Marketing System Overview
To kick off the marketing system and everything that falls underneath that umbrella of activity, I want to give you the big picture behind these concepts.
ATTRACT > CONNECT > CONVERT
At the base of all your marketing efforts is always this formula: Attract>Connect>Convert
Your marketing should be designed to reach potential customers, connect with them in an authentic way, capture their attention, and ultimately convert them to paying customers.
This umbrella includes the basic ingredients of a winning marketing campaign. It can be overwhelming to see all the things listed individually, but when they’re combined your marketing system becomes an effective and automated solution for your business.
6 Task Marketing System
The marketing system is made up of six tasks that all fall under the general term, “marketing.” In other words, marketing means always doing these six things:
- Identifying who your potential customers are
- Reaching your potential customers
- Engaging with your potential customers
- Establishing trust with your potential customers
- Converting potential customers into actual customers
- Following up and building relationships with actual customers
I’ve always explained online business as a web of connectedness. My social media accounts and advertisements at the outermost level (reaching new potential clients for my business) with the center of my web being the point of sale.
As my business has grown over the years, this has taken on a three-dimensional vision, and I no longer see online performance as a flat-laid web, but rather a planetary sphere with its own orbit.
As you grow in business, your presence—the number of people you attract, connect with, and convert—grows as well. Growing larger (aka scaling) becomes easier because you’re no longer a speck in the midst of vast and limitless space. Instead, you become a massive presence commanding attention in the industry.
Whatever you share online lives there, like a growing orbit of attraction. The more space you claim, the more space becomes available to you. The more movement you generate around you, the more momentum you gain as a whole.
That is the ultimate goal of your system—to be growing your orbit. To do so, it must be performing the following six tasks all of the time.
1.Identifying Ideal Customers
If you say, “My product is for everybody,” you might as well say it’s for nobody. It’s very important that you narrow your target market so that you can better understand how to appeal to your niche audience.
The big question is: Who is the perfect customer for my product?
Her style, personal taste, and budget will perfectly match your brand. Imagine the ultimate fan of your work by writing up a description of just one person on paper. There are a million things to explore about your ideal customer, but let’s start here:
- Are they male or female?
- Married or single?
- What age range do they fall into? (e.g., 18–24, 25–32, 33–40, etc.)
- Do they have children?
- Do they spend a lot of time on the internet?
- Which websites do they frequent?
- Which magazines do they subscribe to?
Depending on the product you’re selling, some of these questions won’t matter much for your ideal customer, but others will hold vital information. There are a lot of clues about where you can find your potential customers online and how you can approach them hidden in the answers to questions like these.
For example, if your ideal customer doesn’t spend a lot of time online, they probably only frequent major websites, such as Facebook and Pinterest. Therefore, you’ll learn that you’re wasting your time trying to find potential customers on industry blogs … where they probably not hanging out. You can then focus your marketing efforts where you know you can find them.
2.Reach your potential customers
This step is critical to your growth, and the most often overlooked! As online entrepreneurs, we make a product or perfect a skill, build a business around that
product or skill, and then forget that it’s also our job to find all the customers the business needs.
There are several ways to reach your potential customers, and I list them here from most effective to least effective:
- Direct Contact: Email and newsletters
- Referrals: Peer and customer word-of-mouth recommendations
- Live Audience: Featured speaking, teaching, or webinars
- Blog and Social Media: Writing and communication
- Industry Shows and Events: Local displays and appearances
- Paid Advertising: Pay-per-click, sidebar/banner, and print ads
From a quick glance at the list, you can see that email marketing is king while other time-consuming tasks, such as building a booth at a local show, are often highly overrated.
The big question is: How do people typically find products like mine?
Appearing before a live audience is near the top of the list because it adds instant credibility when you’re called to speak or are otherwise showcased as an expert in your industry, and it can take years to reach the well-known status it requires.
Direct contact via email, on the other hand, is something you can (and should) implement into your business plan immediately. Make sure the things you do and the places you spend your time online help you reach your potential customers.
3. Engaging with Your Potential Customers
Entrepreneurs often get themselves caught under a “jack-of-all-trades” category. Because we operate like that, the branding is often askew and mismatched, the message is all over the place, and while it’s a subtle layer of psychology that most entrepreneurs don’t pay attention to, your potential customers become confused.
A successful business needs to be one face, one brand, and one source of expertise for its customers. It needs to have a clear purpose in order to stick.
Therefore, you want to hone in on what it is you have to offer your ideal customer. Always start with the customer’s need. Whether you fill a void in their life by offering information or inspiration, make their house feel more special by creating home decor they love and adore, or make them feel more complete and confident by giving them that one special accessory for their outfit, whatever it is, there’s a purpose for your product in the customer’s life, and it’s your job to clearly identify and communicate it.
The big question is: What’s in it for them?
Matter of fact, don’t think of it as a product or a purpose. Think of it as a solution. There’s emotion attached to solutions. As business owners, we need to breathe in that emotion—fully absorb it and own that expertise—and then share it with everyone we touch.
4. Establishing Trust with Your Potential Customers
The recipe for a trusting customer is made up of proven authority, credibility, social proof, and reputation. It’s something that is built over time, but there are parts of your expertise that you can showcase to speed up the process.
The big question is: What makes me the best person for the job?
Wherever possible (on your landing pages, website, and social media accounts), be sure to share your brand’s social proof. From Wikipedia,
“Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation. This effect is prominent in ambiguous social situations where people are unable to determine the appropriate mode of behavior, and is driven by the assumption that surrounding people possess more knowledge about the situation.”
In other words, the best way to get new people to see your product is by having a lot of people already looking at it. It’s a conundrum, for sure, but my motto is: hack it until you have it. We’ll work around this obstacle throughout the book.
Social proof helps the customer feel “at home” while shopping with you. On a site like Etsy, it’s the combination of history and experience (as well as the site-familiarity that Etsy provides) that helps the customer trust the transaction. Social proof can also come from word-of-mouth, product reviews, and brand recognition (i.e. “Oh! I’ve heard of that salon before! My best friend LOVES her haircut.”).
You can help your customer find your business’ social proof by using phrases such as, “best-selling,” “back by popular demand,” and “previously sold out” on items that have a history of doing just that. Your customers are influenced by people with similar tastes, and they’re automatically attracted to that which they perceive as popular.
5. Converting Potential Customers into Actual Customers
Too often, people feel entitled to sales simply because they listed a product or service online. There’s so much more to it!
The big question is: What makes my customer want to buy?
Sometimes you release your glorious, passionate creation into the world and nobody even notices it’s there! How many times has this happened to you? And how many times have you ditched the new offer altogether out of sheer disappointment?
Disappointment is a real danger in passion-based businesses. It will cause you to drop a project when it doesn’t get off the ground as you’d expect.
That’s why, for every new project I release, I launch it with a 3-6 month marketing plan. It is not enough to create a product, you also have to make sure people know about it. Oftentimes, the first announcement is only the beginning of the campaign.
6. Following Up and Building Relationships
Many online entrepreneurs see a sale as a one-off deal, but to me, it’s the beginning of a beautiful relationship that I will treasure for years to come.
The big question is: How can I WOW them?
You are the expert in your field. The customer came to you because you have knowledge and/or talent that they appreciate. That means your point of sale is full of items that they want. Own your expertise, and be the enthusiastic salesperson your business needs.
The system at work
These six tasks fall under the umbrella of what your marketing is meant to do for you. It’s your marketing system’s job to cover all of the above tasks, and you employ your blog, online storefront, email list, and social media accounts (the touchpoints of your sales funnel) to get the job done. You want to intentionally design each space you create online so that it performs at least one of the six required tasks at all times.
For example, once I identified who my ideal customers are, I use my Instagram and Pinterest accounts to reach them, and my blog is written to engage and establish trust with new visitors. Marketing Creativity does that effectively by answering many problems my ideal customers face, while simultaneously showing my experience and knowledge of the industry.
My email list is also good for establishing trust, as I have an automated responder sequence that goes out to new subscribers to better introduce my business to people who have just found me online.
When I meet a potential customer, let’s say you’ve just found my article on Pinterest, I am not asking for the sale. That honestly wouldn’t be good for either of us [in the service industry. However, it’s perfectly fine to ask for the sale on the first encounter in retail]. I am, however, subtly asking whether or not my teaching style is a good fit for your business. Am I providing valuable information for you?
I continue to establish trust with my potential customers through various articles, newsletter updates, and free offers. It’s via email that most potential customers will convert into actual customers.