I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this comment from a client:
Client: “I’d like to set up some passive online marketing where I earned money from a product when I wasn’t working. Could we do that?”
We’d all like to attract more clients primarily by “passive online marketing.” That is, we’d like to have a website that brought us all the business we could handle and get the rest of our business from word-of-mouth. Ah… the good life!
After all, in “proactive marketing,” you need to get yourself out there, be visible, get known, build trust and get appointments with prospects who will buy your services.
If you had a choice, wouldn’t you pick passive online marketing? I certainly would. Having your website make you money day in, day out, even while you’re sleeping, is obviously what we all want.
Well, I have news for you.
Passive online marketing doesn’t really exist. More accurately, it does exist, but it doesn’t work. Putting up a website, no matter how good, how professional looking or how brilliantly written, isn’t going to result in money pouring into your bank account.
I’m not saying you can’t market and sell products and services online and make good money. I’ve been doing this very successfully for about 18 years.
It’s called “Proactive Online Marketing”
What I’m saying is that online marketing is not passive. Successful online marketing is very proactive. It takes a lot of time, commitment, and hard work.
Anyone who is selling you the “dream of passive online marketing” is lying to you. It would be much like saying you could learn to master a musical instrument in a week or two.
No, you can’t!
I know this is not good news if you hold out the hope of someday “putting your marketing on automatic” and “making money while you sleep.” Sorry, it’s not gonna happen!
The good news is that if you are willing to put in the work, with time and patience you can make your proactive online marketing get substantial results for you.
Here are the 7 Essentials of Proactive Online Marketing:
1. You must have a professionally designed web site. And to do that, you need a professional. These days anyone can put together a basic website with WordPress. But that doesn’t mean it looks professional; usually it doesn’t. But a good designer can use a WordPress template and then teach you how to update it. This gives you the most flexibility at a reasonable cost.
2. Make the primary purpose of your website (for first time visitors) to opt-in by giving you their name and email in exchange for a valuable giveaway such as an article, report or e-book. When you have their contact information you can then contact them with more information and promotional emails for products and services. Building your e-list is the most important activity if you want a successful online business.
3. Write a really good giveaway. It’s not as easy as it seems. What should it look like and what should it contain? Do this: Every time you encounter a site that asks you to opt in, then opt-in and see what they send you. Make a collection of these giveaways and notice the ones that you find the most compelling. Then emulate that kind of giveaway in both design and content. This takes work. And it’s worth it. Get some design and writing help if you need it. Most do.
4. Commit to writing a regular eZine and Blog. Share useful ideas your clients are seeking. Think of all the problems and challenges your clients have. Write about these, including real stories if possible, and lots of how-to tips, just like this article does. The readers who become clients are the ones who want help implementing those tips. So don’t worry about “giving away the store.” By the way, get a proofreader/editor. I started to use one when I realized I was a “typo generating machine!”
5. Write an online sales letter for your product or service. When you do a promotion for a product or service, send your readers to your sales page. Short letters with a few bullet points don’t work. You need to tell the whole story of the value of this product or service – use 2,000 words or more. A good video can work as well.
Here’s the primary content and format for such a letter (with short samples of text):
a. An attention-getting, benefit-oriented headline. This should get the attention of your ideal clients and draw them into the text. Sample: “How Leaders Like You are Increasing the Productivity and Engagement of Their Employees”
b. A one- to two-paragraph opening, clearly explaining what you’re offering and for whom. Sample: “This is a 6-month program for leaders who want to upgrade their leadership skills in order increase team productivity.”
c. A section on the key issues or problems facing your prospective clients. Keep it to three paragraphs. Sample: “If you’re a leader you know how challenging it can be to get your employees producing at their highest level.”
d. A section on the outcomes they want instead of the issues and problems they have. Again, keep it to three paragraphs. Sample: “When you’ve mastered the key leadership skills you’ll be able to inspire and motivate your team to consistently perform at a higher level.”
e. An overview of the product or service you are offering that will get the prospect the outcome they want. Sample: “The Ultimate Leader Program was designed for leaders who want more from their employees (without burning out).”
f. A section on what makes your product or service unique or different. Explain why they are special and effective. Sample: “This program stands out from other leadership programs in these three important ways:”
g. A section with several key benefits of your program in the form of two-sentence “bullet paragraphs,” not short bullet points. Sample: “• You’ll take your leadership to new heights. By mastering these leadership skills, the productivity of your team or company will increase measurably.”
h. A section with the structure of your product or service. This outlines the format or external details. Sample: “This program will be held as a series of six, half-day workshops.”
i. A list of bonuses. By offering additional value, you increase the chances that someone will buy your product or service. Sample: “In addition to this program you’ll receive these three free bonuses:”
j. A section on whether or not this product or service is right for them. Outline all the key advantages. Sample: “This program is for you if you want to learn how to get beyond average productivity.”
k. Close and call-to-action. Without a call-to-action that tells them what to do next, they will not act. Sample: “If you feel this program is right for you, simply click on the link below.”
l. Some testimonial quotes that talk about actual results they’ve gotten with your program. Sample: “Before this program I always seemed to be fighting my employees; now we’re truly working together as a team to produce consistently great results.”
By the way, you want a good subhead for each of these sections as an intro to the section.
Writing a good sales letter is an art. Most sales letters fail to sell. To ensure that they do sell, get some help from a writer experienced with sales letters, using this outline.
6. Do pre-promotion before you email a link to your sales letter. Instead, via email, offer a free teleclass, webinar or video that talks about the concepts and key benefits of the program. This generates initial interest without the pressure to buy. Don’t sell yet! But announce the launch date in a week or two.
7. Launch your product or service with a well-written, but fairly short email that points to your online sales letter. The sales letter then does the “heavy lifting” and persuades your prospects to take action. This works really well with a relatively inexpensive product or service. With a high-end service, instead, offer a “strategy session” where you talk to prospects about your service and explore if it’s right for them. And then sign them up if they’re ready.
This is essentially the proactive online marketing plan I’ve used for all my online products and services for the past 18 years – for the InofGuru Marketing Manual, Marketing Action Groups, The More Clients Club and the Marketing Mastery Program. And the results have been excellent.
This approach works, but it is definitely not passive! It takes a certain amount of time, effort, and trial and error to develop and implement all 7 steps successfully.
Most people implement these steps randomly, incompletely or simply poorly. That won’t get you the results you want in online marketing.
Once I explain all of this to my clients, they often respond with: “Well, maybe I ought to start by getting my website up to snuff and then do some networking and speaking before I attack online marketing.”
Good idea! Build a solid foundation for your marketing first and you’re much more likely to succeed with online marketing.
THE MORE CLIENTS CLUB
If you want to become a more successful marketer of your professional services, Action Plan Marketing provides a comprehensive resource called the More Clients Club.
The Club is a collection of online marketing courses and tutorials, expert interviews, and resources – with hands-on, step-by-step strategies and guidance on how to attract more of your ideal clients.
In addition, the Club includes the twice-monthly live Marketing Action Program via Zoom videoconference to keep your marketing on track and accountable.
And access to all of this is only $9 per month.