Everyday thousands of people start a business or join one or more online/offline marketing programs in hopes of becoming a successful entrepreneur. They seek control over their lives through true financial freedom…control over when, where, how and with whom they do business and, most importantly, control over how they spend their time.
Time is our most important asset. If used effectively towards producing income, the more time you will have to enjoy the pleasures of life…spending time with those you love doing the things you enjoy.
Regardless of whether you seek to become an online or offline entrepreneur, to be successful in business you need to master the art of marketing. If a business is not promoted effectively, it will fail. Advertising is an essential element of any successful business.
Advertising comes in many forms: offline there is print, radio, television, billboard, direct mail, signage and door-to-door. Online there is e-mailing, pay-per-click and flat rate banner advertising, search engine optimization (SEO), blogging and article writing to name a few. But the oldest, and still most effective, form of advertising is word-of-mouth…today we call this social and/or business networking. Not only is it the most effective, it is by far the cheapest.
While all of these forms of advertising can be effective if done properly, the most effective marketing comes from employing multiple forms of advertising. However, when first starting out most budding entrepreneurs have limited budgets and, therefore, need to concentrate on the free or low cost forms advertising first. Offline this includes direct mail, door-to-door and networking; online this is e-mail, blogging, article writing and networking.
The key to success in any business, especially those online is list building. Having a list of qualified prospects (people who have expressed an interest in or have a need for your products and/or services) and customers (people who have done business with you) is essential. Lists allow you to target your advertisements to people you already know have an interest; in doing so, you will achieve greater response ratios, greater sales, greater revenue, greater profits and ultimately greater success.
So how do you build a list?
First you need to define your market. To do this, you need to decide what you are going to sell and who needs, wants and will likely use your product or service. Then you need to target your advertising towards these people and employ a means of capturing their information for inclusion on your list. Once on your list you need to establish an effective “drip” marketing campaign. Drip marketing is nothing more than keeping your name and product in front of your target markets.
No advertising is effective if only done one time. Repeat impressions is key to successful advertising. It’s why companies with household names like McDonalds, Nike and Budwiser continue to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising every year; they know that if they stop advertising they will loose their market shares and eventually likely go out of business.
So drip advertising becomes not only essential for building a successful business, but sustaining a successful business. And here again, the most cost-effect drip advertising begins with building a list.
So how do you build a list?
Well there are slow ways and faster ways to build lists, or you can purchase lists from others. Beware of purchasing or renting lists from others. Not only can they be expensive, they generally do not produce very high response rates. And, I strongly warn you against renting lists, especially through bulk e-mail companies.
If you have an offline business you need to develop a system of capturing information of all persons you advertise to that express interest in your product or services. If you have a storefront or place of business you can ask for information at the time of sale or provide sign-up slips at various locations throughout the store. Offer the mailing list as a way for people to sign-up to receive information on specials or new products and services you may offer…people love a sale. The perception of a discounted pricing is a powerful motivator.
Online list building can be much easier and faster than offline. Social networking sites can be excellent tools for list building and they are generally free to set up an account. They present a subtle way for you to communicate with prospects and customers about products and services you offer.
A more direct approach to list building online is to have a web site address, direct traffic to that address and employ a method of capturing the visitors information. In many instances, this is best done up front, before they view your products or hear about your services. To do this you need what is called a “lead capture page.”
A lead capture page is nothing more than a web page containing a form that a person completes and submits before being directed to the home page of your web site. Lead capture pages are also very important to protecting your commissions if you are promoting an affiliate program.
A lead capture page is one of the most important tools you can use to build a list. Once you have a list of people who specifically asked to be included you need to contact everyone on your list on a regular basis…but do not just send sales promotions, send helpful information so that you can build a relationship with each of them. Make them want to open every email you send. If all you send is offer after offer, they will quit opening your emails and, heaven forbid, eventually opt out…don’t let that happen!
A good list is your most valuable resource for building a down line…and having a down line, earning money on the efforts of others is key to wealth building!
A craftsman earns money off his own efforts; the better his skills the more he can charge, but is always limited in his earnings potential by time. There are only 24 hours in a day for all of us…and we all have to sleep, eat and recreate sometime.
An entrepreneur understands the value of employing others. John D. Rockefeller once said it best when he said: “I would rather earn 1% off a 100 people’s efforts than 100% of my own efforts.”