Over the last several days while considering edits to make where to head next I realized something very important. This guide will not serve anyone as well as it could or should unless I make an effort to niche it down enough that it is not only simple but effective.
For this reason, I have determined this first guide will cover Online Marketing for Service-based businesses such as consultants, web builders, and marketers. In the future, I will develop more guides that will incorporate the changes needed for each industry.
The reason I have picked the industry I have is that they will see the greatest immediate impact from getting to know and understand their customers. This could also apply to some local services such as law firms, coaches, and alike. We shall see as the guide develops.
Your company, startup, or even personal brand needs a solid plan for marketing online. Each path leads to its own challenges and needs. I am working to design this guide in such a way that you will be able to plug in the parameters of your needs and then see the path you should follow. Until this guide is completed with that ability I will be posting everything related to online marketing in a start to finish fashion that will allow you to build your own solid plan.
Where to Start
As I develope this guide you will see major changes, but some tenets of marketing shouldn’t ever be changed. Some of these have only been learned more recently while others take on the form of almost an ancient knowledge. The first tenet you will learn is simple:
Start With The Customer
*Additionally I will be working to ensure what I write about is implemented on this blog at a minimum. Each thing I will talk about will be tested somewhere if not here. To see the latest changes check out my change log (bottom of the page for now)
Customers: Who is your Dream Client?
Understanding who your customers are or who you would like them to be is a large part of the battle. The best resource for working through this I have ever found is Michael Port’s Book Yourself Solid. He has developed an entire process that will take you cleanly through understanding who it is you would like to work with, server, and overall deliver results to.
We are going to take a stunted approach to this here and simply ask a few questions:
- Who would you love to work with?
- What kinds of problems do they have?
- Where do these people hang out? Where do they get their information?
- How can you help them?
Now we need to match this to your current business. Are you working with the people who you would most like to work with? Sometimes the answer is a very hard no. Personally, I have been down this road and it begs you to ask some specific questions such as:
- If these are not my ideal clients how long do I want to keep this up?
- Am I making enough money that it is truly worth it?
- Do I love what I am doing?
- Can I do what I love while serving the “right” clients? (Hint: The answer is nearly always yes)
Next, we will look at building your customer story and how it is going to help you find your ideal clients.
Customers: Building a Customer Story
Knowing where your dream clients are is just as important as identifying them. What good is it to know you want to help veterans if you don’t know where or how to find them. I have not fully introduced the concept of the customer story yet. So let’s take a quick look and I will add more details later. This process helps alot when used properly, and I will get into more details later.
Customer stories are all about making our ideal clients as real as if they were standing in the room with us. Our brains are kind of funny in that if I asked you to tell me ‘what age range is your customer base’ you might look at me perplexed. This is normal.
To get around this problem we build an ideal client then it is easier for us to make more accurate adjustments almost like doing it backwards.
“my ideal client is a 34 year old career driven marketer that is making progress but knows they could be doing so much more. They have been in marketing for at least 10 years and understand the major changes that have happened over that time while also seeing the things that have remained the same.”
Now it is a little easier to come back and say looking at the ideal client model and say ‘my customer base age range is approx 29-50’. We arrive at that number knowing that is going to be hard for someone much younger to fit inside our 10 year model, and anyone much older might be less likely to keep up with the current trends. (If this offends you then you might fall outside of my ideal client model 😉 )
Customers: How Will You Serve Them?
It might seem strange to start with the customer. You might already be saying, “I’m serving the wrong people.” If this is the case it is time to make some changes. The reasoning is simple here.
You only have one life to life and if you plan on living it effectively that should mean doing your best work.
The key to this is that you define what your best work is. You choose each day when you say no to one thing and yes to another. This applies to whom you choose each day that you will work with as well.
So ask yourself, take some time to think on it: “How am I going to best serve my Dream Client?”
Customers: Where “is” Your Dream Client?
Typically we know where our clients are. However, I find it difficult sometimes and more to the point I hear from my clients a often, that they do not know where their dream client is. A better way of saying this is possibly they do not know how they can effectively communicate with their client.
This is one of the major differences in the online vs IRL, In Real Live, when you are IRL you can typically walk right up to the person you need to talk with and have a conversation. Your marketing, or rather salesmanship, in this scenario may or may not be effective, but the main point is you can literally point to and directly talk with the person you need to see.
However, when we are talking about online it is important to realize that the same person you can talk with while you are in the same room will never see your carefully planned out Facebook campaign and advertising if they do not use Facebook.
More than once in helping someone with their marketing campaign some simple questions and a little reconnaissance can go a long way.
Doing Proper Recon Work
For the purposes of moving things along I will fill this section out in more detail later, however here are some prime examples of how you can ensure your Dream Client is where you think they are.
Google/Bing/Other – The engine you use is not important and often I will use different ones in the hopes of getting different results. But you want to start out by searching for the product or service you are about to offer and see if any special groups pop up such as forums, targeted fan websites, blogs, or other interesting results that might help you find your Dream Clients faster. (example to come later) Think of things like:
Have any major news articles were published in this space? Do any peoples names keep popping up? etc
Facebook – Just the same as searching on Google only this time you are looking for Pages, Groups, and Influencers in your space. You may find a few people are posting often about your topic/niche now you should investigate. Are they posting as a potential competitor to you? Are they a fan? For the Pages and Groups which ones seem to be most active? Which has the largest following?
(use this same method for any social network such as Twitter, Linkedin, etc..)
These are the changes I am making to the site as a whole during the progress of writing this post.
*This log was started a little late and represents changes as of 9/23/2017
- Added push notification for updates and new posts
- Integrate Facebook and G+ comments (testing different methods)
Recently I started on a project that I thought would be relatively small connecting a web app/Database to QuickBooks desktop edition. Small was not the right thought on this one. Starting out there is so much conflicting information about how to make this happen I don’t think anyone truly knows. They only seem to know what they have gotten to work for them. Beyond that, some people claim that the WebConnector will go away in the near future but I have it on good authority that it is not going away.
Info On QB Web Connector
I will post more details as I can but if you are looking to get started read the SDK for both web connector and for the QBXML/Desktop SDK. Beyond that, I am still working through my own issues, but I have found a really cool project on Git Hub and have even gone so far as to get with the developer for a deeper understanding. I’ll post more about that later.
Don’t ask me why but I have avoided even looking at it since it was announced. In my mind, I had already spent the time learning Objective-C, but never put it to good use. Well, today I have decided it’s time. This is more of a side-project so I don’t expect to make a ton of progress immediately. I know I have enough other things to get done at this point.
The last thing on my list to mention is C# and really Visual Studio. As a JetBrains and Python fan, I thought the transition to Visual Studio and C# would be far more painful than it has been. I’m making this switch for the QB project I am working on. Visual Studio is actually very nice and powerful while C# is similar enough to python that I was able to get rolling on things pretty quickly.
Gonna Try to Blog More Regularly Again
The iOS Swift class I signed up for recommended it and honestly I’ve been wanting to take a little time to bang out an update for a couple of months, but I never think about it when I actually can do so. Well, that is not entirely true as I have written a few drafts, but sometimes I just have to make myself post whatever I come up with for the day or I end up with a long list of drafts.
Other updates I’m behind on Minecraft videos for mrhobbeys, and tech videos for Hektechnologies because I got sick and have just gotten to the point I feel my voice is recovered enough. I plan on getting back on that horse very soon too.
I work for and with AWESOME people!
To Prepare for the Sale of Better PC Health
It’s hard work to sell a business. You realized how many things you need to get together and ready for the new owners. That is what I am working on now;. Not only am I seeing the things that I have done but the plans of things to do. It’s kind of cool and a little sad. Don’t misunderstand I have no regrets, I know for me I have other things to work on.
Coming soon to a blog and YouTube channel near you 😉
I have several irons in the fire and this all about getting irons out so I can get to the ones I really want to be working on. That is why soon I will be posting more about what is going on, and I will be producing more videos. In general, though I think I will be doing a better job of the things I work on and be able to give them more focus. In theory, this should allow me to my best work.
So in case you were wondering the sale of Better PC Health is here: https://flippa.com/7137327-betterpchealth-com
Yeah, you saw that right. Better PC Health is up for grabs. There are too many cool things about it that I am not using. The thing that drove me over the edge on it was something random that happened. I got the passing idea to call some schools and churches to see if they would be interested in a product that would lower IT costs allowing budgets more predictable.
The thing is they were very interested… Good news right?
In most cases, you call on people and get a straight, “no” or a very (seemingly kind) “maybe later”. But, the thing was they were really interested. This sounded like a great deal to them. Something I hadn’t considered but looked at later some of these schools were looking to hire IT people. It started to make sense. They need to control the budget and my product might allow them not to spend more than they need.
Now I felt great about this. I had found or seemingly found my missing market segment… However, as the days passed and I just tried to catch up on my existing work at other things I realized 2 things.
2 Things were Holding Me Back
First, I realized that inadvertently in an effort to make the money I need to survive I had moved on to other things. My baby got thrown out with the bath water at some point and I needed to do some rehab on it. My sales copy was (is) out of date. Videos I had planned on making never happened. Email autoresponders sit unfinished. The list of undone goes on.
Second, I realized that I had lost the passion that gave me an edge originally… I used to sit anxiously waiting for the newest release of tech news, the latest breakthrough, or the next big gadget. That ended years ago… Mostly around the time I got married and realized it was much more fun to hang out with someone cool like my wife.
Really along my journey, I found I liked building websites, having a hand in marketing, and ‘doing’ sales. I think I really knew that for much longer, but didn’t have the opportunities or more possibly know how to take advantage if I did.
Someone is going to get a deal
With a fully working support system. live chat, built-in email system (autoresponder system), and existing customers. Someone is going to get a deal.
Time for some change 🙂 – Was supposed to be a quick 100 words but here are 500+
Sherece and I are going to sell everything we can get an RV and travel!!! I will get to play more poker, she will get to work on her business ideas. Life will be cheaper and more fun.
My business stuff is all remote enabled, but I really hope I can get my head on straight and start making consistent money at poker. I have a bad case of winners tilt right now. I also need to take a break for another reason…
The other reason… FQHC around here suck. So about a year ago I decided I would try it out. The experience was horrible and continues to be. I only gave it a shot because my doctor I had found retired. So what do I get in return?
The promise of low prices with quality care… I said promise. I can guarantee they don’t listen, or my prescriptions are never filled. But worst of all they cost a ridiculous amount of money. Nearly $500 a pop. My doctor (no insurance) was charging $40 + $80 when they had to do blood work. Want to find a good deal call around…
Anyhow because they have not returned calls or faxes for my prescription I have been taking a lower dose of thyroid for a few weeks now and I can tell a difference…
So anyhow I still have to decide what a break means. I think for sure 12hr+ sessions are not going to be something I can do very often if at all. I also think it is very important for me to assess how I am doing before playing. Today and most days this week, I just haven’t been feeling it.
Lucky for me I picked up The Mental Game of Poker and I have a better system than ever to evaluate. I have suspected differences in the past when my thyroid is off, and I have noted a few, but evaluating my thinking and focus is not something I have really felt the need to do in the past.
I have been doing this very good, but high level Bible study on Angels and Demons… It is really a good thing to look deeply into other things. A few other guys and I have started a men’s Bible study and goals group.
I tell you I am really looking forward to this!
I need to throw out there also. Posted an opening on angel.co for a programmer for BPCH. I have been looking around at the possibility of selling the company, and also trying to find people interested in make other deals.
Things look really good, but I keep hearing they could look much better. I just have to decide if I am going to put in the work to get this thing going to where it should be, or I truly want to move on to something else. We are at a do or die situation. (Die being die to me; sold).
Again the nice thing is whatever happens it still fits with our current plans. BPCH can continue and grow etc… and I can be anywhere in the world with an internet connection and cell phone to make it happen.
Also want to mention on the last leg of Kelly B. Todd website. It is coming along nicely, and is a charity that I would recommend for anyone to check out.
It is well past time for me to do this but I am moving forward and will post episode 2 of Let’s Build a Business (LBaB). I’ll use this as a “laundry list” of the things I am working on and I will plow through just trying to get the basic site up to the point where a product can be purchased at: BetterPCHealth.com
Breakdown of Where We Are
So far I have a working WordPress install with most of the basic plugins and theme that I will be using.
Here is the list:
Better Notifications for WordPress
Contact Form 7
EWWW Image Optimizer
Google Analytics by MonsterInsights
Jetpack by WordPress.com
WooCommerce PayPal Pro
WP Super Cache
Avada via Child Theme
SSL is set up
External SEO and analytics are setup such as google analytics, bing webmaster tools, and more.
I have also setup a Facebook app for analytics purposes when I run Facebook ads.
And last I have set up automated sharing of posts, products, and new pages etc.
I maybe forgetting something.
What to do First
When you setup WordPress you need to spend the next few hours setting all the options and choosing how your site will display and look. Mostly these options are easy and most people even skip them. However, if you setup these options and make the right choices your site will work well and …. well be awesome. You can literally build an entire business on your WordPress site. So I have spent the last few hours since the last section of this article doing just that.
Regular site settings, SEO settings, Theme Settings, email settings, Shopping cart settings, and so on. I will make a video that covers this in-depth and eventually link that to this post.
The key takeaway here:
Open every single dialogue and check to see if something looks important or wrong.
The way I put it here makes it sounds easy and for the most part it is. However, it is easily intimidating and does take a long time even when you know what you are looking to get done.
Next on the List: Pages
Now I used demo content so these steps would be different for building a site from nothing. It is important to point out here I will be changing the site and testing it until it “works”. That is going to take several episodes.
And Now for: Products
The BIG goal here is to find products that people will purchase online. This means testing and focusing on the minimal number to get results. For our purposes we will have the PC Cleanup, and Yearly PC Service. Any other billing will be done via line-item but I will show all that in the next episode. You will be able to see the completed products in this episode (#2) and I will explain how plan on testing different version of the copy and trying to increase conversions.
That is all for this Episode
I will post it as soon as I am done editing but for now you can check out Better PC Health to see the current changes.