Sell Your Knowledge Not Your Time!

If you sell a service or any kind of information you’re in for a treat this week.

Because each email this week caters to service based business owners.

This is in advance of a course I am putting together to specifically help service based business owners get more leads and turn them into customers.

I have been testing these methods out both on my own business and a few select clients. The results are undeniable.

If you follow it step by step which means committing less than 1 hour per day to a few easy tasks, you WILL put your business on a predictable upward growth curve – almost without fail. (There’s no guarantees but it is hard to fail using it)

Nuff about that for now.

One of the big things I had to get my head around when starting out providing web design and digital marketing services was the idea of selling time (or rather NOT selling time).

Selling time has been the default way to price services since day dot.

But it has one major flaw.

Time does not equal value.

Rather output and results equal value.

And if you use time to price yourself, you are just pimping yourself out to the market.

Instead what you should be selling is your knowledge, skills and experience and ultimately the results.

It reminds me of the story about the engineer summoned to fix a very complex machine which was holding up an entire production line and costing thousands for every hour it was down.

After evaluating the situation for a few minutes, the engineer whips out a hammer and gives the machine a light tap.

Of course the machine starts right up. Problem solved.

When he issues the bill for $1000 the business owner is furious and demands an itemised bill.

Hitting the machine with a hammer: $10.

Knowing where to hit it: $990.

Moral of the story…

If you overvalue your work, the world will likely step in to knock down your price.

But if you undercharge yourself, it’s unlikely that the world will step in to compensate you appropriately.

The thing is, there’s a right way and a wrong way to charge for knowledge rather than your time…something I cover in detail in the upcoming course.

Stay tuned!

Gareth

Overcome the cesspool of self doubt

Yesterday, I had one of the most rewarding calls with a client yet.

Her business is now going through rapid growth.

All down to some good planning and lots of grit.

One of the things she attributes to her success was having the discipline of a weekly reflect and project call (with yours truly) which forced her to take action and stay the course…

sometimes through the cesspool of self doubt ie the constant niggling worry about whether her business would succeed, about whether she was good enough.

See here’s the typical chain of thought for many small business owners when starting out:

Stage 1 – Lightbulb moment.

Suddenly the best idea ever miraculously enters your head…usually in the shower or whilst mowing the lawn or doing the dishes. You wonder why no one else ever thought of it. Google search confirms…little or no competition. You dare not breath a word about this thing which will make you filthy rich. Once you let it slip, someone’s sure to steal it. Chance gone. So stay shtum! You feel excited, motivated and as giddy as a 5 year old who just found the secret biscuit tin.

Stage 2 – Reality bites.

After dropping all your current projects and tasks to pursue this new dead cert winning idea with absolute gusto, things don’t pan out as easy as when you hatched this plan. You hit your first big road block. Your certainty and confidence take a hit. But you convince yourself to push through. Nothing’s that easy right? Then you hit another, even bigger road block. Doubt pores into your mind. Now you start to question every decision. You decide it’s not worth the effort. You feel totally demoralised.

Stage 3 – Frustration and blame.

Why can’t you make this work? Maybe you are not cut out for business. You should just stick to what you know, keep the head down and bills paid. Forget the fancy ideas. Life sucks.

Stage 4 – Lightbulb moment again.

And so the cycle continues.

Many business owners continue idea flirting indefinitely. Never making the breakthrough.

Seth Godin wrote a book on the topic called “The Dip” which teaches when to quit and when to persevere.

“Every new project (or job, or hobby, or company) starts out exciting and fun. Then it gets harder and less fun, until it hits a low point—really hard, and not much fun at all.

And then you find yourself asking if the goal is even worth the hassle. Maybe you’re in a Dip—a temporary setback that will get better if you keep pushing. But maybe it’s really a Cul-de-Sac, which will never get better, no matter how hard you try. “

I have experienced it personally and see clients wrestle with this everyday.

And I am certain you have too.

Step back and look at anything you achieved which was worthwhile, it always had a dip before the big breakthrough. Exams, interviews, relationships, having children, buying a house, starting a business.

And it occurred to me over the years.

The BIGGER the dip, the BIGGER the reward.

It’s just the way the universe seems to work.

So that’s why yesterday’s call was so satisfying. To see someone you have worked closely with make that big breakthrough despite all the doubt and fear.

And even though, she had to do the work and overcome this doubt internally…

one of the things which helped her most was having someone in her corner who could hold her accountable. Who she could sanity check her ideas with. Who could guide her through the highs and the lows.

And this is why I’d invite you to do the same.

Find someone who you can share your journey with. Someone who has experienced what you’re going through. A mentor or an accountability partner.

If you don’t know anyone, I would be happy to jump on a call with you to see if we are a fit.

Each month I allocate personal time to provide subscribers with a F.ree 30 Minute Consultation during which all my knowledge and experience of web design and digital marketing is focused on your business. You get to walk away with actionable steps which you can put to use immediately for some quick easy wins. To book a slot go to this page!

Over and out!

Gareth

onlineliftoff.com

gareth@onlineliftoff.com

+353 868268081

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The main reason most businesses fail online, or anywhere for that matter…

By far, the main reason why most businesses fail online (or anywhere for that matter) is because they try to sell something which the target market doesn’t want or is not ready to buy “I couldn’t careless for your 2 for 1 deal on herbal teas if I am just a coffee drinker.”

You need to be sure you are targeting an audience which is willing and ready to buy. And the old blunt methods throwing enough mud and hoping some sticks won’t work online. In fact the opposite holds true. The aim of the game is to find the most efficient way to find your target customer. To do this you need to have a very clear understanding of exactly who is your target customer and where do they hang out.

When I hear the words… “but everyone is my target customer”, I know the business owner is set for trouble.

Marketing to everyone is marketing to no one.

This is not to say you have only one target customer. What you really have is target CUSTOMERS.

The trick is framing an offer around one type of of target customer.

Your offer is just a service or product or giveaway you’re offering.

One of my clients (Ed) is a fitness instructor and owns a couple of gyms…

At our first meeting I asked him, who was his target customer/market?

His answer was typical.

EVERYONE.

“Men and women from 15 to 65, who wanted to lose weight, build some muscle get healthier”.

Just about the entire population…right?Now I can understand Ed’s answer because his customers fall into this range. And it’s natural to want your product or service to appeal to widest market possible. Something for everyone. But what Ed really has is categories of target customers.

After digging deeper I realised Ed had 4 main types of customers

Customer Type A – Men aged 25 to 40 who want to get ripped and pack on muscle in the right places.

Customer Type B – Women aged 35 to 50 who wanted to lose excess weight and feel better about their body shape.

Customer Type C – Parents of young teenagers who wanted to send their kids to a fit club.

Customer Type D – Younger women aged 20 to 40 who wanted to maintain a fit and active lifestyle.

Ed offers were the various classes and one on one training programs as well as monthly gym memberships.

Here’s the thing…

Type A customers, the iron pumpers, don’t care about the “Step and Tone” classes. Doesn’t matter what sort of deal is on offer. Likewise Type B (35 to 50 y/o women) customers don’t care how well stocked the free weights gym is.

Ed learnt to tailor his message and customise his offer so it’s relevant to a particular target customer. As a result bookings are up, memberships are up and the cost of reaching his target audience has cut in half.

The amount of target customer types you can have will vary on your business and industry. Some may only have one. Some could have 100’s. Though in my experience it’s always better to have fewer. Go niche. Become the best at serving just a small number of customer types.

Figure out who you can help the most. Who you enjoy working with the most. Who will be the most profitable for your business. Then allocate your time, money and resources to attract more of those customers and forget about trying to please everyone. Truly knowing your customer means knowing the basics like their age, gender and location. But also their income levels, interests, hobbies, books they read, places they go, groups they are part of, websites they visit and things they search for.

Having a very clear understanding of this makes it easy to figure out where they hang out online. The result being you’ll know where to place your content so it can be seen by your potential customers rather than the masses.

Finally, researching your target market is not done through brainstorming with your staff, or asking your accountant. You need third party data. There’s lots of tools to help. Google Analytics, Google Trends, Google Adwords, Facebook Insights, Similar Web to name just a few. If you have no idea how to begin it is worth considering outsourcing this to a good freelancer or even your web designer. Having a very detailed profile of your ideal customer is a highly valuable asset and will help shape your decision making and marketing for years to come.

So you know who is your ideal customer type and where to find them. Fantastic. Now how do you convince them to hop over to your site and buy your stuff?

Well that’s what I will speak about tomorrow…matching your offer to your audience.

Be sure to stop by.

Over and out!

Gareth

P.S. Each month I allocate personal time to provide subscribers with a F.ree 30 Minute Consultation during which all my knowledge and experience of web design and digital marketing is focused on your business. You get to walk away with actionable steps which you can put to use immediately for some quick easy wins. To book a slot go to this page!

Why should you read this post? …because

Today’s ONE-WORD tip is an oldie but a goodie.

I want to share one of the most powerful trigger words you can put in your website, your emails, your sales letters or even in general conversation with anyone your are trying to persuade.

This one word triggers something in our reptile brain.

It can be used in almost any situation.

To prove it…I wanna share a quick test.

I want you to spot which word I am talking about from this short story….

[Last October, I went on a family holiday to Lanzarote.

Family holidays are great when you get there…but the red eye departure times, the 7 bags of luggage, the waiting, the queueing, the buses, the taxis, the checking in, the fighting over tablets, the “Daddy I have to go to the toilet AGAIN”, the dirty looks from the passenger sitting on the aisle seat, the Ryanair rock hard seats, those bloody overhead compartments when you have put your bag 5 rows back from your seat then wait till everyone gets off first before you can retrieve it…nuff to make you go cracked!

Who lands at the destination relaxed and calm…like the families in the brochure?

Not us anyway…

Nevertheless, arrive we did and boy was I ready for a dip in the pool and a cold one.

The queue at the hotel reception was 4 deep with only one working receptionist. Just another tiny agitation.

Finally we get to the front.

“Sorry there’s a problem” says the receptionist.

I feel blood starting to simmer.

“Your room is not available we would like to transfer you to a different hotel just temporarily…just for one night – because there’s some flooding in the bathroom and we need to fix the problem.”

Can we not be moved to another room? Even upgraded!!!

“Unfortunately we cannot do that because the hotel is fully booked”

But because of your inconvenience… we will upgrade your package to full board for the duration of your holiday.

Rage slowly gives way to acceptance of the circumstances and we taxi off to our new hotel.

Sure, every hotel floods once in a while. Can’t be helped]

Well did you spot the most important word used by the receptionist…unbeknownst to her I might add?

Alright I’ll explain.

Or rather I will let the master of influence himself (Robert Caldini) explain backed up by some research from a Harvard psychologist.

“A well-known principle of human behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason.

“Harvard social psychologist Ellen Langer demonstrated this unsurprising fact by asking a small favor of people waiting in line to use a library copying machine. ‘Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I’m in a rush?” The effectiveness of this request-plus-reason was nearly total: 94 percent of those asked let her skip ahead of them in line. Compare this success rate to the results when she made the request only (without giving a ‘reason why’): ‘Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?’

“Under those circumstances, only 60 percent of those asked complied. At first glance, it appears that the crucial difference between the two requests was the additional information provided by the words, ‘because I’m in a rush.’

“But a third type of request tried by Langer showed that this was not the case. It seems that it was not the whole series of words, but the first one, ‘because,’ that made the difference. Instead of including a real reason for compliance, Langer’s third type of request used the word ‘because’ and then, adding nothing new, merely restated the obvious: ‘Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies?’
“The result was that once again nearly all—93 percent—agreed, even though no real reason, no new information, was added to justify their compliance.

Mental isn’t it.

The power of that one word “BECAUSE”.

So next time you write an email, or do a sales call or edit your website, fill it with “becauses”

Why? …because that’s why!

It’s proven to generate a desired response or action.

Frame your reasons with “becauses” and they immediately sound more persuasive.

Over and out!

Gareth

P.S. Each month I allocate personal time to provide subscribers with a F.ree 30 Minute Consultation during which all my knowledge and experience of web design and digital marketing is focused on your business. You get to walk away with actionable steps which you can put to use immediately for some quick easy wins. To book a slot go to this page!

9 Common Website Mistakes

9 Common Website Mistakes…

Here’s 9 of the most common website mistakes I come across.

1. Cluttered Homepage.

Too many images and too much text on the homepage will hurt conversions. Value whitespace and use it to direct the eye towards your one big call to action.

The best looking websites are inherently the most simple, easy to navigate and least cluttered sites.

That means they avoid excessive use of sliders, flash, wild colours and glossy icons which try to jump off the screen.

They also let the content breath with “white” or empty space. All of this helps direct the user to your most important content.

Remember the last site you visited which bounced your eye around like a ping pong ball in a hurricane.

Probably not, because you hit the back button so fast.

So with that in mind.

Use the KISS approach.

Keep It Simple Stupid.

Here’s an example of it done well…

2. Lack of clarity

You should not have any more than 2 call to actions competing against each other above the fold.

Think of your call to actions like sign posts on your site.

Too many signs and directions only confuse your visitor.

Try to focus on how you’d guide a first time visitor through your site.

This should align with your primary objective whether that’s to get a signup or sale.

3. Slow loading times

A delay of even a single second in a page’s load time can lead to a 7% loss in visitors. You should be able to get your site to load in a couple of seconds tops.

Plus Google use it as a key metric in their ranking algorithm.

Here’s a tool where you can go to test the speed of your site.

Speed Test Your Site

The main drag on load time is usually large images.

You can fix this by running an image optimizer plugin on your site.

But if you’re not very techy…do me a favour.

Head over to fiverr.com and pay someone $5 to speed up your site.

The steps are simple but not worth wasting your time learning all the tools and tricks.

4. Don’t auto play videos.

Remember some of your visitors could be catching a sneaky 10 minute web browse at work or in a meeting. When your video kicks in, it’ll blow their cover. Red faces all round.

Let people click the play and stop buttons themselves.

5. Getting fancy with the menu bar.

Nowadays most people are now very familiar with a standard website layout.

Logo and menu across the top.

Don’t try to be fancy by putting the menu bar in some weird place. It will cause friction and confusion.

6. Too many items in the menu bar

If you have more than 6 items in your menu bar or use dropdowns, you haven’t thought through how to lay out your content well enough.

Using a “RESOURCE” page should allow you to warehouse lots of different sections and will avoid the need to load more tabs into your menu bar.

Also remember to use your footer for links to all your deeper pages.

7. Using stock images

 

Avoid using stock images of twinkle teeth actors like the plague. 2 reasons.

First, it’s cheesy! People see through it and it damages the authenticity of your brand.

And second, because so many other template based websites use them you run the risk of people seeing the exact same images on some other site. If they had a poor experience on that other site, they automatically put yours in the same bucket.

A simple solution. Get your camera (even a smart phone will do) and take pictures of yourself and your team in action. Job done!

8. Not using enough REASON WHYs…

Ultimately your website is just a persuasion tool.

You are trying to persuade your visitor to take a desired action.

The most powerful thing you can do to make this happen is give enough reasons.

Why should they buy your product/service?

Why should they buy it from you?

Why should they buy it today?

Why should they trust you?

Why should they call you?

Why should they tell their friends about you?

Why, why, why.

9. Mobile layout mistakes.

Ok this is nothing new. Everyone knows you need to give your user a good experience on mobile because so much traffic comes via smartphones and tablets.

But just because your site is mobile responsive doesn’t necessarily mean it’s looks or performs well on mobile.

Believe or not, sometimes leaving your site as is and letting the user pinch and zoom works better than “hamburger” menus and a scroll fest. It depends on your site and how important the collective visual is to your design.

Before I go…just need to let you know, my February slots have almost gone already.

There’s just 2 SPOTS LEFT!

That means, it could be March before it opens again.

If you’re ready to make dramatic changes to your business using the POWER of online marketing and get expert step-by-step guidance for YOUR situationgo here to book your free 30 Minute Consultation today!

Over and out,

Gareth

Pricing – Why it matters more than sales…

Pricing…Why it matters more than sales!

Time 07:14 AM

Monday, 25th January 2016

Location: Office Desk

Back in the day, I trained as an accountant.

Yes the boring dull as dishwater profession.

Since qualifying I haven’t practiced, though some of the things I learnt have came in handy ever since.

One of those is understanding margins and pricing, which I wanna speak about in this blog post. Heavy topic for a Monday…but it will be an eye opener for sure!

First though, a straight forward question.

Would you rather increase sales or prices?

Most business owners I meet inadvertently respond with SALES.

Most are scared to touch prices. Afraid of scaring off precious customers.

I get it.

Yet, hopefully today I can show you how pricing and in particular raising your prices

will have a much greater impact than just focusing purely on where your sales is at.

First though we need to discuss markups and margins.

What would you consider a healthy markup on a product/service?

(ie how much would you add onto the cost of your product or service to get your selling price)

Obviously, it depends highly on the business…

But a typical markup in your average independent retailer or wholesaler would be 100%. Meaning if you could buy some widget at €50, you would expect to sell it at €100.

Sounds like a healthy place to start right.

But let’s look at it from a margin point of view.

A 100% markup converts into a 50% margin.

Take our example prices…€50 as a percentage of €100 is 50%. Not rocket science.

But as most of you know…the taxman needs his slice which for arguments sake and easy math is 20%.

That leaves you with a net margin of 30%…to cover your general overhead, cost of fulfilling the sale and profit.

Now back to our pricing.

Look, everyone wants a deal. It’s part of the laws of trade. It’s so ingrained that for many of us, throwing out a little discount is a given.

Price comes to €102.50. Ah sure you’ll do it for the hundred.

Of course you do. No big deal right.

But here’s the real impact of shaving that 2.5% discount off repeatedly.

Do it often enough, and you need to pull in an extra 10% customers just to hold your margin and make the same money.

But look I hear you, it doesn’t happen all the time. So no biggy.

Now let’s imagine, sales are slowing and you decide to run a promotion.

10% off everything during sale time. Just a measly 10%. Bound to get a bump in customers and sales to cover it.

What’s the impact of that?

Well cut your prices by 10%…you need a 50% increase in sales to put the same money in your bank.

50%!!!

Even scarier…

What if your standard margin isn’t 30%? What if it’s just 20%? Meaning you’re buying at 50 and selling at 80.

Then that 10% discount would require you to double the amount of sales to maintain profit levels.

So I hope this little example shows the dangers of discounts.

If you can, avoid them like the plague.

And that’s only one side of the story.

What about the impact of raising your prices?

So instead of selling for €100, could you sell it for €105. Doesn’t seem like an earth shattering amount.

However, raising your price by just 5% means you could afford a 15% drop off in sales before seeing any negative impact on your overall profit.

Put an extra 10% onto your prices and you could afford a 25% reduction in overall sales.

Hopefully your spotting a trend here.

Pricing has a bigger impact on your profits than sales.

Question, can you increase your prices?

The answer always is YES!

You just need to find a way to increase the value of your offer.

And that’s what I’ll talk about in tomorrow’s post.

Over and out,

Gareth

P.S. Each month I allocate personal time to provide subscribers with a F.ree 30 Minute Consultation during which all my knowledge and experience of web design and digital marketing is focused on your business. You get to walk away with actionable steps which you can put to use immediately for some quick easy wins. To book a slot go to this page!

onlineliftoff.com

gareth@onlineliftoff.com

+353 868268081

Polarise Like Wee Daniel…

How To Attract More Loyal Customers

Time 07:25 AM

Thursday, 20th January 2016

Location: Kitchen table with a double espresso (sweet)

Are you a fan of this modern day country music craze?

I have to be honest…cheesy grinning, orange faced cowboys singing in a Texan accent isn’t my idea of entertainment. Modern day Daniel O’Donnells, the lot of them.

And by jaysus if I have to hear Wagon Wheel once more, I am sealing my ears with silicone. For good.

Do, dado, do…Rock me Mama like a wagon wheel…

Damn it, it’s in my head again. It’s there for the day now.

Seriously though, one thing is undeniable.

These Nashvillle wannabes know how to pull a crowd together.

Every weekend some backwater town plays host to a Nathan Carter or Mike Denver rodeo and the venues are typically packed to the rafters. I know this because I helped to organise a fund raiser last year and seen first hand the draw these guys have.

The have a finely tuned marketing machine which just needs a few buttons pressed and boom…queues of fans at the door ready to jive and line dance their merry little hearts to the ungodly hour of 12.30 am in morning. Honest to goodness, clean living entertainment…good luck to them.

The thing you have to admire about twinkle teeth Nathan and Mike is how they are able tap into this loyal following everywhere they go. Closet country fans crawl out from under every rock and all it takes is a few posters and social media posts it seems.

And here’s the thing…

There ain’t middle ground. It’s marmite all the way.

Love or hate.

Eamonn Dunphy wouldn’t get a look in with the way these guys can divide opinion.

Though funny thing about polarising opinion…

The more you’re hated on the one side, the more you’re loved on the other.

Case in point is the fee these guys can charge…a healthy 4 figures for a few hours winking and pointing.

And actually, this is a good takeaway for business.

STOP trying to please everyone.

Find the customers you truly resonate with. Serve them and forget about the haters or the complainers on the ones who make life a bloody misery because you’re forever marching to their beat.

Be opinionated. Stand for something. Don’t dilute it with if, buts and maybes.

If this means turning away customers. So be it!

But I can assure the one’s you’re left with will be all the more loyal and rewarding.

So there you have it…

Get out there and polarise. If your getting haters it’s a good sign your doing something right.

Over and out,

Gareth

P.S. Each month I allocate personal time to provide subscribers with a F.ree 30 Minute Consultation during which all my knowledge and experience of web design and digital marketing is focused on your business. You get to walk away with actionable steps which you can put to use immediately for some quick easy wins. To book a slot go to this page!

A cure for brain farts

How to manage your ideas effectively

I always start a Monday with a reflect and project hour – before getting sucked into the week and be at the beck and call of my inbox, phone, staff and clients.

One of the tasks in the reflect and project hour is to clear out the “Brain Farts” folder.

Let me explain…

One of traits of successful small business owners is the ability to keep churning out new ideas and it’s probably what started you off on your entrepreneurial journey. You’re in business because you came up with a great idea.

And you should continue to work the idea muscle in your brain.

It’s one of the things James Altucher talks about in truly brilliant book “Choose Yourself”. He talks about deliberately trying to come up with new ideas daily.

It’s simple math, the more you come up with, the better chance you have of hitting on a game changer.

And these ideas aren’t just for new products, or businesses…it can be for daily mundane things like, how to better reach your customers or how to manage your inbox.

So before I make the next point, I wanna emphasise the importance of generating ideas. Ideas fuel your business and you need a constant supply.

The problem though is how to manage these ideas and protect the best ones.

Because if you don’t have a system for harnessing ideas…you risk the following…

1. You forget them – today it might feel like the best idea ever. Tomorrow business gets in the way and it’s forgotten like the many thousands before it…

or

2. You come up with a “good” idea and pursue it with a burning intensity forsaking everything else in your business only to realise weeks or months later it maybe isn’t the be all and end all…

or

3. You hop from one idea to the next without focusing on anything.

In fact this is the most common problem.

It’s the bright shiny object syndrome.

I once heard it described as brain farts.

An apt description, and one I have used in my business since.

So if you you suffer from this dreaded affliction

which kills focus and hurts progress…

I have a cure.

I call it “idea quarantine” and here’s how it works.

Step 1. Open an evernote.com account (It’s free). If you don’t use evernote, you are missing out on the best brain organiser on the internet. You can record written or audio notes on all your device, save files, and the best feature save web pages with a simple web clipper tool. I use it every hour of every day and couldn’t function without it.

Step 2. Create a folder in evernote called “Brain Farts”

Step 3. Every idea that bullies it’s way into your brain, grab it and save it to this folder.

Step 4. Every idea must spend a week in quarantine. Here’s why. When you first come up with the idea, you get that mini rush which convinces you it’s the best idea EVER. Often after a week passes these BEST EVER IDEAS can often turn into “WHAT WAS I THINKiNG IDEAS”.

Step 5. Each week filter your Brain Fart folder. If week old ideas still make you excited, move them to an action folder. If they don’t move them to trash. After a while you’ll realise 90% of your ideas get trashed.

This simple exercise can save oceans of time and energy because one of the most destructive things you can do in business is rush into projects which take you off track. When you can avoid these wasteful detours, you’ll free up all that time and energy to focus on those actions and ideas which really make an impact.

A well known UK goo-roo calls it “staying inside the box”. A term he uses to stay focused on the actions of the moment. If you think of an idea which doesn’t affect your business right now, quarantine it in the brain farts folder.

Find the best traffic sources for your website

How to find the best traffic sources for your website in 3 easy steps…

When I think of traffic (not the rush hour type), the elusive hard to reach type we crave online, I like to think of it as FISH.

Stay with me.

Catching fish is just like getting customers.

A fisherman needs to decide what fish he wants to catch, where he is gonna find them and what method will he use.

Not much point trying to hook mackerel in a river right.

Finding customers online is the very same.

You need to know what type of traffic you’re after and where to find them.

If you don’t, you’ll waste time and money “fishing in the wrong ponds”.

That’s what I want to deal with today.

What are the best sources of online traffic for your business?

First things first, the options are vast. Here’s just a taster…

Google Search/PPC, Bing Search/PPC, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, Pinterest, Media Buys, Display Networks, Solo Ads, Affiliates, Bloggers, Directories, Forums, Groups, Ebay, Amazon, Etsy, Offline Sources and on and on.

Each source has different characteristics and will vary in quality depending on your business. So where should you even start.

STEP 1 – INTENT

You need to start with your customer’s mindset. What is their level of intent? Are they aware of their problem or desire and actively searching for products or services likes yours? Are they a “hungry crowd”? Or are they oblivious to the problem and your products.

For example, a locksmith’s typical customer would have a high level of intent. Because mostly it’s someone who is locked out or needs a new set of keys in a hurry. They know they have a problem and a solution exists, they just need to find a suitable locksmith.

On the other hand if you’re selling a new software tool there’s usually a low level of intent. They are not typically urgent purchases and your prospect is unaware it exists. When there’s low levels of buying intent, typically you need to use interruptive marketing techniques. You are trying to make your prospect aware you have products which they may have an interest in.

In a nutshell, when you are selling products and services where awareness and buying intent is high, it’s better to focus your time, attention and money on search based traffic sources like Google Search, Search Based PPC and Youtube.

For interruptive marketing, it’s better to focus on the social channels like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Youtube and Display Based Advertising.

Most businesses are rarely exclusively one or the other and tend to use a bit of both.

Interruptive marketing to push awareness and search based marketing to seal the deal. But it’s useful to know if it’s heavily skewed to one of the other.

STEP 2 – WHERE ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS HANGING OUT ONLINE

I am beating an old drum here, but this comes back to research and knowing your customer.

Knowing what websites your customers visit and groups they are a part of and general interests they enjoy makes it much easier to target them online.

If you know your customers continuously visit certain sites which maybe relevant to your business, wouldn’t make sense to advertise there.

Same thing with video. What videos are your customers watching which are relevant to your products or services. Wouldn’t it make sense for your video to show up as an ad directly on those videos.

Who are the celebrities or influencers in your industry. Who already has the attention of the market. Wouldn’t it make sense to reach out to those individuals and partner up with them or target their audience.

STEP 3 – WHAT SOURCES ARE YOUR COMPETITORS USING

I am a great believer of seeing what’s working and doing more of it rather than risking time and money figuring it out all on your own.

If you have successful competitors already enjoying healthy traffic from a certain source, you’d be crazy not to dive in with your offering.

The trick is finding out where your competitors are sourcing their traffic.

Well there are a number of tools online which could help…here’s just a few…

Alexa, Compete, Keyword Spy, Similar Web, What Runs Where.

I could write a page-full.

Though here’s an even better tip.

Don’t waste your own time figuring it out.

Head over to fiverr.com, type in website competition and hire someone to do it for you, starting at $5 a gig.

The information will be gold and guaranteed to save hundreds if not thousands on testing.

Once you know what your competitors do, just plug it straight into your traffic generation strategy and reap the rewards.

So there you have it…

3 easy steps to finding your best traffic sources.

Over and out,

Gareth

P.S. Each month I allocate personal time to provide subscribers with a F.ree 30 Minute Consultation during which all my knowledge and experience of web design and digital marketing is focused on your business. You get to walk away with actionable steps which you can put to use immediately for some quick easy wins. To book a slot go to this page!

The #1 Marketing Tip For Small Business Owners

The #1 Marketing Tip For Small Business Owners

Time 06:34 AM

Wednesday, 13th January 2016

Location: The kitchen table

I was never one for early starts, but this year I made a pact with myself that I’d have an hours work knocked out before the kids surface. Third week in and so far so good.

Gets you ahead of the day instead of playing catch up all the time. Recommend it throughly!

Anyhow what I wanna talk about today is probably…

No not probably, DEFINITELY

the most important tip you can ever learn for your business.

If I had known this when starting out in business, boy would it have saved years of heartache.

Being oblivious to it, makes everything else an uphill battle.

This concept jumped back into my mind after I met up with a client yesterday to run through numbers and reflect and project for the year.

His numbers are impressive and things are starting to click.

He has a B2B business selling commercial fridges to retailers.

Not sexy I know, but a healthy business all the same!

When we first met, the challenge (the same as any other business I have worked with) was how to get more customers and more sales.

More on that in a bit.

First, what’s the big epiphany I am talking about?

Well I need to give some context first.

Over the Christmas, I met up with old college mates for the customary pre Crimbo drinks. My social life sucks that bad, it’s one of the few nights of the year where there’s no quitting time.

Last thing I remember of the night was standing 4 deep in a queue for a kebab at 3 in the morning.

Where am I going with this?

Patience friend, it comes round.

Anyhow, I stood there for a half an hour in the freezin’ cold to get my hands on a sloppy mess of shredded meat you wouldn’t serve it in a bush tucker trial.

And you know what, I gobbled every last mouthful like it was a “michelin star” masterpiece!

What is it about beer and the smell of fried meat…

I was famished!

Now here’s the thing…

If you seen this kebab van in the light of day, you wouldn’t let a stray cat near it.

Gourmet it was not.

Yet they cleaned up (money wise) the night before!

What has this little deviation got to with business advice?

It brought me back to something I read by the late, great copywriter, Gary Halbert and the Boron Letters, which by the way should be compulsory reading for anyone deciding to embark in entrepreneurship!

He tells a story of when he quizzed his students about what one advantage they would want to have if they all had competing hamburger stands.

Some said the best quality burgers.

Some said, the best location.

Some even said the cheapest.

Gary explained his choice would beat all the others hands down.

What was it?

“A STARVING CROWD!!!”

Sounds stupid simple, but it’s often the biggest reason businesses struggle to make it.

They don’t sell to a STARVING CROWD.

So what has any of this got to do with my client?

Well if you recall, he sells bland boring commercial equipment to retailers.

For the most part one supplier is the same as the next.

And retailers buy only when they need it. Not at any other time. No matter the discount, the service or the quality.

So here was the challenge.

How could we turn my client’s potential customers into a starving crowd?

Simple, by convincing them they NEEDED his product NOW!

Not someday, not the next time the current equipment broke…but now, today!

And here’s how we did it.

We created an offer which entailed my client providing a free survey of their existing equipment and assessment of the energy consumption of these fridges. The report was a very useful document detailing the exact cost savings they’d make by upgrading, along with any potential underlying faults which would lead to a likely breakdown.

What happened?

When customers could see their fridges using 2,3 or even 4 times the amount of electricity they should, and were made aware of potential faults. They called my client to buy his product, instead of the other way round.

BINGO!

“Starving Crowd”

And it just so happened my client was perfectly positioned to solve their problem.

He had the relationship, the trust and the rapport all built up.

So there you have it.

STARVING CROWD.

Think how you could convince your customer they absolutely must have your product or service.

Or the next time you’re brainstorming business ideas, new products or services…go for the one where a “starving crowd” already exists. Makes life soooo much easier.

Over and out,

Gareth

P.S. Each month I allocate personal time to provide subscribers with a F.ree 30 Minute Consultation during which all my knowledge and experience of web design and digital marketing is focused on your business. You get to walk away with actionable steps which you can put to use immediately for some quick easy wins. To book a slot go to this page!

onlineliftoff.com

gareth@onlineliftoff.com

+353 868268081

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