The first step in business success is determining exactly who you want to serve
You have to know your target market inside out. Far too many businesses miss this important point. You ask the average business person who their market is, and they will say something like, “I sell men’s clothing, so my target market is clearly any adult male who can afford them.”
That’s too broad, and it’s why many businesses won’t succeed — especially in the online space.
And if a business succeeds with this kind of broad targeting, two things are bound to happen:
- The owner will never make maximum money from the business because they aren’t serving their ideal customers.
- They will get frustrated trying to serve everyone. business itself is hard enough, don’t make it harder by refusing to streamline your market. Not everyone is in your target market!
If you’re running an online business, you can’t afford to joke with detailed targeting; otherwise, you will struggle to create the right marketing message to attract and nurture your audience. Let’s go deeper into running ads and marketing communication, but before that, let’s make sure you get your audience right. Here are things you must do:
Create an ideal customer avatar
List the ideal characteristics of the customer you would like to work with.
- Who are they?
- What do they like?
- What are their pains and passions?
- How much should they be earning annually?
- Are they in a particular location, or maybe location doesn’t matter to you?
Use pen and paper or your digital notepad to write all their characteristics. This exercise may seem silly initially, but you’d be amazed how much it would transform your business.
Hook your ideal customers with great offers
Now it gets super easy because once you know who your customers are and where you can find them, you will know how to hook them. For example, let’s say your business exists to serve middle-aged wrestlers struggling with skincare; you know that offering them a free skincare guide will be good bait because they would love to try something new.
Now you’ve learned how to research and locate your ideal customers. Next, we will show you:
- How to identify your value ladder and move customers through it.
- How to create a sales funnel that converts like crazy.
- What it takes to create stellar marketing campaigns, and much more.
Move your ideal customers slowly up your value ladder
Every business should have a dream destination it wants to take its ideal customers to. Contrary to mainstream thinking, business isn’t first and foremost about creating products or services; it’s about solving problems. A dentist is in the business of solving dental problems, not just fixing broken teeth; a makeup artist is in the facial beauty business, not just making people up; a barber is in the grooming business; they are not just cutting hair, and so on.
Do you get it? Many people allow the specific product or service they are rendering to put them in a box, but to make maximum money off your business, you need to let your imagination flow. Think about the highest result you can possibly offer your customers, then build a value ladder around it. Not everyone would be able to afford the peak result you’re offering, and even those who can afford it won’t buy instantly. They have to be moved through a value ladder. Here’s what a value ladder looks like:
- Value 1
- Value 2 (or more)
- Peak value
- Continuity program
The bait is how you lure them in. It’s usually free (or almost free) but valuable. Here’s an offline example. If you run a beauty salon, you could put up an ad that says, “Anyone who comes in tomorrow gets free hair treatment.” This is your bait. But when they arrive, you could offer to sell a hair growth product to those that seem to need it, or you could offer to style their hair. That’s a higher level of value at a cost. Then again, you could sell your makeup and manicure services. Your peak value could be to take care of all their beauty and hair treatments. Of course, not everyone would sign up for this, but if your ad attracted quality leads, a few should sign up. For a continuity program, you could ask them to pay an annual fee for all their treatments, or they could make monthly payments. The goal is to convert them to repeat customers and maintain a steady income stream.
This value ladder principle can be applied to any business. You just have to think things through and come up with offers your ideal market can’t refuse.
Create marketing campaigns that meet your target market right where they are
Most business owners don’t have time to focus on marketing. There are just too many things to do, so they outsource their marketing to either an in-house team or a marketing agency they trust. If you’re in this category, chances are you’ve been told that Internet marketing (when done well) is more effective than traditional marketing, but you don’t exactly know why.
The secret is targeting.
Online marketing makes it possible to get as detailed as possible with your targeting. For instance, you can reach mothers who have children with autism who are passionate about medicine, regularly read Psychology Today, and have spent $5,000 – $10,000 online in the past 30 days. You can be as specific as you want. Customers like marketing messages to reach them where they are, but that’s not possible with traditional marketing media like radio, TV, and print.
There are two secrets to creating advertising campaigns that convert. The first is to research your market so well that you know it inside out. Understand your potential customers’ online and offline behaviors. Know where they congregate online, their pain points, and how your business can solve problems. This understanding will help you structure your ad, and, most importantly, you will know where to run them.
Next, make your ad media (images or videos) and headlines catchy and valuable enough to force your market to leave what they’re doing online and click it. It’s not easy to pull at first but start and learn in the process.
Successful online businesses don’t just understand the traffic game; they master it
There are three types of online traffic that most non-marketers don’t know about — traffic you own, the traffic you control, and traffic you have no control over. Paying careful attention to the details of each traffic type is your ultimate conversion secret.
- Traffic you own
This is the best traffic in business. It refers to your email list, followers, readers, or customers. They are traffic you “own” because you can easily reach out to them without having to pay Google, Facebook, or any of the other advertising media giants.
- Traffic you control
If you run an ad on Facebook, you don’t own that traffic; Facebook does. But you get to choose what you want that traffic to do, so it’s okay to say that you control it. For example, you could direct them to a landing page, a blog post, an eCommerce store, etc. The problem with this sort of traffic is that you have to pay every time you need it, so a wise thing to do is convert these leads into traffic you own so you don’t have to pay the next time you want to pass a message across. You do this by asking them to give you their emails or phone numbers in exchange for something valuable.
- Traffic you don’t control
This last type of traffic just shows up. You don’t own it, and you don’t control it. When someone searches for something on Google, and your website shows up, they could land on a blog post you have and then continue to explore your website or just leave. You can’t control them. Similarly, you can’t control traffic from social media — unless when you’re running an ad. Your goal with the traffic you don’t control and traffic you control is to convert them to traffic you own.
How to get your emails opened? Use the elements of persuasion
The average person is subscribed to 10-20 emails, and most people receive emails on a daily basis. So have that in mind when sending emails to your subscribers.
There are many email formats that work, but underlying every successful email sequence are timeless principles of persuasion. Most deep-pocket companies hire expert copywriters to handle their email copies for them, giving them a high click-through rate. Indeed you might not have the budget for hiring an email copywriter, and that’s okay. With practice, you, too, can learn to write emails that get opened.
Your email subject is very important. It’s the first thing your readers see, and they base their reading decision on what your headline says. So if your subject makes them curious, stuns them, or promises something they need, you’re sure to get many click-throughs.
The next thing you need to work on after the headline is your body. Building a connection with your audience works best, as people are more fond of you, look forward to your emails, and ultimately buy from you when they can somehow relate with you. Your email is a good platform for building that kind of connection. Don’t worry about perfection when crafting emails. Just be genuine while making your emails relatable. Are you writing to new freelancers? What freelancing experiences do you have that your readers can relate to? How can you weave valuable lessons into your story while at the same time pointing them to your product or service without being salesy?
It takes time to learn how to persuade people to take action, but the more you do it, the better you understand. People sometimes wonder how many emails they should be sending. Send as many as you can and as frequently as possible, but ideally, no more than once per day and at least once a week. This will help you remain fresh in your reader’s minds without annoying them.
When creating sales funnels, keep in mind the needs and wants of your target audience
Don’t just go straight into creating landing pages, crafting ad copies, and building a hot offer. All those are necessary, but they are not the first step. The first step is identifying the kind of traffic you would be driving to your landing page. There are three kinds of traffic in this regard.
Hot traffic. These folks have a direct relationship with you. They are your customers, followers, or email subscribers. They know what your business is all about, and they love the value you’re giving them. It’s easy to make them take your desired action. You don’t have to do much — just tell them the value of what you’re offering, and they will jump at it.
Warm traffic. This traffic comes from people who have heard of you from a different source other than yours. For example, it’s warm traffic if a social media influencer talks about your product in their video and asks their followers to check you out. Likewise, you will get lots of warm traffic when someone recommends your product in a Facebook group or blog post because they used it, and it worked for them.
Cold traffic. This category of people don’t know anything about you, so you have to go out of your way to convince them by using testimonials or free trials. If you’re smart, these people must not be in the same category as the other traffic types when planning your funnel. It makes marketing sense to direct them to a different landing page.
Your online identity is important to sales. Before the average person buys any product or service from a business, they conduct a brief web search to see if they can find reviews by other people who have patronized the company. Imagine that’s your business, and when your prospects research you, the top results they see are negative reviews from bloggers. Bad business. This is why you need to put a lot in place to ensure you don’t have a bad reputation online. Of course, you can’t control what other people say about you, but you have full control over your delivery system and the quality of your products. When you give people the wow effect, they will feel indebted to leave good reviews on social media, on their blogs, or in the form of testimonials. Prompt customer service is another way to get good testimonials from people. There are various options for customer service, but using social media as a customer service tool is a good idea because of its dual benefits. On the one hand, you get to attend to customers promptly, and on the other hand, you can build an audience for your company using your social media platform. Social media can either be part of your customer service tool or the only strategy you use for customer service. It largely depends on where you are in your business and how much you’re willing and able to invest in it.
If you have a company blog, turn every page of that blog into a mini landing page. Use pop-ups to advertise your bait on every page of your website. Your ideal customers will find the bait interesting and click to get them. That way, you easily convert them from the traffic you don’t have control over to traffic you own.