As I was teaching at a recent workshop the same question kept cropping up again and again, and it went something like this:
“I’m just starting out in my business. What advice would you give me for knowing where to start in terms of setting up my online systems?”
And this question came out of sheer confusion and frustration – you know, too much information. One person tells them they need this system; another person tells them they need that system, and so breeds the confusion and overwhelm.
So, here’s my advice for getting your online systems set up quickly and easily:
1. Get an all-in-one ecommerce solution. You’ve heard me say this before, but you really do need a single system that you can use for your broadcasts (newsletter), autoresponders (follow up), shopping cart, affiliate management, and contact database. Two really great systems currently available are 1ShoppingCart and Infusionsoft. My opinion: 1ShoppingCart is good; Infusionsoft is better. Don’t worry though, both systems will grow with you and you can easily grow your business into six figures and beyond using either one of these systems.
2. Get online quickly by creating a simple one-page website that advertises your free taste and has a sign-up box that allows your visitors to get on your database (a.k.a. your list). The fancy, all-singing-all-dancing, website can come later (and I recommend a WordPress blog rather than a static website). If you are a solo service professional then your priority is to quickly establish an online presence so that you have somewhere to send people when you start to implement your online marketing strategies (see point 4 below). And you can add the URL and details of your free taste to your business cards for when you hand them out at networking events. This way you are building your list from the get-go!
3. Create a ‘stay-in-touch’ system, whether that’s sending out a weekly or bi-weekly ezine (newsletter) or some other kind of ‘touch’ marketing strategy. If the thought of preparing a weekly, or even bi-weekly ezine, scares you, then create something much simpler like a “tip of the week” (short article) or maybe even an audio tip if speaking is your forte. Note: a main ezine article is typically 400-700 words; and a shorter “tip of the week” would be about 250-350 words.
4. Take your article, or short tip, or whatever you use for your ‘stay-in-touch’ strategy and repurpose it using a variety of online marketing strategies. Example: that new article you’ve just written, post it to your blog, then submit it to various article directories, break it down into quick tips for adding to Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, and record it and create a podcast episode out of it. This is what I call creating your Online Marketing Flow. And the idea behind this is that you are drawing visitors back to your website via my different routes. Once a visitor gets to your website, they’ll be able to sign up for your list.
5. For your most popular articles, i.e. those ones that generate the most feedback, add to the content and turn it into a free teleclass so that you can build your list and connect with your audience on a more personal level.
That’s it! Just five simple steps to get online quickly, add people to your database (your list), and build your business. It doesn’t need to be complicated; in fact the simpler you can keep things, the better. This is what I was telling the attendees at the workshop and you could see the relief in their faces once I’d laid it all out for them.
(c) 2011 Tracey Lawton