There’s a misconception in business that just because you open your doors, virtual or otherwise, people just come.
Just being open is not enough.
Boy did I learn this the hard way when I launched my first business.
It was an online bookstore and I didn’t know much about marketing.
At the time I was an engineer, so I knew (theoretically) how to write code and launching an online business seemed like the logical thing to do.
The business sputtered along because of great friends and word of mouth and, I believe, because of the relationships I built with my customers.
So, after about a year of running my ecommerce site, I took things offline to a physical location.
Yep… I took THAT leap. Inadequacies and all.
Was it fun? Yes… well most of the time (I love books so…)
Did I learn a lot? Absolutely.
And one of the things I learned is that running a business blind, with no marketing budget, no teacher or adviser to lead you in the right direction and no real experience is a recipe for disaster!
Hindsight is 20/20 but it sure would have been great to see some things ahead of time. (smile)
Everybody makes mistakes.
Hopefully, everybody learns from them.
I sure did… I think. (wink)
So the point of all of this reflection is to share with you how to make sure that when you build it, the people do come.
- Have you been running blind in your business?
- Do you jump on the latest marketing fad every time something new comes along, never really sticking to any one thing long enough to see results?
- Do you have a website and it’s sitting collecting dust with no visitors and no sales, then keep reading.
- If you feel clueless about what to do with all this online “stuff” that’s out there, fear not, you CAN do this!
Now I don’t know why I’m writing about eggs and hens, but this is how it came to me so stay with me. (LOL) I’m an engineer at heart, and normally tend to speak in steps and processes, so this has got to be good.
Your 3 Golden Eggs
GET TRAFFIC FLOWING TO YOU
No matter the type of business, if nobody’s coming in, your egg is already fried. Corny pun intended.
You’ve got to get people to stop by.
Now tell me, how many times has the person dressed up like the Statue of Liberty or Uncle Sam on the corner gotten you to cross over 3 lanes of traffic and race into the business they’re hollering about?
Oh, never? Yeah, me neither.
Now, think about a time when you saw an ad or got an email and couldn’t get to the business fast enough to get the offer.
Why did you do it? Because they offered you something you wanted or needed (even if it’s just a 50% off coupon, it’s something you want and I’d bet the wording a.k.a. copy, appealed to that need or want and “sold” you. And because gimmicks really don’t work.
If you want people to visit your site, give them a reason. A good reason.
They make me want to keep coming back because they are giving me something I need, want and feel I can’t live without.
Now once you have a reason for people to show up, tell them.
I see so many Tweets saying check out my fabulous widget with no website link. Or the link goes to something totally irrelevant.
I see so many beautiful postcards and business cards that don’t do jack diddly to get people to call or come by.
I hear so many people talk about why their business is so great and how great their product is and how it can do this and that.
And guess what… I could give a flip. Why? Because they haven’t said one darned thing about how their AH-mazing product will help ME. Yeah, remember me… the potential client or customer.
I don’t care how great your widget is… I care about what it can DO for ME.
Tell me that in your Tweets and Facebook posts. Then I’ll click your link and visit your site and just maybe, if you keep telling me how you can help me, I’ll give you my email address or buy your widget.
BUILD A TARGETED LIST
Can you have a business without a list? Ummm… yeah, I guess so.
Can you grow your business without a list? Hmmm, probably so.
But can you sustain your business long term without a list? I’d say no. At least not without making it much, much harder for yourself.
If you’re building a business that you intend to sustain you for the long term and you’re not just playing around, then you will make sure you’re capturing leads and building your list.
Your list is like family. You may make new friends and you may meet a ton of new people in your life, but it’s your family who’s always there.
My Church Secretary Community is more than just a list to me. They are like family. I really do care about them. And I believe they know it.
Why? Because many of them have been with me, actively since day one.
That says a lot about the relationship we’ve developed over the years.
There are all kinds of business “models” out there. Some that don’t “require” you to build a relationship with your audience at all.
If that’s the kind of business you want to build then go for it. Just beware of the long term consequences.
The question you have to ask yourself is if you’re ready to do this for the long haul.
Are you ready to work consistently and be committed to a process that works?
If you are, then building your community (list) will be a joy to you.
Sidenote: Social media followings and friends are not your “list”. You need to own your list. These are supplemental (and definitely beneficial) to the list you build. Your goal is to get those who follow and friend you to join your list. (smile)
MAKE RELEVANT & BENEFICIAL OFFERS
When you know your audience, you’ll know what they want.
Sounds simple enough.
The biggest problem comes from not knowing your audience… not knowing who you serve… and thus not knowing what they want.
Often, as entrepreneurs and masters of our crafts we only want to give people what we want.
It’s not about you.
When you focus on serving, you focus on the needs of those you serve, right?
So find out what your customers and clients want and then give it to them.
Take a survey.
Do a poll.
Ask them. Study them. Find where they “hang out” and listen to them.
They’ll tell you what they want and what they need.