Blog | Sales & Marketing

Struggling with Online Marketing? Here’s How I Got a Grip as a Business Owner – and You Can, Too

I grew up in a family-owned business. I remember stuffing envelopes for my dad that we would mail out to his customer list every month. Later, I was in outside sales and we would simply cold call – on the phone or in person – to make new connections and schedule appointments.

But then the world began changing. The process of connecting with new customers was moving away from the mail and phone. . . and onto the Internet.

Like many people, at first, I was mystified by online marketing. Especially, those “free offers” that were starting to pop up online.

More and more companies were offering me a free guide or inside information if I would just share my email.

I would opt in and suddenly be immersed in a world of constant, automatic marketing.  

“How did they do that?” I wondered.

So, I jumped in to learn how the pros were doing it. Initially, I tried out all the free or low-cost solutions that were available. My first free offers attempted to solve all the world’s problems, and my target audience was really broad.

Unsurprisingly, the results weren’t good. And I felt more overwhelmed by the technology than ever.

I got so wrapped up in the technology that I lost track of what I was really trying to do: provide value to potential clients and build relationships. Just like we used to do with the old monthly mailings or the cold calls to potential clients.

That’s when I decided to take a step back and reevaluate my online marketing strategy. In the process, I made three major changes to my online marketing strategy that has resulted in incredible results:

1. I refocused on basic marketing fundamentals. I know from experience that it takes many points of contact to sign up a new client. We have to build value and trust before someone will take the plunge and work with us. That means starting with a strong message and a compelling offer that resonate with your target clients.

So I started thinking about my marketing in terms of milestones; Attract, Connect, Nurture, Convert. I built my marketing around these 4 milestones.

2. I up leveled all my marketing systems. Yes, Internet marketing can be a cost-effective way to reach and engage with a lot of prospects. But that doesn’t mean the absolute lowest-cost option is the best. There’s a huge range in overall quality, integration, and usability among the many options available. Instead of using free or cheap systems, I decided to invest in the best systems available. Frankly, they’re easier to use, you get better tech support and ultimately I have saved time and had better results. If you’d like some recommendations, feel free to drop me a line.

3. I invested in support. For things that aren’t a key strength of your business or already a capability, it’s often a better strategy to lean on outside experts for help. Instead of learning all this stuff on my own, I invested well over $60,000 in training to better understand how to leverage the power of online marketing technology.

Initially, I had only intended to use everything I learned to expand my own consulting practice. However, I quickly found that many of my clients were having the same struggles I once did. So, I started to help them, too. And now I’d like to help you.

Here are some of the key lessons I’ve learned in the process of mastering online marketing …

There’s no such thing as a silver bullet.

Plenty of hype surrounds online marketing technology, but in essence, it’s really just a new way to send out mailings and get on the phone with potential clients.

And, there’s a lot of competition for attention out there. Just think about what’s flooding your inbox today. You’d better have something compelling to say. Refine your brand, your message, and your offer, and keep enhancing it, to make the most of the online marketing opportunity. Then, seek a comprehensive approach that doesn’t depend on one tactic, such as an email campaign. Depending on your audience, you may want to include some PPC, retargeting, social media engagement and other elements.

It takes time and volume.

You need to get some volume and some consistency in the system to really understand what’s working and what’s not working.

Online marketing automation is an incredibly low cost on a per-communication basis. But keep in mind that it may take a lot of emails to get the same results you may get with just a few phone calls. You can’t expect one email distribution to score big or even give you much insight into whether anyone’s paying attention. I remember when I launched my first client attraction funnel, I would check in every day to see who opted in and then wonder, “Why haven’t they called me yet?”

It takes time and volume to build a winning system. It’s important to Test, Measure and Adapt. When you do this systematically, you can eventually make a big evolution and drive great results.

You have to be yourself.

We’re bombarded with marketing messages every single day. It’s easy to get distracted by what “other people” are doing. There’s also the temptation to just go for clicks, to exaggerate, to distract or divert.

You can and probably should be provocative if you have something to say that might jolt your prospects and spur action. The important thing is to stay authentic and speak directly to the types of clients you want to serve in your own authentic voice. I can tell you from experience that this will get you the best results. Today, I help business owners collect thousands of leads a month and collect millions of dollars in sales with the power of automated online marketing systems.

While most of my clients continue to rely on some level of personal contact with their clients to sell and service their products and services, online marketing is one way they can attract, connect, nurture and convert more clients, while saving them both time and money.