Feb 12 2014

Why You Don’t Need A Website To Grow Your Business

email marketingIf you know nothing about building a website for your business, be prepared to spend up to several thousand dollars to have it professionally designed for you.  Then, once in place, your business will explode with new customers… NOT.  Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.  Yet many business owners think a website is the magic bullet that will bring in tons of new business.

If no one knows the website exists, it’s a waste of time.  It will cost you another several thousand dollars for a professional to drive visitors to your site.  There’s nothing wrong with doing it that way, but there are easier, more cost effective ways to attract new customers without a website, especially if your business is new.  One solution is email marketing.

I know a very successful magician who keeps in regular contact with his fans via email.  He connects with over 3,500 fans once or twice a week.  What’s really interesting is he does not have a website.  He does not use Twitter.  He uses Facebook, but rarely talks about his business.  Yet, somehow, he has 3,500+ people on his email list.  That may not seem like a lot, but for his entertainment business, that’s huge.  About 90% of his gigs comes from people on that list.  You’ve heard it before, the money is in the list!

His secret:

Anyone who knows you exist should be invited to hang out with you and your friends.

This is quite different from marketers who spend most of their time trying to let people know they exist.  They spend too much time trying to get new customers and end up neglecting the customers they already have.

Your existing relationships should always be your top priority.  If you’re new in business you may protest “But no one knows I have a business!”   WRONG!  That’s just an excuse.  Someone, even if it’s one person, knows what you have to offer.  That’s all it takes to get the ball rolling.

Here are some examples from different types of business.  See if you can translate the ideas to your specific business.

  • A small cafe invites everyone who comes in to sign up for “customer only” specials.  The waitress enters the customer’s email into the email list program for them.  When the customer gets home, they see a welcome email with coupons.
  • A chiropractor asks every client if they would like to receive a free booklet of back strengthening exercises to reduce pain.  The client gives them an email address to receive the booklet.
  • A hair salon offers each customer a free haircut with their upcoming “Bring a friend” promotion.  They send an email with details.  The customer is surprised to find several additional coupons for free services just for signing up.
  • An  electronic game store invites everyone who walks in the door a chance to win a  $50 gift certificate each month.  Winners are notified by email.  Just for signing up, they receive a 50% off coupon on their next single item purchase.
  • A magician invites everyone to meet him after the show to ask questions and find out how they can learn magic.  They sign up to receive a free “trick of the month” by email.  They receive a buy one, get one free coupon for upcoming shows just for signing up.
  • An online marketer hears one of his friends talk about how he hates his job and wants to find a way to escape the rat race.  He has his friend sign up to receive a “how to make money online” mini course via email.

In each example, the business owner is now in a position to keep in regular contact with their customers.  The key now is to provide valuable content on a regular basis.  This does NOT mean you bombard them with a sales pitch in each email!  In future articles, we’ll discuss what to put in the emails to ensure you’re providing value.

Are you using email to build your business?  What ongoing value are you providing your customers?  If you have a unique way to keep in touch with your customers, please let us know.

Apr 06 2010

Selling Is A Waste Of Time

Do you like being sold? I bet you don’t.

Do you like having someone tell you what you need? Probably not.

How do you feel when a salesperson tries to tell you what’s best for you? Most likely you will feel insulted.

Then why do so many business owners do this to their customers? Why do we do the very things that make us mad? Do you use the excuse “because it’s always been done that way”?

I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to selling, when instead, I should be finding out what people want and trying to get it for them.

Selling Is A Waste Of Time!

Fine. So what is the alternative? After all, you’ve always been told nothing happens in business until something is sold.

Here’s a formula I learned from my mentor when I was building my entertainment business. There was a joke around magicians that he was “the busiest magician that no one ever heard of”. He used these steps to quietly build his empire. It worked for me. I still use the principles today in an entirely different industry.

  1. Find out “where” your prospect is today.
  2. Determine where they would rather be.
  3. Ask them what will happen if they don’t don’t change their situation.
  4. Get a commitment that they are ready for a change.
  5. Offer a solution to help make the change happen.

Now you’re not “selling”. This approach is more like an interview process. The key is that when they explain to you what their problem is and what the consequences are, they not only tell you, but they also convince themselves. Then you determine if you can help them. When you talk to a friend about a problem they’re having you ask a lot of questions, don’t you?

A veteran salesperson will say I’m wrong and likely accuse me of oversimplifying the sales process. They will tell me “You don’t understand my industry… it’s different”.  Really? I’m ready to hear why.

It starts with a simple change in the way you look at the sales process. If you think sales is about twisting arms, poking eyes, and badgering people into buying your ideas, you may get a sale now and then. I doubt it will last. If, on the other hand you approach sales as an interview process to determine and then solve a problem, your prospect will believe you and be happy to “buy” your solution.

Do you sell your customers, or do they buy from you? As always, your comments are welcome.

Mar 11 2010

Dominate Your Market In 4 Easy Steps

Let’s keep it simple today.   Here’s a formula for obtaining massive business success.  It’s everything I learned from hanging around entertainers during the last 20 years.

Determine What Talent You Want To Use

What skill do you really want to use every day?  Do you like to teach?  Are you a writer?  Do you like to solve problems?  Maybe you like to build things, or speak in front of a group.  Maybe you have a secret desire to act, or sing, or play music.

Decide Who You Want To Share Your Talent With

If you are a blogger, who do you want to read your blog?  If you want to teach, who do you want to learn from your teaching?  Do you like to solve business problems?  What type of business person do want to seek you out?  Imagine your ideal client/customer/audience.

Hang Out With Your Tribe And Find Out What They Want

Once you know who your ideal customer is, find out where they hang out and start building relationships with them.  How do you find them?  Look for forums on the internet.  Are there clubs for your tribe?  How about associations?  You may find them on Twitter or Facebook.  Wherever you find them, start interacting.  Find out what their problems are, what keeps them up at night.

Deliver A Solution Using Your Talent

Once you know what they want, create a solution with your special skills.  What if you can’t?  No problem.  You probably know someone who can.  They will likely compensate you for the referral.

That’s it!

What do you think?  Is this model oversimplified?  Can it really be that simple?  How would this model fit your business?  As always, your comments are welcome.