Do's and don'ts of online marketing
Updated: Jan 5, 2019
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This is a continuation of the answer to Nico's question. Please click here if you missed last week's answer which dealt with what future readiness is:
“Dear Makheni (Translated from Dutch)
Thank you for offering this valuable service for free. Firstly, I would like to apologise for writing in Dutch. Although I can read English, I am not so good at speaking and writing this difficult language. I am an aspiring entrepreneur from Rotterdam. My question is how Future Readiness can help me to be a successful entrepreneur because although I am only 31 years old I am not good with digital skills. My strength is mechanical skills. Will you please start with what Future Readiness is? Nico (not his real name)
I hope that you have worked on the questions that I suggested last week starting with why you would like to be an entrepreneur.
Your second question is how Future readiness can help you to be a successful entrepreneur. I suppose you do realise that the Future of business is online irrespective of whether your business is online or offline.
Today we’ll only look at a few do’s and don’ts of online business. You say you are an aspiring entrepreneur. That means you have not yet made the mistakes mentioned under ‘don’ts’ and you have not yet experienced the pain of having no clients. The objective of this free service is to help those who are already going through that pain and help aspiring entrepreneurs like you avoid it. Why bother? I know the pain – I’ve been there. I give a summary of that experience in the last two paragraphs. If you are like me, you will skip all the bits in between and dive directly into the short story. Don’t. The useful bits come before the story.
Now, the do’s and don’ts:
1. Don’t sell your soul
One of the cornerstones of entrepreneurship is values. It does not matter whether your business is online or offline. Don’t just have fancy mission, vision and values ‘words’. These ‘words’ used to reside in huge frames in the foyers of all organisations. Now they reside on websites but they rarely reside in the hearts of people.
Do live your values
I take my face2face and online coaching clients through a process based on a model I developed some years ago - The VAV model. You can take yourself through the process using this:
‘Am I…’ comes before ‘Do I…’ because DOing always precedes BEing. That is why BEIng is the foundation in this model.
Am I values driven?
Much as the internet makes it easier to reach people and serve them, it also makes it easier to reach them and con them. At the end of the day, values determine the choice that an entrepreneur makes – to serve or con people.
Am I authentic?
Authenticity is one of the values but I single it out not because it is more important but because it is easier to fake who you are online. Establish yourself as an expert. There is a lot of advice on how to be seen as an expert without being one – don’t listen to it. Become an expert at what you offer and then be seen to be one. “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.” This is true not because Abraham Lincoln said it but because that is just how life works. Sooner or later inauthenticity catches up with you. Establish a solid reputation. Come to think of it, Nico, you only do business with people you trust. Like you, others also do business with people they trust. They need to trust you as a person and have trust in your products/services.
Do I add value?
The success of any business, on- or offline, hinges on what value you add. You can’t go wrong with being solution oriented. Whatever product or service you offer should solve people’s problems or perceived problems and generally offer value for their money. One of the spinoffs of having satisfied customers is that they make the best sales team – at no cost to you. Win-win-win!
2. Don’t be driven by what’s in it for me? (WIIFM?)
Obviously you start a business because you want to achieve something. You invest your resources including time as well as your expertise in the venture so you are supposed to reap the rewards. Yes, that’s true but you will reap better rewards if you are not driven by self-interest.
Do develop a solution orientation mind-set
It does not matter whether you sell a product or a service or have a global or local business or an online or offline business; if you are not filling a need or a perceived need, you will not stay in business. Find a need to fill - a problem to solve (Product/Service). Find the best possible way to do it (Process). Find the best possible way to reach those with the need (People). Result - ktching! (Profits). The more things change the more they remain the same – we still talk about the 4Ps in 2018. The good news is that there are digital marketing tools that make the last step (reaching those with the need) simpler than it has ever been. Thus, your lack of digital skills is really a non-issue. You can use these digital marketing tool because by sending this question, you have demonstrated that you can click a mouse. I can hear your sigh of relief.
3. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can make money while you lie on a couch
Online business is usually tauted as instant effortless success. Yes, it is easier to make money online than it used to be in the past. Yes, you can reach millions of people on the internet compared to only reaching people within your 15km radius. Yes, you can make money being an affiliate selling products and services you do not own. However, there will never be a legitimate way of making money while lying on a couch doing nothing.
Do real work whether it’s online or offline
You can earn passive income and/or residual income but the process of earning money while lying on a couch does not start while you are lying on a couch doing nothing. You work today and continue earning thereafter but it always starts with work. Contrary to popular belief, earning passive or residual income has been around for decades and is not a result of online business. Working online just facilitates the process.
Digital tools make it easier to build a money making machine. When the machine runs properly you fuel it with advertising and it runs while you lie on a coach. If you want to start by lying on a couch you are going to starve or get caught up in scams. You can use these tools to run your network marketing business or join a good affiliate program to sell products/services that you do not own.
That is the new gold rush. I know because in spite of having my own services, I have joined this gold rush. Be careful, never be lured into affiliate programs that promise instant effortless success. Before you decide to become an affiliate, remember the principle - don’t sell your soul. Do not risk your reputation on unethical businesses just because they offer lucrative commissions. The products/services you promote and the way the people conduct their business should be in sync with your values. I promote the marketing software that I use because 1. I use it. 2. It is the best in the industry. 3. The company is run along ethical lines. 4. They offer superior online support that includes live chat. 5. For me the least important criterion is that they pay huge commissions.
4. Don’t mistake digital skills for digital marketing skills.
I have referred to the pain of not having clients. Should you need help with reaching clients, do not mistake digital skills for digital marketing skills. As an entrepreneur, once you have a web presence, you will definitely receive spam from people who promise to help you to find clients. The emails are from people who offer services called digital marketing services but the truth is that they have digital skills and not marketing skills. I receive that spam almost daily from people who throw around jargon that is meant to impress and intimidate those who are in the dark. I can bet my bottom dollar on this - you will never ever receive a single spam email from a marketing expert.
Do work on a comprehensive marketing strategy.
I say work on because a marketing strategy is not something you sit back and outsource. It is something you work on with someone who knows about real marketing and that is not the same as knowing about websites or social media. Those are just communication tools that you use in implementing your strategy just like in the past the communication tools were brochures, letters, newspapers, magazines, radio, TV etc. Knowing how those media work did not make anyone a marketing expert and the same applies to knowing how new media work. By the way if you sell high ticket items you should not exclude offline media. I will come back to such detail in subsequent blogs.
The good news is that digital tools are now so simplified that all it takes to create a profitable sales funnel is the click of a mouse. I know because the tools that I use to create profitable sales funnels are simple and all you need to use them is to click a mouse but they are just tools – they do not replace an entrepreneur’s brain. You still have to make decisions on why and how you apply these simple tools.
5. Don’t waste time reinventing the wheel
There are two ways of doing anything - the hard way and the smart way. Part of the hard way is reinventing the wheel - starting something that is already available from scratch. I will use building a sales funnel as an example – I will explain a sales funnel in more detail in future. To set the record straight, a sales funnel is not an invention of digital marketing – the idea goes as far back as 1898 when E. St. Elmo Lewis developed the AIDA-model which first was associated with the funnel model by William Townsend in 1924.
Do use what is available, tried and tested.
I refer to a sales funnel because you cannot make money online without a funnel. Talking about ‘what is available’, I always use the analogy of a primus stove. Not using what is available is like using a primus stove now when induction cooking is available. in the past, when everything was offline, it took a lot of time and effort to build a sales funnel and you
could only reach people in your geographical area unless your business was represented in other parts of the world.
Then building funnels online happened. Guess what, there are those who continued using the primus stove – only using offline marketing. These who took advantage of the new developments ‘glued together’ different pieces of software and hoped and prayed that the different components would work together well all the time. They paid for different components separately like a list-builder plus url hosting plus static landing pages plus shopping carts plus webinar software plus paying a copywriter, a designer and all the tech guys and gals. They still made more money than those who were using the primus stove. Now building a funnel that way has become the new primus stove and it is unbelievable that people still use this primus stove in spite of what is available now.
What is available now? Software that integrates everything you need from traffic to conversion. You get all the components I have mentioned above and much more including dynamic landing pages that only require clicking a mouse and software that writes copy for you, the possibility to create your own affiliate programs. I can't think of anything that makes online marketing possible that is not included in this software. All that is at a fraction of the cost of the new primus stove described above. Why do people still continue with the more expensive new primus stove? After studying human behaviour for 44 years, I still get baffled the complex phenomenon called human nature - daily. In case anyone is too young to know what a primus stove is, ask your grandmother. You can read all about that from a free book that Dan Kennedy raves about. This book includes the revolutionary idea of funnel hacking – you do not have to reinvent a good funnel – you can hack an existing one. By the way, anyone who knows who Dan Kennedy is, knows that he has no reason to risk his reputation on junk. Only broke people do that. I will give the link at the end.
Knowing the pain of having no clients
I had a profitable coaching/speaking/training business in SA. I was on top of my game, even rated as one of the 6 top speakers in the country. Just to put things into perspective, SA is 30 times larger than your country. I left all that behind to follow my heart to The Netherlands. When I arrived here in the middle of the recession, not even knowing your difficult language I had to find clients - fast! I started online coaching to reach the English speaking world while learning Dutch. In spite of the fact that I had studied sales and marketing before Mark Zuckerberg was born, I had no idea what online marketing was because while I was in SA I never had to look for business.
I listened to those who thought they knew what online marketing is. These were well-meaning friends who had good intentions. They made the usual noises: ‘You need a website’ I already had a beautiful fully functional website for years but these people did not know that a static beautiful fully functional website does nothing for you. They did not know that online sales do not happen one website at a time but one landing page at a time. ‘Start a YouTube channel’ I did. They did not know that a YouTube channel that is not part of an integrated marketing strategy is just pollution of cyberspace even if people watch. ‘Write a blog’ They did not know that a blog that is not part of an integrated marketing strategy is just blah blah blah even if people read it. ‘Be seen on social media and like other people’s pages’ Being seen on social media without an integrated strategy is like being seen at the shopping mall when you have a local business. ‘Advertise on Facebook and Google’ Fortunately I did not take this costly piece of advice. Never advertise online unless you know what you are doing because advertising online works very differently from advertising offline. The list goes on…
It was a painful journey. I wondered why someone in my line of business, Tony Robbins, could reach people wherever they are while I was battling. I came to the conclusion that the difference between us was that he had a huge marketing budget and I didn’t. I was wrong – the difference between us was not his budget. The difference was that he knew what I did not know. I later found out that he uses affordable tools that are available to anyone and he does not even make it a secret - he promotes those tools! I was helped out of my costly ignorance by a free webinar that opened my eyes to the fact that online marketing is simply good old fashioned marketing that I knew, just using new media. Like Tony and other successful marketers around the world, I do not try to make this my little secret, I tell the world about the book that gave me the a-z of real digital marketing. For those who know the pain of having great products and services and no one to sell them to and those who want to avoid that pain – read this free book! https://bit.ly/2LNw4Hb
1. Answer the questions posed in the VAV model. Since no one is going to see your answers, don't cheat yourself.
2. Order this book while it is available for free and read it.
Next week’s topic
Yes, advertising is important. Don’t listen to people who reach you through advertising to tell you that you should never advertise but only use their SEO services which they advertise. In fact never listen to anyone who tells you to do what he/she doesn't do or tells you not to do what he/she does. Although advertising is important, we should not neglect the simple common sense things that we can do to acquire and retain clients without spending money or by spending very little. In fact, neglecting those things costs us money.
Till next week
Makheni your Future Readiness Coach
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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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