What does it mean to market your business these days? Things have changed a great deal. One thing that hasn't changed in a while though, is how important it is to build your list. I'm talking about your e-mail list. This is still the most effective way to build a community, based on people who are really interested in what you have to say.
In order to get people interested in what you have to say, you have to deliver a message of value. In order to get people interested in signing up, you have to have something of value to offer in exchange for their e-mail address.
For the past couple of years, my newsletter signups had been sporadic. I didn't really pay attention, and wasn't sending any e-mails out.
If you want to build a relationship with people, you need to keep in touch regularly don't you?
I started doing some research, and I attended a few webinars. One in particular that made me realize how easy this could be.
I'm now getting 15 new subscribers each week, without lifting a finger!
Here's what I did.
I put in the time once, and created my "offer." I asked myself what would people tell me I was crazy for giving away for free? And what am I known for?
The second answer was easy. Videos, right? More specifically educational screen cast videos.
Next I needed to think about whom my target audience is. Accountants, bookkeepers, and small business owners, covering a range of industries.
What could I produce that offered ridiculous value, that would also appeal to a varied audience? What would be representative of where I want to work with people?
Then it hit me. When I first work with clients, the first thing I do is review their balance sheet, and profit and loss. When I started involving the clients directly in this process, I realized something. The internal review process I was doing was not only much more effective, when I did it together with the business owner, but the business owners were consistently blown away. What I was doing - what I AM doing, is not rocket science, but the way my clients and prospects were reacting, you'd think it was.
When I would review the books alone, I would send e-mails, noting things that needed attention, and I am sure with the best of intentions, the business owners would offer to get back to me quickly with information. That often never came, or by the time it did, too much time had gone by.
Going through this process together with the clients and prospects offered a number of things, I could never accomplish, doing it alone, and sending e-mails.
First and foremost, the immediate feedback. No more e-mails, just look at your A/R aging, and tell me if this looks right to you. If it doesn't, I wouldn't know that, but now that you tell me so, I have the accounting expertise to drill around, and get to the bottom of the issue.
Together with the business owner and me, we are much more effective, and 1,000 times more efficient. In less than five minutes we can accomplish what might never be accomplished properly via e-mail.
So back to my "offer" in exchange for people's e-mails. Why not offer a taste of this process? Since videos are my style, why not a video that gives a demo of my process here? I started the video off talking about how important it is for the accountant and the bookkeeper to do this together. Then I gave my demo.
Since the cloud is where I want to take people, this all came together. A video called, "How to Audit Your Company in QuickBooks Online."
The video is about an hour long. Then I recorded about a 12 minute follow up video, that goes into the reports that I run, and how to create and memorize them.
Next I added a pop-up on my site that invites people to give me their e-mail address, in exchange for this free video. I don't even tell them about the follow up video. That just comes as a surprise on day two, after you sign up.
Here's the best part.
All of this is automated now. One effort pays off 15 times per week on average. Sure enough, people have told me I am crazy for offering this kind of value for free. Am I though? Within a few weeks of offering this, I had my first client reach out to me to let me know that he'd seen the video. He offered that it was a very clever way to engage with my audience, and he hired me for $375 to review his books with him. The ROI on this has been tremendous, and now I have an automated process that generates new members on my list all week long.
Now I have one question to leave you with.
What can you offer your target audience, that will generate leads all week long?
Remember it can't be watered down. It has to be something of real substance!