Marketing is and always has been something of a process. Online marketing though is ALL about process. It’s a science, really. In other words, marketing has always involved attracting and engaging the right prospects. With the right focus and efforts on choosing your target audience accurately, they are nurtured towards buying because it’s a good fit. This can seem much easier to do in a traditional face-to-face encounter than in a virtual environment.
Why? Because even today, despite a quarter-century of internet marketing, there remains little that can be thought of as traditional in an online encounter – and even less that’s done face-to-face. (Despite the rise in Zooming!)
Where the Marketing Process Begins
From product development surveys to establishing your ideal client profile and getting to know your competition, the online marketing process begins with research: market research. After all, if you don’t know who your target audience is and what their pain points are, you’ll have no idea what kind of product or service they need, or how to present your targeted solutions to them.
Having said that, here are five critical steps in the online marketing process:
- Messaging – Telling people who you are and what you have to offer are the keys to effective messaging. Now, while that may seem obvious, too many marketers struggle to explain the second half of that step – they forget that what they have to offer is benefits. If you can’t communicate how your prospects will benefit from doing business with you, your marketing strategy will fail. That is, ALL your messaging must be benefits-based.
- Incentives – Using opt-in gifts to build your email list allows you to begin the engagement process with high-value incentives. Some might see this step as bribery (especially if done wrong); however, when planned and implemented effectively, there is nothing dishonest or slimy about this extremely important aspect of the process and science of online marketing. It’s an accepted and expected marketing practice to ask for an email address in exchange for a high-value digital “Freebie”. In short, if you’re not offering at least one opt-in at your website, you’re not actually marketing your business.
Do you have more than one gift you want to give away? If so, it’s perfectly acceptable to offer more than one freebie, targeted toward different segments of your audience. But, make sure it’s still of interest to your ideal client and don’t put more than one offer on a page.
- Nurturing – Despite what you may have heard, email marketing is not dead. In fact, it’s easily the best way to cultivate potential customers using a progressive series of value-added freebies. According to the subscriber list-building experts at OptinMonster, “With a potential return on investment of up to 4,400%, email marketing remains the best way to attract and retain customers.” Why? Well, as a quick example, the engagement rate for social media is less than 1% but for email, which reaches 85% of the people you send it to, it’s closer to 25%.
- Engagement – The follow-up to nurturing your list is building relationships. This can be particularly difficult in a virtual environment, but it certainly can be done. How can you do this when you’re not in a face-to-face situation? Through your messaging, opt-ins, and nurturing. Show empathy. Be compassionate. Display your expertise. Provide understanding. Offer solutions. Give value. Build trust. Take our word for it, once they start to trust you, you’re more than half-way toward making the sale.
- Conversion – Want to know the Big Secret about why successful salespeople excel above the average? They ask for the sale! Yes, it’s really that simple. Once they’ve done all of the qualifying and presentation, they ask their client if they’re ready to buy. In the world of internet marketing, the equivalent step in the process is known as a Call-to-Action or CTA. With every blog post, with every email, with every product or service page on your website, you must ask your audience to act on something.
It’s important to keep in mind that your CTAs do not always have to be about buying your product of service. Why? Because conversion is itself a process! Prospects can:
- Subscribe to your list
- Leave a comment
- Click “Reply”
- “Click to Contact”
- “Click to Register” for a webinar or workshop
- “Click here to Buy”
You see, once they begin to take action with each step of your ‘Ask’, they begin their journey on your predetermined path of becoming your Customer!
This is a lot to absorb in a single blog post. It can be intimidating. We have a couple of ways for you to gather more information about the online marketing process, so you don’t have to go it alone. First, you can click here to learn how we can help you build a foundation to get started, or click here to schedule a complimentary consultation and get your questions answered.