To succeed in business you need a plan with a clear goal and strategy. Selecting tools without knowing precisely what you’re trying to achieve is futile and can be costly. Just blogging without any idea of who’s reading it, why they are reading, what you want them to do, and how you can get them to do it, is a waste of your precious time. I know because I’ve been there. 60-70 hour weeks without reward (even with it) are no fun.
First and most importantly clarify WHY you’re in business. If you answer “to make money” then stop and go find a job. Unless you’re selling commodities like toothpaste and bubblegum, people don’t buy products – they buy WHY you’re in business in the first place – there must be some reason that underlies your desire to be in business. Go watch Simon Sinek’s TED talk: How great leaders inspire action. It may not seem business related but it most certainly is.
I found it easier for me to get at my ‘why’ when I thought about how I serve my clients – what is the value I provide them? Another way to get to the why is to start with “I believe…” and fill in the rest. Ultimately, I want to serve them, to help them grow their businesses. The why for me is I believe online marketing and how to use tech tools and services should be easier and clearer.
Next develop a clear goal – a measurable goal. Keep it simple (the acronym often used is SMART). You’ll see a lot of hyperbole on goals. Keep it simple and make sure it’s something you understand and fits the SMART requirements.
Next, develop an avatar for your target audience. Profile them. Who are they? What motivates them? Are they married, single, divorced, widowed? Anything that may affect their purchase decisions can be included. Brainstorm all of the possible things in their life that may affect their purchase decisions without editing or thinking about them. Just let flow. After you’ve run out of ideas, then you can filter, edit and organize the list into the top 10 or 20 items.
At this point you have a solid understanding of why you’re doing this, who you’re trying to reach, and a clear business goal to measure your progress by.
The next step is the sales funnel. Many, many ways to do this but the most profitable & reliable sales funnels don’t rely on websites. They rely on email lists, leadpages, ads, and a product or service that appeals to your avatar. The trick isn’t in the tools or blog posts – it’s in building a following that wants what you offer – not the products but the why. The products are merely a vehicle to help them get to the end result, the transformation from where they are to where they want to be. Your why.
Phew… a lot of hot air there but I hope it helps.