video on Your Website

Digital Sherpa says that, “80% of your online visitors will watch a video, while only 20% will actually read content in its entirety.” That’s a HUGE percentage! [1]

They also said that 1/3 of all online activity is spent watching video and that the average internet user is exposed to an average of 32.2 videos in a month. [1]

According to Wistia, “Websites with video are 50 times more likely to be ranked on Google’s first page.”

Re-read those statistics. Go shoot some frigging videos. Get out your smart phone or turn on your laptop’s web cam and shoot some video. Sure, professional videos are better (and I can give you a referral if you need some edited or spruced up, or if you need short marketing videos created for you, etc.), and you may want to consider professional filming for actual sales videos, but when creating videos for tips, updates, video blogging, etc., just find a quiet, well-lit place and start shooting.

YouTube Stats, Social Media and Live Streaming

Certainly don’t forget about YouTube. It has been stated that YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world. Wow. Let me repeat that. The #2 SEARCH ENGINE in the world.

Every day 100 million internet users watch an online video and 50% of users watch business related videos on YouTube once a week!  [1]

Post your videos on YouTube, but don’t forget to post and share your videos on all of your social media pages and profiles. Share them everywhere!

You can also do live steaming videos with recorded playback through GoogleHangouts and YouTube, Periscope, Facebook Live (coming soon to all profiles and pages), and more. These give you a way to connect with and educate your current subscribers and community, and they also give you the opportunity to attract new prospects. Do you need to do all of these? Not necessarily. It depends on where your target audience hangs out the most. Don’t be afraid to do some testing and analyzing to see what kind of response you get with the different platforms, and then focus more time and energy where you are getting good results.

Video in Emails

Click-through rates increase 2-3 times when marketers include a video in an email and “Subscriber to Lead” conversation rates increase 51% when video is included in email marketing campaigns. [1]

If you’re not using video as one of your marketing tools, you’re missing out on a big share of online traffic opportunity.

Do you use video as part of your marketing campaign? How have you used it and what results have you seen because of it? Tell me below!

Want to know how to add video to your email newsletter or campaigns? Stay tuned for my next article and I’ll explain exactly how you can do this!

[1] The statistics were from 2014 and were found at the following link – http://www.digitalsherpa.com/blog/25-amazing-video-marketing-statistics – which now redirects to another website.

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 Website Confusing Potential Clients? Make Sure Your Niche & What You Do Are Obvious.

Confused WebsiteIf I go to your website, will I be able to tell within seconds what you do and who you work with? And when I say who you work with, I mean your ideal client. Is it obvious to a potential client, or is your website confusing?

People generally aren’t going to take the time to search for it. If your website doesn’t catch their attention and identify them, immediately, as an ideal client, they aren’t going to linger to find out more.

I make it clear on my website that I’m a virtual assistant and that I support business coaches and life coaches. True, I don’t try to cram all of my services on the home page, but visitors can instantly qualify or disqualify themselves by knowing that I offer virtual assistance and that I offer it to business coaches and life coaches.

If they don’t need virtual assistance, they will likely leave. If their business doesn’t fall under the coaching umbrella, they may choose to leave. That is perfectly fine because they are not my ideal clients. If their business falls under the coaching umbrella and they need virtual assistance, they will hopefully stay on my website to learn more about my services and discover if I can help them.

Put Yourself in Your Ideal Client’s Shoes

Think about what you do when you go to a website and you’re looking for information. You want to find the information you are looking for quickly. Do you get frustrated when you can’t find that simple bit of information easily? Do you tend to leave or do you spend time searching for the information? It probably depends on the situation and what it is you’re looking for. Most people don’t have a long attention span these days and always seem to be in a hurry. Make it easy for them, and as obvious as possible.

What is Your Niche?  Who is Your Ideal Client?  What Do You Do?  How Can You Help ME?

Do you typically work with people just like me? Are we likely to be a good fit? Do you understand my niche and what I need? How can you help ME? These are things I will want to know. If I find the answers to these are yes, then you have my attention because you are an expert and you already understand me! I probably don’t need to look any further to find someone to help me.

You want to make sure that it’s easy for people to quickly identify what you do and how you can help within seconds of landing on your home page, and without scrolling down! Use your website name, slogan, and all of the real estate “above the fold” (the area visible without scrolling down) to your advantage to get your ideal client’s attention. If what you do and how you can help ME (your ideal client) is not obvious, people may quickly move on to the next website to find the help they are looking for.

What Does This Have to Do With Virtual Assistance?

I sometimes have to have this conversation with prospective clients because if you don’t know exactly who you’re targeting your services to, how are your ideal clients going to know? How am I, as your virtual assistant, going to know? I’ll be limited in my ability to help you in your marketing efforts if you’re not clear on your business and your goals, and I want to see your business grow, not struggle!

Even though you clearly state on your website who your ideal clients are and the problems that you help them solve, you can still help other people if they approach you, but you can’t be seen as the go-to-expert if you are being vague in your marketing, which includes your website.

I’m not your business coach, but I’ve worked with enough of them to know how important it is to get this figured out, and that’s why I so strongly recommend my clients have a business coach (even if you are a business coach yourself). Even the best business coaches have coaches to motivate them, hold them accountable, and help them see things in a different way. If you’re struggling with this, feel free to ask for a list of business coaches I recommend.

If you have all of this in order, let’s set up a time to talk about your business goals and how we can implement your strategy, while freeing up more of your time to allow you to work on enrolling new clients and creating new coaching programs.

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