Over the past several months I’ve been sharing some of the basic concepts, strategies, and tactics you need to build a solid Internet Marketing foundation. I’ve also shared the best resources, tools, and information available. I’ve encouraged you. I’ve nagged you. Heck, I’ve even browbeaten a few of you!
And what have you done?
No, really, what have you done with this information?
As I write this we are heading into the Holiday Season here in the United States. Beginning with Thanksgiving and ending with New Year’s, this is a time where we gather with Family and Friends to celebrate all that is good in our lives. We look back on the previous year and gear up for the new one.
Don’t you think this is the perfect time?
If you’ve been thinking about expanding your online marketing or adding Internet based services to your bricks and mortar services, now’s the time to git ‘er done!
My Mom taught me to start with the corners…
When I was a little girl I came down with Walking Pneumonia. Ever had it? Yea, you feel fine. You’re sick but you don’t really feel bad. And when you are in the 2nd grade, you can’t go to school because it’s contagious. So how do you keep a 7 year-old quiet but entertained? In the time before video games?
Yep – jigsaw puzzles.
And we’re going to follow the same steps my Mom taught me to assemble your business plan…
The Big Picture
- What do you love to talk about more than anything?
- What do you do that when you are working on it, you just don’t notice the time passing?
- What would you do if you didn’t need to make money?
- What do you know or do that would help people live better?
- What lifestyle do you want? Home at 5:00? Work at home? A team of employees or freelancers? Or do you want to go solo?
- Do you want a bricks and mortar business? An Internet-based business? A combination?
Don’t think about challenges and obstacles at this point. Just design your dream business.
Action Step: Write down the answers to these questions right now. No, not this weekend or when you get around to it, now (yea, this qualifies as browbeating).
The Four Corners…
It may sound counterintuitive to think of your customers before you know what your are going to sell them but humor me for a moment…
There are studies and stats and stories that tell of the downfall of businesses that created the product they wanted but didn’t stop to think if there were actually customers to buy it.
Go back over what you wrote down about your perfect business. How can you position it so that you are giving your potential clients and customers what they want?
What’s the main problem they have, that you believe you can solve?
What’s your method to solving their problem?
- Online community/forum
- Video or audio podcasts
Consider creating a really fast prototype. Something you can test and pivot as necessary. This is what Eric Reis calls a Minimum Viable Product.
Make it a quality product but don’t invest a ton of money on design or tech stuff. Float a pdf version of your eBook and see what the response is. If people love it, then you can reinvest some of your revenues back into it and “plus it up”. Or do a series of video demonstrations using your webcam and Windows Live Movie Maker. If your response is favorable then you can bring in the professionals and get really creative, like Derek Halpern at SocialTriggers.com does.
OK, so now you know what you want to do and how you will offer it to your audience. But how will you find the people who will become your audience?
To me, this is where it gets really fun. I know some of you think I’m crazy, after all, this is where that four-letter-word S-E-L-L comes in. But when you know you have something that will help people live better, how can you not just want to shout it from the rooftops? Seriously!
A few ways to spread the word:
- Website/Blog – do yourself a favor, use WordPress
- Social Media – Remember, your don’t have to be everywhere all the time.
- Pay Per Click (PPC) – If you want to invest money in addition to your time to build your audience
- Joint Ventures – Partner with your 2nd Customers (complementary, not competitive businesses) and help each other out.
- Referrals – Find your Raving Fan clients and ask them who they know that you can serve.
A bit of personal development here…
If you’re still feeling scared and intimidated by the sales and marketing process then examine your motives. Are you looking to make a fast buck? Or help people? If you honestly answered that you want to help people then maybe you need to gain a bit of confidence in your knowledge and skill set? Be a life-long learner and you’ve got that covered. You don’t have to know it all now. Because you do know more than your target market.
You know what you want to do, who you want to do it for and how you’ll let them know about it. Now it’s time to hit the ground running, or at least a fast walk.
How do you do that?
Take an inventory. What tools, information, and resources do you already have? What are you missing?
Do you need to do some market research?
Where do you think your market is? Are they on Facebook? Do a little eavesdropping on your competitors pages. What are they saying? What are they asking for?
You know what your market needs. How can you deliver your solution?
What methods will you use to spread the word to your target market?
What do you need to do to implement your strategy?
It might seem strange that I have left this to the very end but I have a very good reason. You see, money just doesn’t matter.
No, wait! Don’t click away, bear with me a moment…
If you have something that a market wants, you can get it to them with practically zero investment. Just your time and resources you probably already have, like a computer and an internet connection. Invest sweat equity to start. Then reinvest some of your revenues to grow to the next level.
Whatever you do, please don’t let money be the thing that keeps you from serving those who need you.
So now we can talk about money (thanks for sticking around!)
- How you will make money?
- Will you sell your product?
- Will you use content marketing to bring in clients for a service-based business?
- Will you use affiliate marketing?
- Will you use Kindle publishing or an Ebay store?
Income – this is very difficult to project in the beginning so be very conservative. And in the beginning you might not be making any money at all. Maybe you are giving away really valuable content knowing that once your audience knows you and communicates what they need, you can offer higher-end paid products.
Expenses – List absolutely every expense you could possibly have and overestimate the cost. Break your list into two sections, wants and needs. If you are going for a totally Internet based business you should be able to bring your needs list down to:
All three of which you would probably be paying for anyway.
Funding – consider investors. Do you want to partner with someone? Maybe you could create a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds. Then again, you could go whole-hog with venture capital funding. It really depends upon you, your personal preferences and your product or service.
I literally started with nothing. And I’m comfortably self-sufficient now. My only investments were sweat equity, a passion for learning, and dogged determination. If I can do it, so can you!
Share your dream with people you know will support you.
And don’t tell the dream-stealers!
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
- Ask for honest feedback from your supporters and your market
- Use Google Analytics to measure your website’s effectiveness
- Use Google Alerts to monitor what people are sharing about you and your business
What does the future hold?
Some parting thoughts…
- You are your USP (Unique Selling Position)
- You are what sets you apart from your competition. At the end of the day, you may have the same education, philosophy, style, etc. as your competitors but what makes you unique is you. So get out there and be your best you. Because…
- People aren’t buying a product or service. They are buying a better life. And you may be the one to help them. But you can’t help them if you don’t let them know you can help.
Now is the perfect time…
To take action!
Grab your keyboard or a notebook and pen. Right now. (Yep, more browbeating, but you know you love it.)
- Go through this article step-by-step and write down whatever comes to mind right now. Then let it sit for a bit. But not too long.
- Then go through what you wrote down and add new thoughts and delete stuff that doesn’t feel right. Let it sit a bit longer.
- Now create an Action Plan, complete with deadlines, that you will follow to either make your idea a reality or to take your existing business to the next level.
And if you’re feeling a bit intimidated by all this or maybe you are doubting your ability to do it, I recommend you check out this book:
Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance
by Jonathan Fields
And then share in the comments and let us know how you’re doing. We’d love to be your cheering section! Or if you would like some privacy, email me. Let us know if you have any questions, too.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please be sure to share them in the comments.
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