If you think about it, unless a business bleeds from overheads and expenses, everything comes down to sales. If your sales are strong, predictable and grow month on month, then your business is bulletproof.
On the other hand, if costs spiral relative to sales volumes then the profitability of your business not only suffers but risks running while insolvent and all the stress of the possibility of bankruptcy.
So how do we insulate ourselves from disaster? Sure. We can wield the knife and cut costs to the bone but this can often impact negatively on sales because we stop promoting and marketing and building next month’s revenues.
Marketing is the lifeblood of any business.
So with all the ways to get your offer out there for an online business, what do we do as the highest and best use of our time, effort and resources? If you look what the gurus are saying it is an overwhelming list of becoming an expert in ads on FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn or writing blogs (after you’ve built a website that is) or working on SEO on an information site rather than a blog. Then there’s video and whether to also upload what you produce on Vidler or YouTube or to feed your your own site using Amazon S3, Bluehost or another platform, each with their learning curve. Then there are product launches, joint ventures or affiliate programs to develop and create, manage, promote. And let’s not forget the ebooks, white papers, Kindle publications, special reports, CDs and audio collections, how-to packages and every other product pushing any or all of the above to position yourself as an authority. And let’s not forget the strategies of promoting the assets your create on the ‘Walmarts of the Internet’ – Amazon, Google, Youtube and Facebook in addition to just having a presence there.
Just creating a website and blogging regularly is work enough even though software such as WordPress and SBI makes it somewhat easier. Then there’s capture pages, SEO and website promotion. Database management is on-going work as your list grows. You’ll need autoresponders and more reports and the skills of a master juggler to keep all these balls in the air.
Then there are the skills we need to actually run the business of networking.
We need to create our target prospect lists and whether we use a priority based multi-list method where we have our A’s, B’s and C lists (hot, warm and cold respectively) or just a random list of likely prospects is a choice we need to make. How do we approach our warm market? How will we build our off-line lists?
What actual questions will we ask prospects?
I really like the training Ray Higdon and Marcin Marczak offer on sponsoring, both are available via My Lead System Pro which I highly recommend.
Ray (and also Mike Filsaime and his Little Fish Blueprint) suggests that as network marketing is all about creating relationships it is essential to ask questions to see where your prospect meets what you have to offer. If you can’t help them achieve their goals then so be it but most people are after the Holy Trinity; more free time and choice, financial independence and to lead a high quality life. In a word – LIFESTYLE.
So how do we make sense of it?
I’ll come back to sponsoring approaches later and review Ray and Mike’s methods specifically in later blogs on this site (subscribe to my RSS feed or get my newsletter by registering on this site). For now, let me come back to the topic of my title:
What’s the biggest challenge for any business?
My vote is promotions and marketing and telling the difference between them. Over the years, I have had lots of promotion: Radio interviews, magazine articles, newspaper stories and even television coverage. None of the media want to let you market yourself and while you might get away with a soft reference to a website or your new book, you are really there for the entertainment of THEIR audience, not your own. Promotion solves the media’s problem. It doesn’t necessarily get you sales.
I’ve often said, all the promotion I’ve had and 3 bucks will get me a cup of coffee.
It all depends on your approach. I did an interview with well known Australian radio personality, Margaret Throsby on ABC Radio Classic FM last week and had a huge response. If you wish, listen to the segment and see if you can work out why it led to huge sales. My take on it is that health is becoming a real issue for many Baby Boomers and they form the bulk of the audience on this station. I never once mentioned my brand as I could not do this in public radio yet the interview precipitated an avalanche of orders after listeners who understood the message, Googled my name and found my offering.
Marketing on the other hand, is a whole lot more targeted, or should be. It stems from customer experience in ordering through to product delivery, from customer service and support to how the product arrives with regard to packaging and presentation. Obviously, the product also has to perform as promised or it all falls down like a house of cards.
So exposure is essential. It includes media coverage, website SEO to rank in the search engines, referrals from satisfied clients and other websites, off-line promotion.
Where do you start?
A key approach is to analyse your strengths. If you can write well, consider article marketing and blogging. If you have a design flair and I mean online then look to banners and graphs being your vehicle to attract attention of other people’s sites (affiliate promotion) or on ad sites. If you can create videos then focus on these – it is not necessary to get too fancy as some of the most effective videos are animated Powerpoint slides with a voice-over.
This website will continue to address the various marketing strategies for on-line businesses so please subscribe to my blog for more on the topic of building your online business. Additionally, please consider my primary opportunity if you wish to work with me.
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