One of the biggest challenges for any new, as well as established business is achieving and maintaining cash flow. As you grow your list of prospects and paying clients, a shoestring budget is often called for. Thankfully, there are many free systems and services that fit a small budget, with free and low-cost online services for bookkeeping and invoicing, time tracking, scheduling, document sharing, e-mail marketing and more.
The software is easy to subscribe to online, and to learn how best to use them you need only listen to webinars or attend a local workshop in your area. Here are some highlights from workshops by two marketing experts.
Callan Rush (www.callanrush.com) is an American sales and marketing expert. Her three-hour seminar was like a motivational speech! Her three keywords on how to get and keep customers are to Magnetise, Mesmerise, and Monetise.
First, Rush advises to use social media and ads to magnetise your audience with interesting headlines, desirable content, and by using the medium best suited for your intended audience. You need to know where and how they obtain their information and products or services, so you know where you need to be.
Second, people want to be wowed, so you need to provide something interesting that will mesmerise them in some way. Either you have a truly unique product, or your service offering needs to be crafted in a way that makes it irresistible and desirable and has your audience feeling “I want that!”.
This leads to the next and third step, which draws prospective clients to your business and allows you to monetise on your messaging. According to a survey by Communicare, 70 per cent of respondents say that poorly written communications make them less productive (http://bit.ly/13LCxoq). To avoid falling in that ignored or boring category, Rush suggests the following:
- Make it into their Inbox. Use an Internet service provider with good deliverability to avoid your carefully crafted message suffering death-by-spam-filter.
- Get Readers To Open Your Message. Copywriting legend Joe Sugarman famously said, “The sole purpose of the first sentence in an advertisement is to get you to read the second sentence.” Do this by writing a hot subject line using one of the following:
- Enrolling questions: “Do you want to double your client base overnight?”. Who would say no to that?
- Incomplete sentences: Our brain hates them! If you have not seen the Big Bang Theory TV episode on that, find it; there’s no better way to explain that urge. For example use, “Did you know 70% of biz owners don’t know ….?”
- Curiosity statements: Something that creates intrigue, like “Cat saves family’s child from vicious dog attack”.
- Numbered Sequenced Subject Line:g. “The Top 5 Marketing Mistakes”.
- Check Your “From” Line. Your e-mail address should contain your personal name.
- Keep your message short, conversational, and to the point. Don’t write “Dear All”, which makes the reader just feel like an anonymous person in a crowd. Many automated e-mail marketing programs extract the first names from your contact list and insert them, individually, into each e-mail, which gives it a more personalised feel.
- Include a ‘click-through’ button in the body of your message that leads readers to your registration or purchase site, or web page.
E-mail marketing programs allow you to create professional looking e-mails and e-newsletters with click-through buttons, and can track statistics like opening rates, number of click-throughs etc. Companies like Aweber, Constant Contact, Infusionsoft, and MailChimp are just a few.
Social Media Marketing
According to Javed S. Khan of Empression (http://empression.ca), you need to make use of other free marketing tools as well. Khan says that good marketing is about eliciting a measurable response, e.g. a reader “Liking” your social media page, registering for one of your webinars or seminars, or calling you.
He recommends setting measurable goals for your social media marketing, for example to reach X number of new clients, or to fill your next workshop. Additional tips for saving you time, while magnetising and mesmerising your audience are to:
- Include “social share buttons” on your web page, blog, and workshop registration pages so that readers can directly reach your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn page.
- Repurpose campaigns: Use the longer version of your writ for a blog or an article, then a shorter version for your Facebook post, and a 140 character tease as your next tweet.
- Use photos. According to the Social Science Research Network, 65 per cent of us are visual learners. Be sure to use royalty free images, unless you wish to pay for that extraordinary shot, and always credit the photographer whose work you are using.
- Don’t try being an expert on everything you share. Read to learn from experts, and surround yourself with knowledgeable people – that’s what Oprah does!
- Use your e-campaigns not only to share content but also for happy holiday and thank you notes. By providing short messages and greetings that are not seeking to sell or convince, your readers are less likely to unsubscribe from your updates.
In case you are wondering how to even build a list of recipients for your e-campaigns, Lisa Kember, of Hyperactove Communications Inc. and Regional Director, Canada East for Constant Contact ((gethyperactive.com), recommends offering a prize draw or a free service to your existing network and social media to obtain more subscribers to your e-mail marketing. All obtained legitimately, of course, and in accordance with the new Canadian Anti-Spam Law, CASL.
Kember also suggests not hard-selling your business but yourself and your story. It is your attitude and your credibility that leads to your prospects’ confidence in you, your product or service. It is about showing that you are authentic. We are all human after all.