Over the years, I've been fortunate to connect with so many brilliant, inspiring entrepreneurs from so many different industries and niches who are making an impact, changing lives, and using brilliant marketing strategies to build their business. I get so excited hearing them talk about the strategies they're using to improve their business and increase their revenue.
In the sprit of collaboration and learning from the success of other profitable entrepreneurs, I reached out to them to see if they would share their favorite marketing strategies to help others who are working toward their next level of success.
The question I asked them was:
"What’s the most impactful marketing strategy that you’ve used to grow a profitable online business?"
The tried and true strategy for us is developing relationships with our affiliates. Affiliates usually count for 50% of our launch results, they've helped us grow our list to 70,000 people, and best of all, they have a guaranteed return on investment - you don't pay out anything if they don't bring you customers. This is awesome if you don't have the resources (or know-how) to do paid advertising.
Reward your affiliates with good commissions (paid on time), a high integrity program and the resources they need to promote you.
The last few years we've paid out over $475k and we're just getting started!
As a online marketer, I'm realizing that we’re in the engagement economy and we’re also in a very noisy marketplace - this is the obstacle we need to overcome in order for brand to get seen, heard and paid. Mastering what I call the “L1 Launch” - in our company an L1 is also known as a lead magnet - is the key to this. Too many people are throwing pitches at people without creating an audience first, and then they think it’s a linear relationship. It’s not. You must eat (sell) and also feed (nurture/engage) at the same time in a way that motivates the audience to engage back and earn their wallet share from other marketers sending similar messages.
Also, I call it an L1 “Launch” for a reason - because intentionality behind the L1 is critical for it to make a difference in the relationship between marketing and sales. Creating a lead magnet is really just creating content. Even if the content is valuable, it doesn’t automatically create drive traffic and interest, and it definitely doesn’t do anything for engagement unless you treat it like a proper launch. This doesn’t have to be difficult or mega-orchestrated, it just has to be strategic. Online marketing is not push-button or set-it-and-forget-it anymore (it really never was, but it certainly was easier just a few years ago to get sales with less engagement).
My one-two L1 combo that’s really worked well is to pair a story-driven paid traffic series (aka Facebook ads) to a useful L1 that isn’t too long to get through (like a checklist, template, worksheet), then create a series of emails inviting them to a 5-10 day challenge, where we have a dedicated, temporary Facebook group, daily livestreams and worksheets and contests.
My most popular L1 combo, the Brand Story Challenge, has created over 8,000 in leads and $500,000 in sales of my signature program Master Brand because of the way we built the L1 Launch for it. Even more powerful, it has contributed to our company having a healthy profit margin for the other online and offline programs we have, because it’s the foundation of how people “jump on the campus” with us. This makes upselling other helpful programs and products easier and identifies our hyper-responsive audience more quickly.
The one-two L1 combo continues to be one of my highest engaged marketing strategies and I hope it helps other people see that you can keep it simple in the setup - just reserve your energy in pouring into your community with a super-high level of engagement so it becomes very easy for them to see they want to continue to be led by you, which leads to super sales and healthy profits.
My biggest marketing strategy has been to prioritize relationships, people connection, and not just networking for the sake of getting the sale, but networking for the sake of getting to know people.
Building out my pool of connections has helped me get connected to other people who have been great clients. One way that I've done that is by having at least one coffee chat per week. I did 52 coffee chats in 52 weeks, and that was super huge and helpful in growing my connections.
The most powerful marketing strategy that I've used to grow an online business is actually pretty simple - it's Lifecycle Marketing. And actually, within that, the most powerful component by far has been Nurture. Lifecycle Marketing is the idea that you can build and design the ideal customer journey you'd like to create, with considerations for every touchpoint and milestone along the way, then finding and implementing the right tools to standardize this process so that every single customer has a positive, memorable, and scalable experience.
The reason I emphasize nurture, is because I think it's the area most people gloss over. It isn't sexy in the way that new leads are, or referral programs can be - but it can move the needle in powerful ways. Nurture is all about doing more with what you have. Designing a nurture funnel that automatically follows up with people will help establish your expertise, provide value for your prospects, position the way they think about your brand, and ultimately fortify the relationship you want to have with that person over the long term.
With all the fancy marketing tools, toys and tactics out there, I think sometimes the most valuable concepts come as timely reminders to focus on the things we already know, like providing regular value to your audience.
The most impactful marketing strategy I've employed is to be unendingly useful and completely consistent. It's not new, and it's not sexy, but posting a useful, interesting, engaging blog post every single week (with few exceptions) over the past four years or so has to be the number 1 thing that has grown my business overall.
There's so much you can do with content to grow your business, but it's no longer good enough to be spotty or average. You've got to go for great.
I call it the Marketing Mirror Effect: it's when you give someone a taste of your paid offer using the same modality, for free. For example, we did this successfully by giving away a free version of our popular PopupAlly Pro WordPress plugin. We didn't try to get people to opt-in for a webinar or get a PDF...we gave them a "mirror" experience of what they would get with the premium version.
The same goes for our free 30 Day List Building Challenge: it's a series of video trainings that leads into our premium video trainings. If people don't like learning from videos, then they won't be a good fit for the paid offering. I try to look at all of our marketing efforts through this "mirroring effect" so that it's an easy transition from a great free offer to a strong paid offer.
The most impactful marketing strategy that I've used has probably been telesummits. They've allowed me to create many incredible relationships with influencers, as well as grow my list by thousands and get lots of sales without any paid advertising.
In the beginning, when I was very cautious about spending money, this was a great way to launch my offers - and was very profitable, too!
Transparency and storytelling. There are plenty of fantastic tools, ideas, and systems for marketing, but none of them matter if your content strategy isn't attracting the right clients and customers in a real and relatable way. My business has two sides: design, branding, and marketing for online business owners, as well as personal growth work for people coming back from loss, trauma, and big life transitions. Being transparent and sharing my personal story and healing journey on a relatable level has brought me website and business coaching clients.
The fact is, people resonate with people... not blanket strategies, not generic copywriting, and not polished personas. We're tired of the old approach. We want to work with REAL PEOPLE who have real opinions about the world, real values they strive to stay aligned with, real (and sometimes messy) backstories, and a real life they share to some degree.
By far, the best thing have done related marketing strategy when growing my business was to treat every online experience like we were actually in person. For example, we hosted a Clone Camp one summer. Almost better than real "camp" because there were no mosquitoes! Fun for me to plan, highly engaging for participants. Win-win. Some people even went skinny dipping after I called lights out. (I don't think they really went skinny dipping; it was virtual camp after all! It was fun nonetheless).
We also host The Planathon in the fall of every year. It's a one week planning event to get your ready for the year ahead. Full on experiential, designed around the idea of a "telethon" or a "marathon."
Of course, while we are dreaming up our marketing plans we don't completely throw best practices out the window! However, my favorite marketing experiences started with a creative idea in mind *then* we layered in best practices. Not best practices first, followed by fun. Fun comes first. ;)
It may sound less than glamorous, but automated email marketing has been the BIGGEST boost to my business. We use a combination of strategies to reach our potential customers, but getting really clear on the customer journey and speaking to what each person is going though with our emails has resulted in us being incredibly profitable.
BUT...that all starts with truly understanding your customers and spending time writing copy that really reaches out and speaks to people. Using an email marketing software like Infusionsoft to implement the delivery of those email sequences has been a powerful way to connect with people and has helped our marketing message reach the right people at the right time. This has absolutely been the key to our growth and has helped double our business revenue every year for the past five years.
Having a super captivating and impactful FREE offer has been a game-changer for my business.
Giving away pure value up-front has helped position my expertise and warm people up to working with my company. Using my voice and video in these has also helped people put a face and voice to the value, and potential clients are able to connect with me and the content.
In these trainings, I keep things 100% focused on value - no pitching until after they have received a big ah-ha or win. After these freebies, I’m able to continue to interact with these potential clients through email and social, and so many people end up purchasing because of the crazy value these initial offers gave them!
It’s the thing I’ve done beside all of my marketing strategies that has actually transformed my business - the thing beside it is outreach.
I’m paying attention to somebody if they are watching my marketing and they’re liking all of my videos. Then I reach out to them and I invite them to have a private sales conversation. If I notice like somebody is clicking on everything but not opening my emails, I will reach out to them and invite them either for a sales conversation or for them to work with me.
I activate all of my marketing with a personalized outreach plan so that everything always works. So it doesn’t matter what marketing technique I use. I am always following along beside it and I’m actively reaching out to folks and helping them say yes. So that’s my number one thing: I’m an over-giver and I do more than one thing.
I’m going to tell you my second marketing strategy that actually created the most dollars and cents impacting my business, and that’s hosting a live event. I absolutely love helping myself and also helping my clients to create, design a live 1-3 day event experience.
I recommend one or three, not usually two-day events and then to give out a lot of amazing information and sell from the stage. That marketing is explosive in your business because you’re doing kind of like triple duty. When you market for a live event, you get so much like interest around you and activity and people get pumped up about it and then they physically come to the event. Then once you’re there on stage, you can close the room. You get the sales part that comes from doing effective marketing.
I hope this is helpful and I hope anyone who resonates with it receives a lot from it and remember, you can do everything the way you want to do it and still have massive impact in this world.
The thing that is impacting my business the most right now is Facebook Messenger Bots. The results are amazing. I'm using a bot for my own business, and helping clients create them as well. With 2 Billion people on Facebook Messenger, it's a tool any business can use to reach prospects in an extremely intimate way.
The most powerful thing we have done is to position ourselves as the #1 option in our market. When I started WebsiteIn5Days.com I thought that we were in the website business, which was an incredibly crowded space. What I soon realized is that we were really in the business of empowering solopreneurs to double business by implementing website and digital marketing tactics. That really helped us grow because we now stood out amidst all the other "web guys" out there.
Now we're actually going through another evolution and we're providing a website and digital marketing team to work with consultants and small agencies. This was a big epiphany for me and so we've jumped at the opportunity to support this market.
Before you spend a penny on Facebook Ads, it's super important to figure out what business you're REALLY in and position yourself as the #1 option for that. You'll really maximize your ROI and you can scale your business online really quickly with the right positioning and the right message to the right market.
The most impactful marketing strategy I've used to grow a profitable online business has been to embrace 'old school' tactics. Which as someone who does a LOT of digital marketing, it may come as a bit of a surprise. But the reality is, focusing on connecting with potential clients 1:1 has made the biggest difference in growing my business. Utilizing smart networking and keeping in touch with past and current clients fuels the referral engine that helps our business continue to be profitable year over year.
The most impactful marketing strategy I did in my business was segmentation. I receive a lot of inquiries for our services, and I used to always give them a package that I thought fits all. When I analyzed the questions and matched it with the type and level of businesses my potential and existing clients have, I realized that they are on different segments. So I sorted my list out and offered them a package that was the best match for their current situation and/or journey.
That move made my conversion rate from 1/5 to 4/5. Most of the time in a month I get 100% conversion from plain inbound cold inquiries. My best recommendation to business owners is to go and find out more about your potential and existing customers and really hone in into what exactly they need because there's no such thing as one size fits all.
I've written copy for online businesses from startup to earning 7 figures, they all want to know what strategies will help them multiply their launch results.
The most impactful marketing I've used to grow my business is to not fall for the one size fits all strategies that exist online. I've learned that when building an online business you have to be nimble and lean into your specific strengths (and the strengths of your team if you have one).
But most importantly take the time to research what your audience wants, listen to them, and then deliver. Not just on what they need right now but also what you know they will need next once you've solved their most immediate problem.
Customer service is very important for our Mocknick Apps clients, and it's a key component of keeping customers engaged and spreading the word about our app and services.
For our Mocknick Apps brand, our marketing started with our profiles in the Infusionsoft Marketplace and Acuity Scheduling Integrations page. Right away we started collecting testimonials, and we added the testimonials to the marketplace. We have hosted free educational webinars with Acuity and Infusionsoft partners. We also joined the Acuity Certified Expert program, and we have several leads that came from this program.
The most impactful marketing strategy that I've used to grow my business is to be myself.
To show up as me, connect with people, build genuine relationships and be of service. I started marketing for my business by sharing my story - how I managed massive projects in TV and how I was now doing the same for online businesses. I connected with people who I thought might need project management support, provided value to them and formed really strong relationships.
From there my business grew quite quickly. We now get all of our new clients through referrals because we have happy clients, and that's not by chance. A huge part of what I work on with my team is making sure that our clients and their teams are having a good experience, and constantly keeping an eye on how we as a whole can learn and improve.
The most impactful marketing strategy I have used, and continue to use, that has produced exponential ROI is creating original, high value content made available at no cost to the end user. It is, in my opinion, the single most effective method to grow your list, build rapport and increase sales.
As humans, we are not genetically engineered to trust blindly (or easily for that matter). This means that for us to develop trust – and trust translates into them giving us attention – we first must earn it. We, as marketers and business owners, need to earn that trust by providing the user with value first content before asking them to buy. When we begin to understand how the human mind works, we then know that in addition to trust, the person must feel that there is an equal exchange in value. The value exchange is what they receive from us versus what we are asking from them which is typically attention, time and money (usually in that order).
This is a primary concept that most people overlook: after someone opts into your list, it does not mean you start selling them immediately. No one wants to be sold. We can break the process and strategy I use up into 5 incredibly simple steps. They are:
1. We provide them with free value (consider this window shopping).
2. If they like what they see, they will opt-in (walk into our store).
3. Once they have entered our world, we do not rush up to them and sell them, (no one likes a pushy sales rep once you walk into a store).
4. We welcome them, inform them of some specials and ask how we can help them.
5. We continue to add value and customize our conversation with them until we know exactly what they want. THEN WE SELL (and they typically always buy).
This simple strategy increased my revenues by $100,000 the first year I implemented this. It has continued to produce the most effective return on investment I have in my business today.
The most effective marketing strategy that I've used over the years is to not think like a marketer. Most people do not want to be marketed to. They don't want to be sold to. They want to be helped.
Take the time when you talk to somebody through email, through your help desk, or through any interaction that you have with them, to put yourself in the very vulnerable position of their need at the moment. Think of the ideal outcome that you could possibly have by examining their exact state of mind, need, and pains right now. Then simply focus on how you could help them in a manner that, if you were in their shoes, you would want to receive.
You want their reaction to be: "Wow, this is somebody that I've been looking for. Somebody that actually gives a sh*t about my business. Somebody that actually understands where I'm at and is sincerely trying to help me." If you can focus on that instead of focusing on your need of wanting to sell something, then I can absolutely assure you your business will sky rocket.
At the end of the day, nobody is buying a product. They're buying you the results they can imagine themselves achieving through working with you. That's really all they want — results. Old school marketing works, and it works because it's really not marketing. It's about relationships and people, and just simply caring about them and their business, and their priorities, and their needs, and putting yourself in their shoes.
If you do that, I can assure you that your business will scale rapidly.
The most impactful marketing strategy has been providing value, more value and then more value.
I made myself a resource to others who had questions about money. I chimed in on questions in Facebook groups, shared my thoughts and opinions on the industry and my target market on twitter, created relevant and educational blog posts on topics my ideal clients are asking about their finances and forwent local, in person networking for online coffee chats, all of which allowed me to build a network around the country.
Being a resource others could lean on and refer to is what helped to build my credibility, allowing others to refer to me and therefore grow my business.
My marketing strategy of choice that I use for myself and my clients is Public Speaking! One of my favorite things bout speaking is that it’s a super creative way to onboard new warm leads int your business in as little as 5, 10 or even 60 minutes.
Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, it’s an awesome way to reach multiple people at once. And the best part is that you can cater speaking to your unique marketing style. Whether you prefer to reach an online audience or connect with people face-to-face at in-person events, public speaking is a powerful tool for any marketing strategy!