You’ve got a business - now how do you find your customers? How do you reach them?
Many businesses, online and offline, shut their doors because they can’t get enough paying customers. Your ability as an online business owner to find paying customers should be your top priority if it isn’t already.
I’ll be sharing some of the things I’ve learned running my online businesses, as well as things I’ve learned from marketing expert Jay Abraham.
As online business owners, we don’t have a physical storefront that people can accidentally stumble upon while out and about. So we’ll need to look into the strategies of how we can attract targeted leads.
A mistake that a lot of online business owners make is thinking that once they have a website or an e-commerce store or an online course, people will automatically discover their stuff and start buying. There’s nothing worse than creating something that no one can buy because they’re not even aware of its existence.
The Importance Of Having And Building A List
So the first thing that any online business owner should do when they’re looking for paying customers is to have and grow a targeted list. A list could be your email list or your Messenger bot subscriber list or even SMS phone list.
If the number of people on your list is too small or your response rate is too low, then there is going to be a limit to the effectiveness of your marketing and a limit to the number of paying customers you will get.
I want to think of this formula: Marketing x List Size = Results.
If you and your competitor are equally as good at marketing, you’re selling the exact same item, the only difference is that she’s got a big list and you’ve got a small list. You both send the same number of emails and you have the same open and click through rates.
But because of your list size, your competitor is going to get a result that’s many times better than yours, just because her list was bigger. So a bigger list buys you better results.
When it comes to building your list, there are two key elements: there’s traffic and then there’s conversion. If you get all the traffic in the world but you are unable to convert that traffic, then you’re not going to be able to build your list.
Now there are three key principles that will help you get more leads: determine your traffic source, offer something attractive that will incentivize them to exchange their emails or number for that offer, then finally convert them into paying customers.
Determining Your Traffic Source
There are 3 main ways that you can choose from to generate leads for your online business. Not 100, not 1000, but just 3 core ways. It might feel like there’s a hundred different ways online to get traffic, since there are new marketing tools every week, but they boil down to 3 ways to generate leads, and you’re going to choose which one is best for you.
The 3 ways to generate leads are free marketing, paid marketing, or partnership marketing.
Let’s talk about free marketing first. You may not have realised this, but there are ways to market your business and get new leads and grow your list absolutely for free.
By creating content a.k.a content marketing which can be free, you get to create an authority for your online business. So how do you go about creating content to generate leads?
Once you identify who your target audience is, the first thing is to ask yourself what type of content are they searching for or consume, then create great content for them.
Put the content on your website, your blog, YouTube, podcast just like this one, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram - whatever that is popular with your target audience.
You might be wondering, how do I know which source to create content for? The short answer is figure out where your clients already are and go there.
Any of the above mentioned channels can work with almost every client. So if you are more B2B, then you should be creating content on LinkedIn.
Once you’re regularly creating great content, it starts to position you as the authority in your field, and you start to get more leads. Now content marketing is not the fastest way to grow a list and get more leads. You’ll need patience - and a lot of entrepreneurs just want things right now.
Now let’s talk about paid marketing. These are ads that you’ll be running to quickly grow a list and get more leads. And paid marketing is great because when done correctly, it produces fast results and you can actually measure the return on investment.
So some of the common places that you can run ads are on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google Search, LinkedIn, podcasts… there are so many options available for paid marketing.
The third strategy is partnership marketing or joint venture, which is identifying other people who already have the target audience that you want and build a business relationship with them.
This is something that I’ve learned a while back from marketing legend, Jay Abraham, and it is by far my favorite way of finding paying customers. When Jay was asked, “If we could just take away every single strategy you know, and you have to start from scratch with no money, no list, no nothing, and you can pick one strategy and bring it with you, what would that be?” and he said, “Partnership and endorsed marketing, without a doubt.”
When I learned that from listening to Jay, I began to apply that in my business. I started to look for ways that I can partner up with complimenting businesses who are not in direct competition with my company. You can create partnerships with people online. You can develop partnerships with people that sell at trade shows. You can create partnerships with people who are consultants who can recommend you.
And this is how I’ve gotten many of my clients for Chrys Media. By partnering up with Facebook advertisers, with marketing agencies, with social media marketers, I’ve been able to tap into their audience and sell my messenger bots.
When you partner a business that compliments your product or service, they’ve already spent thousands of dollars and countless hours building relationships with their prospects and customers, who are the same people you’re trying to reach.
They already have the audience, they already have the trust of the audience, and so by virtue of strategically partnering up with them, you get that “trust” transferred over to you when they introduce you.
So how do you go about finding complimenting businesses to partner up with? Think about it in 3 steps - you identify the businesses, you approach them, and then you serve and strategise with them.
Step one, we identify our partners. Think about the businesses that sell products or services that compliments yours and are not in direct competition. So for example, if you’re an online health coach, can you partner up with a healthy snack food brand? Can you partner up with a gym that has no health or fitness coaching service?
Step two, once you’ve identified your partners, it’s time to approach them via email. I like to send an introduction email to the right person in the organization, and at the same time, I like to connect with them on LinkedIn as well, if they’re on LinkedIn.
Step three is serve and strategise. Once they’re on a call with you, share how this partnership can benefit them. You’ll want to strategise a way that you could work together and then have them introduce you to their database.
How To Convert Your Traffic
So that’s traffic, now let’s talk about the conversion. How do you convert your social media traffic, your podcast listeners, your YouTube viewers, etc into leads on your list? You do that by offering an attractive lead magnet that will entice them to give you their email address. You want them to go “Oh this looks enticing, it’s exactly what I want or need”.
A lot of online business owners get confused about the lead magnet. What should it be? What shouldn’t it be?
Now what it shouldn’t be is signing up for free email newsletter. That is not enticing enough for someone to give you their email address. What I want you to think about is firstly, is this going to be a high reward or a low reward lead magnet?
Obviously, we want to create a lead magnet that has high reward, so it is something that is useful and valuable to your target audience.
At the same time, you want to ask yourself this question: is this going to be high risk or low risk? What that means is that, is this going to take a long time for you to create and for them to consume?
A lead magnet that is high risk is for example, talking to a perceived pushy salesperson on a free strategy call, watching hours’ worth of video, answering a million questions for a survey. So if your lead magnet looks like they’re more hassle than the reward is worth, your target audience will walk away and will not convert.
High Reward + Low Risk
What we want is a good balance of high reward and low risk. A free newsletter is low risk but it’s also low reward, because who really needs more email newsletters in their inbox? A video course has a high reward but it also comes with a high risk.
For you (because it takes time and effort to create the content) and for them (because it takes time and commitment to watch and participate). Now I’m not saying that a video course or a 3-part video series will not work, I’m just saying to keep that in mind if you’re thinking of creating one as a lead magnet.
Over time, I’ve found that the best lead magnet to create is a downloadable cheat sheet or a short pdf guide, because it’s really useful for the target audience and it’s really low risk for me to create as well.
Download My FREE Cheat Sheet on finding and getting paying customers.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chrystabelle is the founder of Chrys Media, a Facebook Messenger marketing agency focused on helping high-ticket service based businesses get more leads, engagement, and increase sales with Facebook Messenger marketing. She is also the host of the Hack Your Online Business podcast.