Most site owners have a dream where they get their site revamped and then everyone comes to see their beautiful new site. Clients love it and make purchases. Readers interact and love the site.
You feel this is the way things should happen because you put so much work in to building your site. You’re invested in it, in a way that none of your prospects are.
You can’t build the site and then hope people will come visit it. You need to have a plan to market the site. Without a solid marketing plan your hard work will provide little fruit.
Here is the marketing plan I get my clients to follow so they can see the results they want.
Your marketing should start with your blog. Blogging is text that is searchable by anyone on the web. Yes videos are great and it can be a part of your blogging strategy, but search engines can’t index the content of your video.
The best way to start with a blogging strategy is to write down the big problems that your prospects have. Every time you encounter a client and they tell you about the problem they’re having, write it down as a blog post idea.
At a minimum you should be posting once a week on your site. If that seems like a lot to start then go for twice a month and work up to once a week.
I know that some people aren’t writers, if that’s you then your best bet is to hire a writer. Most writers will do an interview with you about your site and the problems you solve for clients. Out of that they’ll develop blog posts for you to review and then put up on your site.
Once you get some content going, the next big hurdle is management. Here the key is that you need one person that you pay to manage the content. There is one local store that has many possible writers but every time I submit content it takes weeks to get anyone to look at it. This isn’t because they have so much content. It’s because no one is really in charge of the content. Also, whenever anything else comes up in the business the blog gets pushed to the background.
Unless you give someone the time to manage your content properly, it won’t happen.
Along with your blog, it’s time to have an email list. It doesn’t need to be fancy to start. Add a simple opt-in form and then send out your blog post to your list.
Email is so powerful because you have direct access to the inboxes of your prospects. Where they have to choose to visit your site, email is sent to their inbox. For most people that means they get a notification and check their email.
A strong email campaign results in a good increase in sales for most sites.
As you have more time to market your business you can get in to tracking users and pitching them special campaigns as they get ready to purchase. You can provide short email courses and then pitch a product. Or you can detect when people have put items in their cart and then left the site without purchasing those products. Send them a follow up email to remind them about the purchase.
Finally, don’t forget that there is a world that isn’t in front of your screen. It’s easy to sit behind your computer safe and sound writing or podcasting. While these are great things in your marketing plan they’re low trust. In general the closer you can get to shaking someone’s hand the more likely they are to trust you.
That means getting out to a local networking event allows you to shake hands with lots of potential partners and prospects. If you live in a very rural area, target the bigger cities within an hour drive or look for a few further afield events you can attend. Maybe a trade conference.
The biggest mistake that most site owners make when the attend events is that they stay narrowly in their niche only talking to their colleagues. While there can be huge benefit from talking to your colleagues in the form of partnerships, it means you’re not talking to your customers.
If you’re going to attend 4 events then make at least 2 of them events where you get to interact with your target market directly. Better yet make 3 of 4 events focused on your prospects and 1 focused on meeting more colleagues.
If you can start with this basic marketing plan and stick to it for the long term, you’re going to build that successful site you want. It may start slow, but most people will quit. If you stick with the plan sooner than you think you’ll be the ‘old hand’ reaping the rewards of the marketing effort you put in.
If you need help executing this marketing plan, we should talk. I can help you build a site your members will love and help you speak their language.