These days, the success of your online or offline business depends not only on the quality of traffic to your website or on mobile devices but the social recognition and interaction it may get in social networks, especially on Facebook it may have, and that is a hard fact.
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It is great to know about all of the wonderful things you can do for your business on Facebook when you use the correct techniques. But if you don’t know them, how can you apply them?
Even worse, it is a fact that if you don’t know how to apply them, you could end up harming your business seriously. And believe us, Facebook Ads are a powerful viral machine for good news as well as bad.
You could be claiming to have the best business, product or service. You could even be presenting the right impression on Mobile Devices, but…
…if you don’t have a Facebook presence, you’re already losing a great deal of customers who actually are looking for your business and services already!
Common advice to new marketers is to find a need and fill it. Better advice is to find a want and fill that, since people more readily spend money on things they want than they do on things they need. After all, no one NEEDS an expensive car. Even the cheapest of automobiles will get them where they want to go – yet people WANT the high end cars and they pay dearly for them.
So we know to understand our customer’s problems and needs and to fill them to be successful. And we’ve all been told to do surveys or haunt forums to find out what these needs and wants are. It’s very basic advice and if you combine it with some trial and error, it will usually get the job done, at least to a certain degree.
But what if you want a blockbuster smash-it-out-of-the-park product? Something that you can perhaps retire on?
Then you’re going to have to upgrade your methods of product research and product creation. In fact, what you’ll need to do is focus on something called Customer Development, and according to Steve Blank, it goes like this:
1. Understand your customers’ problems and needs
2. Prove that you have a repeatable sales model (for long term sales and income)
3. Create and drive end user demand (also known as marketing)
4. Building – that is, transition from learning what your customers want to executing on what you’ve learned.
It’s that first step – Understanding your customer’s problems and needs – that sets the stage for the other 3 steps and your eventual long term success. And it’s also the step most people get wrong.
You probably already have a vision for a new product. You’ve looked and needs and wants and you’ve got a solution you want to offer customers. The unseasoned marketer will now create the product and offer it to customers, something you might call the sink or swim method. But since 9 out of 10 products sink using this method, I’m going to suggest you do the following instead:
1. Go talk to the people who you believe are potential users for your product. Your goal is to see if there is a direct match between your product vision and what people want.
2. If you’re finding out there isn’t a match, you make one of two changes. Either you change your product to what these particular customers do want, or you find a different segment of the market that does want what you are planning to offer.
3. Your goal is to understand the problem your product is addressing. Ask people how they handle this problem now and if they perceive it as being a an important issue for them. Forget yes and no type questions. Instead, ask open ended questions such as,
“If you could change anything about the way you deal with this problem, what would it be?”
“How do you currently solve this problem?”
“Can you describe the problem in your own words?”
“Have you tried other solutions? What happened?”
“What do you wish you could do to solve this problem?” “Tell me about the last time you had this problem.”
“How much does this problem cost you?”
NOTE: Don’t ask hypothetical questions because they won’t be relevant or helpful. Don’t ask for features, don’t try to convince or sell and don’t try to solve their problem. For example, don’t ask:
“Do you like this idea?”
“Would you buy this?”
“How much would you pay for this?”
4. Adjust accordingly. You might uncover an even larger, more pressing problem that you can solve for these customers. Don’t be afraid to discard a good idea for a great idea. In other words, don’t chase after crumbs if turning in another direction will provide a feast.
5. Build, Measure and Learn, but not necessarily in that order. Figure out what you need to learn. For example, will people use your XYZ service if it’s free. Then figure out how to measure that. In this case, you can track sign-ups for a beta service you will be introducing. Then you decide what you need to build. And in this case, all you need is a landing page to sign people up, with either a description or a video showing what your service will do.
6. Notice you can do all of this without actually creating your product or service first. Odds are you’re familiar with Dropbox. When Dropbox was first presented to the public, it was simply an idea presented in a video. It wasn’t working, and in fact there wasn’t even a prototype yet. But the interest received from potential customers was massive – enough to tell Drew Houston that he should indeed go ahead and build Dropbox. Good thing he did – he’s a rich man today. To see how he did it, go here: http://techcrunch.com/2011/10/19/dropbox-minimal-viable-product/
7. If you went to that page, you noticed that Dropbox was started as a Minimal Viable Product. That is, the absolute minimum was done on the product itself to assess the market. No doubt you’ve heard that the best way to test a product is to put up a squeeze page or sales page offering the product and see how many people try to sign up for it. Then on the next page you reveal that it isn’t available yet, but you will let them know when it is. This might seem like cheating, and it is. What you’re cheating is failure by assuring yourself that you do indeed have a product idea that will sell before you ever build it.
8. Still confused on what a Minimal Viable Product is? Check out Aardvark as a MVP. If you don’t remember what Aardvark is, think Google.
A Minimal Viable Product isn’t always about creating a minimal product, but it is about learning what you need to know to make your product successful. It might be a working prototype, a mock-up or a video that simulates your future product. An MVP is what you get in front of your customers to find out if they will indeed use it (if it’s free) or buy it.
Bottom line, if you want to know exactly what your customers want, you’ve got to do some digging. You’ve got to first ask them what needs fixing, what’s important to them, and how they would like it solved. Then you present them with the solution – either the actual product or an MVP – and you gauge their reaction and learn all you can in the process.
Who are your best prospects in the early stages of your product development? Those are the customers we call “earlyvangelists.” According to Steve Blank, they will have some or all of these characteristics:
1. They have a problem
2. They are aware of having this problem
3. They have been actively searching for a solution
4. They may have already hacked together a solution
5. They have or can acquire the funds to buy your solution
Ideally these are the first customers you want to offer your product to. They will take the least amount of selling and will be the first to tell others of your product. Find these people and you have tapped into a goldmine.
How to Get Your Visitors, Affiliates, JV Partners and Customers to LIKE and RESPECT You
It’s almost cliché: People buy from and work with people they know, like and trust. People get to know you through your content, and they trust you based on your reputation and track record of service. But how do you get people to LIKE you?
Be honest. Who doesn’t like an honest person? If I came to you and said I did a really stupid thing and asked for your forgiveness, you would almost certainly forgive me AND think more highly of me, even though I did the stupid thing. But if I tried to cover it up and you found out, you probably wouldn’t like me, and who could blame you?
This is why mistakes are actually an opportunity to strengthen the relationship between vendors and customers. When the vendor owns up to the mistake and takes immediate action to correct it, the customer will often feel even more positive about the vendor than if the entire transaction had gone off without a hitch.
Be responsive. When someone takes the time to write to you, write back. When an affiliate has a question or concern, answer it immediately. If you can’t, let them know you’ve received their message and will be replying as soon as you can.
If your joint venture partners and affiliates can’t get a hold of you when things are running smoothly, they’ll be concerned that you won’t be there for them should something go wrong. And if you (or your assistant) answers customers questions in a timely manner, you will stand apart from those competitors who never bother to reply.
Be Passionate. Yet another reason to work in niches you love – when you’re passionate about your topic, people just naturally like you. You exude an energy and charisma that draws people to you. Positivity is contagious – and people who are passionate about the topic will naturally bond with you.
Tell Stories. Imagine a subscriber is on 10 emails lists. 9 of those lists are a constant bombardment of “BUY THIS!” But the owner of the 10th list tells stories. In fact, every email s/he sends contains a story, even if it’s still selling something. Which emails will get opened and read? And who will the subscribers like more? I know of list owners who promote a product every single day to their lists, but because they always tell an interesting story, their open rate is through the roof.
It’s no different than 150 years ago when the farmers would sit around the wood stove in the general store in the middle of winter. The farmer with the best stories was almost always the most beloved of the bunch.
Be Yourself. Vulnerability, humility and authenticity are will shine through every time. Which of your friends do you like the best? Odds are it’s the ones who don’t put on a facade and can just be themselves.
In the long running British series, “Last of The Summer Wine,” 2 of the main characters were Compo and Foggy. Compo had all sorts of faults, dressed like a bum and obviously didn’t care what people thought. Foggy, on the other hand, was continually trying to paint himself as a regimental, heroic leader. He cared a great deal about what others thought and often told stories of his many imaginary exploits in the great war. Of course he was really rather timid and somewhat incompetent. But he was too busy putting on a false front to notice that he was the only one who believed it.
So which character do you think was most beloved? Compo of course.
Use Humor. You don’t have to be a comedienne or even tell jokes if you’re not good at it. Simply telling tales on yourself and laughing right along with your readers and viewers will show you have a sense of humor. And they will be able to relate to you all the better when they see you can laugh at your own stupid mistakes.
Surprise People. Find ways to pleasantly surprise your affiliates and customers and they’ll keep coming back for more. For example, you might do a blog post in which you thank each of your active affiliates by name. It wouldn’t cost you a cent, but it would certainly surprise and delight your affiliates when you took the time to publicly recognize their efforts.
Be Thankful. Thank your joint venture partners and affiliates every chance you get (see the previous paragraph.) And of course thank your customers. Simply sending an email is a good start, but consider taking your gratefulness further by sending e-cards or actual snail mail cards or even calling. Imagine calling someone who just purchased your $97 product just to say thank you. Guaranteed you’ll have a new best friend for a customer every time you do it.
Keep it Simple. Every day the world gets a little bit more complicated, which is an opportunity for you to find a way to simplify things. Taking complex ideas and distilling them down to their simplest forms makes it far easier for your audience to understand what you’re saying and to appreciate you for making it easy for them.
Take a look at every component of your business and find ways to simplify. Is your ordering system a 4 page maze of forms and check boxes? Simplify it. Is your product 26 videos of step-by-step information? Make a mind map so they can see the entire thing on one page. Do you make new affiliates jump through a hoop or two before they can promote you? Simplify. The last thing anyone needs is more complication. By making things simple, you will again become that much more likeable.
If you are the marketer who is honest, responsive, passionate and thankful, who tells stories and uses humor, who keeps things simple and down to earth and even occasionally surprises people, people will LIKE and RESPECT you indeed.
In four words – bribe offline business owners. When you give a gift to someone, the law of reciprocity kicks in and they feel they need to give something back to you. So when you send them a “bribe” of some sort and then call them on the phone, you are far more likely to get them to agree – often readily and cheerfully – to an appointment.
And you don’t need to spend a great deal of money to do this. Visit promotional product websites to get the ideas flowing, like these:
If you’re targeting offline business owners in cold weather climates, send a grass skirt, a flower lei and a blow up palm tree, letting them know your marketing skills can yield them enough extra money to take several Hawaiian vacations this winter or next.
Send them fitness equipment like a jump rope, water bottle and pedometer and tell them you’d love to get their marketing into shape for them. Corny? Yes, but it works and you can’t argue with results.
Does your prospect golf? Send him or her one of those office putting greens and let them know they’ll have a lot more free time for golf when you grow their business so big, they can afford a manager to handle all the day to day details while they’re out on the real golf course.
On a budget? You can get personalized squeeze toys for about $2 apiece.
Get something that makes sense: For example, get the ninja squeeze toy if you’re the “Ninja of local marketing” or the cheese if you want to make their business the “Big cheese of their market.” Or you might send them the softball so you can “pitch them on an idea that will make them $__ of new revenue.”
Send them party supplies and tell them you’ll throw them a real party once you’ve increased their business by 20%. Or send a bottle of wine and two glasses, asking them to save the wine for when you’ve helped them land 5 new clients.
Just use your imagination and you’ll come up with all sorts of great ideas.
Find out who the decision maker is, and then make a nice looking presentation out of what you’re sending them. And send out just 5 to 10 per week so you have plenty of time to follow up via phone.
Unless you’re brand new to marketing, you already know that split testing can make a tremendous difference in things like squeeze page and sales page conversions. When you split test to discover what converts the best, you get more subscribers and more sales from the exact same amount of traffic you’re getting now. In other words, you’re working smarter, not harder.
But what factors should you test? Obviously you want to start with the headline, but there are many more things you can test that will also boost your conversion rate. Let’s get started:
1. Headline – This is almost always the most important factor to test, yet most marketers don’t bother. And of those who do, many aren’t exactly sure how to formulate a good headline to begin with or what to test against it. So here are some tips:
A. Word your headline in terms of a big benefit, not features. Rather than saying you’ve got a book on weight loss, tell them they can lose weight. “How You Can Lose Weight”
B. Be specific. Rather than simply say they can lose weight, tell them how much they can lose and when they can expect to lose it. “How You Can Lose 22 Pounds In 21 Days”
C. Let them know they’ll achieve the benefits with ease. “How You Can Lose 22 Pounds In 21 Days While Eating Anything You Like”
D. Use some kind of proof. “Secret Harvard Study Proves You Can Lose 22 Pounds In 21 Days While Eating Anything You Like”
E. Consider adding a National Enquirer type of flair to your headline. “Secret Harvard Study Makes Shocking Discovery: One Simple Trick Lets You Lose 22 Pounds In 21 Days While Eating Anything You Like”
(NOTE: Needless to say, these headlines are for demonstration purposes only – your headlines will vary greatly.)
2. Don’t just test the wording of the headline – also test the meaning. Slight changes in wording don’t typically yield a huge difference in results, but changing the message can. For example, let’s say your product makes people healthier and less apt to get sick; it helps them to lose weight and have more energy; and it makes them look sexy enough to attract numerous mates. You’ll want to test all three messages – each in its own headline – along with a fourth headline that incorporates all three of these messages. You might be surprised by the results.
3. Test your tagline. That’s the line that appears underneath your headline and it’s read almost as much as your headline. Ask yourself if your tagline is positioning your product correctly, and is it pulling people into the first paragraph of your copy.
4. Test your body copy, subheads and bullet points. Remember to use straight forward language. In other words, write the way you speak. Test your message and how you present it. Test adding more bullets, fewer bullets, and test the bullets themselves.
5. Test your offer. Offering more of your product or service versus less can make a difference, even factoring in the price difference. Test things that change perceived value, such as 20 short videos versus 10 videos of twice the length. Test longer and shorter time commitments as well.
6. Test your video. Test not having a video versus having one, and test one video against another.
7. Test bonuses. This is a major wild card. Sometimes changing a bonus has almost no effect, while other times adding or even removing a bonus can increase sales considerably.
8. Test prices. Obviously if it’s a squeeze page, your price is “free.” But you can also test the wording you use to convey that it’s free. If it’s a sales page, test high and low prices. Sometimes fewer sales at a higher price results in more revenue. Also, test small changes in price, such as $29.99 versus $29.97 versus $27.00.
9. Do more price testing. You might offer a free or $1 trial, buy-one-get-one free, buy now pay later, or payment in installments.
10. Test choices. If you’re only offering one choice right now, consider testing and offer of 2 or 3 choices. Sometimes ‘choose one’ will make more sales than ‘yes or no’. Using the right pricing can also make more sales. For example, offering one version for $87 and a much better version for just $10 more can create a big boost in sales.
11. Test testimonials. This one sounds strange – testimonials always work, right? Actually, no. Vague testimonials or irrelevant testimonials can actually hurt. Testimonial location can also make a difference – do you add testimonials high up on the page? At the bottom? A column to the right? Etc.
12. Test your guarantee. Offer the best guarantee you can, and then ask yourself how you might make it even better. Test to see which one works better.
13. Test your urgency factor. Test offering limited amounts, limited time price, ‘offer ends Friday,’ etc. Test the reason you give for making the offer limited.
14. Test all the stuff that isn’t copy. Test the pictures, the product images, the graphics, the colors, the background, etc. Place copy under the pictures and test that, too.
15. Test buy buttons. Test the appearance of the button including color and size, the location(s) of the button(s) and the words on the button, such as “buy” “buy now” “grab your copy” “sign me up” “subscribe” etc.
16. If you’re testing a free offer in exchange for an email address, test the product you’re giving away for free. Some freebies work far better than others.
Yes, it’s a lot to test. Obviously you won’t test everything at once. Think of it as an ongoing hobby, one that can make you a considerable amount of extra money without any extra traffic.