This is the information age – The internet is full of information. Some good, the majority is mediocre and there is plenty of bad and blatantly wrong.  So, as a business owner,  how does YOUR message reach an audience?  Around one-third of all internet users subscribe to YouTube. Anybody with any point of view can setup and post videos on YouTube. From multinational companies to conspiracy theorists. From cat lovers to self-appointed thought leaders.

Around one-third of all internet users subscribe to YouTube. Anybody with any point of view can setup and post videos on YouTube. From multinational companies to conspiracy theorists. From cat lovers to self-appointed thought leaders.

Where do you start? Or how do you grow?

Whatever medium you are using, whether it is the internet or good old meeting face to face. The same simple rules apply to business relationships, as they always have.

Meet – Know – Trust – Buy.

You need to connect with people,  then communicate with them. Over time that will build the trust and then they will buy whatever you are selling, if they are persuaded you fulfil a need. The time to go through this loop can be similar to bricks and mortar sales, or longer, as on the internet, you can connect with people far earlier in the buying process than traditional means.

Its not about you, it is about them.

The second key lesson is that you must stop talking about you, or features of your product. Marketing ‘experts’ trying to sell some facebook marketing course online like to talk about their thousands of dollars wasted on finding the formula, now they have a garage full of supercars and a mansion. This sales technique built on jealousy. People want to copy because you want to be the same mansion dweller. Such a method rarely works in the real world. Could you really sell a bed, or a burger that way?

Real honest marketing is about showing people your product or service. Telling them what you will do for them. How you can make things better for them. The benefits that are for them. How it makes their life better and easier. If you can, help them imagine using your product or service and how good it feels to do so.

Give your secrets – tell them how you do it

My usual example is a car mechanic. Every year, or six months when I am doing more mileage, I have my car serviced and the oil changed. Now I know how to change the oil, when I was younger I used to do it myself.  There is a simple principle of emptying the old oil, changing the oil filter, and adding new oil. Those in the know have extra tricks like warming the engine so that the oil flows out more easily, choosing the best replacement oil for the best results. Being able to identify when sludge is still in the engine and need to be removed. Those extra tricks to the simple answer are part of the skill and experience of being a mechanic. – But such skills are of no value unless the purchaser is aware of their existence and how they benefit them as a purchaser.

My solution is, therefore, to explain the whole process of changing the oil and even to mention the pitfalls/benefit of the tricks.  You have not shown the customer how to do the job, just the steps and benefits of the process.

These are the reactions I expect from this

  • One group will now try it themselves. Even if they succeed, many will, like me, get to point when they would rather not do it themselves and pay another. You showed them how and therefore you are on the shortlist to be asked to take over.
  • One group will immediately be impressed by your skills and ask you to do it.
  • One group will be impressed by your understanding and ask you if you could help them with another problem you have
  • Many will think they don’t need that service now, but if they have a mechanical issue, you are now on their shortlist for helping them in the future.

The results are not as instant as this may suggest, and just explaining an oil change is not going to do it. In the real world, let’s take youtube,  there already dozens of other videos about the oil change. Most are actually amateurs showing DIY or a particular issue with their model of car.

A relationship is not a one night stand

One video, post or picture is not going to make the grade. The internet is full of accounts with half a dozen posts, videos or pictures from a business who started all keen and then lost heart. So, you need to produce more than the ‘failure average’ to get the attention of both people and google.

Where do I start

Do you already use social media? – If so then start there. Most people have a facebook account, so setup a Facebook business page. (Note setup a business page, dot try and sell from your personal page).  You can leverage a little help from friends on facebook and ask them to support your business page which will give you a starting launch of followers. Facebook is flexible so you can share posts, videos and pictures. A great change to see which medium is possible for you to produce, and what type of content makes the difference.

It is likely that information a humour will be the best combination. Don’t worry about feature film quality. if your mechanics business is an old garage then a big budget feature film of the business with hi-tech gadgets and expensive cars is just the wrong impression. People would turn up and think they had the wrong place. Keep your content honest to you and a little rough around the edges is ‘human.’

Once you have started to build up a following and you have a working formula that brings attention and prestige to your business, you are then ready to think about moving into other social media spaces. Choose those that will best show your content, and where your target audience may be.

I work to produce thought inspiring content on this blog and share via tweets and Facebook. This brings interest and a good return on my effort. – To show my skills and deliver some courses I use Facebook video and Youtube.

What about the numbers

Whatever medium you are in your don’t need 10 million viewers. OK, if you only gain revenue from youtube ads, you need ten million viewers. For the rest of us, you want a big enough number to produce sufficient enquiries that you feel the effort is worth it. An accountant wanted just one new customer a month to feel satisfied due to the long term value of such business. Smaller service providers can be happy with one new enquiry a day. It is about effort and reward, compare it to placing a local advert. How much would that cost, how long would it take to make and what would you expect back. now, what happens if you repeat that weekly. Compare that to your social media activity.

Be realistic

I always remember the Cupcake maker who was persuaded to put an offer on Groupon for a ridiculously cheap price. The response was so overwhelming that the Cupcake shop could not cope. Worked long hours to deliver the orders, which were at a loss and then promptly went out of business.

What about retargeting and other social media tricks

Hold on, don’t run before you walk. This article is about the simple start. If you add to moany other things too early you will be too easy let down. The first version of this document, yes I have a policy of updating content, is being written in Jan 2017, the site has been live less than 48 hours and if a dozen people read this I will be happy. But I know long term this will be read by hundreds, hopefully, thousands. Each additional post I had in the coming days will build upon the last so, readers, and google will start to take notice.

It all takes too long

Remember the phrase, how do you eat and elephant? or a journey starts with a single step. This WPBusiness Club project is limited to two hours each work day. From that, I can still provide a blog and training videos. OK, I may now have a good working process, but we all start somewhere and it is those that keep it interesting and keep in the race that succeeds. Don’t worry about people with big numbers, they are the exceptions, If you can connect with a few hundred people on a regular basis, and they are really interested in purchases, will that not bring good returns? Too many on a list and you start to worry about your quality of leads. Your task is just to be above the average business in your sector. Most give up after less than 6 weeks effort.- Or you can do nothing and let your competitor have the place for themselves.

But why would you have read this to the end if you were a quitter?
I think you can succed, follow me however you wish to and we will make it happen.

This post was inspired by an article written on Linkedin by DAVID VELASCO. You can read it here