#5 A comprehensive marketing strategy for your small business
Updated: Mar 28, 2019
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This is a continuation of a series. To see the first in this series please click here https://bit.ly/2BGY4WI.
Like everyone else I would like to start by thanking you for this service and for the book you recommend some time back. I have just finished reading it and I am wondering why such an amazing book is free. Like you, I am a speaker and trainer. Although you do not know me, you are one of the people who inspired me to follow this path. I have written a book that is thus far well received. I sell it at my speaking engagements and workshops. I am looking forward to more tips on how to expand the market for the book beyond my speaking engagements. Sam from Johannesburg. (Not his real name)
I am glad you did yourself a favour and ordered the free book. You are miles ahead of those who have not yet read it and I hope that your comment has just inspired them to read it. You can stop wondering why such an amazing book is free because it was my intention to explain the rationale behind that strategy below.
As promised, today we start with permission marketing. You know that I keep repeating the fact that spam is not marketing. Here’s one more dose of that important message. Spam is not online or email marketing.
Permission marketing simply means getting prospects to say “Yes sir/ madam, I give you permission to use my contact details to contact me in connection with what I signed up for.” That means, because you signed up for this service, I may not use your email address to ask you on a date or ask you if you have a job for my super competent niece or worse, share it with third parties or sell it.
It is all about treating prospects with respect, not spamming them and bridging the gap between ‘I have never heard about you’ to ‘I trust you’. This is not something you achieve overnight because behind every online marketing campaign there is a massive infrastructure. Today I would like to only explain the concept in broad terms and then start with the infrastructure.
Getting permission is the beginning of the process when your objective is to reach the people on the left side of the cliff. Those who are not your customers. This process will help you to reach people whom you do not meet at your speaking engagements and workshops. This will increase your audience beyond your wildest dreams.
Your book and your services are in English so the people on the left side of your cliff are not only in Johannesburg or South Africa. They are millions in the English-speaking world. By the way you can reach them with more than your book. You can reach them with your speaking, workshops, live seminars and paid webinars. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. I will touch on that later when we get to sales funnels. The first step is only on the initial funnel which is called an opt-in funnel. Opting in to receive information. That is why when you unsubscribe it is called opting out. You unsubscribe to something you have subscribed to in the first place. Spam is irritating even when you are given an opportunity to unsubscribe to something you never subscribed to but a million times more irritating when you have no option to unsubscribe.
The objective of permission marketing is to get the prospects on your left to want to hear from you. The fact that most people love buying does not mean they want to be sold to. In fact, people hate being sold to. Thus, you should let them feel that they are buying and not being sold to.
This entails getting people’s permission to reach them with your message so you first ask them to give you their contact details voluntarily. How would you respond to this message from a total stranger: “Hi Sam, I know you do not know me but I would like you to give me your contact details so I can send you promotional material on my amazing products/serves.” Everyone else would respond exactly the way you would so this is obviously not the way to do it.
I can hear you thinking, is there another way? Yes, there is. Ask yourself why you willingly gave me your real name and email address to sign up for this service. You believed that I had something of value to offer. You believed that I could help you to get where you want to get to. In your case I already had an advantage over those who offer services to you online because you already knew of my services but this applies equally to those who had never heard of me.
I offer a service that many need and it costs them nothing. I thought of this service 5 years ago after someone attended my workshop at an international creativity and innovation conference and said “I think you should become an agony aunt for managers”. That inspired me to write a management e-book which is available here. The marketing book (physical book) that you referred to, the one by the online marketing expert is 100% free. The offer on my e-book is the ‘Pay what you want’. As the progresses I will explain both strategies. In both, the reason is to keep the threshold low. A free service or a service that costs far less than its actual value keeps the threshold low and that encourages people to sign up.
Back to why you gave me your contact details. I offer something that is not is gimmick but a real service that adds value. I know it is of value because of the ongoing feedback that I get.
Why do I need your contact details?
There are two kinds of audiences. The audience that you own and the audience that you do not own. To reach the audience that do not own I need to pay the person who owns that audience. E.g. Google, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. When I introduced #365BlackFriday I could reach you because of your email address as well as my social media contacts. I reached other audiences by paying the people who own those audiences, otherwise known as advertising. I will later explain online advertising but for now it will suffice to say unless you sell FMCG goods it is not a good idea to advertise your main products/services online. E.g. I advertise the free service or the #365BlackFriday offers and once I own the audience I upsell to the them.
Does it mean I now and then advertise to you for free? No, I pay for reaching you. That is called sweat equity. I invest man hours in these blogs so you can receive value, trust me and be part of my effective unpaid sales team otherwise known as satisfied customers. An example of the power of satisfied customer. I mentioned this two week ago in http://www.makheni.com/blog/4-a-comprehensive-marketing-strategy-for-your-small-business.
Masusu from Pretoria became part of the unpaid sales team of an ophthalmologist who is 300km away. After hearing of the value-added services that Dr Moithumi Monkoe offers she made the 300km trip and came back so impressed that she mentioned this on Facebook. I checked this ophthalmologist out and I was so impressed with what I saw on her Instagram account, http://picdeer.com/mashianethumi that I mentioned her two weeks ago and again today. That means I am part of her unpaid sales team because she offers great service and has a great Instagram account. As we keep sharing her URL, effective unpaid sales team grows. Anyone can do the same – offer great service and have an effective online presence. It’s as simple as that. I do not even know if she has a website but she has an effective online presence.
I chose to use the free Future Readiness service to build a list because it fulfils an important need for me: An opportunity to build a list while doing something that brings me a lot of joy and fulfilment – having an input into people’s lives.
I ‘friend’ people on Facebook whom I have nothing or very little in common with. If you describe yourself as an entrepreneur or self-employed and I do not see anything that goes against my personal values on your profile I friend you. That is why I have many Facebook friends who are less than half my age.
You may be wondering why you should go to such lengths to collect people’s contact details. So, you can introduce them to your paid services, upsells and downsells. (Will explain upsell and downsell as the series continues)
What infrastructure do I need?
I can hear you thinking okay, I want to get started – what infrastructure do I need? The good news is that the tools are automated so you do not have to be a tech guy or tech gal.
Firstly, you need a solid marketing plan, a URL (web address), good copy and good funnel building software. I could make the list longer and say you need funnel building software, a list builder, a web shop (to sell your book), an online payment system (so people can pay for your book), software for webinars (to reach a global audience with free and paid for webinars) etc. There are two ways of doing this: Getting grey hairs from feeling that you need duct tape to hold a million pieces of software together or by using software that that integrates everything you need. As you Sam, and others who have read the free book know, the supplier of this software is the writer of the world’s best online marketing book.
The reason he gives this amazing book for free is that once you read this book, you do not have to be a genius to figure out that if you build funnels with different pieces of software 1. You will have to deal with integration issues and 2. It will cost you far more. 2. The tools are user friendly and do not require technical skills. 4. You also save on the costs such as the cost of good copy because good copy for your funnels as well as copy for your webinars and many more services are included. Basically, everything you require for online marketing, it's part of the package. He could make hundreds of thousands of dollars selling the world’s best online marketing book but he chooses to make millions of dollars giving it for free and selling the software. That is the same reason he gives a two-week trial on all his free products because he knows once you experience his tools you will ditch the inferior ones you have tried before. I know I have given this link a lot of times before but here we go again. Just click here.
Today we only look at the URL
Why do I say ‘You need a URL’ and not ‘You need a website’? For my kind of business, yours also, we do not need websites but having a website does no harm. I have a website only because I have had it since 2013. There are businesses where having a website is necessary like businesses that sell a whole range of products but if your website is static, meaning it is only digital brochure and nothing else, then you might as well have no online presence.
It is true that sales do not happen one website but one landing page at a time. You need a URL whether you want to build landing pages only or landing pages and a website. Next time I will explain the difference between websites and landing pages and what a static website is.
Naming your URL.
It’s as important as naming your business. I got a business card from someone whose training business is called something like JOMATE (not the real name). When I asked her what the name meant, she said that it represented the names of her children, John, Mark and Terry (not their real names). It is a good idea to communicate to your children that you love them and that they are important to you but doing that through a URL is a no no. The fact that she has to explain the name is a problem.
16 years ago, I named my URL makheni.com partly because I have unique name. I was well known in South Africa and I was even on national television. Myname.com works if you have a unique name and you want to reach an people who know who you are. So makheni.com. sher.com, Madonna.com, bonno.com work because of the uniqueness and the fact that people know what these people do. 7 years ago, I moved to a country where makheni.com meant absolutely nothing. That is when I started registering other URLs to point at the website and also started separates website like makhenithestoryteller.com and diversiteitspecialist.nl.
To .com or not to .com
Many of my coaching clients ask if they should use .com or not. If you have a local hairdressing business and you have no intention of going global, then you do not need the .com extension. 16 years ago, when I registered a .com URL I did not know that I would go global, I just wanted my one-man training business to sound big enough to be interesting to the corporate sector. By then the choices were between .com and .mycountry – now there are other extensions like .biz, .tips etc so the choice is wider.
When you think of a business name or a URL think in terms of what people search for. People search for you by name when they already know you or about you but generally people search for solutions. People search for a plumber, a coach or a restaurant.
What does makheni.com communicate in this context? Nothing. What does diversiteitspecialist.nl communicate to this person in a country where they do not work in English? A lot. It communicates that I specialise in diversity, that I offer my services in a relevant language and that I am around the corner - .nl says this person is in my country! Please do not listen to anyone who tells you that a URL name does not matter as long as you do SEO right. Doing SEO right you and others will be near the top of the list but prospects will start with relevant names and descriptions.
A URL is not the only reason you get found on searches but if I and 9 of my competitors have good search engine optimisation and a Dutch prospects searches for diversiteit training the other 9 and I will be listed in the first 10. Will a prospect who has never heard of me be attracted to makheni.com or diversiteitspecialist.nl.
The good news is that if you are a debt collector already have a business name and a URL that suck, like jomate.co.za and the name JOMATE is not yet established, you can create another URL like debtcollectiontspecialist.co.za and point it to your existing site or landing pages (If this is a real URL I apologise). I did not test it because I do not want to see debt collection adverts when I go online. Have you realised that once you search for electric cars then suddenly you start seeing electric cars when you go online? In future I will explain how this works, how you can let that work for you as an entrepreneur and never against you as a consumer.
Order the free online marketing book here.
Check out the 'Pay what you want offer' here.
if you already have a web presence, look at your infrastructure with a critical eye. Today we touched on a very tiny aspect of your online infrastructure but I hope that this has given you some food for thought. If you no online presence at all, make a list of a few possible URLs.
Look for reputable provider. (will touch on reputable provider next time). Do not immediately check if the URL you have in mind is already taken until you are ready to register it. if you check it and do not register it immediately someone may register it and sell it to you at a high cost.
Should you choose to use the online marketing tools that I mentioned, you can register your domain on their platform. The main message is only check if the names you are considering are available when you are ready to take action.
Till next week
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Makheni Zonneveld has extensive experience in helping organisations, teams, individuals and entrepreneurs with real transformation. She employs these communications tools: Online and face2face coaching, speaking, training, storytelling and writing.
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