Here’s the second part of my article about making sure you get the simple things – the “Eight Brilliant Basics” right around your business online, before you focus on anything else. You can read Part 1 here >>>
5. Automated Follow Up & Regular Contact
When a “potential future customer” or PFC for short (because that is how you must regard them – it’s nicer than saying “hot lead” although never forget that this is what a subscriber is) signs up for your free gift, you need to deliver that immediately. Then you need to follow up with valuable, relevant content, such as short tips, interesting articles, etc.
This follow up process does two important things; it keeps you in the mind of your PFC’s and gets them used to hearing from you.
If your PFC is used to hearing from you, they will be less likely to unsubscribe when you mail them or report you for sp.am.
Oh, yes! That person who visited your website and entered their name and email freely, to get your free gifts, could possibly forget you if you don’t keep in touch. And you really don’t want that.
It’s a delicate balance though, between keeping in touch and mailing too much. It will depend on your market though and don’t fall into the trap of trying to please all of the people all of the time, particularly if some of them would never have become a customer! Anyone who signs up then complains if you mail too often, is not your ideal customer at all.
Read More Here …
You want people on your list who want to hear from you, mainly because you will never be able to make an effective offer or sell anything – your product or service or that of someone else – if your PFC wont even open your email, much less read it.
Another great way to keep in touch is to send a weekly ezine. This can be as elaborate as a full colour HTML magazine type ezine (although having sent one for years, I wouldn’t recommend it), a simple text ezine or a simple email with links to your most recent blog posts.
Don’t neglect to let people know what you are currently offering in your ezine. One of my other client sends me his ezine in Word format and I drop it into Text Formatter Plus, which makes hard returns at any width you set, making it much easier for your customers and PFC’s to read. I then send it back and he sends it out via Mailchimp. But I realised the other week that there was no clear call to action in that ezine and he was also missing the chance to promote one of his other businesses in his resources section.
TIP: This process of automated follow up is handled by auto-responder emails. The broadcasting of your ezine is also handled by your mailing list service. We use Total Business Cart and recommend that, if you are ever going to sell a product or service of your own, you do too, but for those who just want to build a list and recommend other people’s products and services, we also recommend Aweber or GetResponse. If you have a mailing list in Excel or are using something like ACT, and have no idea how to get going with an ezine, I recommend Mailchimp to start with. You can export your ACT to Excel, then upload up to 500 contacts for free, mail them, and anyone who wants to opt out can do so. Next time you come to upload your (updated) list, you upload them again, but ticking the box that remembers any opt outs or email changes, and Mailchimp does the rest.
6. Constantly Updated Relevant Content
If you want your site to rank above that of your competitor, you simply MUST have an area on your site where you regularly add constantly updated relevant content.
This used to be handled by adding articles to your site, but now it’s usually handled by adding a WordPress blog to a brochure style site, or even moving your brochure style site to the WordPress software, hosted on your own server.
Why? Because WordPress has clean, open source code that Search Engines love, and if you choose a fully customisable, premium theme like Frugal, Thesis, Genesis, one from WooThemes or similar, your search engine optimisation will almost take care of itself. I did say ALMOST.
One of the other major features of WordPress is that it’s Open Source, which means that developers are always thinking up better ways to use it, in the form of Plugins. You can get a WordPress blog to do just about anything you like with a plugin and one you really can’t do without (unless you are using one of the premium themes mentioned above) is All-In-One-SEO.
Then, regularly adding unique content, or a mixture of good quality material from other sites such as Ezine Articles, perhaps with your own commentary, will keep the search engines interested and when push comes to shove and two sites are competing to be listed for the same search term, the site that has a good amount of constantly updated relevant content wins every time.
If you are not a natural writer, there are a number of writing services out there, or you can hire someone via Odesk, or Elance. You can also find very inexpensive writers in the Philippines via sites like EasyOutsource.com.
Don’t assume that, because someone lives in a different country, their English won’t be very good – I’ve been astounded at the quality of the transcribing and writing services I’ve come across and they are unbelievably reasonably priced.
Try and avoid those bits of software that “spin” articles to create unique articles out of one piece of writing – I’ve tried them and they are rubbish. You can spot one of those articles a mile off because it just doesn’t read fluently.
If you can write, or learn to write, you are onto a winner, because so few people can, or want to, blog regularly with unique content. Here’s a couple of very different examples….
My business partner in The Money Gym, Steve Watson, would have laid money against him every being able (or confident enough) to write his own blog content. It was a painful and slow process for him in the beginning but he saw the value in doing it and he persevered and found his own method of coming up with ideas and creating quality content and his blog – and business – is flourishing now. Keep up with WordPress Expert Steve at his website http://SteveWatsonOnline.com .
My sister Heather Cairncross just started blogging recently at http://HeatherCairncross.com about her career as a professional singer, travelling the globe. She’s only posted about 10 or so original posts but her work has been picked up and re-quoted by many sites already (including the Susan Boyle Fan Club who caused a HUGE spike in traffic and comments) and contemporary composer @TolgaKashif who used one of her posts about recording on his new album on his own site. Heather also tweets @Altovoice and is regularly re-tweeted by the @londonsymphony orchestra so it’s all going great guns.
7. Check, Check & Re-Check The Customer Journey
I had occasion to go through a clients customer journey the other day and we were both shocked to discover that several of his pages had a bit of code that was triggering my Kasperski trojan alert. Only happened with Kasperski but it was scary and it would have put me off ever visiting his site again.
He didn’t have Kasperski so it had never happened to him, so he almost didn’t believe me (even though I sent a screenshot) until I asked our mentoring students Mastermind group to go have a look and report back. One third got the same results so he instructed his techie guy to look into it and it turned out to be a bit of rogue code that was triggering the alert.
Yesteday I went a bit further through his process and discovered that, not only did the thank you page have the same bit of rogue code, but that one of the main links in his thank you email was dead.
Can I implore you to set up a new Google account right now, and go through and test you own customer journey? Until you see it through your customers eyes, you won’t know if it’s all truly working as it should.
If you buy your own product too, you can test that journey and you can always refund yourself right away.
8. Your KPI’s Determine Your Actions This Week.
I monitor six key performance indicators each week, or KPI’s, in my business. The results of that determine the focus of my actions for the week.
- Unique Visits?
- Unique Visitors?
- New Unique Visitors?
- New subscribers? (Percentage of those to NUV’s)
- New customers? Percentage of those to NUV’s)
- Total Value of Sales? (Value of each NUV / Subscriber)
Entering that set of 6 simple numbers / percentages into a spreadsheet enables me to determine whether I should focus that week on on generating traffic, the conversion of that traffic to subscribers or the conversion of that traffic to sales.
Then I work out my desired outcome in my area of focus and I then think about the processes I have in place already, and what I could do to add to or improve them.
Do you have a similar set of KPI’s for your business?
If not, how do you know if it’s working or not?
Just this week I was bemoaning the fact that Google have decided my personal URL is a “get rich quick scheme” and have stopped me using Adwords on that URL and the brand new one I had bought for my new book I’m writing (that’s the title of that one changed then!).
Then I was saying that, only this week, Google have downgraded my site from a 3/10 Google Pagerank to 1/10 for my home page and 2/10 for my blog.
I was convinced traffic was down because of those two things and I was getting very discouraged from blogging.
I was even thinking of moving all my activites over to TheBusinessSuccessFactory.com domain, I was so cheesed off.
Then I entered the KPI’s for this week and realised that traffic was not apparently down due to Google’s actions – I’m still listed on Page One, Position Three for one of my main three key phrases and search engine traffic to my site, overall, is up, not down, as a percentage. The reason my traffic appears to be down a bit is because I haven’t done any significant joint ventures in September and I got an unusual spike in August when my Top 10 Business Books Of All Time blog post was featured on the Stephen Fry Daily.
So I was saved from making hasty, and possibly rash, business decisions by my KPI’s – thank the lord.
So if you want to make better business decisions, set up a simple set of KPI’s and look at them weekly.
I’d love to hear about how you use the info in this article, so just use the comments box below to tell us about your KPI’s and how they are helping you.