In my Internet Marketing for Small Business series of blogs we reviewed the 3 pieces of your small business’ online presence:
We then discussed the 3 primary ways to get Traffic (Search Engines, Online Ads/Google Adwords, Viral Marketing) and of course reviewed videos explaining some basics of Viral Marketing, Search Engine Optimization and optimizing your Google Adwords campaigns. We most recently looked at some great tips for your website in my last blog.
The final piece to the puzzle and the item we’ll be reviewing today is the Commitment. The commitment is simply the visitors commitment to buy from you or to contact you for more information if you’re not selling any products online. Obviously we’ve been talking about the sales aspect of your website, not how it caters to current customers, so with that in mind, everything you do to your website should be geared towards that goal. Here are a few pointers for achieving that.
- Setup your website layout and design according to my last blog.
- Use the 4.5 points of marketing to address their questions and concerns.
- Offer them something for free in exchange for their email address.
Since the first 2 points were addressed in the last post, we’re solely going to focus on the third.
When buying a product, the primary reason people use the internet is to educate themselves by reading information about the product or service they are interested in. They may also be looking for the best value, but without knowing what makes a product or service valuable they’ll first have to educate themselves on that product or service. This is where you have the opportunity to set yourself apart. If you’re an online retailer, the best reason for someone giving you their email address would be to receive email notifications of special sales and promotions. However, if you’re a service or knowledge-based business, they can have many reasons for dealing with you. A few thoughts your prospect may have to consider would be:
- Your level of expertise – Can you fix their problem the right way the first time?
- Your history – If your business is less than 5 years old chances are you’re not going to be here in another 5 years.
- Your prices – Are they fair and reasonable for the services you deliver?
- Your credibility – What do your customers say/think about you?
- Your guarantee – If you turn out to not do what you told me, what do I stand to lose?
Now your website can do a great job of addressing most of that, however you need to hold something back. You need to not let the cat out of the bag on your expertise right away. Why? After all, that may be the most important thing to your client and what they NEED to know about you before making a decision. Exactly. Because of that, if setup correctly, your potential client will gladly give you their name and email address in exchange for you sharing some of your expertise with them. Read that sentence again and let it sink in for a minute. That’s your hook. If the rest of your website is setup in such a way to address the other 4 items (and any others you may determine your prospects want to know) then they’ll trust that you are an expert.
This is where you utilize an “opt-in”. An Opt-in is where your visitor opts-into your mailing list or newsletter. Obviously the key to getting someone to decide to sign up for your newsletter is to offer them your expertise for free in return. So once they opt-in, you email them a PDF or direct them to a web page where they can download a PDF providing your expertise. (Mailchimp.com can get you started with this for free.) This would be in the form of an article, whitepaper, special report, expose’, or research paper addressing your expertise. For instance:
- For a law firm – “The top 10 cost-saving questions you need to ask before putting down a retainer for a lawyer.”
- For an accountant – “The top 10 things your accountant missed on your last tax return.”
- For a plumber – “How to know if your plumber is more interested in your pipes or your wallet.”
- For a an auto-body shop – “The quickest way to tell if your body-shop repair estimate is accurate or if the body-man has been spending too much time in the paint booth.”
- For a photographer – “The 5 things a photographer must do to get the best picture of you – that have nothing to do with the camera!”
You get the idea. The goal is to provide a topic that is relevant and important to your visitors. Here are a few guidelines:
- Make it generic – Don’t say “top 10 reasons to do business with us”. No one is going to give you their email in exchange for a sales pitch. They’re looking for a “free lunch” by learning from your expertise.
- Set it up to paint a picture that only your business fits – This is, of course, the power of this sort of marketing. It allows you to define exactly what the perfect lawyer, cpa, plumber, beauty salon, etc. should look like. Make sure only your business can fit that definition. This is part of the way you can build value to demonstrate that your prices are higher but your overall value is unmatched.
- Provide some real expertise – We’re all smart enough to see right through a thinly veiled sales pitch. This is the kind of thing that will help them decide to NOT do business with you.
- Make it simple – Lay it out with a list or graphs and make it conversational. Write this copy, as you should with all marketing copy, as if you’re sitting across the table from this person explaining to them exactly what you’re talking about.
- Promise not to sell their email – Unless of course you do plan to sell their email. But I don’t really recommend that.
Now some of the great internet marketers have learned that providing a PDF in exchange for an email only gets you so far. Instead they setup automatic email responder campaigns with the help of sites like aweber.com. This basically tells your visitor they’re going to receive some level of your expertise once per week for the next 4 weeks or something along those lines. This keeps you in touch with them constantly and helps you get closer to Jay Conrad Levinson’s claim that it takes 9 communications to make a prospect a customer. This is the reason gathering an email address is so important to begin with. If Levinson’s research is accurate, your chances of gaining a customer because of one visit to your website are pretty slim. However, if they visit your website and then you keep in constant contact with them via email, now the tide has turned in your favor. 😉
To your success in gaining a commitment with your website, Bryan