And, of course, there's no one right answer for everyone. What suits a full-time online marketer with a team behind them isn't the same as what suits a small solo business with limited time to do their marketing in. And personal preferences play a role too.
But what I can tell you about are the tools I personally use. These are the ones that I've tested and I feel are the best to help me run my online business. They might well be a good fit for you too.
You may remember my podcast with Brent from a few weeks ago where we looked at his research into the “Challenger Customer” and its implications for selling high-value products and services.
You might also remember that we touched on the concept of “Commercial Insight”. It's perhaps the most effective method for individuals and firms to both differentiate themselves vs competitors and motivate their potential clients to take action.
So I got Brent back for a second interview to dive into more details on Commercial Insight.
In the interview we talk about:
What Commercial Insight is.
Why traditional “thought leadership” doesn't work and the missing component you need.
How to develop your own Commercial Insight for your products and services.
How to communicate your Commercial Insight in a way that spurs potential clients to action, rather than causing them to reject or react against your new ideas
Ever done a Google search and noticed that some sites have star ratings next to their listings, while most don't?
If a site is showing up as 4 or 5-star, it's going to get more clicks than sites with no stars at all. And people visiting the site are going to be going there with a good impression before they even land on the site.
And although Google don't release details of their algorithm, many SEO experts believe that having good star ratings and reviews can help you move up the search results. If nothing else, because people are more likely to click to your site because of the star ratings that higher clickthrough rate will move you up the listings over time.
I've found that since implementing this I've gone up in the search results a couple of places for some of my main page 1 keywords.
As it turns out, despite the fact that hardly any sites have star rating in their search listings, it's pretty easy to make happen. It's fiddly, as you'll see, but relatively easy.
I implemented some simple changes to my site and within 4 days I had star ratings next to my site for searches for my name, and the next day the star ratings were there for other important keyword searches for me as you can see below.
If you market and sell your services to other businesses then the chances are you use Linkedin. Probably a lot.
If you know how to use it, it can be a really effective system for finding contacts and referrers to begin a high-value relationship with. And someone visiting your profile can be the first step towards them making contact.
But the whole Linkedin interface is about to change…
Only 22% of Linkedin users are active once a month or more frequently. Contrast that with 66% of Facebook's 1.79 Billion users who are active daily and you can see that Linkedin has a big activity problem.
The way they aim to address it is by simplifying the interface. Making it easier to use for the majority of basic users who they hope will then use it more.
But the flip side of simplifying the interface is that they'll be taking features away and making it more restrictive. If you're a frequent Linkedin user you'll find that many things you rely on now (like Advanced Search) are going away or changing significantly.
On this episode of the More Clients Podcast I interview the UK's “Mr Linkedin” Mark Williams. Mark has been training businesses in how to use Linkedin since 2008 and he runs the Linkedinformed podcast where other Linkedin trainers and advanced users go to find out the latest news and tips on Linkedin.
Mark has had special access to the new Linkedin interface since October last year, and in this interview he walks us through all the significant changes in Linkedin we'll see when the new interface is rolled out widely (scheduled to be completed in May this year).
He covers what the changes are, how it impacts the key things you might want to do on Linkedin, and what you can do to prepare for the changes or deal with them when they happen.
If you're a serious Linkedin user you MUST listen to this podcast and in many cases take action before the changes hit you.
If creating online courses is on your agenda for 2017, this podcast is a must-listen for you.
In it, I discuss the current huge opportunity in online education with Danny Iny, founder of Mirasee and author of “Teach and Grow Rich” which is about to be published in its second (expanded) edition.
Why there's such a big opportunity right now in online education as it becomes more mainstream.
How to transition from delivering live services to online courses, and what to focus your courses on.
The impact of sites like Masterclass.com with celebrity trainers like Aaron Sorkin, Dustin Hoffman, Serena Williams and Gordon Ramsay- and how a small provider can compete against them.
How to ensure your courses are genuinely valuable for your clients and lead to achievement of real results for them.
Partially because my guest, Brent Adamson of the CEB, is such an expert and entertaining speaker.
But perhaps more because the topic is so critical.
As I mentioned in Why Being An Expert Won't Get You Clients, we're in an era where it's becoming tougher and tougher to sell premium solutions to our clients. Time and time again a service we know will bring huge benefits is turned down in favour of a cheaper option, or the client just doesn't move ahead and do anything.
It's not just because of the way we're marketing and selling to clients; it's because the way they're buying has changed.
In this podcast Brent dissects the way corporate clients buy today, based his extensive research at the CEB. And he highlights what service providers like us MUST do if we want to win clients for our premium services in today's new buying environment.
There's been a big trend in the last few years that says that the way to win clients as a professional service provider is to become seen as a leading expert in your field.
As a result, more and more professional services marketing has become focused on creating mounds of content which showcases and proves the expertise of the service provider.
It makes sense, in theory. When clients want help for complex, tricky problems, they call the best expert they can find.
Or do they?
Let's give this idea a little reality check.
Think about the last few times you pitched for a piece of work with a client and didn't win. How often was it because you weren't seen as being enough of an expert by that client? Or because the winner was seen as a bigger expert?
My experience: very few times indeed.
The reasons you win or lose work are rarely because they don't see you as an expert.
You don’t need me to tell you that a responsive email list is the key to winning clients and selling products online.
For every clickbait headline from some attention-seeking guru proclaiming that email marketing is dead, there’s a ton of studies and analysis showing that email still drives exponentially more sales than any other channel, and is the preferred method of business communication across all age groups.
But, of course, knowing that building a responsive email list is key to your success and actually building one are two very different things.
In my early days online I did what most people do. I put a nice little “Subscribe to my Newsletter” box in the sidebar on my blog and waited for a flood of subscribers to come rolling in.
It didn't happen.
And there was far less competition back then, certainly in terms of people providing tips to consultants, coaches and other professionals about getting more clients.
It's even tougher to get subscribers today.
Today in almost every niche you can’t move for falling over newsletters and email courses. Today you have to work a lot harder to get the right email subscribers.
“Subscribe to my Newsletter” doesn’t cut it anymore. Nor does a simple box in your sidebar.
In this blog post, you’ll discover the three most important factors when it comes to turning visitors into your website into email subscribers. Get these three right as some of my students have done and you’ll often double or triple your email signup rate.
Ever been impressed with someone when you meet face to face, see them speak, or talk over the phone; only to visit their website and feel let down by their online presence?
Wonder if that might be happening when people first visit your site? It probably is if you're making some of these big web design mistakes.
Your website is the hub of your online marketing activity, and it's your clients' window in to your world. An effective “Client Winning Website” can have a big impact on your ability to attract and win clients. A bad one can put them off completely.
And it's not just the obvious things that can hurt you. Some of the most beautiful, professional looking websites can have huge problems when it comes to their effectiveness at getting you clients.
In this post we're going take a look at what, right now, are the biggest problems with most professional service websites and more importantly, what you can do to fix them.
Last week I had a bit of a brain freeze and forgot to send out the email notifying everyone of the new 5 Minute Marketing Tip video.
Oops! But it gave me the chance to try a little experiment the next day.
One of the key methods to increase the open rates of your emails, clicks through to your articles and reading past the headline on your sales pages is to build curiosity. Remember Gary Bencivenga's formula: Interest = Benefits x Curiosity.
So I tested a straightforward subject line of “Get more engagement and interest from your customers and prospects” against a pure curiosity subject line of “Sorry – meant to send this yesterday :(“. Other than subject lines the emails were identical.
The aim of the first subject line is to get people to open the email because they know the benefit they'll get from it. The aim of the second subject line is to get people to open the email to find out what on earth I meant to send them yesterday, and perhaps why I didn't.
The results: the email with the plain subject line had an open rate of 32.3%, the email with the curiosity based subject line had an open rate of 36.7%. That's a 13% increase at 99.9% significance.
But more importantly the click through rate to the video was 5.4% for the plain subject line and 6.5% for the curiosity based subject line (a 21% increase with 95% significance). That indicates that not only did more people open the email to find out what I'd meant to send them, that increased number of opens didn't fizzle out when it came to taking action, they were motivated enough to click through to the video.
Now you can't make a mistake with every email or article and use a “sorry” type subject line or headline every time. It would wear pretty thin (not to mention being a bit dishonest if you were deliberately making mistakes).
But luckily there are many ways to harness curiosity in your emails, articles, sales pages and other marketing. And in this week's 5 Minute Marketing Tip video I share 7 powerful strategies you can use to harness curiosity.