In “lockdownworld” where you can't work with clients face to face, many consultants, coaches and trainers are turning to online courses as a way to deliver value to their clients and maintain their income.
And while a lot of focus has been put on how to create online courses, the technology to use, and how to market and sell them; very little has been published about how to make sure they actually serve their primary purpose.
In other words, how to make sure that your clients really learn from them, implement what they've learned, and get sustainable results from them.
Because if your clients aren't getting results, you're not doing your job. And your course won't get the testimonials and referrals it needs to succeed.
In this video, I talk to learning and development expert Antoinette Oglethorpe about strategies for getting more engagement and real learning from your online courses – and how to make sure that what your students learn gets put into place back in their workplace or lives so they get the results they're looking for.
Of all the problems I hear from people struggling to win enough clients, probably the most frequent is “I just can't find the time for marketing”.
It's an insidious problem. No matter how smart you are, no matter how brilliant the marketing strategies you're trying to implement: if you can't find the time for them then you won't get results.
And it's such an easy trap to fall into. If we're not naturals at marketing we probably don't know how to do it efficiently. And we probably don't enjoy it, so we kid ourselves that we're doing OK, we have enough clients for now, something will turn up anyway…and so we avoid doing the marketing we really need.
Back in the late 1990s I had one of those “duh” moments.
I was attending a workshop on selling consulting services run by my employer, Gemini Consulting. One of the core lessons from the workshop was the observation that your sales processes should be based on how your buyers buy, not on how you want to sell.
Simple. Obvious. Yet I hadn't thought of it like that at all.
Fast forward to today and that simple observation still applies to sales processes both offline and online.
But does your website really match how your buyers buy? In particular:
What phases do they go through in their decision-making process?
What do they look for at each stage?
Have you made it incredibly easy for them to find what they're looking for on your website at each stage?
From a hard-nosed commercial perspective, you want the visitors to your website to do what you want them to do. But in the real world, they're only going to do what you want them to do if it matches what they want and need to do.
Or to use Zig Ziglar's more positive version, “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”
In the current frenzy of excitement about designing complex “marketing funnels” to maximise our sales we seem to have lost sight of the fact that your clients have their own objectives. And if your website doesn't help them achieve those objectives then they won't stick around, no matter how clever your funnels are.
So what is it that our clients want when they visit our site?
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 without being too complex or too time-consuming. They might well be a good fit for you too.
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.
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.
It's difficult to move these days without hearing that “content marketing” is the future of marketing. If not the present or even the past.
It's somewhat trickier to pin down exactly what content marketing actually is.
The problem with most definitions of content marketing is that they confuse and blur rather than clarify. They talk about how content marketing is all about “creating and distributing valuable and relevant information” as if somehow in the past all you needed to do was send useless irrelevant information to customers and they'd bite your hands off to buy your products.
Creating valuable, interesting material that your customers and potential customers want to receive is good marketing. It's not specific to content marketing.
A couple of weeks ago I woke up to a nightmare scenario for any email marketer.
As I do most days, I tapped away to write an email I thought would be useful, interesting and fun for my subscribers. Job done, I shot off a test email to myself to make sure the links were all working.
5 minutes later, it hadn't arrived in my inbox. Another 10 minutes and it still wasn’t there. I sent another one.
Then I spotted a notification that there were new emails in my Gmail promotions tab.
Surely not? Surely my own emails that I read on a regular basis aren't going into my promotions tab?
But yes, they were.
According to Email Deliverability expert Chris Lang, you get an 8-10% increase in opens and clicks simply by being in the primary tab rather than the promotions tab on Gmail.
That's a huge difference. And it's a direct hit on your revenue if email is a key part of your marketing.
Lang estimates that Gmail runs about 40% of the world's email behind the scenes. In my case, since my clients tend to be smaller businesses it's probably higher.
So ending up in the promotions tab is bad, bad news.
So why was I in there and more importantly: what could I do to get out? I started looking around for answers.
A quick note before you jump in to read – this was originally written in 2015 and the experiment I ran relates to the social media algorithms at that point in time.
My experience now (2018) is that LinkedIn has updated its algorithm to be more like Facebook's – ie if you make repeated posts with limited engagement it will decrease your reach significantly. So do be careful and test first.
Now back to 2015…
If you're a social media purist who believes that the only way to “correctly” use social media is for personal interaction then look away now. What I'm about to say will probably annoy the heck out of you.
Personally, I'm a pragmatist.
Not just with social media, but with all marketing.