If you’re not online these days, you’re seriously missing out. Getting your business online doesn’t simply mean having a website – although that is a major part of an online business – it also means being present on social media and having a blog.
There is also another great way to GROW your business online and improving your online presence overall – email marketing.
Having a mailing list is imperative to growing your business online.
Here are my 6 Key Steps to Growing Your Business Online.
Key Step No 1 – Set up an Email List
Obviously, this has to be your first step – getting a list of people you can market to. BUT this does not mean scraping email addresses from the internet or business cards you have been given and adding them to an excel spreadsheet or your Outlook contacts.
Attempts at growing your online business in this way are sure to fail.
Why not just send to anyone and everyone?
Well, firstly if the people you are emailing didn’t explicitly agree to you sending emails, then you are making a very bad impression by sending to them.
Secondly, if the upset recipients then decided to mark your emails as spam, you run the risk of having your email address blacklisted and may not be able to send any emails at all – ever!
Thirdly, International SPAM laws mean you might actually get in real trouble!
So how can you make sure you do it right?
The best way to use email marketing is via an email service provider (ESP). There are many on the market today – Aweber, Constant Contact, MadMimi – but my preferred ESP is Mailchimp. (Basically, because it’s free and very easy to use)
Using an ESP means that you can create fancy templates for your emails, including links to your social media profiles and allow recipients to share the contents with your followers with the click of a button.
Key Step No 2 – Create a Great Giveaway/Freebie
Now that you’ve created somewhere to store your list, you’re going to need to actually get people to sign up and actually give you their email address and subsequent permission to send them emails.
How do you do this?
Well, despite popular belief – and from what I’ve seen online it’s very popular – asking people to simply “sign up to your newsletter” is not the best incentive!
I have some bad news for you – nobody really wants to receive your newsletters, especially if they’ve not heard from you before. How do potential readers know your newsletters are worthwhile?? You need something to entice them.
This is where your freebie comes in. You give away something that shows your expertise but more importantly is something your potential clients want and need!
It’s a win-win situation. You get their email address (and permission to send emails). They get a free ebook/guide to…/how to… etc.
So, what can YOU create that will help your potential clients?
For example, I used to give away a free guide on how to use Instagram for FitPros and now my offering is how to get your monthly content created in under 2 hours per month. People enter their email address into a form (more on this later) and receive an email with the ebook. I get their email address and confirmation that they want to hear more from me.
What could you offer as a freebie? A discount voucher for personal training sessions? A free nutrition eBook? A free audio/video training?
The possibilities are endless. You can even have more than one freebie giveaway with Mailchimp – just create more than one list/signup form.
Tip: Use Mailchimp’s final welcome email to send your freebie so there’s no need to sign up for their paid automation/autoresponder service.
Key Step No3 – Put Your Sign Up Form on Your Website
Ok, so you’ve set up your mailing list and designed a freebie – think about how people can physically get onto that list.
Mailchimp (and all other leading ESPs) will give you the code so that you can embed your sign-up form onto your website. Please don’t be put off by the word “code” it really is simple to do and if you have a WordPress website, it’s even easier with the installation of a plugin
According to the Marketing Megaminds, the Pisciotta’s – there are 7+ important places where you should place your sign-up form on your website. Before reading their advice, I only had my sign up form in my website’s sidebar. Now I have it in the majority of the places suggested and my sign ups have tripled!
I’m not going to repeat them all as I highly suggest you join their free Facebook group and learn this stuff for yourself but I’ve listed some below:-
- Side bar (like, duh!!)
- About page
- End of blog posts
You can also build dedicated “landing pages” to host your sign up form and relevant blurb. Again, there are many plugins for WordPress and even a Mailchimp feature that will do that for you and keep an eye out for my upcoming blog on creating eye-catching landing pages.
Key Step No 4 – Create Great & Regular Content
This may be the BIGGEST step to growing your business online – creating content!
Content can be anything from blogs to memes to videos and podcasts.
Whatever it is, just make sure you are doing it regularly and competently! If you’re just going to give a half-arsed attempt or plagiarise someone else – don’t even bother!
Your content sets you up as the expert, so use your voice and your opinions to build your relationship with your audience.
Key Step No 5 – Promote the Hell Out of It!
I remember years ago, one of my very first blog posts was entitled “Kevin Costner, Procrastination and Networking” – it might well have been called “Build it and they will come – won’t they?”
To be honest, it’s a blog post that’s been done a hundred times now but back in 2011 I thought it, and I, was cool.
Basically, it as about the need to promote my business by “getting out there”.
The same theory can be applied to your content. You’ve got to get it out there – ONLINE
And not just your content; the link to your emailing list (and freebie giveaway) sign up form/landing page too!
Even when you’re sick of seeing your own stuff, remember only 10% of your online followers typically see your posts at the time of posting, so it will probably take them 10 times longer to get sick of it!
Share, share, share and share some more!
Key Step No 6 – Don’t Forget the Offers!
All this giving away freebies and content is great, but it doesn’t actually pay the bills.
So always, always, always have the end game in mind – sales!
Gary Vaynerchuk wrote a great book called “Jab, Jab, Right Hook” which talks about how you should give, give, give and then hit them with an offer.
People don’t actually mind the odd sales email, as long as up until that point you’ve been providing quality content that shows you know your stuff. Jab with the info, right hook with the sales!
Never forget to make offers to your mailing list subscribers (not ALL the time but at least SOME of the time.)
Share your mailing list sign up and freebie below.
Until next time …