*please note, this blog includes affiliate links where the author may make a teeny tiny amount of income should you enjoy the content*
Okay, so, I've helped around 800 clients either start or pivot their businesses and if there's one common theme, it's that they're woefully unprepared in the digital realm. Sure, they've got a Facebook page, or possibly an Instagram page, but their message is always, digital isn't their priority. And my message back is simply, then any effort you're making to move the needle will be in vain.
It might be a harsh reality check, but I firmly believe it to be true. Websites are easier than ever before to create on a shoestring, social media offers incredibly affordable and targeted advertising opportunities and the majority of information is found on our mobile devices. If you're not willing to devise a digital strategy, you're business is simply going to be left behind.
I've compiled the top five steps you can take to get started in the digital arena. The sky's the limit to how far you can grow online, so these are just some basic starters. For more ideas and information, head to our blog, www.thesocialvert.com.
1) Website. It might seem simple and it's something every business owner says they're going to do, but please, just get yourself a website. If a whole website is daunting right now, just create a landing page. A landing page is just a one page website with the critical details needed for your potential clients.
Think of websites are your digital business brochure and business card. Website templates are more accessible than ever before and a lot of them have some simple drag and drop functionalities. My favourite is Squarespace, but Wix, Weebly, Shopify for product based sites and then Wordpress have great templates that can work for any type of business.
2) Blogging. Try your hand at writing a blog! Blogs are an incredible way to increase your SEO, and create a new revenue stream into your cash flow. Blogs seem like they're intimidating to those who claim to not be able to write, but I'm here to tell you, they don't have to be mini-novels, they just have to add value. For lots of great tips to writing your first blog, for ANY business, check out my earlier post on this topic, HERE
3) Pinterest. Are you still thinking Pinterest is just a fancy place women go to save recipes and outfits? Think again. Let's start by changing the way you think about Pinterest. It's not a social media platform, but a search engine. When do you use Pinterest? When you're searching for answers, right? So why not use it for your business to give your clients the answers they're looking for? And, you can do this in just 10 minutes a day. Want to learn how? I've got a FREE, quick and dirty webinar waiting to teach you how. Click here to register. Then, watch your web traffic 5X, 10X, 20X in no time at all!
4) Social Media. Social media can be an incredibly powerful digital marketing tool and at the same time, a huge time waster. So listen, I love social media, probably more than most people out there. I love the conversations, the connections and the discovery that comes with it. However, from a business perspective, all too often, I've seen business owners put all their marketing eggs in this basket and that's just not going to do anything but stress you out and leave you feeling overwhelmed. Hands up if you've ever felt like you're not posting enough, posting on enough platforms or sat and wondered why nothing you post is getting picked up? My hand is up in the air right along with you.
Here's my advice on using social media. Start out with understanding who it is you're trying to market to. Then, imagine when they grab their phone (and you'd better make sure whatever content you're producing is mobile friendly) what social app do they open first? That's your one and only social media app. Become best friends with that app and learn how to use it to further your brand like nobody's business. Do not spin your wheels posting across the board anymore. Focus your efforts and watch your base slowly grow.
5) Podcasting. This one is one you might not have expected, but it's a new fav of mine! It's never been more accessible to become a talk show star...well, maybe not star, but a girl can dream, right? Now, I don't personally have a podcast, so full disclosure there, but it's on my "must do in 2018" list. Here's what you need to get started, a microphone and a way to edit the recording. The end. Of course, as you progress and start to see revenue from this stream, you can upgrade the mic and the process, but really, I'm a huge fan of start and figure it out along the way. Just get started.
Inside of podcasting there are lots of opportunities to both grow your business and earn an income. You can segment your podcasts, divide them up by month. And by this I mean, one week your directing the podcast to your cold audience with great free lead magnet content. Then the next week, it's for your "tribe". Those that already have a taste of what you offer, and you're nurturing them along the funnel. The following week might be for your clients. Something to "next level" them and the final week in the month is for everyone. Or you can vary them by time, format, whatever.
As far as income goes, there are the obvious routes, sponsorship and affiliate income. But don't forget about the CTAs (calls to action - where do you want your audience to head to next) and linking the content back to your paid product focus.
Over all, I love consuming podcasts and I'm really excited to add them to my mix later in 2018!
6) Bonus Tip - Automation. Okay, so this is really a 6 Ways To...post, because how could I not talk a bit about automation? If you're selling or informing online, you need to implement automation to your systems. For starters, it's a time saver and for realz, it's the best way to nurture a relationship from your clients.
So, what is automation? It's an email system that responds to your client's needs, adds value to your products or welcomes them as they walk in your virtual door. It's the second fastest way to the money when it comes to increasing your revenue. (The first? On the ground networking. Steals the show every time.)
So, imagine a client lands on your website and clicks through to the contact me page. You have an embedded form there gathering their information and sending it where? To your email address. Then, imagine it heads to your junk mail inbox and just sits there. And sits there, and, sits there. Imagine opening that junk mail box a week later and finding this question from a potential new client who has submitted that request and forgotten all about it. It's happened to me and it will happen to you.
Now, imagine if you've set up an automated sequence for that same contact us form. The client enters their info, hits submit. Your email service provider sends the automatic welcome email, outlining the procedures, welcoming them, telling them a little story, making them feel wanted, and at the same time, it's pinging you telling you that you have a new subscriber who is inside of your contact us list. It's a win/win.
I recently heard the best story from a friend about an autoresponder welcome email they received after they purchased a product online. The product was deodorant friends. Keep that in mind. Check out the screen shot of what she received.
Isn't that incredible? And do you know she shared that around everywhere she could and started implementing the same concept in her daily life! This was all thanks to a great company and an automated email response. You do the work once, the email system does it for you over and over again!
So, I use two different email providers. Mailchimp I use, although it's not my favourite, I like it's price and it's ease of use. I also am in love with Converkit. It's tagging and sequencing system is second to none and it gets my vote hands down for best customer service, because I'm not gonna lie, there's a learning curve, but they've gently and patiently guided me around all the curves. It's a huge piece of value, as Mailchimp may be free, but there is no customer service for you until you've started paying. Want more info? Head over to my Facebook Group and ask me there!
Okay, so there you have it. My favourite top five digital marketing methods for 2018 and beyond. What did I miss? Fill me in people. Let me know your favourite digital marketing methods and don't forget to follow me inside the private group, The Socialvert Studio. It's a mini-mastermind in there. Small, engaged group of women looking to grow their business with questions and answers.