In 2015, customers spent $107 billion on online courses, according to Global Industry Analysts. The number of internet users increased from 738 million in 2000 to 3.2 billion in 2015, according to the International Telecommunication Union. In 2017, 2.46 billion people used social media every day, according to Statista. The internet and social media have created an immense opportunity for entrepreneurs. Never has there been a time during which entrepreneurs can market their business to a global audience as they can today.
While the opportunity is great, there are too few entrepreneurs and companies capitalizing on all this potential. According to research firm Clutch, 46 percent of U.S. small businesses still didn’t have a website as recently as 2016. Millions of potential leads are lost by not spending a few thousand dollars to create a foundation online.
There are entrepreneurs reading this who, with a few adjustments to their strategy, can start making the kind of income they want and are capable of making. With all of this opportunity available to us, there is no reason you can’t use the power of the internet to grow your business. If your business isn’t growing, it’s probably because you’re not executing these five strategies.
1. Bring clarity to your branding and messaging.
If you have studied internet marketing for any amount of time, you’ve heard entrepreneurs talk about the need to carve a niche. You’re told that you have to be different to stand out. In the desire to be different, entrepreneurs brand their businesses in a way that does just the opposite. Potential customers won’t invest their time and money if they can’t understand what you do and, most importantly, how it will help them.
While new age branding sounds good, it confuses them, and confused buyers don’t spend money. Your branding and messaging have to be clear. Everyone who visits your website and online presence needs to understand exactly what you do and how it could help their lives in some way. They want plain language that speaks to them. They need to see your story, see that you understand their pain points and that you have practical solutions.
2. Building an audience beyond social media.
Social media marketing has been the go-to strategy for entrepreneurs for years now, and for good reason. You have the opportunity to reach billions, but all the major social media platforms are now publicly traded companies. They answer to their shareholders when profit isn’t there. These platforms make a profit is by limiting your organic reach and offering their ads platforms to reach the audience you’ve built. They charge you to reach your own people.
Social media advertising is powerful, but you need a diverse marketing strategy to grow. There are many ways to market your business without paying for reach:
• Get interviewed on podcasts relevant to your business. Podcasts have millions of listeners who spend money.
• Create content for large business and personal development publications. The large media publications you read every day get millions of targeted readers. Contribute good content and the readers will want to know more about your business. Here’s how you can get published.
• Speak at local events and network.
• Do webinars and online training to build an email list.
• Build an email list as your primary strategy.
3. First, create value.
Don’t ask for the sale if you haven’t added value first. The good thing is that we live in a time in which there are many ways online to add value. You can publish free blog posts, do podcast interviews, publish articles on large publications, host free Facebook Live Q&A’s, host free webinars, make YouTube videos and add free value posts on social media. When you release valuable content that helps your potential customer before they ever spent a dime with you, not only will they buy, but they’ll become raving fans. Raving fans tend to bring in new customers.
4. Use software to make sales 24/7.
The internet age has spawned a new wave of software and innovation. There is powerful software that enables you to set up an automated sequence that leads to sales 24/7. And there are so many more tools and software that grow your business.
There are all kinds of options that help you develop systems and make the overall look of your business professionally. What’s nice is that a lot of this software is plug and play. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars hiring someone to set it up. Use the software and different platforms that are available today to build systems and automation into your business.
5. Having a strategic promotion’s plan.
A business lives or dies based on its marketing and promotions. You can’t promote your business and premium offerings only when you feel like it. You need to map a real, strategic plan. You should know what you’re going to promote, when you’ll promote it, what tools you’ll use and the steps you need to take each promotion cycle.
If you aren’t making six figures in your business online, go through each of these points and see where there’s an opportunity for improvement. There’s a wealth of people online who want what you offer.
Writer, Consultant, Lifetime Entrepreneur