3 Steps to Attracting Clients Online
Originally published: 12.01.10 by Shama Hyder
ACT: Attract, Convert, Transform
Editor's Note: This article is excerpted from the white paper, "Online Marketing Plan: A How-To-Guide for Growth-Oriented Businesses Looking to Market Online," by Shama Hyder, President of the Marketing Zen Group. The complete white paper is available at www.marketingzen.com.
The ACT methodology is what has allowed me to go from a solopreneur to running a 24-person full-service digital marketing firm within one year. Today, 90% of our clients find us online. Although HVACR contracting certainly is a different type of business than ours, most of the same rules apply when it comes to online marketing.
Before we dive into the how-to of using ACT, it’s important to understand the basic rules. If you take nothing else away from this plan but these rules, you will end up saving a lot of time and money.
I call these the 7 Keys To Online Marketing Success:
- Never implement a tactic without a
strategy. It can be so tempting at times
to just jump on the bandwagon of the next
“big thing” without really understanding
why. If you think you need a blog or a
Facebook account or videos on YouTube,
think again. When marketing online, always
start with a goal in mind and then
find the tool that fits. Never
- Stick to what feels good. There are many tools that can be used to accomplish the same goal. Don’t feel tied to any one method. If you are uncomfortable with the technology, learn how to use it or have someone implement it for you. But if you can’t stand the practice itself, look elsewhere.
- Attention is scarce, but your prospects are still looking for the right information. Your prospects are being pulled in a million different directions online. Everything you have been hearing about information overload is true. Yet your prospects continue to search online for answers — and they want the information their way.
- Content is king. Your online success is directly proportional to the quality of information you provide. You may get away with a lacking product or service once in a while, but repeat clients come to those who consistently provide a high-quality service.
- Embrace the editor within. The Internet will always be a changing entity. You can’t set up a website and then sit back and relax. (Sorry to break that to you!) You have to constantly keep up with it and edit and update accordingly.
- Use both advertising and expertise. Online advertising definitely has its place when done right, but not always by itself. When was the last time you chose a doctor or a lawyer because of an ad you saw? Establishing yourself as an expert is the KEY to attracting more clients online.
- Community. Community. Community. For brick and mortar businesses (aka offline shops) it’s location, location, location. Location doesn’t matter to an online business, and yes, unless you have a storefront that customers come to regularly, you are an online business. For online businesses, what matters is community, community, community. Your job is to build a fan base online — a community of people who love what you have to offer. Appeal to the select few; appeal to your ideal clients.
Now, let’s take a look at how to use the ACT methodology.
What do you need to attract prospects online? A great BOD! No joke. BOD stands for Brand, Outcome, and Differentiator. These three things need to be conveyed in all of the online information you offer, and they need to be conveyed in a brief, punchy way that gets attention.
- Brand: If your brand could be summed up in one word, what would it be?
- Outcome: What’s the outcome you help clients achieve? Not the process or products you use, but the final result. Sum it up in one line.
- Differentiator: What makes you different than your competitors? And please don’t say price. What makes you inherently different? For example, the online marketing field is a competitive one. However, most companies offer piecemeal services. Some do web design, some consult, and some specialize in SEO. But, no one offered all the strategic and implementation services under one roof. It’s been an amazing differentiator for us!
Okay, so you have a great BOD. Now how can you attract prospects online? Here are some tools:
- Social media marketing (Facebook and Twitter)
- Seach Engine Optimization
- Social bookmarking
Initially, choose two, do your research, and implement consistently! If one tool is not working, try another. If both are working, add another. Remember Nos. 1 and 2 from 7 Keys to Online Marketing Success. So, what happens after attraction? You convert. What do you need in order to convert?
The No. 1 tool for conversion is your website. Every visitor is unique. Some are looking for more information, while others are ready to buy. So, what does that mean for you?
You have to cater to people on every spectrum of the marketing rainbow. A solid website will educate, market, and sell because some prospects need to be educated about you (educate); others need to know why you are special (marketing); and the rest want to buy (sell).
Additionally, your website needs to cater to both consumers and clients. Here’s what I mean: When someone gets information from your website, they become consumers. Not everyone who consumes your information (by signing up for your newsletter, reading your blog, or downloading your article) will become a client (buyer) immediately. Some may never become clients, but they may tell a friend who will.
Sometimes, conversion occurs over a period of time. For example, a new client of ours signed on after being on our eZine list for over a year. Other times, conversion is immediate. One of our clients, K9Cuisine. com, has almost instant conversion. People visit and buy.
How quickly your web visitors become clients shouldn’t be your focus. Just know that some will and focus on providing information visitors want in the way they want it. Conversions will come.
So, what about the T?
Once you attract a prospect and turn them into a consumer or client, you must deliver. Scratch that, you must over-deliver. Provide A+ service. Then, harness case studies. You did a great job; now make sure you get that on record. Share these case studies on your website and blog. Use these case studies to attract and convert.
The process now comes full circle.
Doesn’t this process take a long time? Absolutely not. It just looks that way because it’s so detailed. Once your system is in place, it will run on autopilot.
Imagine this scenario: An acquaintance from Facebook visits your website and signs up for your eZine. You have attracted an individual and turned him into a consumer of your information. At the same time, a veteran blog subscriber directly buys your new product after listening to a case study. You have a client. Yet, another individual downloads your free eBook. This can all happen simultaneously. You are constantly creating consumers and clients online.
Articles by Shama Hyder
3 Steps to Attracting Clients Online
What do you need to attract prospects online? A great BOD! No joke. BOD stands for Brand, Outcome, and Differentiator.