A fresh new year is a great time to reassess our business ‘assets’. My priorities included automating much of our online business marketing and simplifying our course. You might also be looking at adding more marketing and training courses or digital templates online, while not adding more to your weekly work pile.

What Simple Solutions Can You Offer?

There is a simple product solution for every little problem. It’s neat that’s you can take a resource used in-house, give it some nice graphics and easy user experience, and offer it for sale online. Here are some actual products derived from real problems.

  1. Proposals and tenders are hard to put together… enter Proposify: beautiful proposals as a subscription service.
  2. Freelancers need templates to get started in the biz… The Clever Copywriting School offers copy deck templates, terms, and pricing guidance for copywriters.
  3. People building their brand need content ideas… enter social media inspiration cards by Linda Reed-Enever.

Always Be Advertising

The anxiety of online advertising has led many into the trap of stopping-and-starting. After doing this too, I now realise that having an online training business means always advertising, plus testing and measuring that advertising.

Because advertising needs a back-stop, we chose free guides as that back-stop. Some choose videos, challenges, a free course, etc. A back-stop in this case is a free offer to acclimatise new authors to our many charms and sense they are missing out if they don’t subscribe. Best thing is, it helps new people understand all this without me flapping my lips.

The Canny Automation of Marketing

Email marketing is also a necessary part of business automation.

A recent change we made was to transfer all email marketing to GetResponse. Their automation section lets you plan a sales funnel, whereby you can add the landing page (if wanted), set thank you page, set the autoresponder messages, and assign a tag to that automation. Their Starter plan costs US$15 a month, so it’s canny too.

The other thing we’re working on is getting our related websites to show a pop-up form, inviting aspiring authors to read a how-to guide. It now has an image to help promote the guide, even though it’s free.

You have to remember that browsing consumers have the attention span of a pigeon. Or, if you’re selling to business people, they’re usually looking for a simple solution in the least amount of time and also look for credibility signs before buying.  Catch the pigeons by offering a free guide or $10 off, with an exit-intent offer. About 90-95% of your web traffic is leaving anyway, for more fun escapades… so you may as well try.

Landing pages hosted by your email marketing system are not always necessary, but good sales pages are. A high-level sales page should have:

  • A benefit-driven headline
  • No distracting sidebar ads
  • Very few menu items to select – privacy policy is one
  • The one or two best product offers
  • Pop-up/embedded opt-in form to collect non-responders’ emails
  • A nice big graphic, if it is a manufactured product
  • 200 – 400 words of riveting sales copy about the benefits and features

This way, any ads from Google ads, Facebook ads, or visits from partners will follow a logical path. Unlike on mainstream business websites, visitors will not get confused by too much choice.

This is slightly different to an eCommerce shop, where there are often many choices but they are all catering to a particular market segment. Such shops would have a navigation menu and a few ‘also recommended’ products on the side. They also need to use titles for their product sets that relate to popular search terms. For an easier choice, grouping 2-3 items into an attractively-priced package is an idea here.

Good Headlines Beat None

A good headline is, I believe, the most under-utilised element in online marketing today. What makes an effective headline depends entirely on who you are selling to and what their deepest needs/desires are.

People aren’t looking for broad information at our content sites; they want to turn their ideas into a book, or create a side income from their knowledge, or boost their business, for example. You can see how simple these desires are, and when you write a headline, it should be that simple too.

To productise your business resources, you need to get right inside the head of the solution-seeking customer. I hope it’s not too scary in there.