When you’re already an established online influencer with a large social media following, mega email list, and the bankroll to pay for target ads, it’s easy to generate leads to your business.
But, what if you’re just starting your online business from scratch and you’re not yet known as an online influencer and don’t have a fat stack of cash to pay for your ideal client's attention?
How do you generate leads to your new online business?
Hey there, I’m Molly Ann Luna and in this episode, we’re talking about lead generation. Learn how to generate leads when you’re starting your online business from scratch.
I’m sharing three marketing sales strategies that are sure to help you attract your ideal clients to you like a magnet even if you have a large social media following, email list, or the capital for paid ads.
I’m here to help you build a profitable portable business, one that you too can do working from home.
Starting An Online Business From Scratch
When you’re starting an online business from scratch it can be tough to generate leads to your business.
I know this first hand. When I first launched my first business a personal training business called Team Luna Gains having zero understanding about marketing and sales I naively thought that posting 10-20x a day on Facebook and Instagram focusing on building my followers was the best way to get my business noticed online.
And yes, initially this strategy did attract a few new clients.
And yes, social media marketing is a powerful marketing strategy that works.
But, I didn’t know what I know now and wasted a ton of time doing the wrong things in the wrong order.
I made fundamental mistakes, I missed crucial steps. Leaving me frustrated with why my online promotional efforts weren’t paying off.
Here’s the deal, social media can be a powerful tool, but creating social media accounts and posting regularly isn’t enough to get you noticed or to successfully generate leads of qualified prospects eager and excited to do business with you consistently.
Asking your followers to abandon one platform and to follow you on the next, is not only ineffective, but it also creates confusion and can leave you penniless, scratching your head wondering why your business isn’t profitable.
Today, I’m going to share with you three clients attracting marketing sales strategies that are ideal for entrepreneurs who are just starting their online businesses.
As a new business owner who’s looking to generate a steady stream of leads, you need to have a strong brand, a clear message, and a mission that your followers can get behind.
But even all of this still isn’t enough.
When you’re just starting it can be tough to generate leads for your business.
You’ve heard paid ads are the way to go, but you’re just starting and you don’t have enough social proof that your paid product gets results or enough cash flow to justify the ad spend.
So how do you generate leads when you’re just starting your online business?
Use a combo of these three lead generating strategies:
First, define a problem that you can help easily solve for your ideal client via a lead magnet; also known as a freemium, freebie, or ethical bribe.
A few examples of lead magnets include, but aren’t limited to; pdfs, quizzes/polls, infographics, webinars, special offers, challenges, demos, free trials, or my favorite e-books.
If it provides a micro-win to the ideal client and if it does, then you’re on the right track.
Creating and promoting your lead magnets via content marketing strategy helps to build brand awareness, and trust with your prospective clients.
PROVEN STRATEGY #1 - Content Marketing
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a marketing strategy used to attract, engage, and retain an audience by creating and sharing relevant articles, videos, podcasts, and other media.
This approach establishes expertise, promotes brand awareness, and keeps your business top of mind when it's time to buy what you sell.
Repeat after me...content is king. It’s a fun and easy way to build brand authority and awareness.
And if you can put it in video format, that content is even more powerful.
Now we’re not just talking about any kind of content, it needs to be strategic marketing content.
Content marketing is the marketing strategy for my business today. But of course, I didn't understand how to properly implement it when I started my first business.
Again, I naively thought that any post was a good post. But where I MAJORLY missed the mark was that I made much of the content about me and vaguely mentioned my paid offers.
Versus focusing on helping my ideal clients solve real problems.
And where I also, majorly messed up was that I was creating content that I felt inspired to create versus creating content that answered questions my ideal clients were actively searching for the answers to.
Learn from my mistakes.
If you want to become an online influencer you need to think like an online influencer.
Remember that most people choose to follow influencers because they provide consistent valuable information, education, or entertainment.
When you’re just starting, focus on creating one cornerstone content piece that provides answers to the frequently asked questions you get from your ideal clients.
This can be done in any format you choose, my favorite of course is the self-published book.
A digital asset you can charge for
A business calling card to help you build credibility and land speaking gigs
Use it as your initial gift to grow your list
Adding an email opt to access the lead magnet helps to grow your email list. Email marketing is a powerful and low-cost marketing strategy.
PROVEN STRATEGY #2 - EMAIL MARKETING
Email Marketing is a marketing strategy, easy-to-use, and helps build your easily and quickly brand KLT factor (know, like, trust) and can more easily convert cold prospects into red-hot buyers when used correctly.
Setting up your email marketing system isn't’ hard, but it can require a little cash.
Now you might be saying, “Molly Ann, I’m just starting my business. I can't afford to do this. Why wouldn’t I just focus on building up my social media following first?”
Let me tell you a little cautionary tale.
A mama friend of mine, a well-known fitness influencer, had the same idea. She spent years building her social media following to the millions and primarily relied on her social media accounts to make sales. But, in 2019 when IG/FB crashed her business almost did as well. Therefore a day or so she was panic-stricken because without those accounts she had no way to communicate with her prospective customers. That tech glitch was the wake-up call she needed to start making the growth of her email list her top priority.
An email list can be one of your business's best assets. After all, once someone opts into your email list, you own that email list. But you don’t own your followers' point of contact. Free social media accounts are borrowed platforms.
Now talk has been thrown out there that email is archaic.
But according to a recent article by HubSpot, 99% of consumers check their email 1-20x times per day. *article link https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/email-marketing-stats
Imagine what a well-written email sent to a list of your ideal clients with information about your enticing paid offer could do for your business.
When it comes to choosing an email marketing platform there are hundreds of affordable options to choose from. And over the years I’ve bounced around to many of them. Currently, my team and I are using ConvertKit.
ConvertKit is affordable, easy to use, and most importantly has a high deliverability rate. Meaning that they don’t typically get lost in spam or junk folders. This is important.
Now when it comes to what to send in those emails and how frequently to send them that’s a topic for another day.
If you want to have that conversation let me know in the comments below and I’ll consider making an episode on exactly that. After all, I'm here to help you build a profitable portable business.
PROVEN STRATEGY #3 Direct Marketing
But I hear you saying “But, Molly Ann, I don't have any emails to add to my list.”
Finally, my favorite and the best strategy for entrepreneurs who are just starting their online business from scratch is to use offline techniques, direct marketing.
What is direct marketing?
Direct marketing consists of any marketing that relies on direct communication or distribution to individual consumers.
How do you start with direct marketing?
A few ways…
Dig up those old business cards from when you once attended live events we used to attend before COVID-19, call them up, check in on them, let them know what you’re up to, and ask if they’d be interested in staying in touch via email.
After all, you're about to be creating some killer high-value content that just might help them solve some problems.
Call up your friends and family and do the same. Don’t forget to ask them if they know anyone who might also be interested, then get on a phone call with them as well.
Strike up a conversation with new people everywhere you do. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met clients in public places; the grocery store, the mall, the airplane, the women’s public restroom of a hotel (true story!)
Rally your people. Find a small group of raving fans and ask them to share your offering with others.
Two quick stories: my first few fitness clients came from me just sharing my business idea with one friend and my husband, that same day they each brought me two paying clients. No joke!
Direct marketing works!
People won’t know about you or your business unless you tell them.
Recently my neighbor's mother saw me walking back to my house from my mailbox. She flew out of the car, with her daughter's book in hand, proud mama to tell me that her daughter is a published author and if I wanted a copy. I mean how could I say no?
In conclusion, the three best strategies to learn how to generate leads when you’re starting your online business from scratch are to create click-worthy content that educates, inspires, or entertains and that entices the consumers to join your email list so that you can serve them on a more meaningful level and convert them into paying customers and to have your raving fans share your offerings with others.
Doing so helps you generate more leads and gives your business the mega-boost you crave.
The key here is that you have to have something to offer your prospective clients. My recommendation is to write a lead-generating book. To help you start to tune into this episode next.