We all do it, because every business marketing guide tells us to: We create our ideal client. It might be called a persona, or an avatar. We spend tons of time researching the demographics, psychographics, behaviors, needs, wants, likes, dislikes, and interests of these people who we want to buy our product or service.
We are convinced that these are the people to whom we are speaking in our blogs and social media. Every word, image, and video we create is around the idea that this is the exact person listening.
But have you checked? Do you know these are the people you are actually reaching?
“Of course!” you might think. “I did my research. I know the type of people and the demographics that are on each social network.” But have you checked your audience?
Did you know you can actually dig in and look at those specific people? It’s amazing what power you have with analytics! In fact, there are so many things you can do with tracking codes that I put together a free checklist to help you keep is all straight.
1. Google Analytics
Starting with your website, you can see your traffic’s demographics and interests right inside of Google Analytics. But–and this is a big but–you need to have turned on the option here:
Once you’re tracking this demographic and interest information, you can go in and compare that data to your persona. Are the people visiting your site the ones you actually want as clients? Are the right type of people converting?
If you’re not bringing in your ideal customer, you may need to take a look at your messaging. There are probably a few tweaks you can make to better target your preferred audience.
2. Facebook Insights
Facebook is the social platform with the most data on your followers (no surprise there, I’m sure). If you’ve got a Facebook Page and you’re using that to reach potential clients, take a peek inside Facebook Insights. It can tell you demographic and psychographic info about your Facebook fans (and your website traffic, if you’ve installed the Facebook Pixel).
Just a sampling of the info Facebook can provide:
- Relationship status
- Interests (based on Page Likes)
- Engagement levels
- Devices Used
3. Twitter Audience Analytics
You may have looked at the standard Twitter Analytics before (and you should). They tell you performance stats about your profile, your tweets, and have a lot of great information! But if you want to see less about you and more about your audience, visit the Audiences tab.
Here, take a look at the Demographics, Lifestyle, Consumer Behavior, and Mobile Footprint of your audience. Does it match that Buyer Persona you put together?
When looking at your audience data from any platform, think about a few things:
- Are you happy with your performance?
- Are you interacting with people you love working with?
- Are the people who are buying your services great to work with?
If your answer to these questions is yes, then use this audience data as additional information to add to that Buyer Persona! Look at their interests, and consider adding more content with those themes. Do they love the same TV genres you do? Take an evening and try live tweeting your favorite show–it’s a great way to make a personal connection with your followers.
Whether you are currently reaching your ideal client or not, you can use this information to efficiently change your marketing, whether you ramp up what you’re doing right or eliminate channels that aren’t bringing in people you love to work with.
Make sure you’re using the right analytics to uncover the data you want. Don’t waste time installing code you don’t need. Download my free checklist to know exactly which codes you need.
Ann Marie (Annie) O’Braskin is a former music industry major who is definitely not using her degree. She hates paperwork, and hardly ever does it in her bed on a Saturday night listening to old Spice Girls CDs. Annie strongly agrees with Ron Swanson that clear alcohols are for rich women on diets, so she enjoys craft beer and visiting breweries with her husband, daughter, and two dogs. And she also knows you should never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing. She whole-asses analytics.
The marketing trend that has been garnering the most attention online in recent years has to be influencer marketing. This unwieldy new term signifies a fairly old idea, namely that of celebrity endorsement.
Influencer marketing works something like this: a well-known person uses their social capital to promote a particular service or product, thus furthering the marketing goals of the company which offers the products and services. The only difference between influencer marketing and celebrity endorsement seems to be the reluctance to call individuals with big online followings celebrities.
There are so many online personas with legions of followers, it’s easy to find a person tailor-made to promote a particular brand. In real life, celebrities are usually big names from the world of popular culture, whereas influencers can be associated with basically any field of interest, from home improvement or wilderness survival, to science or video gaming.
Influencer marketing can, therefore, be said to use the same strategies as celebrity branding and endorsement, albeit with a greater range of possibilities when it comes to finding the right influencer for the job.
Here’s a quick guide on how to successfully use influencer marketing to promote your business.
1. Find The Right Person
The first step in implementing a successful influencer marketing campaign is to find a match for your target audience. Influencers come in all shapes and sizes.
Want to find someone in your niche? Do a quick search on YouTube on any given topic and parse the top 10 results. Here you will find individuals whose channels boast thousands to millions of subscribers, all of whom are waiting to hear their favorite online personality’s opinions.
If your company is selling a product or service similar to those that a particular influencer covers online, this is your first clue on who to contact. Next, do research on the influencer in question, which involves inspecting their websites, blogs, and social media profiles. Take a note of the size of their following, the kind of content they produce, including technical format and stylistic form, what opinions they are vocal about, and how professional their overall operation seems to be.
2. Establish Contact
After deciding that a given influencer is the right fit for your brand, approach them with an offer. Influencers interact with many people on daily basis as a part of their job, so getting their attention involves a degree of skill.
Try to open up a conversation by sending an email introducing your company, the specific details of your offer, and the services you would expect from them. Don’t be pushy, and give them time to respond before sending a follow-up email. Your offer should include concrete incentives, as no one will work for you for free. Direct payment can work in some cases, while in others free product samples, sneak previews, press-passes, and similar goods are the way to go.
Make sure you clearly establish what kind of services you will be expecting from them, whether that’s direct mentions, backlinks to your product pages, reviews, or other services.
3. Track Progress
Once you create a collaboration, track the progress of your investment. You should know beforehand what kind of results you’re after. If you’re growing links for your white label SEO strategy, make sure you’re tracking relevant metrics, such as keyword rankings, traffic, and conversions. Revenue and sales data is important for e-commerce operations, as are social network shares, likes, and subscriptions for media-oriented companies.
If you run into unexpected results, such as negligible gains or even losses, assess the situation. Is the influencer acting according to contract? Is his audience more niche than you previously thought? Does your sales pitch not translate well into the influencer’s content format? Questions like these will help you establish what went wrong, allowing you to implement adequate solutions, including reaching out to a different influencer, renegotiating your contract, or changing your overall marketing strategy.
Influencer marketing is a powerful tool for promoting your brand online. Having a community spokesman or advocate for your products and services is an effective way of spreading the word about your company, without relying on traditional advertising. People are much more likely to follow the opinion of someone they perceive as an authority than the sales pitch of a company they know nothing about. Leverage this by reaching out to influencers as part of your digital marketing campaign.
Chloe Smith is a cycling enthusiast and a part-time writer always willing to share tidbits of advice. She believes that passion, courage, and (above all) knowledge breed success. When she’s not working, she’s probably somewhere cuddled up with a good book, and a cup of lemongrass tea, or (more honestly) binge-watching the newest Netflix hit show.
Last year, I created my first online course, Own it, Crush it: LinkedIn. I’d been wanting to try the online teaching business for a while, but wasn’t sure what I’d create. Then someone reminded me that I know and love LinkedIn (it’s far and away the single-most important referral tool in my content marketing business), so it seemed like a logical place to start.
I launched it in September of 2017, and have sold more than 100 seats. Clearly, not a six-figure launch, but I’m thrilled so many people I don’t even know are willing to take a chance on what I’m offering.
While I’m not an expert in online courses and launches, I did learn a few things in the process of creating and selling my first course. If you want to hear what really works and doesn’t work from someone who was bootstrapping their online course without a ton of money and a small email list, then listen up. These are the launch lessons I think everyone should know.
1. Have a Plan
What’s a plan? I rushed to finish the course to meet a self-imposed—but public—deadline. (I promoted it in The Strategy Hour podcast. I had two months to finish it before the episode aired…but that flew by!)
On the Monday before my Friday launch date, I only had a welcome video and pre-work module recorded, the remaining content loosely mapped out, and the Thinkific platform set up (that’s the site that hosts the course for a fee). So I recorded almost everything on Tuesday and Wednesday, and edited and uploaded it Thursday. I barely got a sales page created in time for Friday’s launch.
I had no marketing plan and no idea how I’d actually sell this course other than the podcast appearance (and that, ultimately, really didn’t create sales). So, I flew by the seat of my pants and promoted the hell out of the course on my social media channels.
During the initial week-long launch, I sold 39 courses for a little over $1,400. Not bad, but I’m still kicking myself for what could have been if I’d actually thought this through and mapped things out long before launching.
2. Just Do It
My little four-figure launch wasn’t the stuff of legend, but it wasn’t an abysmal failure either. I’m pretty proud of myself for creating something, putting it out in the world, and having 39 awesome people decide they liked it enough to hand over some of their hard-earned money for it.
And this course almost didn’t happen. I have talked about creating it forever, but I never took action because I was intimidated by all the technology that goes into it (recording and editing videos, figuring out the hosting platform, setting up payment services, creating a sales page). Turns out, it’s not so scary.
There are plenty of free and for-a-fee online resources available to help you figure out all the tech pieces of course creation. I used QuickTime on my MacBook Pro to record the videos. I edited in iMovie following a tutorial from Trena Little. I created some PDFs using Canva.
All told, it took me months of talking about a course and then about four days of actual work to create it. Moral of the story? Stop talking, start doing.
3. Let Go of Perfect
One reason I was able to finally get the course finished? I had to. I’m so glad I promoted the unfinished course on a podcast because it forced my hand. I didn’t have any more time to fuss over the words or fiddle with the edits or beat myself up about the sales page. I had to launch.
I hated releasing something that wasn’t perfect. My videos aren’t as polished and professional as those from other course sellers. My sales page was pretty lousy. But it’s finished and the content is solid—and that’s ultimately what really matters.
Unless you spend a lot of money to create a course, it’s going to be at least partially DIY. Being okay with “good enough” not only allowed me to get the course out of my head and into the world, it also forced me to do real-life testing.
- I improved the sales page in real time based on the helpful hints I received in Facebook groups.
- I raised the price based on unanimous feedback it was underpriced.
- I mapped out a more advanced round two (coming in a few months) based on questions I received from students.
- I hired someone to help me with Facebook ads, which I’m running this week, based on my realization I wasn’t ready to market the course.
If the only thing holding you back from creating something is fear, force yourself to push beyond it. Take action and find some peace in knowing you can always learn and improve as you go.
There is no perfect, so stop waiting for it.
4. Be Realistic
The first time (and even the second and third time) you do anything, there’s going to be a learning curve. Most people don’t hit a home run the first time they hold a bat, and you’re probably not going to make $1 million (or even six figures) on your first course.
My advice? Set a realistic revenue goal, and then halve it.
If you want to make $10,000 on your launch, and your course is $100, you need 100 sales. Do you have a large enough following to make that happen? For most course creators, email marketing drives sales. Based on average conversion rates of 2%, you’d need an email list of about 50,000 to make 1,000 sales.
Yes, email isn’t the only way to sell a course (I only sold a few through mine), but the size of your list is still a pretty good gauge to determine your sales potential (for example, my list size is 800 so I sold the equivalent of a 5% conversion rate; and I had a low price point). You’ll get better at marketing your products as you do it more often, but the first time around, don’t set sky-high expectations.
I hoped to sell a single course. Seriously. When I hit “publish” on my course I was truly terrified not one person would buy it. So, getting to nearly 40 was a huge success. Had I expected to net thousands of dollars my first time out, I would have felt like a failure and never done this again. Instead, I’m riding high and already daydreaming about the next course launch.
5. Ask for Help
At first, I didn’t consider asking anyone to help me promote my course. I didn’t want to impose, and I was also afraid other (more experienced) entrepreneurs wouldn’t want to share my less-than-perfect course.
That was silly. I’ve spent a lot of time building a community. I’ve given more than I’ve taken by sharing valuable content for free, asking questions, giving advice, being concerned about others’ well-being. I shouldn’t have been surprised when people offered to help, but I was. In fact, I was blown away by the response.
I personally messaged my closest circle of biz besties, then posted a general request for launch cheerleaders in my Facebook group. About two dozen people agreed to share the information with their communities (and most actually did). I made it easy on them by sending graphics and text for each social media channel. I’m not sure if this directly led to any sales, but it made me feel loved and supported, which is worth a ton in itself.
Since I first launched my course, I made one big, important change. I switched from Thinkific to Podia. Read more about my reasons here, but suffice to say I think Podia is a far smarter investment for online course hosting (especially once you start to get more regular sales).