Whether you are a seasoned ezine publisher, or you are new to the online world how to market your small business is an important strategy to plan. One thing you must do to maximize your results is to be consistently growing your subscriber list.
There are many marketing tools for a small business to create an effective ezine, but we are only going to cover the three primary areas to get the maximum results: your content, your marketing, and your competitive edge.
Strategy #1: Provide results-oriented content
Many business owners do not actually plan what their content will be. They simply add some sales promotions or a list of events, throw in a few images, and bam! They think they have a newsletter. They may in fact be sending news through email but they are not going to get subscribers or new business with either approach.
Marketing for small business has to be strategic whether you are a one or ten person operation. If they met their goal of sending a newsletter once a week to keep in touch, they may feel they have succeeded. After all, that’s what “they” say, keep in front of your customers or prospects so that when they are ready to buy, you are there. While getting something out instead of nothing at all seems great to a busy business owner, it’s not always the best way.
You do need to be there but you need to provide useful information and consistent value. You are developing a relationship with your reader. You are educating them about who you are as a business and the benefits you bring to the reader. The best way to do this: results-oriented content.
What content can do this and how? You ask. Let me help you get started by asking you three important questions:
- What’s your business objective?
- Who is your target audience?
- What next step do you want them to take?
Question #1: What is your business objective?
Let’s begin with your BUSINESS OBJECTIVE. What business goals do you have that you hope your ezine helps you achieve? Below is a list of common objectives:
- BUILD a mailing LIST for future marketing purposes
- ATTRACT and sell new prospects, customers, and clients
- SELL more to your prospects, customers, and clients on a regular basis
- GAIN VISIBILITY as an expert or resource in your field
- START an online COMMUNITY centered on the services or products you offer
For example, if you are a new business you may want to begin with building a mailing list to get your pipeline started. You need an audience, this is a great way to create one from scratch.
If you are an established business with products or services, you may want to jump right into selling more to your current customers and clients. The marketing costs are significantly higher to attract new clients than it is to sell to existing clients. Let’s use that fact effectively.
Based on your type of business, here are some guidelines for developing content:
If you are a SERVICE-based business:
GOAL: Position yourself as an expert in your reader’s eyes, so that YOU are the one they think of instantly when they need the service you provide.
CONTENT: Share advice, how-to tips, resources, marketing tips, and success stories related to what you offer.
*Do not be afraid to call yourself an expert. If you know more than most people about your topic, then for the purpose of your ezine, you are the expert.
If you are a PRODUCT-based business:
GOAL: Highlight your products in a non-obtrusive way. You are not going for shameless promotion here.
CONTENT: When appropriate, offer free samples and share how-to tips and success stories related to your products. For example, if you sell vitamins share nutrition information. If you sell handbags, share tips on current styles and trends in fashion for the current season or age group of your audience.
Is this starting to make more sense?
Periodically review your ezine objective to be sure it still supports your business goals. If not, make an adjustment and keep writing!
Question #2: Who is your target audience?
Now that we’ve covered the what, now let’s talk about who. Who is your TARGET AUDIENCE?
You know how in life no matter what you do you can’t please everyone? Well it’s the same with writing, you can’t write for everyone. You need to be focused in on one person. Who is the absolute best person that would make your ideal client? That is your “who” that your writing is targeting.
You wouldn’t write the same message to your mother as you would your wife in a greeting card, right? Right. You need to ask yourself several questions to narrow down the who.
- Male or female?
- Educated in a specific field?
- Working or not? In what industry?
- Moms at home, moms at work, all moms?
- Income level?
- Typical activities during the day?
Getting as specific as you can will make it easier to create content that not only interests, but engages your reader.
Question #3: What next step do you want your audience to take?
What’s the next step? That’s the question we are asking our reader to consider when are interacting with our written material. Since we have a specific goal for our business and an objective chosen for our ezine, we already know what we want the reader to do. We want them to take a specific action:
- Request your free CD or DVD
- Buy a book that you highly recommend (as an affiliate)
- Read your how-to article of the week
- Use your coupon code to get a discount on a new product
- Sign up to Like your Facebook page
- Browse your new collection of products on your website
The readers have many different options; the key is for you to guide them to the ONE step that you want them to take. The step that matches your main objective. As much as you would like your reader to read your how-to article, download your free report, Like your Facebook and buy their first product from your website, that all will not likely happen in one email.
That’s why you are building a relationship with your reader and as such your guidance to the reader and requests (calls-to-action) for the reader will change as your business evolves. For example, if you are writing a book you probably need to support yourself while you work on the book, in the meantime you may want your reader to check out your free reports. This enables them to get to know your area of expertise and gauge if they’ll want to read more.
Once your book is published, you’ll want your readers to buy your book! Then go and Like your Facebook page and check out your website. These are just some of the marketing tips you can use for your small business.
As you can see, it’s a process and at each part of the process you need to have one main objective and one corresponding action you want your reader to take to support that objective. Then as you reach your goals, create a new objective and a new call to action and keep repeating this process.
This process is taking them through the funnel discussed earlier, carefully and purposely moving your prospect through your business.
To your success,