Every business owner that I know wants to make more money. But, that isn’t what drives them. With few exceptions, business owners like yourself do what they do because they genuinely love what they do as well as the customers that they get to serve.
Sometimes that love of what we do actually creates a blind spot when it comes to marketing.
My first real dive into entrepreneurship was starting a web design company. I had great packages, marketing material, and even what I thought was a great gimmick for my niche. But, it never really took off.
I tried social media marketing, being an exhibitor at conferences, and paid advertising. Ultimately, I failed to generate enough new business to succeed.
I learned a lot from that experience. I want to focus in on one of those lessons. No matter how good your product is, or how different it is from your competition, you can’t go straight for the jugular when trying to land new clients.
I thought that the reason I wasn’t getting more clients was simply because of a lack of visibility. To me it seemed obvious: if people can see my brand, they will want to hire me.
You may be thinking this as well.
While, you certainly need visibility in order to succeed. You can’t start out by asking for the sale once you gain an audience. The majority of people that you interact with through paid advertising, conferences, and organic marketing will not be ready to buy from you. But, that isn’t to say that they will never buy from you.
The mistake that most small business owners make is that they expect every person that clicks on their social media post, email, or advertisement to purchase immediately.
It doesn’t matter if you have the best product, service, or process. You have to build trust and qualify your leads before you’ve earned the right to ask for the sale.
What you need is a simple marketing funnel that consistently churns out high quality leads that are ready to purchase from you.
This funnel is based on what I like to call the 51/49 principle. Simply put, you should always provide more value to your customers than they give to you. Each step in the funnel that I use is based around this principle. If you can provide insane value to a lead, they are more likely to buy from you.
Let’s take a look at what that framework actually looks like in practice. I’m going to break it down into 3 steps.
Step 1: Awareness
Remember, the initial contact you have with a potential client isn’t meant to ask for the sale. At this stage, you simply want to let people know that you exist. They may buy from you tomorrow or they may lurk around for 6 months before they’re ready to make a purchasing decision.
30 years ago, you would raise awareness by having a sign in front of your business, pay for an advertisement in the newspaper, and maybe even have a sale to generate interest.
In today’s digital world, there are millions of businesses trying to reach people online. They’re all trying to build the biggest, boldest sign in hopes that people will buy from them now. Most of them are in search for quick easy fixes instead of a simple marketing funnel that pays off in the long term.
So, how do you get people to notice your business?
You give them value.
My favorite way of doing this is through short blog posts or helpful resources that are related to your product or service. You have unique insight into your industry as a practitioner. Generating awareness for your business is as simple as sharing what you know with people.
Whether you are a real estate agent, plumber, or own a spice company this is something that you can easily integrate into your business. In fact, here a few example of businesses from those exact niches using this strategy:
These resources are all fairly short and help to build brand awareness among potential customers. Some of the people reading these resources will be ready to purchase from you. Others may need some time. Others may never buy and do it themselves. However, all of them can help you to generate more revenue.
If people read your content and find it helpful, they will share it with their friends. That means even someone who never purchases from you can become a source of income for your business.
But, it can’t stop at creating content. This is the place where I lose the people looking for just a quick fix. They’ll try producing content without implementing the rest of the marketing funnel and see it fail. I don’t want you to be that person.
Step 2: Build Trust With Potential Customers
After people visit your content what happens next? You’ve spent time and in some cases money getting people to read your blog or resource. You have two options. You can hope and pray that the people reading your blog either buy now or remember your company when making a purchase or you can implement a simple next step.
For my business, an email course is my next step. I don’t just want you to read a blog of mine, I want to provide an actionable resource that helps you make positive changes to your business. If I do this right, you will see me as someone trustworthy and hopefully purchase a more advanced resource or hire me for one on one consulting.
This is something that you need to do in your business as well. It doesn’t have to be an email course, but it needs to be something valuable. Your resource should be in depth and should be something that can truly help your potential customer.
Don’t waste your time with a generic ebook or by taking the easy road of just asking for their email address. Instead, spend some time asking yourself what your ideal customer is struggling with. Once you figure that out, set out to create the best resource possible that helps them solve that problem.
Your potential customers will see you not only as someone that they can trust, but also as someone who has already helped them. Remember the 51/49 principle?
Those that have truly benefited from your free resource will be much more likely to purchase from you because they feel that they owe you something. Even if they don’t buy, at the very least they will share your resources with others who might buy.
Now that you’ve built trust it’s time to move on to the next step.
Step 3: Relationship
So, what do you do after someone has completed your resource? Just like in step 1, you can hope and pray that the people buy now or you can implement a simple next step.
There are two next steps that you need to implement in your marketing funnel.
The first one is to simply ask for the sale.
Hallelujah! It’s time to actually make some money. Once you’ve built trust, your potential client now sees you as an authority. By asking for the sale, you are using the trust you’ve built to suggest a solution.
Like any good relationship, it should start out with fireworks. You can accomplish this in a few different ways: discounts, added bonuses, or exclusive products/services. Remember, you’re not trying to create a one time purchase. You’re trying to create a lifelong relationship.
That’s the step that includes fireworks and hallelujahs. But, there’s another less sexy step that you need to implement as well.
The unfortunate truth is that not everyone is going to purchase from you. However, that isn’t to say that just because they don’t purchase immediately they will never purchase.
You need to create a next step for those that don’t purchase. They trust you, but for whatever reason they aren’t ready to purchase. That’s okay. How you respond to that hesitancy will either strengthen or erode the trust that you’ve built.
If a potential customer stops hearing from you or worse only hears from you about purchasing, their trust in you will erode. However, if you continue to nurture them and provide them with helpful resources, they will remember you and give you their business when they are ready to purchase.
That’s the simple marketing funnel in a nutshell. Want to learn more? Join my FREE course below.