“What am I doing wrong?” That’s a question business owners often ask themselves when business is slow. Often, the answer is… “You’re not doing anything wrong. You just need to do some things better — and you need to start doing a few things you’ve been neglecting.”
Here’s a list you can use to evaluate your own marketing efforts. It includes what I’ve found to be the 7 most important marketing principles contributing to the success of ANY business.
1. TARGET SPECIFIC NICHE MARKETS
Everyone may be a prospect for your product or service. But your marketing efforts will produce the best results for the lowest cost when you target prospects with the greatest need for what you offer. Identify a niche market. Customize your promotional material to appeal to their greatest need. Then multiply your results by defining several other niche markets and slanting your promotional materials to appeal the biggest need of prospects in each market.
2. PROMOTE YOUR OWN USP
USP is short for “Unique Selling Proposition”. It’s the
compelling reason why a prospect will do business with you instead of with your competition. You’ll attract the maximum number of customers when you offer a benefit they cannot get from your competitors. If you don’t already have a USP, create one by adding something to your business you’re not already offering. Convert it into a benefit statement and include that statement in all your advertising.
3. NEVER ADVERTISE WITHOUT AN OFFER
Always include a powerful offer in your advertising. Offer free information related to your product or service to generate inquiries or website traffic. Then make the most compelling discount or bonus offer you can afford — to convert these inquiring prospects into paying customers. This automatically leads to the next marketing principle.
4. COLLECT CONTACT INFORMATION AND USE IT TO FOLLOW UP
Most prospects won’t buy the first time they hear or see your sales message. You need a system to collect contact information enabling you to reach them again with periodic reminders and offers. Many businesses develop over 50 percent of their sales by following up with prospects who previously requested information but didn’t buy — yet. Advertising is expensive. Maximize your return on it by following up periodically with the prospects it produced to convert more of them into customers.
5. REMOVE THE OBSTACLE OF RISK
Do you know the major reason why people don’t buy something they want or need? They don’t want to take the chance of getting something different than they expect and maybe even losing money. You can eliminate this risk by guaranteeing satisfaction. If you sell products, offer a liberal money back guarantee. If you provide a service, offer to continue working without additional charge until the promised result is achieved.
It’s easier and less expensive to get more business from
satisfied customers than to find new customers. Continually find or develop new products and services related to what you sell — and offer them to your customers. Affiliate programs offer a quick and low-cost way for Internet based businesses to add new products and services to their inventory.
7. NEVER STOP TESTING
Continually test and evaluate the effectiveness of everything you use or do to promote business. Here’s a highly effective 80/20 guideline you can use. Invest 80 percent of your advertising budget and effort in proven promotions and 20 percent in testing new variations. Most businesses using this system continue growing — even in a highly competitive market.
Take a few minutes to evaluate how well you’re implementing each of these seven marketing principles in your business. A small improvement in just one of them will boost your sales immediately. An improvement in several will generate a big increase in your total sales volume.
Successful entrepreneurs know they can’t have all their eggs in one basket. You should be looking at additional ways to grow revenues outside of advertising on social media. Here are a few great ways to increase your revenues outside of the usual online marketing advertising platforms.
1. Content marketing
If more people know about how effective content marketing is, more people and companies would do it. Consistently writing great content is an effective way to grow your revenue over time by building your authority over a given topic or search term.
The key is to write value-driven content on your blog, medium or LinkedIn that will build your credibility, educate and empower readers, and will also help with your on-site SEO. You should also try and syndicate content to media outlets or write guest posts on other blogs that appeal to your audience and subject.
Warning: this should not be self-promotional or self-congratulatory. Write content that is worth people’s time and attention. Only then will you garner the benefits of content marketing.
2. B2B sales (Business-to-Business)
Most startups I encounter immediately think of the consumer side of the customer spectrum. That’s completely understandable, yet it could be limiting your sales.
When you launch your business, be sure to reach out to businesses and see if there’s any interest on their side of the fence. As Chief Revenue Officer of my startup, I focused on how we could add value to the largest companies in our space while creating a strategy to position our product and service in a way that was suitable for collaboration. That strategy was executed well, and we now work with Fortune 500 companies including Honeywell, Alarm.com and a few others.
These deals take considerably longer than simply putting product on a shelf, yet they are usually worth it for the revenue, stability and strategic positioning.
3. Co-marketing partnerships
If you get creative, you can likely find some other startups and businesses that will co-market to their customer base if your product or service adds value to their customers in a non-competitive way.
A great example of this is Uber and Spotify. By allowing Uber riders to enroll their Spotify account and listen to their tunes in the car, Spotify can advertise to a new customer base. Uber also benefits from providing a better customer experience.
4. Email marketing
While technically this is online marketing, it doesn’t fit into the Facebook and Google advertising bucket. If you’re not taking advantage of email marketing, take the time to learn how tools like Mailchimp, Justuno and others can help you build lists, attract new subscribers into those lists, and then send emails automatically.
If you’re driving traffic to your website, email marketing is a must. It helps you capture as much value as possible from visitors to your site and helps you with re-targeting and sending follow-up emails that lead to conversions.
5. Customer reviews
This is by far the most underrated way to grow sales. The more effort you put into customer service and satisfaction, the more ROI you will produce on all your marketing.
Why? Unhappy customers leave bad reviews, which impact your future sales. Also, happy customers are unlikely to leave good reviews, so it’s that much more important to avoid bad reviews in the first place.
Finally, it’s far cheaper to sell to a current customer (as a repeat customer) than it is to acquire a new customer. Start looking at customer service as a sales tool, not a cost leader.
6. Beta Programs
A free beta program is a great way to boost sales when you eventually launch the product. There are two main reasons.
First, your product or service will be better because real people use it, find bugs and provide feedback before it launches.
Second, beta users are proud first adopters. They’ll take pride in being the first to use it, and in our experience, become your biggest fans online and offline – helping you sell through word-of-mouth marketing.
7. Influencer marketing
Leveraging the influence of another person is a great way to drive revenue. It takes time and money to build out an audience and gain their trust. Influencers have already done this. Of course they want you to pay, yet it’s likely more cost effective that running top-of-funnel ads on Facebook and Google all day long.
Here’s a secret: don’t just target the accounts with the highest following. Look for the accounts with the highest engagement.
When you go beyond online ads, you build up your revenue numbers while also diversifying the sources of your revenue. This is not only good for the health of your business, it also makes you more attractive for investors or acquirers. It also gives you more flexibility when changes take place in the market.
While there are likely hundreds of ways you can make money while you sleep, there are eight core strategies that will get you where you want to be.
Webinars are a great way to make money while you sleep. Not live ones of course. But, automated webinars. Automated webinars run day and night. To create one, you need something to offer. Webinars are great for high-ticket digital product sales. They also work well for selling things like coaching and consulting services. But, to fully automate your income, it’s best to sell a digital product.
How much can you sell items for on a webinar? Benny tells me that the sweet spot is the $997 price point, but that $1997 works as well. Jason Fladlien says that this depends on how “warmed up” the audience is. If they know you already and they’ve been warmed up to you or your offer, then you’ll have an easier time selling at $1997 and even higher, all the way up to $10,000 and beyond.
Find a niche market and write a great ebook. The sweetspot here is 60 to 80 pages long of gold-nugget-filled content. While you could easily sell this on a platform like Amazon’s Kindle, you’ll fare better by selling it through your own channels like on a blog or as an offer after a lead magnet. Ultimately, you’ll make more money that way.
However, if you’re not a seasoned online marketer, going the Kindle route is a far simpler approach to selling your ebook. The threshold is low and you won’t have to do all the marketing of the book on your own. Amazon will simply pay you out monthly for the sales.
Ecommerce is exploding. It’s not just Amazon that’s taking the entire pie here. People are snatching up product offers all over the place. The best part? Most of this is being done as a drop-shipping arrangement. That means that as the store owner you never actually have to touch the products. It’s warehoused, labeled and shipped in your name. You incur none of the overhead. You simply push the order through when it arrives, pay the fee and it’s shipped.
Drop-shipping, when automated the right way, gives you the freedoms that you wouldn’t normally experience while running a physical product store or having a brick-and-mortar location. You can build your own ecommerce store with Shopify or you can buy products from Sec Source (E-commerce & Marketplace) and sell them as an Amazon FBA store. Or, find another drop-shipping company willing to handle the work.
4. Online courses
Online courses are a great way to earn income, day or night, and require little to no maintenance once they’re launched aside from updating content that might get stale or become no longer relevant. There are tons of places you can build online courses such as Kajabi, Sec Source Academy or Teachable. You could also build your own membership based courses on sites like ClickFunnels.
What type of course can you launch? You can teach just about anything. But, you should stick to what you know. If you know photography, teach it. Coding? Teach it. SEO? Teach it. Social media marketing, like Benny? Then dive right in. If you absolutely don’t know what you’re talking about, it’s going to come across and your sales will suffer because of it.
Why not start a blog? It’s probably one of the most reliable sources for making money on autopilot. While creating a popular blog is arduous work, the benefits are long-lasting, along with the potential for passive income. When you run a popular blog, you can make money in a variety of ways, most of which are passive. You could sell virtually anything in your niche on autopilot.
Find something that fits your blog’s audience and sell it. Or, if you’re really looking to reap the benefits, build content or digital products that fits the same audience and sell it directly through your own systems or sales funnels. Grow the blog over time by consistently creating valuable content that really helps your audience with a problem or fills a need.
6. Traditional real estate rentals
While traditional real estate is more cost prohibitive to enter into than digital products, real estate rentals are always going to be a great producer of passive income. People will always need a place to live and to work. With long-term rentals, you can secure the tenant, then sit back and collect the cash every single month.
While there might be a small amount of maintenance due to repairs, the income will largely be passive. You can make it fully passive by hiring a property manager as long as there’s enough positive cash flow. You could also opt for purchasing a duplex and renting out the second unit of your home if money is tight.
7. Peer-to-peer lending
There are loads of peer-to-peer lending networks that will help you achieve your dreams of automating some of your income. Depending on the amount you have to invest, you could reap a sizable return. Websites like Prosper, Zopa and Lending Club will help you invest your money while minimizing your risk with baked-in algorithms that help you identify the best investments.
Clearly, the more risk, the more potential for reward. These lending platforms offer a great way to put either a little bit of money, or a lot of it, at play and earn while you sleep.
8. Affiliate marketing
In the world of online marketing, affiliate marketing offers one of the fastest and most profitable forms of income with very little investment of time. Of course, you can’t really become an affiliate marketer without reach or an audience to promote to. If you already have an email list, then this works great. If you don’t, you could opt to do Facebook Live trainings or use YouTube as a platform to reach people.
Affiliate marketing is about delivering value. You have to find a way you can educate and inform while helping those out there with their goals or to solve a problem. If you can do that effectively, you can build multiple passive income streams as an affiliate marketer. Check out platforms like ClickBank and CJ.com to find affiliate offers you can promote.